What they think of themselves: The Modern-Urban Casual Experience
“Inspired by the exciting vibe of urban renewal, Urban Flats® epitomizes the sophistication and chic energy of cities that are “re-inventing” themselves. From the moment you step inside our “flat”, you’ll feel a special connection to the past with an impressive photographic collection that quietly whispers each city’s unique story. This cosmopolitan sensibility is perfectly complemented by the enchanting aroma of ancient flatbreads baking in the hearth oven. The exposed ducts, painted concrete floors and wrap-around sidewalk café add to the urban appeal.
At Urban Flats®, we are passionate about urban renewal and being part of this special modern renaissance happening around the country. We truly care about these extraordinary cities we now call home. And, we are proud to give back to the surrounding communities. After all, it’s the neighborly thing to do.”
Share: With being a winemaker I drink wine at home often and when I’m out, I tend to order other alcoholic beverages such as a cocktail or beer. Today I just wanted a good glass of wine. What’s a good glass of wine you ask? To me, it’s what my taste buds desire and after wrapping your lips around a glass or two, over time you learn what you like, what you consider to be good, and what wines go well with certain foods. This we will discuss more in depth in future posts. It was my first time at Urban Flats. I had heard great things from friends who attended their grand opening just a short time ago. I take a gander at the menu and proceed to order.
What I Ordered:
THE URBAN - $3.95 (side salad portion)
Fresh greens, golden raisins, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, and honey white balsamic vinaigrette
LOBSTER BLT FLAT - $11.00
Lobster and mozzarella cheeses, bacon bits, topped with tomatoes, arugula and a ranch drizzle
Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Marlborough, New Zealand - $8.00
My thoughts: Now I didn’t get a whisper of Atlanta’s urban story when I walked in but what I liked the most about Urban Flats was the inviting and knowledgeable staff. I was greeted immediately and just about every question I had about the food and wine was confidently answered. From the décor I also didn’t get the senses of urban renewal either, something Urban Flats claims to be all about.
The Good: For it to be casual fair, Urban Flats has an extensive beer and wine list! The menu is nicely categorized and easily to follow. You don’t have to be a sommelier to figure out what you want to drink.
The Bad: Obviously flat breads are intended to be thin and crispy but my deliciously looking Lobster BLT flatbread was a bit over baked and was more so of a hard cracker. I’ve had many flat breads before and a sense of softness like a pita should have been there.
Other Menu Suggestion: Even with a cracker crust my flatbread was quite a winner – Charlie Sheenin…… From the golden raisins and goat cheese in my salad to the Sauvignon Blanc bringing out the robust flavors of weirdly not the lobster but the arugula and Ranch atop its succulent meat. However if you just so happen to wander upon this place like I did for a great beverage and you’re not necessarily into flat breads, there are a lot of other options available suited for other tastes from burgers to steaks cooked on your very own personal hot stone.
Would I come back to try something else you ask? With the beer and wine selection I would most definitely reply and say….. indeed my friends, indeed.
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Urban Vines; a creative commune with strong connections to the community. More information will follow shortly as we move forward!
Influence: Paula’s Best Dishes - Paula Does Takeout
Ok so I love Paula Deen, Food Network’s southern belle who can cook just about anything; just add love, a few laughs, and butter :) One day while at home I caught her show, Paula’s Best Dishes. That day she featured easy to make takeout dishes to make at home. One of her features was a favorite of mine: Shrimp Tempura. Now as much as I cook at home I have never ventured into the world of tempura. It’s always something I have eaten while being out. Intrigued and curious about her process, I sit down to tune in.
My Thoughts: Not as hard as I thought. Paula simply made her own tempura batter and hand dipped large succulent shrimp in her deep fryer and viola: Paula’s shrimp tempura served with her own soy sauce based tempura sauce.
The Good: Quick and easy.
The Bad: The dish overall seemed to be flavor-less. Not even salt and pepper were added to the shrimp or the tempura batter.
“Looks good but cannot believe there is no seasoning in either the batter or the shrimp!”
“DONT EVEN WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS ONE GUYS! I even added tons of seasoning to the “tempura” batter and it still came out terrible and didn’t even crisp up, I also tried it on chicken. I love Paula Deen but she should be ashamed of this one”
“This batter is the pits. It needs to be “lightened” up with some corn starch and club soda or beer. Like most of Paula’s dishes, it is just too heavy and greasy.”
“Simple and quick.”
Make: Rusans - Shrimp Tempura
With all that was said about Paula’s shrimp tempura, guess what? I still had a taste for it! So for dinner I decided to head out to Rusans off of Moreland Ave. in East Atlanta. Rusans has many locations here in the city with an extensive sushi and tempura menu. It can be a tad bit overwhelming so just take your time and let your tastes buds lead the way.
With tempura on the brain, I ordered a variety of items:
Shrimp Tempura - 2pcs @ $1.50
Crab Tempura -2 pcs @ $1.50
Sweet Potato Tempura – 2 pcs @ $1.00
To make myself feel better about the obviously fried delights I also ordered:
Ginger Salad - $2.25
Mini California Roll – 3pcs $1.00
My Thoughts: I was first served the salad, edamame, and California rolls with my custom tempura platter to follow. And yes I ate it all :)
The Good: Delicious! Light and crispy with a mild flavor that went well with Rusans tempura sauce. The added flavor Paula could have been missing is maybe the use of sesame oil which tempura is traditionally fried in.
The Bad: A little greasy but hey its fried food, what do you expect.
Share: At Home Recipes: Shrimp Tempura
- Fresh Large Shrimp
- 1 raw egg & ice-cold water (should measure 1-2 cups combined)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Cooking oil – Sesame oil suggested (enough to fully immerse shrimp in oil)
- Tempura sauce ( can be purchased at your local Pulix or Kroger)
1. Remove the outer shell of shrimp. Leave tail and base of shell intact.
2. If not already done, devein the shrimp.
3. Mix egg and ice-cold water into a mixing bowl.
4. Sift flour into the mixing bowl.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Mix the batter quickly, and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
7. Dip the shrimp into the batter.
8. Heat oil to 170°C (338°F).
9. Cook in oil for roughly 2½ minutes.
10. Lay cooked Tempura over paper towel to drain oil, and serve!