Friday, October 26, 2007

All the chili you can eat in Cabbagetown

Posted by on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 5:18 PM

This just in:

The 5th annual Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-Off and Bluegrass Festival will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Cabbagetown Park at the corner of Tye Street and Kirkwood Avenue. We'll have more than 50 different individual teams and restaurants vying to be proclaimed the best chili cooks in their respective categories.

Cost to the public is $5 for all-you-can-eat chili. The music stage will feature such acts as Slim Chance and the Convicts, National Grain, The Bouldercrest Singing Group and many more. There will be an artists market and vendors serving food for those who choose not to partake of the chili. Sweetwater beer will be on tap.

The festival will officially open at noon when the chili serving begins. The festival officially ends at 6 p.m. but the music won't end until 8 or 9 p.m.

The Romp & Stomp 5k is entering its second year and will start that morning at 8 a.m. The route runs through Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown. The entry fee is $20 and the price includes a commemorative t-shirt.

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School yourself

Posted by on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 3:22 PM

If you've ever wanted to take a wine class but never got around to it, today's your lucky day. I have a $20 gift card to the Atlanta Wine School, and I'm giving it away to the first person who e-mails me at besha.rodell@creativeloafing.com. Just put Wine School in the subject line. To see a list of its classes, go to www.atlantawineschool.com.

Update, Friday 11:58 a.m.: Brittany is the lucky winner! But keep checking back, I will be giving away more schwag on the blog from time to time.

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Rain opens in South of France space

Posted by on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 3:12 PM

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I checked out the new Rain (2345 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-325-6963) this week. Located in the former South of France space, Rain calls itself an "Asian fusion" restaurant. I didn't find it very "fusion" in the usual sense that dishes blend styles and ingredients of different cultures. Basically, the menu is Thai and Japanese with an emphasis on sushi.

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The standout dish was the chef's special, called "Four Seasons" (top photo) -- hamachi, spicy tuna, conch, and lobster salad -- clear, fresh flavors with interesting garnishes. I also enjoyed the "crazy roll" (above), a salmon-skin roll with eel and avocado.

I'm including a shot of my entree (left) as an example of how not to present a dish. This, as far as I could tell, was the only true fusion dish on the menu -- a soft-shell crab with a sauce filled with larblike minced chicken, veggies and Indian-style curry seasonings. The crab itself was fine, but the sauce was truly an exercise in excess.

More in next week's paper.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lunch at Trois

Posted by on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 7:36 PM

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I'm sure I'm the last foodie in Atlanta to make it to Trois (1180 Peachtree St., 404-815-3337). It's one of those cases where everybody else reviewed it so thoroughly and positively that I kept putting off going. But I finally made it there for lunch Monday with my friend Jeff.

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There's no doubt about it: The restaurant deserves description as one of the city's best. It's not often that I rave about a salad, but this watercress salad (top photo) was amazing, made with roasted piquillos and socca (little rectangles of fried chickpea flour you find everywhere in Provence), served with a light, herbal dressing. Like much good food, it immediately set me to daydreaming, remembering my aunt, who used to grow watercress on the banks of the stream that ran through her yard outside Philadelphia. Yep, we used to eat little watercress sandwiches on white bread with the crust removed -- just like Mr. Drysdale's wife on the "Beverly Hillbillies."

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Jeff had French onion soup and, for an entree, perfect roasted chicken (left). My own entree was beef bourguignon -- small chunks of beef with bacon and noodles (above right). The diet plate. Not. I couldn't eat but half of it, since I was determined to have dessert -- cheesecake sorbet with mango chutney, pineapple gelee and coconut crumble (above left). Jeff had a lemon tart with a blueberry creme fraiche sorbet.

I could hardly move after eating so much. It ain't cheap, about $57 for two with no alcohol. Of course, you don't have to eat three courses in the middle of the day. The menu here changes daily, by the way.

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The dead can dine

Posted by on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 7:20 PM

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Rosa Mexicano will have a Day of the Dead celebration with a Oaxacan tasting menu Nov. 1-4.

Here's the lineup:

Pan de Muerto con Chocolate con Leche – Day of the Dead bread with a small cup of Mexican hot chocolate

Crema de Chayote – Cream of chayote soup

Tamales de Frijol con Calabaza en Dulce – Sweet squash tamal filled with spicy black bean puree

Chuleta de Puerco con Enchiladas Oaxaqueñas – Center cut pork chop served with traditional Oaxacan cheese enchiladas, topped with Coloradito mole

Pollo con Mole Negro Oaxaqueño – Half chicken served in a classic mole Negro, served with a traditional Oaxacan style rice with sweet plantains, mint and onion

“Crème Brûlée” de Calabaza y Piloncillo – Pumpkin-piloncillo crème brûlée served with Mexican chocolate sauce

Cost is a bargain at $35. Call 404-347-4090 for reservations. Specials will also be available Nov. 2 at lunchtime.

(graphic of blogging skeleton from Oakland Goods)

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Chicken: less gas, more climate-friendly

Posted by on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 5:06 PM

There was an interesting article Monday on Salon.com about vegetarianism and climate change. According to the article, in terms of preventing global warming, vegetarian diets are not always the best. Recently, the attention-loving folks at PETA lambasted Al Gore for his carnivorous ways outside an October lecture he gave on climate change. The group displayed a billboard featuring Gore with chicken drumstick in hand reading "Too Chicken to Become a Vegetarian?" followed by "Meat is the #1 Cause of Global Warming."

Which is false. As the article states, "The No. 1 cause of global warming is burning fossil fuels for electric power. Still ... a November 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report found that livestock accounts for 18 percent of global-warming emissions worldwide, more than the entire transportation sector." Our diets are contributing to the warming of the planet in more ways than one, but as it turns out, eating chicken is an excellent choice for carnivores who care about the environment.

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Livestock is a large cause of major environmental issues, the worst of which is global warming, mainly due to clearing forests to feed crops and pastures. The trees cut down will no longer take in carbon dioxide; instead they are burned, releasing more carbon dioxide.

(Photo by Eric L. Carlson)

Continue reading »

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CL needs your help, fast

Posted by on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Have you recently or persistently suffered discrimination because of your appearance?

Do you think people treat you badly because of the way you look, dress or groom yourself?

Are you an experienced restaurant or bar server passed up for jobs at trendy restaurants because you don't look like a model?

If so, give me a call at 404-614-1888 or e-mail me at andisheh@creativeloafing.com. I'm working on a story for which you might be able to help.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Eating cheap

Posted by on Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 3:50 PM

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Who says you can't eat well and inexpensively in Atlanta?

Saturday was a beautiful day. My friend Jeff was in town from Florida for the weekend and we brunched on the patio at Eclipse di Sol (640 N. Highland Ave., 404-724-0711). Both of us had salads — flank steak with roasted tomatoes and crispy, browned onions for me (right).

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Jeff had a Cobb salad and we shared a couple of biscuits.

It's good to see Eclipse doing so well. Multiple restaurants have failed in the location since longtime tenant Cafe Diem moved to Midtown Promenade. The evening menu of inexpensive entrees, small plates and sandwiches attracts a very mixed crowd.

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Later Saturday, Wayne and I went to Grant Central Pizza (451 Cherokee Ave., 404-523-8900), which is just three blocks from our house. The place was packed with children in Halloween costumes who had attended an event at nearby Zoo Atlanta. Above are two grown-up ghouls who apparently gave birth to Superman. Check out that hair on the caped superhero.

Grant Central continues to surprise me with its nightly specials. Saturday night, I had a bowl of fat, juicy mussels over angel hair pasta with a spicy puttanesca sauce full of kalamata olives and capers (above). It was quite a bargain at $11.

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Vegetarian Restaurant Week

Posted by on Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 2:46 PM

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October is national Vegetarian Awareness Month and this week is Vegetarian Restaurant Week in Atlanta (Oct. 21-27). Participating restaurants are offering discounted dinners and juices. Among the participants are Cenci, Dynamic Dish, Jazzy Juice, Juices Wild, Living Foods Delights, Sid's Gourmet Vegetarian, Mutana Marketplace, Vegetarian Paradise, Return to Royalty Juice Bar and Soul Vegetarian. For more information, consult the event's website here.

(Graphic from www.erickahamburg.com/illustrations/)

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Is a picky eater making your life miserable?

Posted by on Fri, Oct 19, 2007 at 9:00 PM

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Do you have children who are picky eaters? Are you a picky eater yourself?

Have you ever stopped to wonder how you became one of those people who won't eat chicken or fish "because of all the bones," like one of my friends? Or maybe you will only eat red meat -- no vegetables, no nothing else -- like another friend. Over the years, I've taken many friends to exotic restaurants, only to watch them order a bowl of lettuce or refuse to eat anything "spicy." And then there was my brother, who refused to eat rice when he was growing up and broke into tears at Thanksgiving meals.

It's been long presumed that people become picky eaters because of some environmental factor. But a new study, reported in a recent edition of the New York Times, finds that the problem is 78 percent genetic and 22 percent environmental. There's method to the picky madness:

Most children eat a wide variety of foods until they are around 2, when they suddenly stop. The phase can last until the child is 4 or 5. It’s an evolutionary response, researchers believe. Toddlers’ taste buds shut down at about the time they start walking, giving them more control over what they eat. “If we just went running out of the cave as little cave babies and stuck anything in our mouths, that would have been potentially very dangerous,” Dr. Cooke said.

A natural skepticism of new foods is a healthy part of a child’s development, said Ellyn Satter, a child nutrition expert whose books, including Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense (Bull Publishing, 2000), have developed a cult following among parents of picky eaters.

Each child has a unique set of likes and dislikes that Ms. Satter believes are genetically determined. The only way children discover what they are is by putting food in their mouths and taking it out over and over again, she said.

“Of course, it’s hard when children are just so blasé about food or refuse it, especially for parents who spend a lot of time thinking about it and preparing it,” she said.

Unfortunately, the article says nothing about why some children grow up to become picky adults while most outgrow the problem.

(Painting of "The Picky Eater" by "Claude Moanet" from DearAuntNettie.com. That green stuff is spinach.)

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