Weekend Vibes: Restaurant Reviews, Walks, Wine and Relaxing

Anyone else get the “Sunday Night Blues?”  I know I do.  It’s not because I dread work, but because I love weekends so much.  I love spending time with my husband and my dog.  I love feeling productive by knocking things off my to-do list.  And I love sleeping in late, and dining out, and just enjoying life.

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This weekend was such a chill and enjoyable weekend that I didn’t have the Sunday Night Blues.  I think I was able to incorporate just the right amount of productivity with fun that I didn’t feel like I was leaving anything behind.  I’m thinking that’s the key:  not packing too many to-do list items and chores into 2 days, but rather balancing them with enjoyable activities.  It’s difficult to change your mindset if you’re like me and feel like you just have to complete every item on your list.  I’ve decided for 2018 that I’ll complete what I can and that there’s no need to stress or rush to get everything done.

Rumi’s Kitchen

img_2721We kicked off the weekend with a celebratory dinner at one of our all-time favorite restaurants, Rumi’s Kitchen.  My husband finally closed on a deal that he’s been working on for over 6 months, so when we finished signing documents at the attorney’s office, we hit Rumi’s for an early dinner.  Rumi’s is a Persian restaurant in Sandy Springs, just north of Atlanta.  They recently opened another location at Avalon in Alpharetta, but we have yet to dine there.  The restaurant in Sandy Springs is large and nicely decorated with a sort of hip feel to it.  They have a well stocked bar with a nice wine list, an open kitchen along the far wall, and plenty of seating.  They do have a lovely patio area out back as well.  The wait staff is all very knowledgeable about both the food and wines, so if you need a suggestion they can definitely help you out.

The great thing about Persian food is there is something for everyone:  meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes and pretty much everything is prepared in a manner that is relatively low in fat.  The meal starts with Sabzi Khordan, which is a plate of fresh tarragon and mint served with feta cheese, radishes, olives and walnuts, and fresh hot flat bread that is so delicious I have to remind myself not to fill up on it before my meal arrives.  We also chose the Beet Spread and Butternut Squash Spread appetizer special, which goes nicely with the herbs, cheese and bread.  The beet spread is smooth with little bits of feta and hazelnuts, and the butternut squash spread is both savory and sweet with tahini and a date syrup drizzle. We have, in the past, tried both the falafel and dolmeh from the appetizer menu as well, and both were delicious.

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Beet Spread and Butternut Squash Spread – Delicious!

As far as the dinner menu goes, I have dined there at least a dozen times and have always enjoyed my food – I have yet to taste anything I didn’t like.  All of the meats are well seasoned and melt-in-your-mouth tender. This time I chose the Barg Kabob which is nicely seasoned beef tenderloin and upgraded my rice to the Shirin which has bits of orange zest and nuts in it.  I’ve also had the Baghali rice which is mixed with fava beans and dill, the lentil and raisin rice, and also just the plain saffron rice.  They’re all good!  My husband had the Koobideh Kabob which is best described as a seasoned meatball – full of flavor.  You can get the Soltani Kabob which includes both the koobideh and the barg if you can’t decide between the two.

In the past I’ve also had the Chicken Koobideh (also excellent, in fact I liked it better than the beef), Chicken Barg, and Lamb Kabob.  My husband has had their sea bass and the rack of lamb, both excellent.  The portions are more than generous – I have never finished a meal there, and always take home enough for another entire meal.  This time we did not leave room for dessert, but I can tell you their desserts are amazing.  If they have the pistachio & rose water ice cream sandwich, you must get it!  It is fabulous.  I also tried the Faloodeh last summer which is a sour cherry, rose water, and rice noodle shaved ice dessert.  I know, it sounds weird but it is so delicious and refreshing in the summer.

I highly recommend reservations, as they get quite busy.  All of the staff in the restaurant are friendly, from the hostess at the front, to the servers, bar tenders, and management. You should also note that in Sandy Springs the parking is valet only, however there is no charge for it, and it’s very well run.

Saturday Walks

img_2731It was supposed to be a rainy weekend, and Saturday morning definitely started out this way so I spent the morning tackling some chores, including cleaning the garage to make room for a project I’m working on. However by mid-day the sun was peaking out and it ended up being a lovely almost spring-like day.  By this time, I had completed my chores, and since the weather was so nice, I took Ziggy to the park for a walk.  As soon as I ask if he wants to take a car ride to the park, he loses his mind, running around in circles and barking excitedly.  It’s like he’s saying, “HELL YES, LADY!  Let’s Go! Let’s Go! Let’s Go!”  Our city recently opened a lovely walking path connecting two parks, Heritage Park and Etowah Park.  Calling it a “path” really isn’t accurate as it is a double-wide concrete sidewalk for over half of the way, then a lovely wood bridge over the Etowah River for the rest of the way to the park.  There are plenty of benches for folks who want to sit and enjoy nature, some of the trees are labeled as to what kind they are, there’s trash cans and pet-poo stations, and even an emergency phone.  Once we arrive at Etowah Park, we walk the lap around the soccer fields, then take the path back to Heritage Park where we started.  I was so excited when I found this hidden treasure, and was equally happy to know my tax dollars are going towards nice stuff like this.  At the end of the walk, I felt really refreshed and in a really good mood, not only because I got some fresh air and exercise, but because I did something fun with the pooch.  Watching his sheer enjoyment as he trotted along on our walk is enough to put anyone in a good mood.

 

 

Yoon Sushi

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From a previous visit to Yoon – Sushi Combination plate

Even though we had just been out to dinner the night before, I didn’t really feel like cooking, so my husband and I went out for sushi.  We’ve been going to Yoon Sushi in Canton for 14 years, and while it is not currently run by the original guy, it is just as good.  (In fact, we’ve been there so many times, I didn’t even bother taking a picture of our food – I had a few from previous visits on my phone already!) The place was packed Saturday night, which meant service was a little slow, but we were in no hurry.  I usually start with edamame, but my husband wanted to try the calamari this time so we switched things up.  When it arrived, it looked more like onion rings, as the pieces were larger than what we usually get at other restaurants.  I was worried that it would be tough due to the size of the pieces, but I ended up surprised at how tender it was.  It was good, just not my favorite thing on the menu.  We don’t usually get appetizers at Yoon, so the only other item from the appetizer menu we’ve ordered before is the Tuna Tower, which is fantastic, and occasionally I’ll go for a seaweed salad or some miso soup.  The calamari was good, but I think I still prefer my standard edamame.

As far as sushi goes, Chip doesn’t really venture much outside of his standard Rainbow Roll, which is a California Roll topped with fresh tuna, salmon, and avocado, and an order of Chicken Fried Rice.  I, on the other hand, always have a difficult time making up my mind because I want to try everything.  This time I went for one of the special rolls, the Idol Roll, which is a tuna, salmon, and avocado roll topped with spicy tuna, wasabi-lime mayo and eel sauce, then topped with a slice of fried jalapeno.  Delicious!  I also ordered three pieces of nigiri: one each of  Japanese Horse Mackerel, Japanese Red Snapper, and White Tuna which is my absolute favorite.  The white tuna is the most tender fish and has a very mild, almost buttery flavor. It’s a major contrast to the Mackerel (another of my favorites) that has a much bolder, almost smokey flavor.

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From a previous visit to Yoon:  Japanese Mackerel Sashimi with a Rainbow Roll, Salmon and Tuna rolls, and 2 pieces of Nigiri

I can also recommend the 007 Roll and the Double Dragon Roll from the Special Rolls menu.  The rolls on the main menu are all pretty standard, and if you like tempura rolls, they do a terrific job on the Yami Yami Maki.  The nigiri is always good, and the pieces are just the right size.  I usually stick with my favorites or whatever is featured that night.  I also love a good chirashi bowl, but I have yet to try theirs.  I always say “next time,” but then I end up going for some rolls instead.  I have never had anything off their kitchen menu, but my husband likes their fried rice, and I’ve heard the chicken teriyaki is good.  They do have some good sake, as well as some basic wines and beers.  No liquor, though.  I often order to-go, as they tend to get quite busy on the weekends and when they’re busy it takes awhile to get your food.  But, good food is worth the wait.  We’re lucky to have this gem in our little town.

Sunday Shopping and Wine Time

img_2737While Saturday was about chores and Ziggy time, Sunday was all about shopping and Chip time.  We set out to find ski pants and some gloves for a ski trip he’s going on soon, and I had a list of random items I needed from Target, because I always have a list of items I need to get at Target.  I saw a meme the other day that said “You don’t tell Target what you need, Target tells you what you need.”  Pretty spot on.  I even managed to do a little online shopping as well after we got home, ordering some Perfectly Posh products from a friend’s party, as well as some must-have items from Sephora.  I can’t wait to get the Posh items, so I can share them with you!  And I accomplished this while catching up on The X-files and sipping some of the most delicious rosé I’ve ever tasted.  I picked up a bottle of Meinklang Frizzante Rosé from Whole FoodsMeinklang Winery is located on a biodynamic farm in Austria.  Check out their web page for some information on their operation there.  Whole Foods had a display in the front of the store and I liked the packaging of the bottle, with the twine wrapped around the neck and the rustic looking label.  But after I checked out Meinklang’s web page, I discovered that they are changing the packaging, so I was a little bummed about that.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, at what a nice flavor it had, with just a little fizz.  I will definitely be going back to get some more, as it was priced at just $15!

So, as they say, the hardest part of the week is the four days leading up to Friday.  So I’m off to the races!  If you live in the area, and have never tried Rumi’s Rumi’s or Yoon, definitely give them a go.  And if you don’t live in the area, well, just go grab a bottle of that rose and call it a day.  Cheers!

 

 

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