Thursday, July 31, 2008


It's always a delight to return to Adriana's Cafe in downtown Macon (359 3rd St), but especially so when I get to try something new there. This Tuesday lunchtime I had the opportunity to try their Turkey, Mushroom, and Cheddar Quiche which also boasted sun dried tomatoes. Now I've eaten some quiche in my time, but this was one of the most memorable. A sight that any hobbit likes to behold, this slice of quiche was most certainly a two-storey quiche. Not only was it impressive in its elevation, but it was presented with a lavish, light, flaky crust of substantial proportion.

A quiche of this thickness always runs the risk of being undercooked in the middle, especially when the pastry crust is present. Not a problem at Adriana's - The quiche was consistently light and fluffy all the way through and the pastry was cooked to perfection. The flavors were well balanced and complimentary. I accompanied the quiche with my usual Greek Salad and the combination was a very, very satisfying lunch.

We arrived and were seated just in time because the lunchtime rush, testimony to the popularity of this fine eatery, commenced in full flow. Despite the bustle of this cafe, however, it's always a refreshing change of pace from the busyness of the work day. How fortunate we are to have Adriana's!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sticky Fingers

Macon increased in stature last week, when Sticky Fingers opened a restaurant in the new mall at 5080 Riverside Drive. I'd never been to Sticky Fingers before but I knew I was in for a treat when the cutlery arrived wrapped in a hand towel! The menu offers ample variety and I decided to try the ribs and pulled pork sandwich combo. The meal comes with two sides and I chose the slaw and seasoned fries. Sticky Fingers features several types of barbecue sauce. I road-tested the Tennessee Whiskey sauce.

The food was delicious, from the fall-off-the-bone ribs to the richly-flavored pulled pork. The seasoned fries were the best I'd tasted in a while. I was particularly impressed with the Tennessee Whiskey sauce. I've tried several whiskey-flavored barbecue sauces before and they all fell way short in comparison to that offered at Sticky Fingers.

This was a fun place to eat. The service was reasonably good - the new team at this newly-opened restaurant was still in the process of coordinating itself. Fair play, it was their first few days. I'm really looking forward to going back to Sticky Fingers again soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spaghetti Alley

A working lunch this week saw me dining at Spaghetti Alley in downtown Macon. Spaghetti Alley, as its name suggests, is tucked away in an alley off the main thoroughfares. Located in one of Macon's older buildings at 575 Mulberry Street Lane, this casual Italian restaurant's web site is quick to point out that they're, "...more than just pasta." Spaghetti Alley's menu certainly features pasta, but also offers a handful of subs, salads, and some classic Italian entrées.

I decided to try the Ravioli Rosati, "...a three cheese ravioli served in a vodka-tomato cream sauce with fresh basil." The attraction wasn't so much the vodka in the sauce, as the fact that I'd just had a go at making home-made ravioli the previous weekend and wanted to see how I measured up. I was a little concerned, as a hobbit naturally should be, when the plate arrived with only about six pieces of ravioli on it. For a lunch time pasta dish, however, the quantity was appropriate, although I could have quite happily put away a bit more. The ample-sized ravioli along with the rich accompanying sauce were delicious and had a nice balance of flavor and texture.

The service was attentive and efficient and the prices quite reasonable. It's worth noting that Spaghetti Alley also offers a variety of takeout platters for six people (or three hobbits) if you want to impress without making the effort in the kitchen!

This will definitely be a place to which I return in the future. Oh, and I may be biased, but I think my homemade ravioli wasn't at all shoddy in comparison to that made by the pros!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shahenshah Cuisine of India

A long time fan of Indian food, I had occasion to try one of Macon's Indian restaurants this week. Shahenshah Cuisine of India, located at 5022 Romeiser Drive, Macon, is convenient to Macon State and I475. Their web site boasts a "huge menu that can satisfy any size appetite." Now, the fantastic variety on the menu is indisputable, but to a hobbit the latter part of that boast is not so much a statement as a personal challenge. My anticipation for this visit built up over several days and by the time I got there, I certainly had a hobbit-worthy appetite.

My friend and I split the Assorted Appetizer (for two) which includes Samosas, Pakoras (fritters), and Papadum. This arrived swiftly with a selection of three delicious sauces. The appetizer provided a tremendous variety of flavors, was very tasty, and built strong anticipation for the main course.

We shared Lamb Rogan Josh and Fish Tikka Masala, accompanied with rice for the main course. Our server was kind enough to make recommendations from our shortlist of selections. The dishes were a fine example of Indian cuisine and were fresh, hot (temperature), and very nicely seasoned. A side of Naan and a drink of Mango Lassi (yogurt-based drink) rounded off this fantastic meal nicely.

The service was frequent and friendly, a true representation of the family business that Shahensha is. The food was delicious and yes, this Hobbit's appetite was satisfied, and then some. In fact, a meal such as this is best not rushed and the attentive service at Shahenshah's will make you happy to linger.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tokyo Alley

I just couldn't resist returning to Tokyo Alley in downtown Macon again! The memory of its atmosphere, service, and intense flavors preyed upon my mind until it dominated my thoughts! I surrendered to the urge on Thursday lunchtime and trotted down there to satisfy my craving! This time I decided to try the Thai part of the menu and settled on an old favorite, Pad Thai Chicken.

The Pad Thai noodles were delicious. They were cooked al dente, just as I like them and the Pad Thai sauce was very intense, as anticipated. The sauce was more of a sweet and sour style which was a bit different from any Pad Thai I'd had in the past, but in a good way. The food arrived quickly and was piping hot. Served with a little raw cabbage and crushed nuts, a half lime accompanied the dish and added a nice zesty finish to the flavors.

I arrived with anticipation, I ate with delight, and I left happy and satisfied. Mmmm Mmm!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


On a recent trip to Beaufort, SC I enjoyed strolling along Bay Street, looking at art galleries and sampling local wine at Low Country Winery. Bay Street is home to numerous restaurants and we selected Panini's for our evening meal. Located at 926 Bay St. Beaufort, SC, and like most Bay Street restaurants, Panini's overlooks Waterfront Park at the rear and offers outdoor seating. A brisk sea breeze was blowing, so we sat inside and upstairs where we enjoyed great Low Country hospitality and food.

As you would expect from a quality Low Country restaurant, Panini's select Italian menu boasts delicious seafood as well as quality steaks and offers variety for many tastes. I chose to try the Beaufort Boulibase which features grouper, shrimp, and mussels in a saffron-scented broth with potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. Served with a house salad and bread sticks, this Low Country delight tasted fresh and fantastic. This was my first time eating mussels and they certainly looked more appetizing than any that I had seen elsewhere and tasted delicious.

The service was sophisticated, the atmosphere very pleasant, and the prices were not unreasonable for the location and quality of food and service. I'd certainly return to Panini's to celebrate a special occasion.

Tokyo Alley

I don't know how I've lived in the Shire for over a year and a half without being aware of one of Macon's hidden gems, Tokyo Alley. Thankfully I remedied that a couple of weeks ago one lunchtime. Located at 574 Mulberry Street Ln. in downtown Macon, Tokyo Alley is not visible from the main streets, but I assure you it is well worth hunting out.

Once you step through the front door into the intimate dining area (soon to be expanded with an upstairs dining room), it is easy to believe that you have stepped into a restaurant off an alley in downtown Tokyo. The dining room is adorned with Asian decor and the service is attentive.

The menu, available for dine in or take out, is concise but well varied and features Japanese and Thai food. I tried one of the lunchtime specials, Teriyaki Beef and a cheese roll appetizer. The cheese roll (similar to a spring roll) was a hot, fresh, and delicious prelude to an outstanding entrée. The tender Teriyaki Beef, served with rice and beautifully dressed noodles, had an astoundingly flavorful sauce. The quality of the food and service, combined with very reasonable prices, made for a delightful lunch.

I confess to being a little disappointed when I stepped out of the restaurant and found myself in downtown Macon instead of Tokyo, but now I know where to come for a taste of Asia.

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous

While in Memphis, TN recently, I had the good fortune to discover Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous, a downtown rib restaurant located at 355 N Main St, Memphis. Rendezvous has a back-alley entrance off of N. Main Street so don't give up looking for the door! Once inside, descend below the diner to the basement restaurant for a ribtastic experience! It pays to make reservations, especially on the weekend, as Rendezvous is famous for its award-winning ribs and people flock to eat there.

The menu is concise, focusing on what Rendezvous does best - ribs and barbecue. I chose a small order of the World-Famous Rendezvous Charcoal-Broiled Pork Ribs with Beans & Slaw. One thing that makes Rendezvous ribs stand out is the dry rub seasoning. I souped it up with the hot BBQ sauce and refrained from much conversation for the duration! The ribs were fantastic, by far the best I've ever eaten.

Other than the quality of the food, the atmosphere also makes for a great experience. The wait staff are great fun as they interact with diners, as well as effective at handling the high volume of people that come to eat. One thing is for sure: If I'm ever back in Memphis, I'll visit Rendezvous again.

So if you're ever in Memphis and you don't go to Rendezvous.... you might just as well make like Elvis' hound dog and cry a while, because you'll have missed out!

Beyond the Shire

Having made recent trips to Memphis, TN and Beaufort, SC - where I discovered outstanding new eateries and sampled incredible regional dishes - I've decided to expand this blog with a category of restaurants simply tagged Beyond the Shire. While this blog remains devoted to Middle Georgia eateries, I thought it would be tragically negligent of me to remain silent about some of these fantastic restaurants found beyond the borders of my Middle Georgia Shire.