Lately at Lunch with Lauren: Hopstix • Budi’s Sushi Two-Go • Sesame Chicken • Pancakes • Mushrooms • Citrus

by Lauren Townsend for The Aha! Connection

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I know I’ve written about Hopstix in Chamblee before, but it was at the top of my mom’s list of places to eat. The calamari and robata grill is always delicious but everyone loves the basil fried rice (we always get at least one) and today I tried miso clam soup that was my perfect comfort food. Also, tried their beer and the kungfu hops ipa is my new fav. They open at 11:30 and offer outdoor dining.

Y’all. My mom and I had the ocean pyramid at Budi’s Sushi Two-Go today. I can’t even explain how delicious it is. Definitely a little spice kick and so, so good! Also had the calamari today and it’s a new family favorite.

Sesame chicken is a great way to make use of chicken nugget leftovers. I fried a bunch yesterday bc I didn’t want the chicken to go bad. Today, I flashed them in the oven to crisp them back up while I made the sauce: 1/4 c honey, 1/3 c soy sauce, 1/2 c ketchup, 3 tbl brown sugar, 2 tbl rice vinegar, 1 tbl sesame oil, 2 tsp cornstarch, 3 cloves of garlic. Chop and saute the garlic and then add the rest. Keep at a low simmer until it’s nice and thick. You’ll have to keep stirring bc is can go south quick. Then toss the crispy chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. My husband said it was better than a restaurant.

I don’t really like pancakes. They are usually dry or soggy or both and just like, not for me. Our house is divided on this opinion. Then, my husband found this Aretha Frankensteins Pancakes mix at Publix. I will claim, with no uncertainty, that this is the best pancake mix ever. Now, you aren’t going to throw some water in here and call it a day. This mix requires buttermilk, an egg and some oil, and if you live here, a bunch of chocolate chips, but totally worth it.

Mmmmmm mushrooms 🍄 I can eat this as a meal. A mix of baby portabellas, shitake and oyster mushrooms, sauteed with garlic, butter and Worcestershire. This mushroom medley is perfect for pasta, but I love it with Boursin on toast.

Citrus is in peak season and I love adding it to fish dishes. For this salmon, I brush the salmon with a mix of oil, fresh citrus juice and brown sugar. Then a little sprinkle of salt and sliced blood orange. I put it under the broiler for 6 – 8 minutes, until I see the albumin (the white protein). I made a salsa out of blood oranges, cara cara oranges, shallots, cilantro and salt.