Lil’ Frankie’s

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By no means is Lil’ Frankie’s in the East Village new. They’ve been around making Neopolitan wood burning pizza and homemade pastas for years. But, this neighborhood gem also offers some delicious specials and dishes, and a super extensive wine list. So come hungry, thirsty, and hit up the ATM beforehand, since they’re cash-only. From the outside, you’d assume it was a small, intimate restaurant, but step inside, and work your way back through the winding passageways and there’s a back area, complete with a garden as well. 

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To start, I had their Stracciatella. It’s basically the center of buratta cheese, stuffed in a fresh tomato, and it’s so amazing. The cheese itself is rich, and super creamy, and pairing it with the firm and flavorful tomato atop olive oil and balsamic drizzle makes for a killer combination. 

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For my entree, I ordered one of their specials that night, Trout Almondino. This was so delicious, that I apologize in advance if it’s not a special when you’re there. The trout is filleted, and generously portioned, cooked to perfection, and topped with oil, lemon, beautiful herbs and spices, and sliced almonds. The fish is tender and so flavorful, and accompanied by a really nice, fresh spinach salad. I finished the whole thing, was full, but could have still found some room for more, it was that good.

The Shorts:
Name: Lil’ Frankie’s
Location: 19 First Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. It’s not my first time here, and it won’t be my last. With new specials always being turned out, you’re in for a treat whenever you make it in. 
Would I recommend it? Definitely. There really is something for everyone, especially if you’re a homemade pizza and pasta person. I also love one of their sister restaurants, Supper, so, check that out too. 

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Home grown

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Atlanta dining continues, and off to another brunch spot. Actually only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, Home grown has quite a lot of popularity, so, I wanted to check out what all the buzz what about.

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The super quaint, and pretty unassuming restaurant is a lot more dynamic on the inside than it appears on the outside (see, kids? The age old “don’t judge a restaurant’s menu and interior by its outside”…I think that’s the quote?). Now, you’ll definitely have a bit of a wait for brunch, we were given 45 minutes, and that was accurate. But, once you’re in, you’re led past a little dinner-like counter with bar seating, to a spacious dining room, with walls full of different artist’s paintings, all for sale. There are two parts to the dining room, so, if you’re in the front room, where I was, you’re 100% going to want to at least take a walk to the back, where you’ll find a whole country-store vibe, full of shirts, art, and some other chachkies for sale. Along with the most glorious element ever, a small, elderly man playing the hell out of a keyboard and marimba. A marimba! Magical. Tip him.

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The menu is filled with lots of comfort food, and typical southern style dishes, made with local, fresh, seasonal ingredients, and all very affordably priced. I ordered the Lynne Stack (2 salmon patties, 2 fried green tomatoes, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, with melted pimento cheese). Alright. So, let’s get the awkwardness out of the way, the flood of pimento cheese. Like, I mean, when this was delivered to me, I thought, no…I don’t think this could be for me, I didn’t order the bucket of cheese sauce. But, alas, this was the dish, you know, 20 feet below cheese level. I will say, the flavor of the pimento cheese was awesome, it was super delicious, but, they might want to offer a free heart screening if people are actually eating all of that. A generous dollop, a-la hollandaise on an Eggs Benedict would completely have sufficed here. Let’s move on to the good stuff.

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Once you uncover the actual food, it’s amazing and delicious. The flavors are really great here, so, it’s almost a shame that there’s so much cheese covering it all. The salmon patties are soft, but have a slight crispness on the outside, and extremely savory and flavorful with lovely spices. The fried green tomatoes were pretty good, but the batter was a little thick for me, so I worked around some of the fried batter, taking a bit of the pimento cheese and mixing it with the tomato for a really nice combination. Interestingly enough, the sautéed spinach and tomatoes were kind of everything in this dish. Like, some of the most delicious spinach and tomatoes I’ve had. I wish there were more because they were perfection. 

The Shorts:
Name: Home grown
Location: 968 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta, GA
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, but possibly for a weekday breakfast or lunch, to avoid the wait. The art there was actually really fantastic too, so, even if you grab a quick bite, you can shop for a little collection.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but beware the pimento. I would definitely order this dish again, sans cheese. However, the rest of the menu sounded great, so I might mix it up on a future visit.