Created by Chef Richard Blais (also advising Executive Chef to Fip Burger Boutique concept), The Spence, is in partnership to Concentrics Restaurants and is an eatery that is unique and tailors to the diversity and culture of the surrounding community.
My first experience to taste The Spence’s food was at the Taste of Atlanta in October in 2013. I enjoyed the chocolate mouse with the whipped cream and crumbled brittle at the festival that I was intrigued enough to take a closer look into the restaurant and make a visit for lunch.
I was greeted by wonderfully friendly staff and a very personable and humorous waiter. I chose to have a simple ‘little lunch special’ entree, which is a small soup, salad, and sandwich from their lunch menu. As I waited for my meal, I could not help but notice all of the great details of this place. From the mason jar glasses and the manila folder menus to the rustic textured curtains and sinc and pine framed tabletops, every bit of the restaurant had a repurposed feel of a tool shop merged with art studio and kitchen. And the common theme among all these places The Spence reminds me of are where creativity and presentation are key to creating great masterpieces.
My ‘little lunch special’ was pre-arranged by the chef so I did not know what I was expecting. It was a tomato bisque with chopped cherry tomatoes and homemade croutons, a pimento cheese panini with smoked ham and pickles, and a fresh mixed green salad with a light oil based dressing, all presented on a treated block of wood as its plate. Every bite was full of flavor. I started with the soup which was creamy and a smooth consistency, but to bit into the halved cherry tomoatos and the croutons gave an extra crisp and crunch that was a nice contrast. The panini was a great combination of flavor, especially since the smoked ham gave the pimento cheese the added saltiness. And of course the mixed greens was a fresh and balanced addition to the meal. I also could not resist ordering the warm chocolate cake with honey ice cream garnished with a brittle. It was my favorite way to do dessert: warm and cold, soft and crunchy... great contrasts and flavors!
Very reasonably priced under $15 for lunch, personable staff, unique presentations of food and plating, creative atmosphere.
The Spence gets a 6 diamond rating out of 7 possible diamonds! Bon Appetite!
Nutrient composition Tomatoes are 93 to 95% water. Half the dry matter is reducing sugars, with slightly more fructose than glucose tomatoes also contain citric, malic and dicarboxylic amino acids, lipids, minerals and alcohol-insoluble solids (AIS), which include cellulose, hemicellulose, pectic substances and proteins.
The sugar content of tomato fruit is closely associated with its soluble solids content. The sugars and acids are responsible for the taste of fresh tomatoes and play an important role in determining the overall sensory quality of tomatoes. Total solids and total sugars have been reported to increase progressively from the green to red stages of ripening and the balance between glucose and fructose shifts from about 2:1 in immature fruit to a predominance of fructose at maturity. In immature green fruit, malic acid is the predominant form, while citric acid contributes about 25% of the total acidity. However, the citric acid concentrations increase with the ripening of the fruit resulting in 45 and 66% of the total acidity in mature fruit. High sugars and relatively high acids are required for best flavour development. High acids and low sugars will produce a tart tomato, while high sugars and low acids will result in bland taste. When both sugars and acids are low, the result is a tasteless, insipid tomato.
Health benefits of tomato and tomato products
Antioxidant functions of lycopene, phenolic compounds, and ascorbic acid are associated with reducing DNA damage, malignant transformation and biological oxidative damage of proteins, lipids, and other cell components in vitro (Shi and Le Maguer, 2000). Many tissue culture studies and animal studies have also shown that lycopene helps to inhibit tumour formation (Rao and Agarwal, 1999). The interest in tomato antioxidants and their potential protective role in prevention of chronic diseases stems largely from the epidemiological observations on normal and at risk populations (Rao and Agarwal, 1999). Many epidemiological studies have suggested that a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables results in a lower risk of cancer and other chronic diseases (Steinmetz and Potter, 1996; World Cancer Research Fund, 1997; Lister, 2003). Based on consumption of more than 10 servings of tomato products per week, an almost 35% reduction in risk of prostate cancer has been observed and the protective effect was even stronger when the analysis was focused on more advanced or aggressive prostate cancer (Giovannucci, 1999). Oxidatively modified low-density lipoproteins have been reported to be involved in heart diseases (atherosclerosis) (Rao and Agarwal, 1999). Dietary antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids may protect low-density lipoproteins from oxidative damage and may, thus, contribute to reducing the risk of heart diseases.