We went to see I'm Not There, the Bob Dylan (sort-of) biopic by Todd Haynes Saturday night, and we ducked into Apres Diem afterward for a light dinner. This in itself was an accomplishment. On Thanksgiving, we went to see No Country for Old Men, with the plan of hitting a Chinese restaurant on Buford Highway afterward to honor the Pilgrims. The violence of the film so nauseated me, I couldn't think about eating. The Coen Brothers ruined my Thanksgiving!
I still enjoy Apres Diem, but I'm tired of suckering myself into ordering the Salade Nicoise (above). I know the restaurant thinks it's doing us all a favor by using a chunk of tuna instead of the canned stuff. Despite the server's insistence that the tuna is ahi-grade, I once again found the stuff repulsively stringy and tasteless. Could it have been ... frozen?
I've complained about this about 50 times, and I'm obviously in a minority. But I'll take the salad made with high-quality canned tuna any day, as it's always been made at Anis, for one example.
I love everything else about Apres Diem, from the ambiance and the hottest servers in the city to the pastas and entree specials. But as God is my witness, I'll never eat the Salade Nicoise again.
Slugs slouching toward Bethlehem? Planet of the chalky lakes? Nope, it's my favorite pizza at Fritti, the Napoli, made with bufala mozzarella, salted anchovies, capers and wild oregano.
This particular pizza is one of eight made with a special flour and certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. The crust is somewhat billowy compared to the restaurant's other pizzas. That's not to say that the "traditional" one topped with Gorgonzola and pineapple and drizzled with balsamic vinegar we shared Friday night wasn't good, too.
The starter I find irresistible here is the mound of cremini and portobello mushrooms fried in rice-flour batter with truffle oil -- hot, fragrant and luscious. We also ordered a plate of bresaola with celery and Parmigiano with lemon.
Fritti, like its sister next door, Sotto Sotto, is among my favorite comfort restaurants, where I can consume 2 zillion calories and know each and every one will be delicious.
On the very remote possibility that you don't know the best food site on the Net, featuring its very own language, you need to check out ICanHasCheezBurger.com. Click here to see one of my recent favorites.
Joe Williams writes to recommend Midtown Tavern (554 Piedmont Ave., 404-541-1372):
I have been patronizing this establishment for about 1 year and have come to realize only recently just how good the food really is. Chris is the person responsible for the creation of the menu as well as preparation.
You can check out the menu, which includes an ostrich burger, on the website here.
Patrick Greco recommends the new Logan Farms in Alpharetta (5530 Windward Parkway, 770-442-1723). This franchise that competes with HoneyBaked Hams sells various roasted meats but also includes a market cafe. Because owners of Logan Farms are Cajun, there are some unusual specialties.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is holding a fundraising event, "Wordfeast: Food for the Body and Soul," at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points.
Here's the lineup from press materials:
The evening features the talent of August House author, storyteller, actor and comedian Rob Cleveland; novelist, filmmaker, and founder of DownSouth Press Tina McElroy Ansa; storyteller and internationally known children's book author Carmen Deedy; playwright, novelist and Senior Writer in Residence in the Creative Writing Program at Emory University Jim Grimsley; poet and playwright Robert Earl Price; widely produced and popular Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer; actor, director, former Acting Teacher for the Alliance Theatre Professional Intern Company and Resident Artist for Theater Emory Brenda Bynum; actor and Executive Artistic Director of Atlanta's Theatrical Outfit Tom Key; actor, playwright and host of The Morning Show on AM 1690 The Voice of the Arts in Atlanta Larry Larson; educator, writer, actor, and director Carol Mitchell-Leon; Atlanta-born artist, activist and saxophonist Eugene H. Russell IV; and more. A reception, meet and greet, and book signing, sponsored by Caribou Coffee and Charis Books and More, concludes the evening. All proceeds benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
This is the old "Writers in Concert" event that has been on hiatus a few years.
This distressing news is from Bill Herring:
Did you know that Fuzzy's, good bar, plus good music hall, plus good Cajun restaurant, was abruptly closed by its owner about two weeks ago, leaving 20-some good workers without paychecks or tips, and a lot of other good people without their own favored nourishment?
Something has been brewing since Fuzzy himself died a year ago and his brother inherited the place. The AJC had an item about the closing and a follow-up about a benefit rally last Sunday, but no one has issued an explanation or a statement, or announced any plans for reopening.
I've been unable to get the scoop, but I know quite a few people who liked to eat and drink there who are bummed out.
The San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company is opening its third location. It's in downtown Atlanta at 1660 DeKalb Ave.
The company's first location, on North Highland, was opened about 15 years ago by born-and-bred Atlanta native Tanya Bond. Yes, that's right. It's an independent.
The newly corporatized Flying Biscuit will open its second franchise location in the Terminus tower in Buckhead in early December. Can you believe it? The funky little Candler Park restaurant is turning into an upgraded Waffle House for the nouveau riche. Isn't that sweet?
I dined at Lola Bellini Bar & Restaurant last night, Sunday, in the Mussolini-esque Terminus Building (3280 Peachtree Road, 404-892-9292). This is the latest in the Here To Serve group owned by Tom Catherall.
The restaurant is another looker by the Johnson Studio, which seems to be getting into natural wood these days. There's plenty of it in Lola, as there is in Kevin Rathbun Steak.
We mainly sampled antipasti -- seven of them. Our favorites were the rotisserie of the day, duck, and the caponata. Others ranged from OK to below mediocre. For entrees we sampled a mushroom ravioli and chicken milanese topped with arugula (above).
We enjoyed our server, Leo, shown above with his girlfriend Naomi. They are both students at Georgia State. I noted with shock that Leo, who looks 10 years old, was wearing what appeared to be a wedding band, and he explained that it was a "friendship ring" indicating his faithfulness to Naomi. In case we thought he was bullshitting, he brought Naomi over to meet us. Young love. It's sweeter than the almond cake with dried fruit (left) we had for dessert, along with a very strange tiramisu that tasted more like pudding with crumbled cookies.
I'll have a full report in the paper in a few weeks.
The holiday season is about to begin. You're going to eat too much, of course, but demon whiskey -- poured into eggnog and over fruitcake or served straight-up in iced-tea glasses -- will also be tempting. Lest you think there are no consequences to your debauchery, Baby Jesus wants you to check out the video below from Amy Winehouse, the Britney Spears of the U.K. Of course, Amy, descendant of jazz musicians, has an incredible, smoky voice compared to Britney's bubble-gum-smacking sound.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/8h3gru3D3Ds" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Fox's reality show "Kitchen Nightmares," starring "Hell's Kitchen" chef Gordon Ramsey, is looking for train-wreck restaurants in Atlanta for its second season. The network is taking applications now and will be in Atlanta the week of Nov. 26 to scope out the nightmare restaurants. Selected restaurants receive a full makeover and monetary compensation. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call them at 310-387-6775.
Are there any area restaurants you think could use the reality makeover?
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