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Best bites: Gallery Espresso, Hirano's, IHOP
The BLT at Gallery Espresso

Gallery Espresso

Man, what a crazy week! Too many times last week I ate on the go -- a fast food drive-thru, a sandwich, nothing. Still, I had some catching up to do with Chef Chris Nason of Sapphire Grill -- and I managed to get in a little early at our meeting place to catch a light lunch. This popular downtown coffee shop, art gallery and gathering place also serves some delicious desserts (some gluten free) and an elegant fruit and cheese platter. I opted for a comfort food lunch of the cafe's wonderfully fresh and tasty BLT. The bacon is reheated -- but hey, what's NOT good about bacon in any form? Add on perfectly fresh lettuce, nicely acidic tomato, a little mayo and spongy soft wheat bread - yum! An icy cola left me braced against the heat; a single espresso refueled by batteries.

234 Bull St.



This Ardsley Park landmark is as much a neighborhood diner as it is a Japanese Teppanyaki joint. After trolling the aisles of Habersham Beverage for new craft beers, I slipped in at 1:30 one day for a quick lunch -- and barely found a seat! Seriously, this is not remarkable food -- but it's filling, hot, fresh and satisfying --and sometimes that all it has to be. Never, dear reader, confuse popularity with quality -- often the experience or the convenience is the price we pay for a meal. I stuck with my reliable meal -- teriyaki chicken. The accompanying lettuce salad with ginger dressing is always swimming in water -- but still adds a refreshing intro to the main course. The portions are always generous and the service attentive. My dish was souped up with a shot of soy sauce - -and on this visit I was impressed with the freshness of the sautéed veggies -- squash, onion, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts. The chicken is nicely seasoned, the fried rice filling and well prepared. Above all -- lunch with iced tea is a bargain at less than $10 -- including tip.

4426 Habersham St.



This enduring American chain restaurant has a new location on Victory Drive -- directly in front of the Connect Savannah office. Remember what I said about convenience and a crazy week? I met Ms. TJ there one night for a late supper on the way home. The food is predictable but sound; good tasting but not remarkable. I go old school -- Two x Two x Two. That's two eggs anyway you want 'em (scramble please), two buttermilk pancakes (carb loading on the franchise's flagship) and two pieces of bacon or two sausage patties (bacon, see BLT above for my reasoning). The dinner was serviceable, the service outstanding, the coffee hot and the companionship wonderful. What was not wonderful was the couple in the adjoining booth, two police officers. One stayed on the cell phone the entire meal using her outside voice. I now know far more about a domestic issue than I ever dreamed I would learn over dinner.

1800 E. Victory Dr.