Too Many Flavors = Bad Taste

Funny Speaker Vinny Verelli reviews the Family Dog

Fried Point Judith Calamari w/Sambal Buttermilk Dressing

The tagline for the Family Dog, a “Watering Hole” in the Atlanta neighborhood of Morningside is, “Sit, Drink, Stay,” a reference to commands you would give to the family dog. Cute. Couldn’t help but notice that the slogan doesn’t include, “Eat.”  Good thing as from what I tasted there wasn’t much worth eating.

On a recent visit to the city I went to the Family Dog with a friend to get a drink. We sat at the bar which was long and comfortable with high shelves and exposed brick wall. We decided to get something to nibble on and selected several appetizers from a long and delicious sounding menu.

We started with the “Fried Point Judith Calamari w/Sambal Buttermilk Dressing,” $10. The Calamari was everything you want when you’re frying squid. They were tender, the batter was light and they weren’t sitting in a bed of grease. The dipping sauce wasn’t to my liking, but I’m a whimp when it come to hot sauces. The dish was great with a dash of salt and some lemon squeezed on top.

Next was the “Carb & Scallop ‘Meatballs’ w/Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce, $9.

We received a plate with 2 large, for lack of a better word, “balls.” The  sauce was delicate and flavorful. Something I may use on fried green tomatoes this summer.  I knew the sauce wouldn’t over power the crab and scallop, not that anything could. The balls were so salty that you literally couldn’t distinguish any other flavors. The bartender said she had heard that complaint before. Obviously it was ignored.

The third dish was a, “Smoked Duck Quesadilla w/pickled Vegetables & Sweet Grass Dairy Goat Cheese,” $9. When the plate came my jaw dropped. The portion size was immense. But after taking one bite it was all about the PICKLED VEGETABLES.  A small amount of pickled, anything, goes a long way. And this dish had a large amount of pickled vegetables once again over powering the other flavors. I opened the quesadilla and picked out most of the vegetables. I took another bite and now the Goat Cheese was the dominant flavor. Don’t want to sound like a broken record but a little bit of goat cheese goes a long way.

I opened the quesadilla and scrapped the duck meat out of the center. The meat may have been smoked but it was most definitely drowned in a barbecue sauce. I feel a metaphor coming on; Flavors need to be team players. One flavor must not compete with other flavors on the same team. When all the flavors blend, it’s a win-win. However, if you’re hungry, this $9 appetizer can be a meal.

Funny Speaker reviews

Would I go back to the Family Dog?  Yes. The atmosphere is great, the prices are good and it’s in walking distance to my massage therapist’s office. Would I try more food?  Yes. I may have been there on a bad night. I was in the restaurant business a long time and know sometimes people get fired, quit or just don’t show up. It’s only fair, I’ll “rollover” and give them another try.

I Miss The Galloping Gourmet

Why is there so much “Drama” on cooking shows today? I literally just heard someone on one of these stress filled, gut-wrenching cooking shows say,  “Sweet potatoes? That changes the whole game.”  Really? Okay now the fricken judges can’t agree, what are they going to do now?  Go to commercial.

The show is on again and what the…?  In the mystery basket is Kosher Shrimp?  That’s an oxymoron. Shrimp is treif it can’t be kosher. Okay, it’s not real shrimp. It’s like that crap they serve as crab at cheap sushi restaurants. This is what they’re giving to master chefs to cook?

Boy do I miss Graham Kerr. If there’s is anyone that I would compare myself to it would be the Galloping Gourmet.  He was the reason I got into cooking.  He was male, he was extremely entertaining and he actually prepared a meal that I or you could reproduce. These new shows are interesting for shut-ins but are you really going to prepare that stuff?

Graham Kerr

Graham Kerr has been a celebrity chef since 1963. I started watching the Galloping Gourmet when it first aired in 1969. I would watch the show  and try the recipes out on the guys I shared an apartment with. I would cook and drink wine, they would clean. In summer of 1970 I was hired for my first restaurant job.  I believe I got the position because I could chop onions so fast, using the method I learned from watching Kerr. I was a professional cook for the next 15 years. Then I got into entertainment and now I’m doing cooking videos that I post here and on my YouTube Channel.

Kerr now lives in Washington State and spends his time helping people make healthy, creative lifestyle changes, encouraging them to consume fresh, local edible plants and seafood. From his blog Graham Kerr says his life goal is, “to help to convert habits that harm into resources that heal both for ourselves and others in need.”  If any of today’s “celebrity chefs” have 1/2 the longevity  as Graham Kerr I can only hope they give back 1/2 as much.

Jesus, one of the contestant’s wife has cancer.

Service Exceeding Expectations

Food Isn’t Everything

If a restaurant  has mediocre food but great customer service I will return. If you’ve read my earlier posts or saw my video on The Classic Martini, you know I’m a little old fashion. Today I was once again reminded of how old I’m getting. I stopped into a pizza place that had a bar.  I didn’t really expect the bartender to known what a perfect Rob Roy was but I ordered one expecting to explain how to make it. What I didn’t expect was for the bar not to stock dry vermouth. “You don’t make martinis?” “Sure,” says the bartender, “but no one asks for vermouth. We have sweet vermouth.” I ordered a beer and a pizza to go.
Great Customer Service

A close friend of mine passed away last week and he would occasionally order a perfect Rob Roy. I’m not sure if he really liked the drink of would order it just to see the blank expression on the face of the person taking the order. So for the last week I’ve been ordering the drink to honor his memory.
Here’s the recipe: In a cocktail shaker add ice and
2 ounces Scotch
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
2 dashes of bitters
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass or over ice and garnish with a lemon peel.

Just as I was thinking that I’d never returned to this place the bartender returned and asked me to explain once again how to make the perfect Rob Roy.  He had gone to the bar next door and had returned with some dry vermouth in a rocks glass. Now THAT’S customer service. I doubt if this one location pizza joint had extensive training but this kind of service is exceptional and is not easily taught. It comes from within. It was part of this bartender’s upbringing. Kudos to the person who had the good sense to recognize this person’s willingness to go the extra mile.

Basic RGBEthan is my SEE™ (Service Exceeding Expectations) winner for the month of September. Thank you Ethan, thank you for making my day. And I’ll be back for mediocre pizza and great service.