Week 5! La Casa Vieja (the Old House) and that it was!
When we began our little food foray, I didn’t realize just how much we would bounce around the world. Very exciting! Let me give a quick review of all the countries we have visited…Mexico, Korea, Vietnam, China and now Columbia! What fun? I am befuddled by why they won’t update my passport with these stamps, but whatever! It still is just a couple of miles from our Dunwoody doorsteps! What a diverse perk!
Casa Vieja would not necessarily have been my pick for the day except for the fact that so many AHA readers are in tune with 90 + health ratings and Casa Vieja was a ringer with a score of 90. There are numerous restaurants recommended by readers as “amazing”, but when I looked up the health rating, they were below your high demands. Can’t say we won’t venture down that road though….just know I will give you a heads up.
With that being said, I am so glad we gave Casa Vieja a try! It is a slight step off of BH so it didn’t originally hit my radar. We pulled up to an older, but charming and inviting restaurant front situated in an almost all Colombian “themed” strip shopping center. As a point of reference it is next to Hip Sing Plaza that gives you a “stick to memory” name. Casa Vieja is a “come in and seat yourself” type of restaurant, so we did just that…. amongst an almost entirely Spanish speaking group of patrons. Good sign!
Not knowing what to order, we relied on our Colombian waitress, Ana, to make some recommendations. The lunch menu was fairly small which made it easier to choose. For beverages, we started out with aquapanel con limon (sugar cane juice with lime) and popular kola (yes the k is correct) named Colombiana. I liked my fairly bland and refreshing sugar cane juice but the Colombiana Kola was just too sweet for Mrs. AHA. In an effort to be like the locals, we asked what the table of chicos Colombianos behind us were drinking. The answer was a pitcher of Bud Light mixed with Colombiana Kola. We decided to try it….although only a few sips were needed to realize that the sweet Kola wasn’t really necessary. We like our cerveza plain! On our way out, we picked up a few cans of Colombiana (sans beer) at the market next door so that we could get feedback from our young ‘uns. We polled Alaina (13) and her two soccer teammates also age 13. Alaina said it was good for a couple of sips, then way too sweet. Ayla noted that it is a fruitier, fizzier coke. Becca said it would be particularly good if you wanted to win a burping contest! Walt (13 also) said it was “SOLID”, which apparently means good. Love those teenage comments!
Here’s what we dined on…
We ordered three of the four available appetizers. Pork Empanadas ($1.50), Arepa con chicarron ($2.00) and Orden de patacon ($2.25). Great prices, but not a lot of food… and that was fine by us because we wanted to taste it all! Ana brought an assortment of sauces to complement our apps, with our favorite being the green, cilantro based sauce that was on the table upon arrival. The hot sauce wasn’t remarkably hot and the Rosado sauce reminded us of thousand island dressing. All were tasty.
We really enjoyed the empanadas! I liked the patacon (green plantains that were pounded thinly and fried) but Audra thought they were just so-so. The arepa didn’t have any flavor and that might be how they are supposed to be, but wasn’t worth our stomach space. The chicarron was interesting and tasty. It is a fried pork rind that is shaped like the wedge they put between your toes while drying when you get a pedicure. I’m sure that description really doesn’t make your mouth water,
But I pinky promise that the chicarron is definitely worth a try.
The shrimp cocktail was tomato based and served in a large glass with chunks of avocado, lime, and cilantro. Although very fresh and good, we were both somewhat disappointed that it was more sweet than it was tangy and spicy which we both prefer. It’s definitely worth an order if you lean towards flavors on the sweet side. We added generous amounts of hot sauce that is more to our taste, and couldn’t use restraint in getting more large spoonful’s of the plump shrimp concoction. The Tacos de Bistec ($5.50 for three steak tacos) were double wrapped in fresh corn tortillas and were muy, muy bueno….translated as DELISH! Our main entrée was mini Bandeja ($8.95) that consisted of a perfectly cooked generous piece of skirt steak, white rice, beans and avocado. That is a traditional dish that you don’t want to miss!
Although thoroughly stuffed, we couldn’t resist trying the Tres Leche cake. Amazing! It was perfectly rich and moist which explained why it was served in a bowl.
If you get a chance to try Casa Vieja, it’s worth strolling down a few doors to La Sultana Panaderia for homemade Colombian pastries. Upon opening the door we both remarked that La Sultana smells like how a real bakery should smell. We chose an assortment of goodies for our families to enjoy. Ironically, compared to the cuisine at Casa Vieja and the unexpected hints of sweetness, the pastries were surprisingly less sweet than so many traditional American pastries. Go figure!
I have been consistently intrigued by how much I don’t know about how other nationality’s foods should taste, which makes them hard to rate. Audra and I both agree that regardless, we like what we like, and that we will pass on to y’all!
Our Casa Vieja bill after all that food was only $35 before tax and tip! What a deal!
All in all, Casa Vieja was a fun find and we give it a solid 3 rating.
Health Rating: 90
3652 Shallowford Road
Doraville (practically across the street from the Doraville Marta Station)
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Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement. The owners of Casa Vieja are unaware of this article at time of publication.