SIMPLY BEING

Tag: casual (page 1 of 1)

Flower Child

I started hearing about Flower Child from friends and acquaintances. My first thought was, it’s such a pretty name. “Flower Child” harkens back to the days of hippie freedom, organic living, love for Mother Earth, and so on. It is a fitting name for this restaurant, I think, because the food has a youthful flair to it. It is piquant and playful, full of flavor and texture contrasts… Definitely more hip than hippy, I think.

I sent a note to the restaurant asking if I could come in for a chef’s tasting. I got a prompt response: an invitation to lunch.

It was a cool spring morning in March when I showed up at Flower Child, Sandy Springs. I instantly fell in love with the high, airy interiors, tall industrial lamp fixtures, houseplants and knickknacks decorating the windows, casual seating, cheerful waitstaff. I introduced myself to the girl at the counter. She went and spoke with the manager Mark who came over right away and welcomed me.

I skimmed through the menu and ordered a mango-pineapple fresh juice (no sugar added), a small plate of Grilled Asparagus, and the Glow Bowl. I am not one for consuming liquids with meals (save warm herbal tea, sometimes) but I was unable to resist this fresh juice combination of two of my favorite fruits, yum. The juice was tangy and delicious. What it lacked for in sugary sweetness, it made up with freshness and flavor. I loved the juice but I was sorely disappointed to see that the glass was made from thin plastic (Grade 1, non-recyclable). I wish they’d used a glass tumbler instead. It would have been simple, elegant, eco-friendly, and sustainable.

The food arrived quick. The asparagus spears were crunchy and delicious, grill marks included. It was served with farro, barley and red quinoa, flavored with ginger miso. The dish had a gentle heat, and I enjoyed the combination of crisp asparagus and chewy ancient grains. In contrast, the Glow Bowl was a delicious Pad Thai-style preparation of sweet potato noodles in coconut milk, sunflower butter, bok choy, zucchini, onion, and shiitake mushrooms, spiced with jalapeños. It was comforting and delicious, and I marveled at the light texture of the sweet potato noodles. Worth replicating at home, I think!

I alternated between one dish and the other, taking a good long time to chew thoroughly and savor the flavors.

Mark came over to ask if I was enjoying the food. I could only nod, mouth full, happy smile on face. He mentioned that they served a vegan, gluten-free chocolate pudding made from coconut cream, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, flavored with vanilla paste, served with shaved coconut and sprouted almonds. How could I say no to that? The pudding was smooth and creamy, lightly sweetened, and absolutely delicious. I was sorely tempted to eat it all but I decided to be a good spouse who shared freely with her partner. I ate a little, and saved the rest to take home to my husband. (He loved it, although he wished it was less sweet). Alas, this pudding also came in a plastic, non-recyclable container, sigh.

I loved visiting Flower Child and eating there. I found the food light and playful, delicious, and full of flavor. I adored the cheerful, sun-lit space, large windows, and the wood-marble seating. I’d love to see if/how their menu changes seasonally, and if they will incorporate local ingredients and recipes into their menu.

Wondering when I can make another trip!

Flower Child
6400 Bluestone Rd #170
Sandy Springs GA 30328

470-481-7850
www.iamaflowerchild.com

La Fonda Latina

A casual eatery that serves Latin American food (so casual that there is no ‘About Us’ section on the website), La Fonda is appealing in so many ways. It attracts a young crowd that includes Georgia Tech students, easily distinguished by their grey hoodies, slouchy jeans and sneakers. Aah, the young desi grad students, fresh faced and sincere and earnest!

We walked in late on a Thursday evening, close to 9pm. I was worried that the place may have closed but it was open and bustling. For transplanted suburbanites like us, this is a welcome surprise. Growing up in Bombay (where you can get a bite any time of the day/night), I can’t understand it when restaurants close doors by 9pm on weeknights. What if someone feels like a bite at 9:30pm on a Wednesday evening? Guess Pizza Hut is the only option. Not my favorite idea of a dining option but well, c’est la vie en suburbia.

Back to La Fonda… I had been here for lunch with work colleagues a couple of months ago. I liked the food enough to suggest to P that we come back for dinner some day. Now parking can be a challenge during busy hours (as we discovered that afternoon we went for lunch) but the night P and I went, it was not a problem as it was way past dinner time for most folks. As soon as we sat at our table, the server brought us salsa and chips. The salsa was deliciously juicy and most likely, not out of a jar… freshly made, I think. We ordered a plate of Tostones (fried plantain chips served with a garlic dipping sauce). It came fast but the dish left me unimpressed. The plantains were dry, hard and unripe. Had they been ripe and soft, the dish would have been a delight.

Salsa and Chips, Tostones

P ordered two vegetarian enchiladas (white corn tortillas filled with grilled squash, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers, pimentos and fresh spinach, covered with chipotle and ancho chili pepper tomato sauce, topped with Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, queso blanco and cilantro) while I asked for a Bocadillo Vegetariano (Cuban sandwich with grilled vegetables, tomatoes, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and Cuban dressing on Cuban bread).

Entrees, La Fonda

The Bocadillo Vegetariano was excellent. Who can resist a combination of grilled vegetables and rich, gooey cheese? I am not sure what the Cuban dressing comprised of or what distinguishes Cuban bread from any other kind… however, this is a great sandwich for folks who like big flavors, hearty and comforting. I skipped the beans almost entirely. It was late in the night and I didn’t fancy going to bed on a bursting stomach (the sandwich was filling enough). I sampled the yellow rice; it was perfectly cooked, each grain separate from the other, mildly spiced. P’s Vegetarian Enchiladas looked spectacular, tasted as good. I wish I could remember something significant about either dish but I cannot… 🙁 All in all, satisfying dishes. And it is always great to read this on the menu ‘Our yellow rice and black beans are vegetarian.’ Thank you, La Fonda.

Couldn’t have skipped dessert, could we? I asked for a plate of Churros served with chocolate dipping sauce. Lovely looking dish, I agree. But P wasn’t inclined to even take a bite and I couldn’t eat more than half a stick. Sigh.

Churros

Would I go back to La Fonda Latina? Oh, yes. I am already looking forward to the next visit with our friends J & J and their little munchkin, M. I think they’ll enjoy the vibrant flavors, casual vibe and the long list of vegetarian offerings as much as I did!

La Fonda Latina
1025 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta GA
404-249-2272

www.fellinisatlanta.com

Broadway Cafe

The ScoutMob coupon is allowing me to sample new places in and around the city. Last weekend, four of us trooped to Broadway Cafe. No fancy dining place this is but the food was fairly nice, I thought! I would probably go there a second time if it wasn’t a tad far… 🙁 Should mention that this is a Kosher restaurant (one of the few in the city?) – probably that explains the many Jewish families with little ones present that evening.

To start off, we ordered a plate of Potato Chips. These folks don’t have a website; so I cannot verify the exact name of the dish. Anyhow, we got a huge plate of Sweet Potato home style fries. We asked them to get us a bowl of ketchup as a dip. Nice fries, and it was good that we had friends with us. It would have been impossible for P and I to finish them. I recall thinking that it would have been nice had they sliced the sweet potatoes thin and roasted them. Delicious and healthier(?).

We also got a plate of roasted vegetables and hummus with pita bread wedges. Now that I look at the picture, the hummus looks more like cream cheese! Seriously trying to recall – what DID we get? In any case, it was fairly decent tasting. I do remember that the pita wedges were like LEATHER. So tough that it was difficult biting into them.

The above is a collage of all the dishes we ordered. Thai Stir-fry with Vegetables and Tofu (top left), Pad Thai (bottom left), Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Mushrooms and Feta, and Lasagna. S had ordered the Thai Stir-fry and he specifically asked our server if they used Tofu or gluten. Now this was a new topic for me. I learned that many places mention tofu but use gluten instead. I suppose, when they say gluten, they actually mean texturized soy protein, generally understood to be a far more processed substance than tofu (soy bean curd). S said that it was an ingredient that he always found challenging to digest. Anyway, his dish was far too liquid-y, he said. It was more a soup consistency, he thought. I didn’t sneak a taste, so no comments.

P ordered the Pad Thai. It was fairly nice but unremarkable. The flavors were mild and the vegetables tasted fresh and crunchy. My husband ordered the pizza. It came on a flat bread base with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, mushrooms and a pesto spread. I liked it but he thought it was just okay. As for me, I ordered the Vegetable Lasagna. Very uncharacteristic for me because I am not a fan of this dish. It always seems as if the sourness of tomato dominates the flavors, and what remains is the stringy baked cheese that turns cold too soon, and the doughy taste and texture of lasagna sheets. Let me just say, this was not the worst Vegetable Lasagna I have eaten. But I don’t think I will order this for a while. It doesn’t seem like a dish I will ever have a taste for. Unless may be I sample it in Italy?

Skipped dessert, went home and played Taboo… good fun with good friends. As for Broadway Cafe, I would go there again if I was in that part of town. Not sure if I’d make the drive for the kind of food we ate that night. Or maybe I would!

Broadway Cafe
2157 Briarcliff Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329

404-329-0888