Friday, April 4, 2008

"Shout" is nothing to shout about...

I met a friend at Shout for dinner earlier tonight before going to see a play. Shout is a restaurant located at Colony Square (is it still called Colony Square? I didn't look to tell you the truth!). It came highly recommended and, since it was within walking distance of the theater, we thought we'd give it a try.

I was not impressed.

We walked in the mall entrance and had to walk to the front to be seated. No biggie, we needed to make a pit stop and the hallway took us by the proper rooms! Unfortunately, they must have had a busy day because my stall was out of tp, there was water all over the counters, paper towels on the floor... not horrible, but icky-picky me raised an eyebrow slightly. As said, no biggie, it wasn't dirty and the look was wonderful. I'd love to have the sinks in my home!

We were seated. We had to wait through two phone calls before being led to the table. Guess the hostess was the only one capable of answering phones. Again, no biggie, just not first class.

After being seated we waited for our server. And waited. The place was fairly empty as we got there around 5:15 or so. We didn't wait THAT long, but a lot longer than I'd expect at any restaurant. Finally someone stopped by - a server from another section who just happened to notice we'd been there for a bit without any attention. He was nice enough to go ahead and take our drink orders.

Our server showed up a second or two before the drinks.

Great sounding menu. I was tempted by quite a few of the choices, but we had a 6:30 appointment and I wanted to eat light. I ordered the soup of the day, tomato basil bisque (sounds good doesn't it?) at $5. I also ordered the Grouper Fish Taco with tartar sauce and spicy coleslaw from the Tapa section at $7. They're meant to be appetizers so I didn't expect much.

My friend ordered a salad and the Fried Popcorn Shrimp with spicy Hunan sauce, also from the Tapas section.

The soup and salad came out quickly and we dug in. I was hungry. Unfortunately, the soup was so salty I couldn't eat it. I ate three bites thinking it must be my taste buds. Third bite I gave up and pushed it aside. The server stopped by, saw the almost full bowl off to the side and asked if I wanted him to take it. Yep, sure do. He didn't comment on the fact that it was barely touched. He didn't ask if I liked it. He didn't ask if I had a problem with it.

I let it slide, just not in the mood to cause a problem, talk to managers or go through the hassle. Five dollars down the drain and still hungry.

My friend's salad was fine. Wish I'd ordered a salad, it's hard to go wrong and some of them sounded very good.

Ah well. Our main dishes came out. I expected small and I received small. It was good though! The combination of the grouper, the little taste of spicy coleslaw and the sauce were very good. Nice bite.

Angela let me try some of her shrimp. It was sweet. Very sweet. Too sweet for my taste buds and I love sweet. The sweet overpowered the great flavor of the spices.

Reading the menu I see lots of things I would like to try. Unfortunately I probably won't go back to see if this was just one of those off days for the restaurant. Maybe we were there between shifts. Maybe the regular chef was off duty.

The menu includes a lot of sushi, something I love. Miso soup is also another favorite and that's on the menu. They have fried calamari with jalapenos and marinara sauce which sounds yummy. I think if I ever were to try it again I might go back on a Monday night --- for $10 you get all the Tapas you can eat. The Tapas section is full of great sounding items from steamed mussels with lobster chile broth, mini crab cakes with jalapeno tartar sauce, Spanish potatoes with a red pepper dipping sauce and a lobster taco. Those are just a few of the tempting sounding items on the list.

On Sunday night they offer all you can eat salads and pizza. Monday through Friday it's all you can eat salad and sushi from 11:30 - 2:30 p.m. The price wasn't listed so can't help you on that one!

Their "Specialties" include a wide assortment of interesting sounding dishes. Georgia Mountain Trout with cheese grits, a variety of fish dishes, chicken selections and meats from beef tenderloin to veal. Squash raviolis, grilled pork chops and a Tossed Cuban could make a persons mouth water.

The more I look at the menu as I type, the more I'm thinking I may have to break down and check it out on a Monday night just to see if they can change my opinion. We'll see. I'll let you know if I decide to go again.

1197 Peachtree Street, Midtown Atlanta
Other restaurants in the Here to Serve Restaurant group include:
Twist at Phipps Plaza, Lola at Terminus Buckhead, Strip at Atlantic Station, Goldfish at Perimeter Mall, Posh in Buckhead and one other I can't quite make out on the menu in Virginia Highlands.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

First Annual South Carolina Old 96 District Campground Cookoff

Competitors from around the Southeast are invited to gather around the campfire for the first annual South Carolina Old 96 District Campground Cookoff to be held Sept. 19-21, 2008 at the Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area on Lake Russell.

The Old 96 District Tourism Commission, which markets the South Carolina counties of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick, has developed the event with support from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

The winners will be crowned by three nationally known celebrity judges – Rick Browne from “Barbecue America” on PBS; Dotty Griffith, the former dining and food editor for 30 years at the Dallas Morning News, and Charles Mattocks, “The Poor Chef” seen on NBC affiliates and purveyor of spices in Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart stores.

Interested amateurs can enter one of three categories: appetizer, entrée or dessert. Each dish must be prepared from scratch and cooked over a campfire of charcoal or wood. Cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 and other in-kind donations from companies such as Camping World and Dodge Manufacturing will be awarded for first- through third-place winners. Applications are available online at and must be received by Aug. 15, 2008.

A minimum two-night stay at the Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area campsite is required for the entrants, and there will be many activities for the entrants, family and friends to attend, including a “ring of fire,” complimentary barbecue for the contestants, bluegrass band, displays from sponsors, and cooking demonstrations by the celebrity judges. Contestants must be 18 years of age or older and there can no more than three members to a cookoff team.

The award-winning recipes will be compiled into a cookbook available after the Campground Cookoff at the Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area and through the Old 96 District Tourism Commission Web site at

To enter and view general rules visit or call toll-free at 1-866-354-0003. Reservations at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area can be made by calling (864) 447-8267.