Saturday, December 27, 2008


Yesterday, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had a few errands to run in midtown Atlanta.

We had to make a stop at Star Provisions, a fancy-pants provender shoppe, in order to score the English Cheddar for this evening’s Aubrey-Maturin Dinner. Toasted Cheese is on the Bill of Fare, of course, in keeping with the traditions established in the Patrick O’Brian novels.

I love going to Star Provisions, even though I can’t afford most of the stuff they sell there. That’s where you go if you want prime Allen Brothers dry-aged strip steaks (at $33/pound) or Kobe Wagyu beef (north of $100). Or exotic meats whole duck foie gras! But you can get a fine hanger steak for only $9.50/pound, and it is well worth it. Seriously.

The cheese selection there is the most comprehensive in the city. My only caveat would be to avoid arriving there right after a shipment comes in, because it perfumes the air of the entire store with a fecal pong that is not to be believed. Happily, that was not the case yesterday, and we were able to purchase a couple of fine Cheddars - one from Somerset, the other from Tasmania (!) - and be on our way.

As I was perusing the cheese selection, SWMBO was looking at the voluminous Tchotchke Collection offered by the fine folks at the Star. And she found something that we could not resist: Heroes of the Torah juice glasses! Coasters, too! We got the whole set of four.

[Folks, you really cannot make this shit up.]

Our next stop was at a little place close by Star Provisions, a new joint that calls itself “Flip Burger Boutique.” It’s the latest brainchild of Top Chef finalist Richard Blais, creator of the foie gras milkshake (really!), and it appears to be an attempt to reinvent that most classic of classic American dishes, the hamburger.

With that frou-frou name, you expect something a little beyond sliders, and Blais delivers. We started with Caesar salads, which came with a smoky vinaigrette dressing and were topped with batter-fried white anchovies and chile threads. On to a plate of crisp onion rings served with a house-made honey mustard dressing on the side. The honey was from locally-raised bees; the mustard was grown in a hothouse behind the restaurant, fertilized with the chef’s own personal dung. Superb.

I had a lamburger, freshly ground from a lamb slaughtered by anal electrocution, and served with house-made raisin ketchup and mint. SWMBO does not eat lamb of course, no matter how humanely it is dispatched; thus, she ordered a felafel burger, made with free-range chickpeas, batter-fried, and served over red pepper tahini sauce on its own hand-baked low-carbon-footprint bun.

Because the burgers are modestly sized, we elected to order a third to share: a Philly cheesesteak burger made with Cheez Whiz that had been foamed with liquid nitrogen. It was surprisingly tasty.

We decided to forgo having a milkshake. Flip offers several interesting milkshakes, all utilizing ingredients that are flash frozen in liquid nitrogen and ground into powder. The Krispy Kreme doughnut milkshake sounded good, but we didn’t need the extra calories...not while we were staring down the barrel of tonight’s Aubrey-Maturin dinner.

Our next stop was The Big Blue Box (AKA IKEA), where we picked up a few economy-sized bookcases to accommodate the overflow from our upper floor. I love IKEA because it affords me the opportunity to act ridiculous, talking in my outrageous Swedish Chef accent and poking fun at the (mostly) Nordic-style names of the products while we shop for our FUKNKRÅPP.

And for once, with those Bizarro-Burgers banging around in my kishkes, I did not hear the siren call of the Swedish Meatball. We arrived, bought our stuff, and left without me picking up an armload of strange Swedish comestibles. And it’s just as well. Who really needs lingonberry bread mix...or blueberry soup...or fish balls? Mnyeh.

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