Krog Street Market – Atlanta, GA

Krog Street Market

Krog Street Market recently opened in the ultra hip Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park area. It’s Atlanta’s version of Vancouver’s Granville Island, albeit on a smaller scale.

Visitors can dine at the many eclectic restaurants in this upscale food court located in a new (but made to look old) warehouse. Offerings include ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream to Chinese fare at Gu’s Dumplings. Water – sparkling, chilled and un-chilled – is self-serve near the community tables. Other restaurants including The Luminary and Superica offer a full-scale restaurant. Along the way, you can shop retails establishments such as XOCOLATL Small Batch Chocolate and French Market Flowers.

Once you get your food, find a table and people watch. It’s fun to see people of all ages come together. From families with strollers to singles grabbing a cup of coffee before a jog, you’ll see a bit of everything here.

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Yalla and Fred’s are owned by chef Todd Ginsberg.

I’d heard that lines for the restaurants could be long with limited seating. This past weekend, we got there at 11:30 – about the time most dining establishments opened. Although I still had a bit of a line, I tried Yalla, the Middle Eastern place owned by chef Todd Ginsberg. He also owns Fred’s Meat and Bread next door. Although I haven’t tried Fred’s, they offer a bar to sit at (reminiscent of airport dining). I spotted a large pimento cheese sandwich from there that looked worthy of trying for my next visit.

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Retail shops at Krog Street Market

Back to Yalla, you order at the counter, but don’t pay until your name is called when your food is ready. It seemed to create an unnecessary queue, but the wait was only about 5 minutes so it wasn’t a big deal. I ordered the Shawarma Pita for $8. It’s a pita stuffed with chicken shawarma, hummus, baba ganoush, fried eggplant, Israeli salad and pickles and a few other things. It was delicious!

I was expecting a pita with just the shawarma and the other stuff on the side. Instead, it’s all stuffed into the pita (think Chipotle burritos), but the flavors worked together. The pickles are spicy, but are cooled by the tahini and hummus. The portion was big and plenty for me. However, you could get all their entrees in a pita, laffa (flatbread wrap) or a bowl depending on your appetite.

DH went to Grand Champions BBQ. He didn’t have a line and got the brisket sandwich which was surrounded by thick slices of white bread. The potato salad he ordered was as close to my favorite (Hickory Stick BBQ in Shreveport, La) as I’ve ever had. Afterwards we were in the mood for something sweet. At the Little Tart Bakeshop, people in front of us were ordering brunch items. We looked in the glass cases at the large pastry selection and decided on a mocha butter cookie. It was delectable and packed a lot of richness in just a few bites. The perfect ending to the meal.

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For more information, visit the website at Krog Street Market. Here, you will find links to all the establishments mentioned with menus and news. Check back often as a few more places will be opening soon over the next few months.


New Ice Rink Inside the Perimeter – Center Ice Arena, Sandy Springs, GA

“We’re going to be sore tomorrow!” my husband announced as we left Center Ice Arena this afternoon with our two children.

He is right, but the adventure was well worth it.

Seeing that this weekend’s weather was going to be cold, rainy and gray, we decided to try out the new ice skating rink that opened ITP – Inside the Perimeter (Atlanta speak for inside the I-285 loop). The facility opened just in time for the winter holidays.

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My husband, who played hockey as a kid, was looking forward to skating on a “real” skating rink. In the past, we’ve skated at Centennial Olympic Park and Park Tavern, which offer smaller scale, temporary rinks during the holiday season. Not only was this a permanent, regulation size rink, but they offered a choice between regular skates and hockey skates.

The website shows the calendar for the public skate times. For a two hour session, the cost is $8 to skate and an additional $4 for skate rental.

Arriving for the 1:30 public slot, we entered a big room with large windows showing the rink. To the left was the line to purchase tickets and get armbands. On the other side of the food counter was the booth stocked by two attendants to get skates. In the middle of the room were three hexagon shaped tables and plenty of benches to change into the skates.

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What I particularly liked was that there were benches in front of the glass windows where parents could sit and watch their children skate, without getting themselves on the ice. (We’re almost there as parents, but need a bit more practice before our offspring are ready to spread their wings that wide.)

To the right of the front door is a room that will soon house lockers to place valuables. Since the facility just opened, the lockers haven’t been installed yet. However, the manager let me put my purse behind the ticket counter.

Several entrances onto the rink help allay back-up jams. We went to the left of the plate glass windows through the two sets of glass double doors, down the ramp almost to the midway part of the rink to get on. Above us, bleachers (accessed by the staircase next to the locker rental area) gave spectators a better view.

The ice was smooth. But the reverie was soon broken by sounds of thud, bump and “waaah,” from kids learning to skate for the first time.

It took me a few laps to get my ice skating groove and then I could help with our kids. Even they improved and got more confident after a few minutes. On the other side of the rink, there were benches just off the rink on both sides of the penalty box – with additional exits off of the rink and back to the large room. A large set of speakers with a digital clock hung from the middle of the room.

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“Just glide,” I heard a father tell his young son.

Another father was consoling his daughter, “Everybody hates to fall, but it happens.”

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After about an hour, we noticed most of the young kids wore out and went home. More adults and older kids came out onto the rink. We stopped to grab some refreshments – hot dogs, Powerade and pocorn – which were reasonably priced.

Another 30 minutes back on the rink and we were tired.

Center Ice Arena is located on Roswell Road just north of the Prado shopping center. They offer lessons for learning how to ice skate and how to play hockey. For more information, visit their website at www.centericearena.org.

 

 

 


Thankgsiving Muffins

I hope everybody is having a Happy Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays as there is no pressure of buying gifts and making everybody happy.

There are no set expectations of “the perfect Thanksgiving.”

Because of this, I like to start off the morning making something special for breakfast – either scones, blueberry muffins, Sister Shubert’s Cinnamon Rolls – anything that’s out of the ordinary from cereal or breakfast bars.

Last week I was in World Market and saw these muffin mixes that fit the bill perfectly.

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They had two flavors, which both looked tempting – Bacon Cheddar Onion and Rosemary Raisin Pecan retailing for $4.99. I usually don’t go for expensive mixes as I can make muffins from scratch or just buy a Duncan Hines bread mix for almost half of that price. However, these were 20% off and for $4 I thought – why not?

These didn’t disappoint. The mix was simple – just add milk, butter, an egg and pour into a greased muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes and you’re done. The rosemary aroma from the oven was divine, but the taste was even better.

Do you eat these for breakfast or a dinner meal? Either. For breakfast, it was perfect with the delicate raisins in the mix, but it could be served with the Thanksgiving meal as it tends to be more savory than sweet.

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Japanfest 2014

Welcome to Japanfest

Welcome to Japanfest

One of my daughters is taking Japanese in middle school this year. Although we’d been before, she wanted to make the trek up to Gwinnett Center to attend this year’s Japanfest the weekend of September 20. This was made more appealing by the two free tickets her teacher gave us.

My favorite performance of the two-day event is Matsurizo Taiko, a professional ensemble of Japanese drummers that regularly perform at Epcot. As we made our way to the auditorium, the usher said,”I’m sorry. It’s too crowded for you to enter.” No, this can’t be happening, I thought to myself. We still had a few minutes before the show was to start. However as more people came behind us and expressed disapointment, he shrugged his shoulders and let everybody in. “You have to stand up and there’s no security,” he warned. Inside the dark auditorium, we could feel (before we could hear), the constant boom, boom.boom of the large drums. Despite not having seats, the performance was captivating as the 14 men and women kept us entertained.

Matsurizo Taiko

Matsurizo Taiko

Afterwards, we went to find food. This year, two vendors were outside. We chose the Yakitori chicken skewers from Nakato. As we waited, we watched the restaurant workers grill the chicken already on skewers. Finally, they were ready and tasted great – chicken with some sort of teriyaki sauce – but better. As we wanted more food, we found the main dining area with lots of choices. Since my daughter loves fried rice, we went to Kani House and had fried rice, spring rolls and water. Afterwards, we stopped at Jolie-Kobie bakery for a white chocolate and cranberry cookie, which was worth every single bite.

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Perusing the many vendor booths, we saw these beautiful women dressed in beautiful Japanese clothing advertising Okinawa. “I remember about learning about that place in school,” my daughter said. We stopped and took their picture. Then she saw several vendors selling Pokemon plush toys. After purchasing one from her allowance money, she and I walked around the rest of the exhibition space.

My daughter’s favorite exhibit was the theatre dedicated to Japanese cartoons and film. We watched half of an episode of some Pokemon-type cartoon with English subtitles before heading over to the bonsai tree exhibit and my favorite – Ikebana, Japanese floral arrangements. Along the way, we stopped in several ballrooms and watched martial arts performances and an elementary school drumming performance. I’d forgotten how fun this festival can be. More info can be found at https://japanfest.org.

 

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Ikebana floral arrangements