Jihye Chang

January 2012

Tallahassee favorites #1

After living in Alabama, North Dakota and Minnesota, I am now living in northern Florida – Tallahassee, to be exact. I have many friends who lived in Tally for a few years or who currently live here, and they all had their favorite places to eat. So I started exploring those places first – Kool Beanz, Food Glorious Food, Clusters and Hops, and so on.

After spending 4 months in Tally, the restaurant I and my husband frequent the most is…Kool Beanz. It’s usually very packed and noisy, and service can be slow. But this restaurant has a charm and flavor that appeal to me. I also like the fact that they try to use local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. They change the menu daily, but some items do come back. Here are a few things that I like: coconut cream cake (very sweet but so smooth and delicious!), any fried fish (a lot of their main dishes are fried or deeply sauteed, and they are usually yummy), crab cakes (when Steve is in the kitchen – other times they were not as good). My husband likes their fried chicken (not drumstick or bone-in, but a big piece of chicken breast!) and flank steak with gorgonzola herb butter. The price is not too expensive, although some people might feel it is bit pricey considering the atmosphere. To me this restaurant feels like a fun place to try out a lot of southern style or southern inspired food.

Both my husband and I need to eat super hot Thai food every now and then. We tried every Thai restaurant in town and decided to go to Reang Thai when we have that Thai-hot craving. Reang Thai’s price is a few dollars more than one would expect from a Thai restaurant, but this was common in other Thai restaurants in Tallahassee as well.

Good facts at Reang Thai: vegetables and other ingredients are fresh and well prepared. Thai-hot dishes are quite fiery and flavored with Thai chili peppers, not with some chili sauce or hot sauce. Crispy duck, Larb, and Green curry with tofu.

Not so good facts: Like I mentioned, more expensive than what one expects from a Thai restaurants. Some common dishes (Pad Thai, Pad See Yu, Khao Pad) are not as good as what I am used to, and a little different. (For example, the chef might not put egg in the noodles unless you specifically ask for it/ curries are not as sweet or thick as some of the other Thai restaurants I tried) Some stir-fried dishes can be very sweet.

For Pad see wu, Pad Thai, Tom yum and Thai fried rice, I go to Siam Sushi on Monroe.

Oh, and I am happy that there is a locally owned French style bakery in town – Au Peche Mignon! I try to go there when the croissants and brioches just come out of the oven, which is around 10:15am. The brioches are nice with soft texture and yeasty flavor. (I like their brioches more than the croissants.) APM’s croissants are fine when they are warm, but I prefer the Patisserie 46 style with a bit sweeter and crusty exterior. But still their croissants are folded by hands and have buttery, soft flavor. I also like a few of their pastries – mocha tart with chocolate casing, coffee flavored butter cream, and almond flavored tart/ hazelnut merringue/ tiramisu. Their chocolate truffles are also fine. I am not a big fan of their cakes and macarons, though. (I like Japanese style soft cakes with delicate decoration and macarons with finer texture and more inventive fillings.)

Other things we liked so far:

* Mac and Cheese with collard greens and tasso at Food Glorious Food – this is quite yummy!

* Trufle Mac and Cheese from Cluster and Hops.

I have yet to try out and find some good pizza places, Italian restaurants, seafood and BBQ joints, and Cajun restaurants in town. I hope I will find many more good places to blog about in and around Tally!

P.S. I will write about Liam’s and in Thomasville later.