Saturday, January 24, 2015

Vickery’s Bar & Grill (Atlanta, GA)

933 Garrett Street #101, Atlanta, GA 30316, T: 404-627-8818

Vickery’s Bar & Grill has been in East Atlanta since 1983. It is one of the many restaurants in the Southeast that specializes in a modern and fancy interpretation of Southern food (normally not my thing). It looks a bit like a fancy sports bar, sending vibes of inclusion and exclusion at the same time. The waiter is fairly pretentious but fails to remember most of our orders and regularly returns to ask again (write it down dude!).


We started with the Fried Calamari ($11), which comes with sweet chili sauce, cilantro, and onions & peppers. It was absolutely delicious! The Maytag Bleu Cheese Chips ($7) with bacon, chives, blue cheese crumbles, pico de gallo & bleu cheese sauce (all cheese on side) was also very good. Chips were fresh and crunchy. I then moved on to the Fried Catfish Sandwich ($12), one of the few Southern things I really like. The large piece of catfish was fresh and pan-fried and came with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, and tartar sauce on Cuban bread. One of the best I have ever had! The accompanying fries are tasty but nt remarkable.

VERDICT: 91/100
While technically not a real pig out spot, but a serious restaurant, it serves various pig out staples (burgers, fried fish and chicken), and does so deliciously.

Arepa Mia (Decatur, GA)

307 East College Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030, T: 404-600-3509.

Arepa Mia is a relatively new addition to the broad range of foods offered in Decatur – it also has a location at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. It offers traditional Venezuelan dishes with all natural ingredients. Their specialties are arepas (maize flatbread), cachapas (corn pancakes), and the more familiar empanadas. It is bumping when I arrive, around 1.30 on a Friday afternoon. Almost 50 people have squeezed themselves into this very small restaurant, waiting (im)patiently for their food.

I get an Arapas Pernil ($8.50), which is a grilled patty of corn meal, soft and doughy, with a massive amount of slow roasted pork, caramelized onions, and Arepa Mia’s special sauce. It is DELICIOUS!

VERDICT: 92/100
This is what pigging out is all about! A hole in the wall with affordable and very tasty snacks!

Mezes Greek Grill (Ann Arbor, MI)

715 N University St, Ann Arbor, MI, T: 734-369-2204

Mezes Greek Grill is a little Greek restaurant in a passage with a couple of ‘ethnic’ restaurants. It has a couple of seats inside, but it seems mainly to cater to take-away guests. The people who work in the place are very enthusiastic and polite.

I order the Souvlaki Plate ($8.95): it looks amazing and tastes pretty good. The fries are very thick and look crunchier than they are. The gyros souvlaki is fresh, but the grilled pork cubes are a bit dry, and the sauce is underwhelming. The best thing, oddly enough, is the small Greek salad. Deliciously seasoned and fresh and very diverse ingredients.

VERDICT: 87/100
The presentation and taste of the food resembles more that of a restaurant than of a gyros place.

Chicago Reds (Ann Arbor, MI)

312 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, T:734-761-6000
Chicago Reds is a small hot dogs shop inside of the large Amer’s Delicatessen restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor. It serves “Windy City Hot Dogs” – six styles, all also come in turkey or vegetarian – and fries, that’s it.

I order a Chili Dog ($3.25). The bun is nice and soft, the frank is tasty, but the chili is a little bit bland.

T: 87/100

Overall, Chicago Reds serves some pretty good dogs.

Wafels & Dinges (New York, NY)

West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001, T: 646-257-2592

Wafels & Dinges is a Belgian food cart, which serves Brussels and Liege waffles with a variety of toppings (eg maple syrup, Nutella, chocolate). A regular waffle costs $6, a small Wafelini $3. 

I get a Wafelini and a San Pelegrini ($2). The waffle is close to authentic Belgian, very tasty, but misses the crust and crunch of the small pieces of sugar.

VERDICT: 88/100
One of the best opportunities to get a good Liege waffle outside of Belgium.

The Casbah (New York, NY)

West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023

The Casbah is a (halal) food cart on the Upper West Side, at the corner of 66th St & Columbus Ave, close to Lincoln Park. They serve mainly chicken and falafel. 

I get a falafel sandwich ($4): four very tasty falafels with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, chick peas, white and spicy red sauce, on a thick pita. It is remarkably good for a food cart, particularly the falafels.

VERDICT: 86/100

The falafel at The Casbah would be good for any Middle Eastern restaurant, but is great for street food.

Gray Papaya (New York, NY)

2090 Broadway, New York, NYC 10023, T: 212-799-0243

Gray Papaya is a New York institution. It’s a dumpy-looking fast food place that serves hot dogs and an odd selection of tropical juices. It used to have a couple of locations, but now seems to only its Upper West Side location left, at Broadway and 72nd.

I order 2 franks & a drink for $4.95. I get one with sauerkraut and brown mustard and one with chili (+ 0.50) and onions. The franks are good size, snappy, and tasty. The buns are a bit crusty at the bottom (perhaps because it’s not busy on this very hot day), the onions are big and grilled, and the chili tastes good but a bit particular. The papaya juice is refreshing, bit like a (Brazilian) suco.


VERDICT: 89/100

Not the best hot dogs in New York, but an NYC institution, which serves good and very affordable hot dogs.