Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.
Baklava at Pita King
Based on a reader tip, we picked up the baklava at Pita King on Franklin. It joins our trinity of favorites along with Filfillah and Gyropolis. Super crispy layers, wonderful walnut-y body, just the right intensity of sweetness.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an Instagram post by James Norton]
Red Wagon Pizza at Red Wagon Pizza
Red Wagon Pizza’s self-titled pie is absolutely perfect. Salty soppressata; meaty sausage chunks; briny pickled pepper; thin, crispy, and sturdy crust; a trace amount of sweet balsamic glaze — all in symphonic balance with one another. There’s a ton of interesting other pizzas on the menu so bring enough people to try a couple of those (they do splits), but it would be regrettable to skip this one.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Ted Held]
Aguachile at Octo Fishbar
The marlin in this cevichelike dish was exquisitely fresh and flavorful, and with just a dip in the bright citrus vinaigrette, it was in no danger of being “overcooked.” Charred habanero provided sultry heat, while bits of cucumber and avocado slices kept things cool. It was a delicious summer dish made all the more welcome in the dead of a landlocked winter.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by Joshua Page]
Noodle Salad with Egg Rolls at iPho by Saigon
Complex-yet-balanced flavor profiles are the hallmark of much Southeast Asian cuisine, and the bun (noodle salad) with egg rolls and pork at iPho by Saigon is no exception: It’s a mix of salty, crunchy, chewy, earthy, bright, and — as you burrow through the layers of pork bits and noodles and hit the lettuce that supports the strata above — remarkably refreshing. iPho’s our go-to for lunch, and every time we branch out (as we did with this dish), we’re rewarded with a new twist on a beloved formula.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #3 | Submitted by James Norton]
Tacos at La Alborada
We tried three tacos at La Alborada on East Lake Street — cabeza (beef head), longaniza (spicy sausage), and asada (steak). The asada was exemplary, packing an incredible amount of umami-rich, steaky punch into each tender little cube of meat. The cabeza was mellower than the asada, and richer, with a streak of fatty intensity to it. We’d expected the longaniza to be a one-for-one with chorizo, but it was more complicated than that. There was a cinnamonlike spicy depth that was both surprising and enjoyable. All the accoutrements (hot sauces, lime slices, grilled onions) were right, and the tacos rank among the most enjoyable we’ve tried. And we’ve tried … a lot of tacos.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted from an Instagram post previewing a future East Lake Checklist by James Norton]