Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Provino's Italian Restaurant - Kennesaw, GA

 Provino's Italian Restaurant is a neighborhood red-sauce joint. The menu is made up of all of the standard Italian American fare you'd expect in this type of place. Standards yes, but Provino's does it very well.

Green salad with house made Italian dressing

Crisp rolls covered with garlic butter sauce. Addictive!

Just like the national chain that many people continue to flock to, Provino's lunch starts with an all-you-care-to have salad. The difference here is that the salad is dressed with a house made Italian dressing, fresh and very flavorful. The salad is accompanied with a basket of garlic rolls. All of this brought to you by a friendly, knowledgeable server who does it all with a smile.

As the Dining Companion noted "This is what Buca tries to be." I can't argue with that sentiment. While I have a place in my heart for Buca, if pushed to chose between the two I would chose Provino's. Funnily enough there is an Olive Garden right across the street from Provino's location. I can't understand why people continue to go there when they could be eating here. I can only assume it's because they are unaware of this awesome option right across the way.

Yum! Fried ravioli, zucchini slices, artichoke hearts and cheese sticks
In addition to the salad and rolls we started with a typical fried appetizer plate: ravioli, zucchini slices, artichoke hearts and mozzarella sticks all served with a delicious marinara sauce.

Pasta Lovers plate with sausage, mushrooms and meatballs

Baked ziti with meat sauce
Following all that lead in we had the Baked Ziti and the Pasta Lovers plate. Both delicious and more food than we could finish. We brought home a take away container filled with enough food for lunch for two the next day. Not only is the food good, traditional and plentiful the prices are lower or as low at what they're serving across the street.

Provino's is worth a side trip if you find yourself in the Atlanta metro area. While there are certainly more high profile places to dine, and the aforementioned chains, I doubt you'll be as well fed or as well taken care of for the money as you will here.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Copeland's of New Orleans - Atlanta, GA

While breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day, Sunday brunch is my favorite meal of the week. One of the places I love to have brunch is Copeland's of New Orleans. Everything I could want for brunch and more.

There are the usual suspects, eggs, bacon, sausages, waffles, French toast and bacon, lots of bacon. As if that wasn't enough Copeland's also serves up some New Orleans style dishes like jambalaya and shrimp étouffée.

Jambalaya, Red Beans & Rice, Mashed sweet potatoes and a light as air biscuit
Perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp

Peel and Eat Shrimp, Waldorf Salad and Pesto Caprese Salad
 There is a large boat of peel and eat shrimp, a carving station featuring roast beef and ham and an omelet station.

Bacon, spinach and mushroom omelet
 A cold bar features several salads. A great take on a caprese salad with cubes of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes tossed in a pesto dressing and a very nice Waldorf salad full of crisp apples and walnuts.

 The best part of the brunch buffet,for me,is dessert. There are brownies and other things but the star of the show has to be the white chocolate, raspberry bread pudding. So good. This week there was also a banana and pecan bread pudding so I tried that too. Oh, and a praline.

Banana Bread Pudding, Fresh Whipped Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding & a Praline

Due to local liquor laws you can't have a Mimosa or Bloody Mary until after noon. Brunch starts at 10:00am so if you want to have a drink plan accordingly.

I recommend Copeland's brunch without reservation. The food is fresh and flavorful, the service is good and it's a fun place to have Sunday brunch. (I don't usually highlight chains here, I figure they get enough promotion, I do however have a few that I frequent. Copeland's is one of those.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hitting the Road

Not a whole lot happening in our little corner of the world this week. Some plans are being made for future travel. So far the plan is to visit Los Angles, New Orleans (once again cause I can't quite that great food) and Rhode Island.

I've never been to Los Angles, never been to California at all. I'm really looking forward to it. We won't be there for long but I hope to fit in as much as possible in the time we're there. I know there is a ton to see and do. If any of you have any must do's please share them. We're always looking for great restaurant recommendations and interesting attractions.

Our visit to New Orleans is purely a chance to eat our way back across that great city. There are a few things I have to have when I'm there. I'm on a mission for Shrimp Ya Ya and gumbo, strong coffee and beignets. Po'boys, did I mention po'boys, cause yeah, those too.

I'm trying to find a way to get back to the Keys and maybe Savannah and Tybee Island. So many places and so little time. Isn't that always the way?

So that's about it for now. I have a few things in the pipeline and we'll see what else comes up. It's never to early to make plans for summer right?

Any travel plans for the coming Spring and Summer? Please share as I'd love to hear all about it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Johnboy's Home Cooking - Marietta, Georgia

In the vast repertoire of Southern cooking one comes across many different regionally specific dishes; gumbo in Louisiana, Low Country boils in the Carolina's to name just a couple. There is one however that I've seen all over the South, the meal known as Meat and Three. Meat and Three is exactly what it sounds like, you chose a meat dish from what is usually 3-6 options and 3 side dishes from up to twelve different choices. The meat offerings can include meatloaf, roasted chicken, fried chicken (a perennial favorite), chicken and dumplings, fried catfish, Salisbury steak, you get the idea. Then comes the parade of sides. Everything from fried green tomatoes to macaroni and cheese and all points in between.

Cornbread Dressing with Turkey and Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken!

A few sides: Mashed Potatoes, Sweet corn in butter sauce and Fried Green Tomatoes
 This past Sunday we stopped in at Johnboy's Home Cooking in Marietta. Johnboy's is a meat and three restaurant set up as a buffet. We got there around 11:00am and found ourselves faced with a full house. The tables were occupied by groups of Sunday church goers, families out for Sunday lunch and several tables of older diners enjoying what I imagine is a taste of the foods they grew up with.

The meats we had to chose from were meatloaf, roasted chicken, fried chicken and Salisbury steaks. In order to be thorough I tasted as many of the items on offer as was polite and humanly possible. Let's just say my research was extensive. The pictures below really don't do the food justice. But I did want you to get an idea of what we had.

Apple Salad, Biscuits, Corn, Roasted Chicken & carrots, Green beans & potatoes, Peas and Beets & Greens
Homemade Peach Cobbler and Coconut Cake with Whipped Cream

Every item I tried tasted exactly like I expected it to. The things I remember from my own youth tasted just like I remembered. Needless to say this will not be part of our weekly dining rotation. Not for any reason other than waistlines just couldn't handle it. (Not unless I gave up my desk job for something a lot more outdoorsy. There's just not enough gym time in the world to eat like this on a regular basis.)

That sadly is one of the reasons that these types of places are disappearing from the Southern landscape. Southern cooking, fairly or unfairly, is often thought to be unhealthy. There's no denying that eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes everyday would be unhealthy but, that said, I don't ever want to live in a world where the only option for these foods is from a fast food restaurant.

I'm hopeful that the many happy families, after church folks and older diners enjoying a taste of their youth can keep these places going. I for one will be doing my part even if it's only once a month or so. Traditions like the meat and three should be preserved. Being healthy is important but carrying on a tradition also has a place in our lives as well.