Archive - April, 2011

Where was The Joneses Filmed in Alpharetta?

I recently had a conversation with someone about the movie industry in Georgia. I was surprised to learn that he wasn’t aware of The Joneses and its filming locations in and near Alpharetta. The movie has been released to DVD and is showing on cable television quite a lot now. I thought I would write in more detail about the filming locations and other interesting tidbits surrounding stars Demi Moore and David Duchovny. It’s worth noting that some filming took place in Spokane, Washington which I won’t cover. Also check out my review of the film.


View The Joneses Filming Locations in a larger map

The Manor Golf & Country Club

The fictions family lives in a home in this upscale Milton neighborhood. Scenes from inside the home were in the house itself, not a studio. There are also several scenes within the Manor neighborhood.

Muse Salon and Spa

Located on Kimball Bridge Road in Alpharetta, this upscale salon was where Demi Moore’s character is seen early in the movie. Muse staff get some decent time in front of the camera. But more than that, Muse got a ton of publicity while filming took place.

Atlanta National Golf Club

David Duchovny’s character hits the links a lot in the movie while peddling his upscale products. Atlanta National is one of the courses he picks (another is in Spokane). Watch for the beautiful clubhouse.

Pampas Steakhouse

I didn’t place it at first, but there is a scene late in the movie where they are dining in a very nice, candle-lit restaurant. Pampas on State Bridge Road is that restaurant.

Calton J. Kell High School – Marietta

Not exactly in the Alpharetta but it’s still somewhat local. All high school scenes were shot at this school in Marietta.

Downtown Alpharetta

…Specifically the intersection of Milton Avenue and Canton Street. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there is a car crash filmed at this intersection. You can clearly see The Corner Deli in the background after the cars come to rest. I asked Mel Siegel about the movie and he told me they spent the better part of a day getting the scene just right. He said they kept the restaurant open late to feed those involved with the movie.

Demi Moore’s Rental Home

During the filming of The Joneses, Demi Moore rented an entire house to live in. The home is located just off McGinnis Ferry Road. It was listed for sale and sold around the same time the movie hit theaters. The listing agent certainly played up the Demi Moore aspect of the home as you can see in this webpage. No filming took place at this location.

Real Housewives Making Cameos

How fitting is this? Shereé Whitfield and Kim Zolciak of Real Housewives of Atlanta both make brief cameos in the movie. Zolciak is pretty easy to spot during a house party standing next to David Duchovny.

thai2 (thai squared) – Windward

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

I had to use google for this review. Yeah, I didn’t know how to write in superscript in html. Now I do (it is the sup tag). That’s valuable information because now I can write thai2 the way this restaurant owner intended. I suppose you could write “thai squared” as you would speak. Either way, the name is curious. Thai multiplied by itself? What’s that mean?

I guess it is just hip. This brand new restaurant certainly has a trendy, almost urban vibe to it. They built out the old Logan Farms location on Windward, next door to the Original Pancake House. They didn’t make dramatic changes except to give the space a feel of minimalist decor. It almost reminds me of…

Tin Drum

I’m afraid I’m going to have to make this comparison a few times. It’s a terrible thing to compare a new, non-chain restaurant to this metro Atlanta chain. But so much seems the same. The decor is certainly there. You also order at the counter, like so many fast casual chain restaurants. But unlike Tin Drum, the service at thai2 is quick and very friendly. And also unlike Tin Drum, their menu is all Thai food.

So let’s get to the food. The menu features several different curries, noodle standards like pad thai and soups such as lemon grass and coconut milk. I settled on the panang curry. It lacked some spice (the menu showed one little pepper next to it) but the coconut milk flavor was terrific. It was far better than the same entree at Tin Drum (there I go again). I liked that it came with a spring roll.

I was amazed at how fast the food arrived. Is it possible for a kitchen to be too fast? Maybe these guys have some kind of amazing southeast Asian ESP and knew ahead of time what I would order. Or perhaps they ladled my curry goop and served it up lickety split. Either way, they need to chill out and let me think they are busy making my lunch.

So my first impression was overall positive. Thai food is something I always enjoy yet I don’t profess to be an expert on the cuisine. thai2 has a close competitor, Nahm, less than a mile down Windward. How do they stack up? Nahm is by far a more elegant restaurant with similar prices. However I think you can get in and out of thai2 quicker and they have the potential for cubicle dweller foot traffic. I believe it possible for both restaurants to thrive.

In the meantime, give them a shot! They are currently offering a buy one get one free promotion if you bring someone else. They call it “friends with benefits”. I also googled this term and came up with something completely different. Don’t get your hopes up!

thai2 is located at 5530 Windward Parkway in suite 140A. Their website is www.thaisquared.net

Thai Squared on Urbanspoon

Fanfare for the Cubicle Dweller

I’m the unsung worker of Alpharetta. I spend eight or more hours each day within the confines of a fabric covered box. I’m a cubicle dweller and I built this city. On what do I toil?

I’m the software architect at Alcatel-Lucent. Maybe I’m the database administrator at Lexis-Nexus who combines billions of bits of data together. Or how about the smartphone developer at Research in Motion working on the latest mobile technology? Perhaps I’m staying up late in the data center at eTrade or TSYS insuring that billions of dollars in financial transactions complete without a hitch.

A generation ago the sleepy town of Alpharetta put into works a plan to bring me here. Using a technology few had heard of at the time, this small town installed miles of high-speed fiber optic cable. If the internet is a series of tubes, Alpharetta built a tube 60% fatter than the typical. My future boss took notice and moved operations here.

But Alpharetta’s investment didn’t just attract those in the information technology field. I could be the quality assurance engineer at McKesson testing digital medical records or the biotech scientist at Centocor Ortho. Maybe I’m in the financial industry. I could be the project manager at ADP who handles your payroll or the statistician at Equifax grinding numbers on the latest credit trends. I could be an actuary at New York Life or Traveler’s, surely the life of any party. Perhaps I don a headset and work in the call center at Verizon or Vesta.

I’m the guy that keeps scores of restaurants on Windward and Old Milton crowded at lunch. And at the end of the day my SUV sits in traffic on GA-400 headed to my home on a cul-de-sac or to baseball practice.

It’s almost a certainty that I didn’t grow up here. No I’m the guy that relocated to follow opportunity. I might be right out of a top engineering school or from as far away as India or China. Chances are I’ve described you or perhaps the neighbor you hardly know. There are tens of thousands like me. I’m the cubicle dweller and I built the Alpharetta you know today.

Photo Credit: cadburynaught
Licensed by CC-BY-SA 2.0

Erwoods Kitchen & Keg – Crabapple

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

Erwoods opened about a month ago in the former Little Azio’s space in Crabapple. They are the second concept from owner Rob Forrest and chef Trevor Moore, their first being Tifosi’s Gastropub in Alpharetta. Unlike Tifosi, Erwoods aims to be a higher end sportbar, but not quite what one would consider a gastropub. The decor lacks tacky sports nicknacks and college pennants which is refreshing. You’ll still find enough high definition TVs to have whatever game you’re looking for.

Erwoods is suffering from an identity problem. It’s easy to describe what they are not, as some staff are quick to do. They are not a Taco Mac or even a Hudson’s. I get that. I also understand exactly what sister restaurant Tifosi is trying to be (an Italian-inspired gastropub), I just haven’t figured out exactly what Erwoods is. The menu, while chef inspired, is all over the place. They’ve got flatbreads, sliders, sandwiches, barbecue, a steak, lamb lollipops and… a three-foot-long hot dog. They’re even doing breakfast.

A few weeks ago Erwoods management invited me and another food blogger over to discuss things and sample a few menu items. It was clear that Erwoods is still in a transition period. Big menu changes are probably in their future. In the meantime there are still some decent eats to be found.

Their shrimp and grits are above average. They make the grits with smoked gouda cheese, which is also available as a side. The shrimp and sauteed veggies are tasty and complement the smokey nature of the grits. My wife disagreed with me, finding the grits to be overcooked. She was also disappointed that the red peppers could not be removed from the sautee.

I also like the country fried steak sliders. The menu and its description doesn’t do these things justice. Chef Moore explained to me that they use ribeyes rather than a cube steak. On the side for dipping is a country gravy made with chorizo.

The chicken sandwiches don’t wow me, maybe because I’ve tried similar items at their sister restaurant. I know what they are capable of at Tifosi and Erwoods is missing the mark.

The bar at Erwoods features a nice selection of microbrews and imports sure to please any beer snob. They also have a terrific outdoor bar, something that’ll be a hit in Crabapple.

So Erwoods just needs more time. If you’re willing to explore the menu you’re likely to find a few gems. In the meantime, give these guys some time to figure it out, make a few adjustments and rewrite the menu. Rob Forrest seems to have quite an entrepreneurial spark and is putting a lot of attention into this endeavor. They’ve got potential, especially if they can build a more cohesive offering and communicate it better.

Disclosure: I received a few free samples from this restaurant.

Erwoods Kitchen & Keg on Urbanspoon

An Open Letter to the Alpharetta Council

The following is an open letter emailed to the Alpharetta City Council and MACTEC Engineering regarding the proposed 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

Dear Council Members,

I write about Alpharetta and local issues in a blog called Roots in Alpharetta. I recently studied the 2030 Comprehensive Plan from MACTEC and attended the open house on March 22nd. I applaud the Council for being forward thinkers and for considering something like this. The plan does a good job identifying Alpharetta’s neighborhoods and their key features. However, I have some deep concerns.

The plan reclassifies large swaths of land into high density or mixed use development (which could support high density). In some cases low density areas are moved straight into the high density category. Recent zoning decisions by the Council suggest a willingness to approve densities up to the maximum allowed, even in mixed use. The proposed changes would encourage that to continue, adding many thousands of condominiums.

Secondly, many of the other concepts discussed in the plan seem to suggest an endorsement of the concept of New Urbanism. The plan would dramatically alter the character of this area. Most residents relocated here because of a safe suburban environment, robust economy and outstanding schools. An urban environment with high density housing is not the will of the people who live, work and play in Alpharetta. That belief has recently been reinforced in my mind. I’ve observed very few speaking publicly in favor of high density (with the exception of those in the political or business community).

The 2030 plan begs this question… Is it the will of the City Council to create a high density, urban environment for Alpharetta? If the answer is yes then let’s have a frank discussion with the community on this very topic. If the answer is no then wholesale changes need to be made to this comprehensive plan.

Thanks for considering what I have to say. I invite you to join the conversation already taking place online. These issues are discussed not only on my blog but on several others both pro and con. I’d be happy to share links on your request. And I offer kudos to Councilman Kennedy for his past participation.

Sincerely,

S. Lee Guy
www.rootsinalpharetta.com
lee@rootsinalpharetta.com

Alpharetta Jobs – April 2011

Around the middle of each month I survey the career websites of Alpharetta’s largest employers. I count the number of openings and tally them up here, trending the numbers month to month.

We’ve eclipsed the 700 mark. Since creating this monthly column sixteen months ago, I’ve yet to see this many openings in Alpharetta. Equifax, McKesson, ADP, E-Trade and Red Prarrie all made modest increases in the number of openings posted to career sites. It all added up to 58 new jobs since this time last month.

700 seems like a lot of openings. Perhaps it is little consolation to someone with resumes out there and no call backs. I’d be interested to hear stories from those testing the Alpharetta job market. Leave me a comment or email at lee@rootsinalpharetta.com

Largest Employers in Alpharetta - April 2011

Company Number of Jobs
McKesson 88
LexisNexis/Choicepoint 55
ADP 70
E-Trade 38
Equifax 44
AT&T 12
Verizon 39
Radiant 28
HP 81
Alcatel-Lucent 1
UPS 19
Siemens 65
Traveler's 5
T-SYS 14
Total 559

Mid-Sized Employers in Alpharetta - April 2011

Company Number of Jobs
Research in Motion 26
Ciena 18
RedPrairie 24
Exide Technologies 10
Ryder 20
Phillips 10
Outcomes Health 0
New York Life 3
GXS/Inovis 5
Infor 11
Hanjin Shipping 3
Scientific Games 6
VeriFone 3
AIG 5
Farmer's Insurance 0
LaFarge 1
Crown Castle 1
Total 146

New/Closed Restaurants – April 2011

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

There’s a lot happening in Alpharetta’s restaurant scene. Let’s get right into it.

The Spot – Closed

I thought this mom and pop dive burger joint was underrated. Looks like they are gone. Can we officially declare Alpharetta’s burger craze over?

Mr. Taco – North Point

That’s MISTER to you, bucko! They are looking at a space in the Caribbean Fiesta shopping center, 4000 North Point Pkwy at the Old Milton intersection. That’s already a very crowded shopping center at lunch. I would imagine they are part of this metro Atlanta chain. Looks like lower end ubiquitous Mexican food.

Spice Brick Oven – North Point

Back in February I hinted at this restaurant. More is known now thanks to a post at 285foodies.com by chefmoss. This will be a tapas joint run by the same restaurant group behind Sage Woodfire Grill and North Point Diner. I was excited to hear that news. It’ll be a welcomed addition to Alpharetta’s culinary wasteland that is North Point by the mall. Will it have that swanky cougar bar feel that Sage has?

Sen Vietnamese – Closed

This was a small but beautiful restaurant near the Target on GA-141 in south Forsyth. Now follow along, this gets a bit crazy… They have closed and may soon be replaced by…

The Crab Trap – South Forsyth

Thanks to my wife for spotting this one. Looks like they will be taking up shop in Sen’s old place. I know nothing about them but have a sneaking suspicion they are the folks that were behind…

Shrimp Basket – Closed

No surprise about this place. They never even bothered making a real sign to hang on their restaurant. This little Milton eatery is gone. Nothing in this strip mall will do well. These guys have a history of opening little seafood joints that never last long. Just got a hunch that The Crab Trap is their next gig.

Zola Italian Bistro – Moving

Zola will move down the road a bit. They will take over the old River Tavern space at GA-9 and Bethany Bend. This spot has killed a lot of restaurants but I think Zola will thrive here. They have a operated in Milton (in a poor location) for many years and have a loyal following. I’ve only been there once. If I want Italian and I’m in this part of town, I’m hitting Casa Nuova. But Zola’s new digs might be worth another try.

Uncle Louie G’s Italian Ices – Johns Creek

I usually don’t talk about new froyo joints because I simply can’t keep up. I mention this place because it isn’t froyo. That fact alone excites me. They are in the small strip mall with Rosa Mia on Jones Bridge in Johns Creek. Looks like a franchise out of New York. All the Italian ice and ice cream is shipped in. They seem to tout that. I’m not sure why they can’t make it in house, but that’s fine. Flavored ice isn’t my thing so I tried the ice cream. Pretty good stuff! Very dense. They are worth a shot, especially if you’re a displaced and reloed New Yorker.

Restaurant Inspections – April 2011

I’m pleased to see so many journalists and blogs reporting on Fulton’s new restaurant inspection system. I see the AJC printing this stuff now in addition to most of the local Patch editors. This is a good thing.

At the same time, the rules for inspections have become much more stringent. The fact that this happened when inspections become more transparent makes life difficult for restaurant managers. I see a lot of places getting dinged for new infractions like not labeling food or storing food on the floor. A lot of clean restaurants are getting low scores. On April 8th Atlanta’s Flip Burger Boutique received a 69 grade, just a bit into the failed category.Certainly an embarrassment to celebrity chef Richard Blais (who just won Top Chef All Stars). They were graded down for things like dented cans (minus 9 points). I see nothing on their report that would indicate that the place is unsafe to eat.

Where do we go from here? I think it is important to read the full inspection and decide for yourself. Give some of these places the benefit of the doubt until they can fully digest the new rules. At the same time, there are some truly filthy restaurants out there.

I’m only covering restaurants that earned a U rating this time. On to my report!

Alpha Soda

11760 Haynes Bridge Road, Alpharetta

Grade: 52 – U on Feb 25, 2011

I almost wrote an entire post on this inspection. Then I remembered my pledge to not make any editorial comments and just post facts. So let me mention these facts about Alpha Soda before I print their failed inspection. Their inspection in February was the result of a complaint. They received a follow up inspection on March 3rd and scored a 91 – A. During that followup they were dinged for not having their 52 – U inspection posted. And the final fact… My family and I will never, ever eat at Alpha Soda again. Just the facts!

  • Onsite staff personnel was not able to answer food safety questions nor demonstrate knowledge on proper food safety.
  • Observed employee rinsing his hands under hot water-soap was not used.
  • Observed server placing bread directly into the bread basket from the hot drawer.
  • Observed cook touching meatloaf directly out of the warmer with his bare hands.
  • Observed green coke cup on the prep table without a lid and a straw.
  • Provide papertowels for the bar handsink.
  • Observed heavy black grease dripping from all 4 hood vents.
  • Observed ice machine with pink and black debris.
  • Coleslaw, cucumber tomatoe salad, tomatoes at the grill are all out of temperature
  • Observed dates missing from food items-deli meat, bacon, gyro meat, dressings, salad mixtures, raw beef, and porkchops.
  • Observed food labels missing from food located in WIC, WIF, and RICs.
  • Observed employee wiping his face and blowing nose with bottom his apron.
  • Observed wiping cloths on the counters (all surfaces).
  • Observed ice cream scoop in dirty standing water on the counter.
  • Observed single services items with debris in them.
  • Observed heavy debris hanging from storage racks in the WICs and WIF.
  • Plates sitting in front of the slad station with heavy debris inside.
  • Observed dirty dishes in 3 of the 4 compartments of the 4 compartment sink.
  • Observed all gaskets on all 3 units with heavy debris.
  • Observed an exposed floor drain pipe in the handicapped stall.
  • Observed debris under shelving and equipment in the WIC and kitchen area.
  • Observed baby roaches crawling on the prep table with cold items (carrot raisin salad, cole slaw)
  • Observed back door on the left side propped open with a rock.
  • Observed right side back door with visible light at the bottom of the door.

China Heaven

2880 Holcomb Bridge Rd, Alpharetta

Grade: 56 – U on April 6, 2011

  • There was no soap at the the hand washing sink. And the sink was inaccessible.
  • Food found in poor condition.
  • Raw foods stored next to RTE foods.
  • Food stored uncovered.
  • Provide sanitizing buckets for facility.
  • Improper date marking.
  • Improper labeling.
  • Lacking thermometers in cold holding units.
  • Improper wiping cloth storage. Repeat Violation.
  • Items stored with plastic protective sleeves.
  • Gaskets need to to replaced. Repeat Violation.
  • Poor cleaning.
  • Light needs to be replaced in dry storage area.

Lobster House

10890 Haynes Bridge Road, Alpharetta

Grade: 61 – U on February 11, 2011 (they received a followup inspection and scored a 99-A)

  • Observed food stored in container with the button touching the food
    with protection.
  • Observed uncovered food in holding unit/dry storage area.
  • Observed buildup of slime in the interior of ice machine.
  • Potentially hazardous food not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
  • No consistant date marking procedure.
  • Establishment not maintaining shellstock tags for 90 days.
  • No conspicuously located thermometer in holding unit.
  • Wet wiping cloth not stored in sanitizing solution between uses.
  • No Heimlich maneuver sign posted.
  • Areas that previously required the posting of a smoking sign have not posted a smoking not permitted sign.
  • Observed single-service articles stored without protection from contamination.
  • Observed equipment in poor repair.
  • Observed accumulation of debris in warewashing machine and associated equipment.
  • Observed soiled reach-in cooler gaskets.
  • Ventilation inadequate as evidenced by excessive steam, vapors in kitchen.

Chic-Fil-A

6085 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta

Grade: 63 – U on March 23, 2011 (they received a followup inspection and scored a 97 – A)

  • Handsinks were missing hand drying provisions.
  • Uncovered food items.
  • Tomatoes out of temp.
  • Food items were consistently found without dates.
  • Chemical concentrations for sanitizer in both sink & buckets were to low.
  • Cold holding units didn’t have individual thermometers. Repeat Violation.
  • Mold. Repeat Violation.
  • Provide scoops
  • Utensils were being stored under contamination.
  • Contamination
  • Observed torn walk-in cooler gaskets. Repeat Violation.
  • Personal items in food prep area.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital

6325 West Johns Creek Crossing, Johns Creek

Grade: 73 – C on March 25, 2011 (they received a followup inspection and scored a 96 – A)

I said I would only include those earning U ratings. Oops. Some might want to hold hospitals to higher standards.

  • Hands not properly cleaned before putting on gloves.
  • Bare hand food contact for RTE foods.
  • Not accessible
  • Mold found in soda dispensers.
  • improper sanitizer usage.
  • Improper storage Repeat Violation.
  • Improper test strips.
  • Unclean single-use container holders.
  • Personal items in food areas.

I’m Just Weird

I’ve been paying attention recently. I’m listening to experts talk about what people in this community want. I’m reading and listening to planners, consultants, bloggers, politicians and business leaders. I’ve commented on it ad nauseum both here and on other forums. After letting it all sink in for a while I’ve come to this realization… I’m just weird. I thought I was just like tens of thousands of other relos who came here. Not true. Here’s the crazy and weird stuff I like.

My House

I like my house. It’s a single family home that is probably of typical size and value for this area. I like the lot my house sits on; it’s a little shy of a half acre. I like feeling the soft Bermuda grass between my toes. I like playing catch with my kids in the backyard. Weird.

My Cul-De-Sac

I like it too. I like the other families that live in our little curve. My kids like riding their scooters and skates here with little fear of getting hit by a car. Strange.

Diversity

Yes, we have it here and I like it. Within a block of my home are Dutch, Nigerian, Indian, Chinese, Africian-American, and Cuban families. Yes diversity exists here contrary to what you might believe. I like that.

My Car

I love my car, not that it is nice or anything. I drive an eight year old Toyota with one missing hubcap. It’s a piece of crap really. No, what I really like is the freedom my car brings. It can take me anywhere in almost all forms of weather. I don’t have to rely on others for my transportation or wait for it to arrive. My car’s purchase and operating costs were not subsidized by taxpayers with borrowed money. It travels on roads, a form of infrastructure that is far cheaper to build and maintain over rail.

I love my car, a lot. This makes me very strange indeed. In fact I love my car so much that I don’t own a bicycle, horse, golf cart or any other alternate mode of transportation. Crazy? Certifiably.

My Suburb

I love this place. I like the fact that Alpharetta is safe and free from nearly all forms of violent crime. I like the high caliber of schools here. My family will thrive here and I don’t take that for granted. I would much rather live in a suburb versus an urban environment. I could have four eyes but that wouldn’t be as strange as this.

Sprawl

Yes, for lack of a better word, I like sprawl. *gasp!* I like lower to medium density development and big, wide roads. You could call me pro-traffic if you want, but you wouldn’t be the first to do so.

I love the choices I have for restaurants and retail. And yes, I even like big-box retailers like Walmart, Target, Fry’s and Home Depot. Would it be nice to walk to stores? Sure but I’d never have the choices available that I have now. There are enough restaurants close to my Windward office that I could eat at a different one each day for months. I love choice and I love freedom. This perhaps is my strangest trait of all.

So there you have it. I thought I was just like everyone in Alpharetta. I know better now.

Zafraan Hyderabadi Indian Restaurant – South Forsyth

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

File this review under “taking one for the team.” I was flying blind going into Zafraan for lunch this week. I knew this place had opened just from driving by, however there is absolutely nothing written about them at this point. Urbanspoon? Yelp? City Search? Nada. Sure, they have a website… two actually with slightly different spellings of the name (www.zafraan.us and www.zaffraan.com). As of right now both sites have nothing but a logo. To make matters worse, their address (on a side street of 141) makes finding them tough.

But the good little food grubber in me had to try this place. I nearly turned around when I noticed no one in the parking lot yet still proceeded in with a lot of trepidation. Inside you’ll find a no-frills restaurant. Absent is the buffet line, something I’m accustomed to seeing at Indian restaurants for lunch. Also gone is any sort of decor, save one television playing Bollywood music videos.

I got practically no welcome from the staff as I approached the counter to order. Friendly and inviting? Not here. I was handed a menu to look through and recognized a few familiar dishes. I ended up putting it down when I discovered a specials board. They have three lunch specials descriptively named … chicken lunch, veg lunch and mutton lunch. One of these was removed from contention immediately (can you guess?). I settled on the chicken lunch and paid my $9.

The lunch specials come out on a tray holding an array of paper plates. The first thing that catches your attention is an enormous piece of buttered naan. It was a little more crispy than I’m used to but it was still amazing. Fresh hot naan is something most Indian buffets don’t do well.

Also on the special is a big portion of biryani rice. I couldn’t come close to finishing it all. Next to it was a chicken dish that came fried. I don’t recall the name, perhaps it was chicken 65. I found it to be greasy. The rest of the tray was various appetizers and other unidentifiable gooey stuff that my unsophisticated Indian palate couldn’t make sense of. A lot of it served as a delicious dip for pieces of buttered naan. Very good stuff.

I could identify dessert. It was a single gulab jamun swimming in syrup. I wasn’t impressed with the texture of this dish, which is by far my favorite Indian sweet. But overall lunch at Zafraan exceeded my expectations. The portions were huge and the flavors and spice powerful.

It’s clear that Zafraan isn’t targeting the lunch cubicle crowd. I’m guessing their modus operandi is to serve the growing Indian community and spread by word of mouth. If you’re looking for a authentic Indian experience and don’t expect frills or friendly service, Zafraan is your place.

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