Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Look for us elsewhere....

We are not very active - to say the least - at this site these days. You may want to see what we are up to at netTVwatch.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Westside Transmetropolitan to Reopen

About three weeks ago there were little signs of activity at the closed Transmet location on Oglethorpe Avenue. For the past two weeks, it's been a beehive; obviously something is happening. A crew of folks is working to get the soon to be reborn Transmetropolitan ready for a May 30th reopening.

Though the name is the same, the management is different. That's good news. It appeared that poor management contributed to the downfall of the old Transmet, which closed only four months and a few days ago. This time around, the westside Transmet is a franchise. Let's hope things go well. It will be good to have a neighborhood restaurant with pizza and beer in that location again. Now, if we can get something good in the old Hendershot's space next door...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Four Brothers Sports Tavern Review

Four Brothers Sports Tavern, Athens, GA
Four Brothers Sports Tavern is now open on Mitchell Bridge Road in Athens. It’s a welcome addition to the dining options on the westside of town and a step above the usual sports bar fare. Four Brothers is spacious and open with two levels and a terrace that is awaiting warmer weather. The lower level has a bar and bar tables; a curved stairway leads to the upper level, which has tables and large, curved booths. Several TVs are scattered around. The decor feels casual and modern at the same time, appropriate for the unusual green and blue building where it’s located.

We arrived on the night that Four Brothers received their beer and wine license, expecting there could be some opening week hiccups. There were very few. The beer options were limited to what they could order and receive that day, but we understand the list will grow. A couple of Jekyll Brewing beers were on tap. Hop Dang Diggity has a wonderful hop aroma - I would guess it’s dry hopped - and is a nicely balanced IPA. The Red Brick beers were not yet tapped; Fat Tire was available.

Our view of the food is taken from a vegetarian, primarily vegan, perspective. There were several options, and given that veggie choices are not usually a sports bar’s first priority, we expect the rest of the menu is quite tasty. Hot Boiled Peanut Hummus served with pita chips is a creative way to fuse middle eastern and southern favorites. There is a definite hot boiled peanut flavor, but it is not overpowering. My dining companion has a strong dislike for boiled peanuts, but said “not bad” after the first bite and “good” a short time later.

Bean’s Bean Burger was topped with generic lettuce and tomato, but the black bean patty itself was delicious. Quinoa could be tasted and there was some lingering spicy heat. Fries are standard, but we upgraded to Onion Rings, which were good, but nothing exceptional. We also added a side of Sweet Potato Tots. They had lots of sweet potato flavor and none of the grease often associated with their cousins from Idaho.

upstairs at Four Brothers Sports Tavern
There are a few additional veggie options and a range of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and more that cover a typical range of bar food, but with a twist or two in the descriptions that hint at extra flavor.

The servers were cheerful, and one of the brothers was making the rounds to check in with diners. Bar service was a little slow, but that is not unexpected for first week of service. We understand there may be live music in the near future and outdoor bands in the summer. There are a number of sandwich or burger and a beer options in Athens, but based on our first experience, Four Brothers Sports Tavern belongs near the top of the list.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review of Ruan Thai Cuisine, Savannah, Georgia - Vegan Dining in Savannah

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, are somewhat scarce for a city of its size. This is particularly true in the historic downtown area, where dining options are centered around seafood, Southern and French with a few of the usual tourist traps and chain restaurants thrown in the mix. Fortunately, a little bit of effort in searching will produce some rewarding results.

Thai restaurants are usually a reliable standby for vegetarians and vegans. During a recent visit, Ruan Thai Cuisine was selected for that reason, but far exceeded expectations. Located at 17 W. Broughton, Ruan Thai Cuisine is a short walk from most downtown attractions, inns and hotels. The decor is modern, warm and artsy; the service was attentive and friendly.

Cashew Nut Stir Fry
We started our meal with an order of spring rolls. A plate arrived with four rolls cut diagonally in an array around the plate. They were hot (temperature-wise) and delicious, crispy on the outside with soft vegetables on the inside.

As is typical with Thai restaurants, most entrees offer several protein options: chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or tofu. We selected a Cashew Nut Stir Fry and Garden Noodle. The latter had rice noodles, vegetables, tofu and peanut sauce. When the dishes arrived, the care taken in preparation and presentation became apparent. Both the tofu and vegetables were cooked just right. Everything was very flavorful and seasoned appropriately. We had opted for medium hot, spice-wise, which was about right. There was also a condiment caddy with chili sauce to add if additional heat was desired.

Desserts looked tempting, and there were vegan options, but we were too full to try any. Ruan Thai Cuisine has a full bar, a fairly good wine selection and the usual assortment of Asian beers. It is highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians visiting Savannah.

Friday, January 10, 2014

So Long to West Side Transmetropolitan

Word is out that Transmetropolitan on the west side of Athens will be closing this weekend. It seems like only a short while ago that both Transmet and Hendershot's - its next door neighbor for several years - were both doing well. Now, Hendershot's has moved to greener pastures, Transmet is closing and One Coffee never really got off the ground in the Hendershot's space.

It would be easy to blame the lack of parking at the Oglethorpe Avenue location. Still, Sr. Sol, about a block away, has limited parking while continuing to thrive. My last experience at Transmetropolitan on Oglethorpe was not a good one. A simple order got lost in the kitchen and took about 45 minutes to arrive. Our waiter ended up comping the food. It's only one story, but if there are many others like it, then a reason for closing becomes apparent.

There is potential good news for Westsiders. There are plans for a new restaurant in the perennially challenging location in The Arbor building on Mitchell Bridge Road that formerly housed Los Coyotes and the Iron Grill. Four Brothers is slated to be a sports bar with an emphasis on local food sources. If rumors of a dozen or more beers on tap and boiled peanut hummus are true, I'll be among the first in line for a late February opening.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mendocino Seasonal Oatmeal Stout Review

Mendocino Brewing Company has been on the craft beer scene for a long time. They have a stable of ales with bird themed names - such as Red Tail Ale and White Hawk IPA - that are good quality, affordable beers, though none are especially bold or adventurous. Their new seasonal release for 2013 is simply titled "Oatmeal Stout." (Fans of feathered animals will be glad to know that even though no birds are used in the name, a bevy of birds adorn the label and six-pack carton.)

The Oatmeal Stout is a worthy addition to the Mendocino lineup. Heavy on the oatmeal, this is a thick and rich brew. The other flavors, mostly chocolate and coffee, are well balanced. There is a hop presence, neither under nor overwhelming. Every bottle we poured had a tan 1/4 - 1/2 inch head. If you are tiring of all the spiced beer seasonal offerings, this dry stout is recommended as a pleasant change of pace.

ABV 6.0%

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Southern Tier 2XMAS Seasonal Beer Review

An onslaught of seasonal brews is upon us. Just a few short years ago, it seemed that only a handful of craft breweries came up with special seasonal releases for the winter holiday season. Now, it seems like every brewery does. Finding the diamonds in the rough can be a tough challenge. Southern Tier Brewery's seasonal ale is 2XMAS. The label notes that it is brewed with figs, orange peel, spices, two hop varieties and four different malts. It's a nice balance between all of those; the spices -cardamom, cinnamon and clove - are at the forefront, but hops and the other flavors have a strong presence. Highly recommended as a good sipping ale for cool winter evenings.

ABV 8.0%