Sunday, December 28, 2014

Episode XXXII: Front Page News (ATL)

Before we get into the blog I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the events that have occurred in Paris recently.  I have to admit that I take the Freedom of Expression I have for granted. I can’t imagine what it feels like having to worry about the serious consequences of your expressions.  This blog is an outlet for me, an escape.  It is an excuse to go to new places and meet new people. I value the privilege it is to bring all of you this blog freely.

I think my high school hero Astérix captured this best. I went through a Francophile phase back then. Maybe that explains why I ended up at UVA with fellow Francophile TJ. Anywhere here is the link.

Back to the blog:
This blog was originally going to take place at the Brewhouse Café. We walked in at 11:55 AM on a Sunday morning and asked if they were serving the lunch menu yet. I told the hostess I wanted to order the Reuben. She said no and said I would have to wait 35 minutes in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. My Tommy Boy chicken wings attempt fell flat so we left.
Just down the street was Front Page News I knew they had a Reuben and verified it was on the brunch and lunch menu. We had a winner.

Turkey or Pastrami Reuben
“Grilled marble rye, oven roasted sliced turkey, or deli style pastrami, sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing, Swiss cheese ”

Appearance – (3.8/5.0)
More toothpicks, blah, blah, blah.
You have heard that before but let’s talk about pickles for a moment.  I am not a fan of dill pickles. Kroger has this really good hot-and-spicy variety, but that’s about it for me as far as pickles go.  I don’t think people who like pickles are bad people; I am just not one of them. I have gone to great lengths on this blog to talk about the complexity that is the Reuben and pickles are just not part of the equation. 
Pickles can serve a purpose as an aesthetic garnish on the plate but they should never, ever, touch anything else. The first thing I thought of when I saw this was, “oh no, that bite is going to taste like pickle juice”.  Maybe it is not that big a deal, it’s just the tip.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.7/5.0)
How ‘bout that pastrami?  It had enough body to mix with the other components but it had a great pepper kick. It looked pepper crusted to me. I know pepper is part of the spice mix that goes into the preparation but this one seemed to be dominated by it. 
Here is quick recap on the differences between corned beef and pastrami. 

This sounds strange but the ingredients kept their temperature well. Stick with me here. Sometimes when you’re eating out with kids, you get distracted and can’t eat your food right away. This often leads to not being able to enjoy your food when it’s hot. It is part of being a parent. This time out was no different but this sandwich never got cold. It was so strange. I couldn’t tell if it was where I was sitting, how it was constructed or what, but the ingredients aged well.

Price – (4.7/5.0)
Wow, $8.99.  There are some $12, $13 Reubens out there, so it is nice to see such good value. I also got a killer Bloody Mary for $6, which I think is reasonable for a weekend brunch. An unbelievable Bloody Mary bar is at your disposal if you want to build your own. I am still a beginner when it comes to brunch cocktails so the 100+ item Bloody Mary bar was a bit intimidating. I deferred to the bartender who came through for me.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.6/5.0)
Front Page News is a great little place and I am happy to have discovered it.  The previously mentioned larger-than-life Bloody Mary bar is only the start. There is a huge patio, tons of TVs, and, perhaps the best part, is the model train sitting on top of the bar calling your attention to the loft-high ceiling. We asked our server, Angie, if she could turn it on.  She said the manager that knew  how quit two months ago and no one has been able to figure it out since. I bet if you offer an EE from Tech a free beer he/she could figure it out in 5 minutes tops.

Taste – (9.4/10.0)
No ketchup test necessary here, this was great. The only thing I can think of was a bit too much butter on the rye bread. It took away from the classic rye taste. Other than that the marriage of 1000 island and sauerkraut was on point. The Swiss was just enough to cool some of the spice from all of that pepper on the pastrami and the fries were solid.  Bravo!

Overall – (27.2/30.0)

Would I order it again, Yes! Great Reuben all the way around. The pepper on the pastrami was so good I don’t know if I would be willing to try the Turkey variety.  I will be back for sure to try my hand at the Bloody Mary bar and get me another Reuben.
Front Page News on Urbanspoon

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