Thursday, July 23, 2015

Episode XXXVII: The Pig & Pint (ATL)

Sometimes a Reuben can sneak up on you. That was the case when I went out for lunch with my co-workers at The Pig & Pint

One of the folks on the team was moving to another position within the company for those I like to call the “Creative Types.” Anything in the Marketing, Loyalty, Sales, wannabe Mad Men, I refer to as “Creative Types.” These are the people that come up with brilliant ideas then act shocked when you tell them how much it will cost. They also justify everything with “brand” and “experience”.  This was a work sanctioned lunch outing so there was no way I was going to miss out. I have not been the best about going out to lunch.

At the end of last year I had to take a training course at work called “Take Back Your Life,” and it was dedicated entirely to Outlook management.  Anyone constantly battling a full inbox knows that it can take over your life, but still, it seems a bit ambitious for the name of a day-long training course. As part of the class, the instructor suggested that you block off time for yourself on your calendar, because everyone knows that there is no way the boss will book a meeting over a time blocked off on your calendar. I blocked off an hour-and-a-half every other Friday to go out to lunch. It has not gone as planned because I have pretty much been stuck at my desk all day every day. I even stopped wearing my FitBit because it just got to be depressing how little I was moving during the day.

Things are getting better and I was happy to be out with the crew. I didn’t even know this place had a Reuben!
“Shaved corned beef, pickled red cabbage, 1000 island, Swiss cheese, grilled sourdough”

Appearance – (3.9/5.0)
The plain, somewhat-grilled sourdough really takes over here. That is not something I am used to seeing with the Reubens.  There is so much color inside, with the red cabbage and corned beef, trying to get out but it just doesn’t seem to be making it all the way through. Rye has more color to it, especially when it has the marbling going on. This was probably done in an attempt to lure non-Reuben eaters to order this dish. This whole sandwich is a RINO (Reuben In Name Only) and the white sourdough is advertising it.

Once you get past the sourdough the presentation is nice.  I would have liked the stacked approach to show off the inside of both halves but at least they took the time to slice it and separate the halves.

Quality Of Ingredients – (4.3/5.0)
Well done here. The pickled cabbage and 1000 island dressing tasted homemade. The shredded cabbage was not cut uniformly, which usually lets me know that it was done by someone in the back and not by a machine. The color on it really popped too. The other dishes around the table looked like they were homemade as well. I did not get the sense that anyone in the kitchen was cutting corners. The place just smelled good when you walked in so you knew something good was going on back there.

Price – (3.7/5.0)

$10 may have been a bit much given the small portion size. The server did not charge me for my Club Soda, so I will give them credit for that, but I think this one could have been in the $9 range.  $10 is really a psychological break point and you need something special to charge that.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (4.4/5.0)

It was nice to rediscover this place. I had been here years back, before it was the Pint & Pig. There were not too many good Happy Hour places around the office before this came along. There is a smoky Irish Pub, a smoky beach bar, and a smoky seafood dive bar. You see the trend. I don’t mind a smoky bar when I’m in Vegas, but sometimes you want a chill place to have a margarita after work where you won’t have to change your shirt when you get home. They have some good drink specials and I hope to come back for lunch or Happy Hour soon.

Taste – (8.8/10.0)
This was a good RINO and I am glad they did not try to hide it by giving it an appropriate name. They took away the rye and sauerkraut. I don’t think Swiss cheese is as polarizing as these two.
The pickled cabbage had enough vinegar to give it a kick similar to that found in sauerkraut. The sourdough was a mild variety and very well could have been white bread.
What really brought this whole sandwich together was the homemade 1000 Island. It was creamy and it was used in just the right amount.

Overall – (25.1/30.0)
Would I order it again, yes, but maybe not on my next visit. There are a few things on the menu I would want to try first, like the pulled pork. This place smelled just enough like bbq smoke to get your mouth watering. Then you see the pulled pork come out and it looks as good as it smells. Once I’ve tried the pulled pork then I’ll be able to make an informed decision on where to go from there.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Episode XXXVI: Bagel Palace (ATL)

My friends, it has been too long.

First I have to apologize to Flat Branch Pub & Brewing in Columbia, MO. I had a great Reuben there back in March but did not get around to writing the formal review.  Things at work have been hectic lately but we are finally adding some staff so I should have my life back soon.

A Friday off from work seemed like the perfect time to get back in the game and try another Reuben around town. The Bagel Palace is pretty well known in the Reuben community of Atlanta.  I was not sure what to expect as the reviews for this place on line are hit or miss.

45. Corned Beef Reuben
This is all the menu says.  Apparently, no introduction is necessary for this Reuben. I think this is this first Reuben on this blog that did not have any kind of description.

Appearance – (3.5/5.0)
No frills here.  This place seems to go out of its way to avoid any flare. Even when I ordered Danny a hotdog off the kid menu our server said she just needed the number. Ok. Could I please have a #5?
The one bit of flare was the florescent lime green shirt our server had on. Other than that, this plate sums up the appearance of the whole restaurant.

Look how good it could look with just a tiny bit of effort.

This is the same sandwich!

Quality Of Ingredients – (3.7/5.0)
I don’t have a good place to start. There was no description! If a restaurant tells me there is homemade 1000 island dressing I will get excited about it. Is there something special about the cured Corned Beef? Couldn’t tell you. Maybe this is an indictment on the sophistication of my palate. I’m at a loss here.

Let this be a lesson to all of those restaurateurs out there, you can plant seeds! If you get your clients excited based on what is in the menu, maybe the food will taste better.
There were no obvious weak links but nothing really stood out either.

Price – (3.2/5.0)
$10.69? That is real money. I can look around and tell there is not a whole lot of money going into maintenance and overhead. It looks like the decoration budget didn’t get approved this year. I am not sure why $10.69 is the right number. 

Sometimes you go to a bar for trivia or to watch a game and you pay $8 for a beer but you are ok with that because you are essentially paying rent for the bar stool. You are paying for the satellite bill that is letting you watch the game.  When I saw $10.69 I kept looking around to see what else I was paying for.

Je Ne Sais Quoi – (2.7/5.0)
I was thoroughly disappointed when it came to the JNSQ of this place. The space was tired and dated. There was nothing welcoming about the environment; there were no decorations on the walls.

Oddly enough I think they might like it this way. There were lots of elderly couples eating there that seemed to know the server by name. One of them even told our server he wouldn’t see her tomorrow because he was going to spend the 4th of July with his grand-kids. If the target demographic likes good food with  no frills, then more power to them.

Taste – (8.6/10.0)
The taste itself was not bad. No crazy reinterpretations of the dish, it was just a straight up Reuben. I think the sauerkraut could have had a bit more kick but overall it was good execution.

Overall – (21.7/30.0)
Would I order it again? No.  If I happen to be in the neighborhood and I need a place to pick up some bagels I would come back. We did get a few bagels to go and they were pretty good. Are they better than the Einstein Bros Bagels across the street? I don’t know.

A restaurant does not have to be all things to all people. This place seems to be doing just fine serving old school food to a very loyal client base. I am glad I took the time to see and experience it for myself.


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