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GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Ev­ery­body in Amer­ica is a din­ing critic these days, but At­lanta’s Din­ing Diva is and al­ways will be Chris­tiane Lauter­bach, who has pub­lished Knife & Fork, a monthly news­let­ter for 35 years. It’s avail­able only in print and, if you’re old enough, the word “mimeo­graphed” might come to mind when you see it. Lauter­bach also writes for At­lanta Mag­a­zine, where she was lead din­ing critic for many years.

Ev­ery is­sue in­cludes restau­rant gos­sip and re­views of kinky dis­cov­er­ies as well as main­stream new­bies. In her lat­est is­sue, she men­tions dis­cov­er­ing “phe­nom­e­nal hand-crafted baguettes…tech­ni­cally too short and plump to be baguettes, not par­tic­u­larly crusty, but beau­ti­ful be­yond words.” They are at Little’s Food Store (198 Carroll Street, 404-9637012) in Cab­bage­town. Get one!

To sub­scribe ($30), call Lauter­bach at 404-378-2775. Usu­ally, she of­fers a Christ­mas special.

YULE­TIDE CHI­NESE:

It’s a cliché but head­ing to a Chi­nese restau­rant on Bu­ford High­way is a per­fect way to avoid the has­sle of hol­i­day din­ners at home. My most re­cent meal there was at

Dim Sum Heaven (5203 Bu­ford Hwy., 770-451-4290).

It has been around a while but, de­spite its many pos­i­tive re­views, I’d never checked it out.

It’s much like the usual hole-in-the-wall on Bu­ford. The dé­cor is typ­i­cally nonex­is­tent, but if you’re into gur­gling ceramic frogs and walls cov­ered with yel­low­ing, lam­i­nated pho­tos of dim sum dishes, you’ll love it. Ac­tu­ally, you will be glad those pic­tures are there, be­cause the staff speaks very little English. Fur­ther, there are no dim sum carts, so you don’t get a real-life view of the smallplate dishes be­fore or­der­ing.

The menu is gi­gan­tic – not just dim­sum – and ranges from Chi­nese-Amer­i­can fa­vorites to ex­otic treat­ments of an­i­mal in­nards. I’m em­bar­rassed to ad­mit that my fa­vorite large-plate en­trée was Mon­go­lian Beef. It was, how­ever, too sweet – noth­ing that couldn’t be reme­died with a shot of hot chili oil or some rice vine­gar. Our fa­vorite dim-sum snack was the crackly curry chips. I couldn’t bring my­self to swal­low shrimp dumplings that tasted un­bear­ably fishy. But I did love the crispy-fried, creamy tofu cubes topped with barely sub­merged shrimp. The restau­rant’s soup dumplings have re­ceived a lot of pos­i­tive press, but you won’t hear me rav­ing. They were tough-skinned, with very little broth and a knot of fla­vor­less meat. In fact, the things are not house­made. They are frozen! A plate of beef with scal­lions was a yawner. The least ap­peal­ing dish was braised chunks of grouper with snow peas.

Dim Sum Heaven gets bonus points for be­ing open un­til 1 a.m. ev­ery night of the week. It’s also dirt-cheap.

AU­DI­TORY HELL:

Nu­mer­ous stud­ies have demon­strated that Christ­mas mu­sic causes brain le­sions, yet restau­ra­teurs con­tinue to tor­ment us with it. Please help make Christ­mas great again by com­plain­ing wher­ever you hear it. Re­mem­ber: Je­sus loves you but he hates Christ­mas mu­sic.

Cliff Bo­s­tock is a for­mer psy­chother­a­pist now spe­cial­iz­ing in life coach­ing. Con­tact him at 404-518-4415 or cliff­bo­stock@gmail.com.

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