Next on our carnivore fest came the aged New York Strip with a charred crust and juicy pink center offering unctuous beefy decadence. The steak was under $30 and the same thing in Buckhead would have been well over $50. It was served with one of those superb loaded steakhouse baked potatoes the size of a football and baked in kosher salt so you could eat the skin.
Our not so carnivore friend tried the BBQ salmon and scallion mashed potatoes. The salmon was fresh and briny with no farm-raised taste. We all managed to find room for the seasonal warm white chocolate and cranberry bread pudding, glazed with rich caramel sauce — rich brioche bread soaked in bourbon. Pure comfort.
Hot and comforting
We were still full from our Parker’s visit the previous night but needed something to counteract the chilly evening. I lived briefly in California where Pho was very popular and on a cold night nothing is better than a big bowl.
Pho is a giant bowl of chicken or beef soup with lots of scratch made broth, noodles or rice. It’s usually topped with crunchy bean sprouts and cilantro but there are many versions. We tried Saigon Basil on Piedmont Road where I had a huge bowl of chicken and rice noodle Pho for only $5.95, along with some enormous shrimp and pork spring rolls for only $3. Saigon Basil also serves Thai curries.
I know there is more authentic fare on Buford Highway, but for the money and portions Saigon Basil is a good choice.
Speaking of hot and comforting, there seems to be a trend of mixing rock or sea salt with something sweet. I personally love this contrast in the seasonal Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. It’s a cup of hot chocolate topped with fresh whipped cream, buttery caramel, and sprinkled with sea salt.
Get some pumpkin pound cake for dunking. It’s addictive. Almost as addictive as the pumpkin cheesecake I make for the holidays with a gingersnap crust and cinnamon whipped cream.
Top photo: Parker’s on Ponce offers surprisingly affordable, upscale steakhouse fare in the heart of Decatur. (via Facebook)