Beleza is offering an âerotic chocolate menuâ by master chocolatier Kristen Hard. The restaurant joins Top Flr and the Chocolate Bar in offering such a menu. Hard specializes in chocolate aphrodisiacs and boosting the addictive substance's alleged wellness properties with supplemental ingredients such as St. John's Wort.
Hard's company is K Chocolat. Says her website:
We put our money where your mouth is. We do not take short cuts with ingredients or techniques. By hand-making each piece, we can guarantee the quality and and integrity of our products.
Our chocolate begins with a very special heirloom cocoa bean grown under the lush canopy of the Ecuadorian rain forest. The Rain Forest Alliance certifies these beans to be pesticide-free, sustainably grown and responsibly harvested.
By equally prioritizing taste, health and ecological concerns, we have created a truly conscious chocolate.
...This is no ordinary chocolate. The gourmand K Chocolat experience is therapy for the body, seduction for the senses and satisfaction for the soul.
I thought chocolate was all those things without added ingredients, so I can't wait to taste this.
Here's some interesting news from the PR folks for Shaun's:
On Thursday, January 13, Chef Shaun Doty of Shaunâs will host a special dinner catering to those with celiac disease. The dinner will feature a prix fixe, gluten-free and wheat-free menu paired with beers. More and more people require a special diet due to celiac disease. Chef Doty is taking on the challenge and creating a special menu all diners can enjoy.
Shaunâs will offer a prix fixe menu priced at $45 and $65 with beer pairings. The first course will be comprised of heirloom lentil soup with homemade wild boar sausage and a Green's gluten-free amber ale, Belgium beer pairing. The second course features Atlantic cod in rice paper with basil, seaweed and ginger with a Green's gluten-free Tripel Ale, Belgium beer pairing. The third course will be Coleman beef tenderloin with short rib marmalade and endives with a Green's gluten-free Dubbel Ale, Belgium beer pairing. The fourth and final course will be a creamsicle with orange, Campari and Prosecco with a hot tea cocktail pairing.
âCeliac disease is very common, and as a chef, Iâve had an opportunity to learn about the disease and its unique challenges,â said Chef Doty. âEveryone should be able to enjoy a fabulous meal without worrying about their dietary restrictions.
âCeliac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate the gluten protein, found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products, such as stamp and envelope adhesive, medicines and vitamins. When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine.
The regular menu will also be available and all diners are welcome to enjoy this special evening.
The restaurant is located in Inman Park at 1029 Edgewood Ave. Phone 404-577-4358 for more information and to make a reservation.
Jay Pontrelli reports: "Had a wonderful 'free range' chicken soup (MEAT!) at Dynamic Dish with rice and beans and all kinds of goodness...The place is a gem." Damn, I am sorry I missed a chance to taste what owner David Sweeney does with meat ...
The Reynolds condominium building at 565 Peachtree St. will be home to a new restaurant, Dogwood, in April. The owners are Shane Touhy, also the chef, and Scott Black, the managing partner. Both have extensive experience in the industry including a lengthy stint at Blue Ridge Grill. The menu will feature progressive American cuisine with a Southern accent ...
Valencia Coty writes to say that only two restaurants in Atlanta have "green" certification from the national Green Restaurant Association. They are My Panini at Lindberg City Center and Radial on Dekalb Avenue ...
Put down that Co' Cola! Doesn't matter if it's sugar-free, soft drinks are killers, according to a recent study:
Drinking more than one soft drink each day may increase your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study. Surprisingly, the effect is the same whether youâre quaffing regular soft drinks or the diet version. Scientists found that people who drink one or more soft drinks a day are 48 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that increases your odds of developing diabetes and heart disease. Those factors include high blood pressure, obesity, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and low HDL (âgoodâ cholesterol). The findings are part of a large, ongoing, government-directed research project called the Framingham Heart Study.
Will someone please name a processed food that doesn't kill ...
Via Elisa, our city's incomparable source for hand-made pastas, is now marketing its sauces. I want several jars of Sofia Sicilian Caper sauce. Elisa Gambino writes on her website:
CAPERS! My daughter Sofia is crazy about them and she is the inspiration for this sauce that reminds me of childhood summers in Sicily with my cousins. Luscious imported Italian plum tomatoes, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and extra virgin olive oil combine to create a dramatic flavor steeped in the traditions of Italy's most intriguing island. Heat to simmer and serve over any Via Elisa fresh pasta. For a special Sicilian treat, after tossing the pasta with sauce, sprinkle grated ricotta salata on top.
Elisa is now shipping her pasta nationwide, by the way.
Woo hoo! 'Tis the season to indulge your palate and praise the Lord. Check out the misspoppy.com website for food-related stocking stuffers that testify whenever you sip your coffee or reach for a breath mint.
First up is the coffee cup for the religious National Rifle Association member on your list. Top off my coffee and pass the ammunition, please.
How about some mints that make you breathe easier about the rabid association of politics, money and religion? These National Embarrassmints, says Miss Poppy, will make you more popular than an American soldier welcomed to Baghdad with a shower of flowers.
Unbelievers need breath mints, too. The atheist on your list will appreciate these After the Rapture Mints. While people he once derided are sucked heavenward for a fabulous life eternal, he'll need something to sweeten his miserable life right here on Earth. Show an atheist some good Christian charity -- and a warning of what's coming his way soon if he doesn't shape up and pray.
Aha! Another mystery solved!
I have been noticing for several years that friends who once whined about the spiciness of some food now can't seem to get enough of hot flavors. I presumed that this was the result of broadening tastes, but then I noticed how they dumped hot sauce on everything. I chalked that up to tastes that broadened but without much class. After all, even McDonald's now sells something called the Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap.
Sacha Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe has solved the mystery. I am eating with old people!
In a well-researched article, Pfeiffer explains the new popularity of fiery food:
Some food scientists and market researchers think there is a more surprising reason for the broad nationwide shift toward bolder flavors: The baby boomers, that huge, youth-chasing, all-important demographic, are getting old. As they age, they are losing their ability to taste - and turning to spicier, higher-flavor foods to overcome their dulled senses.
Chiefly because of degenerating olfactory nerves, most aging people experience a diminished sense of taste, whether they realize it or not. But unlike previous generations, the nation's 80 million boomers have broad appetites, a full set of teeth, and the spending power to shape the entire food market.
And it's not just hot food boomers are craving. They are generally craving food that turns up the volume on all flavors:
"There's no question that as the baby boomers are aging they're losing their taste buds, and as a result they're drawn not only to more spicy foods, but to more flavorful foods of all kinds," said Phil Lempert, a food market analyst who runs SupermarketGuru.com, which tracks consumer trends in supermarkets and restaurants.
"So we're seeing sweet things be even more intense in their sweetness. And look at sales of salsa," he said. "First the big seller was mild, then medium, and now hot, and that really correlates with the population boom."
Older adults have the highest preferences for boldly flavored cheeses, such as blue, feta, and Gorgonzola, according to Sloan Trends Inc. in Escondido, Calif., which tracks behavioral and consumer habits in food and nutrition. Eighty percent of the 2 million annual visitors to Fiery-Foods.com, a website for aficionados of chili peppers and barbecue sauce, are men 45 and older, according to Dave DeWitt, who runs the site and also publishes Fiery Foods and BBQ magazine.
Oddly, though, I've noticed that as I age, my sense of taste and smell seem actually more acute. I've been teased all my life about my hypersensitive nose. I catch odors long before most people do. (A friend used to impersonate me crawling on the floor like a bloodhound sniffing out the source of an odor nobody else could smell.) And I still can't stand overabundant use of (usually bad) hot sauces and chilies that eclipse all other flavors. Maybe this has more to do with reviewing restaurants for years than biology.
Read the entire story from the Globe here.
(Graphic from PartyGuideOnline.com)
Agave (242 Boulevard, 404-588-0006) is our city's best Southwestern restaurant and it's packed every night. That's not bad for a restaurant located in Cabbagetown.
We visited on a Monday night, when the crowd is usually a bit lighter. I tried out the evening's special (top photo) of four diver scallops grilled and served over grits with habanero chilies and roasted tomatoes. Although I found the grits somewhat excessively seasoned -- I wanna taste the corn! -- the dish was otherwise delicious.
This dish will be on a five-course wine dinner offered New Year's Eve. The dinner is a bargain at $69 a head.
We also sampled the tender, juicy, braised, huge pork shank (above, right), marinated in dark Mexican beer with smoked jalapeÃ±os, served with honey-cider collards. I believe this is a relative newcomer to the menu and if you enjoy impersonating Fred Flintstone, you want to order this.
I'll have more to say in an upcoming Grazing column.
I wrote pretty much a rave review of MF Buckhead this week but I've been reading complaints here and there about the new sushi restaurant. Many of the complaints focus on the breathtaking prices. Honestly, to eat your fill here and knock back some sake, you can expect to spend $100 a person.
Among the complainers is Christiane Lauterbach of Atlanta magazine and publisher of Knife and Fork, where she wrote in the November issue:
It isn't our style to complain about the price in a sushi restaurant and we usually blast people who are unaware of how expensive sashimi-grade fish is, but do we really want to pay $18 for three thin rounds of ankimo (monkfish liver) or three miniscule cubes of tuna in a fancy marmalade?
She also had some not-so-good food. This wouldn't be the first time I had a good meal at a restaurant that ended up displeasing many others. Keep in mind that most of my Grazing reports are first impressions. But try it for yourself and let me hear your opinions ...
Loca Luna is closing in its present location on Sixth Street and Juniper and moving to the site of the former Red Light Cafe on Amsterdam Avenue. This is good news for those who like convenient parking ...
The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the first such organization in the United States, is holding its 10th annual community awards dinner at the Georgia Aquarium at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, 2008. Log onto its site for full details ...
Othe Kendrick writes: "In the early '90s, there existed a stand in the food court of Greenbriar Mall named Puffin Muffin. They were known for stuffed/filled cornbread muffins, particularly the signature concoction filled with collard greens and country ham. Does anyone know what happened to the cook or, more importantly, the recipes?"
Wow, I haven't thought about Puffin Muffin in years. As I vaguely recall, you could buy them in Emory Village, too. I think they were around well before the '90s, though. If anyone can help Othe out, reply in the comments section, please ...
Question: Speaking of collards, why are they suddenly showing up on every menu in town? I ate them recently at the Vinings Inn and Agave. I'm not complaining. I love them and I enjoy seeing what different restaurants do with the iconic Southern greens. But why have they become a fad? Who started it?
Last year I wrote an article about the best cookbooks of the year in the hopes it would help people with their holiday shopping. For some reason this year the publishing industry neglected to send me very many cookbooks, and so I wasn't able to figure out what the best were ahead of time. Luckily, the folks at Slate did a good job by asking culinary personalities what their favorite cookbooks are. Check it our here.
What I have been sent is a lot of chocolate. It seems there is a new high-end chocolate brand emerging every week. Gone are the days when Godiva was enough to impress the foodie in your life. While I applaud the general upswing in chocolate quality, it does become hard to tell all these brands apart. They all taste pretty much like chocolate. I have come across a couple of exceptions, though. The first is Hotel Chocolat, a company that has recently launched its product in the U.S. after gaining popularity in the U.K. Their website cites a lot of reasons why their chocolate tastes better than most, but I think the main reason is that they use a lot less sugar than other brands, even the high-end brands. Usually a dark chocolate fiend, I especially love Hotel Chocolat's milk chocolate, which actually tastes like cream and chocolate. It wasn't until I tasted this less-sweet version that I realized it was too much sugar that ruins a lot of milk chocolate. Check out their website here.
The other chocolate that has caught my attention this season is Vosges, which has been around for a while and combines all kinds of crazy flavors into their chocolate bars â think Kalamata olives and curry powder. I like their chocolate for its sheer freak factor, and the other day at Star Provisions I found another reason to love them: bacon chocolate. That's right, made with real bacon. I haven't tasted it yet, but in my culinary circle of friends and loved ones the gift-giving possibilities are endless.
Anyone else have ideas for culinary gifts?
The view from inside a Hawaii offshore aquaculture cage
(Photo by NOAA)
The same havoc wreaked by multinational corporations on the way we grow food on land is poised to spread to the seas. Many people realize the harm current agricultural practices have on our health, environment and food quality. Less well-known is the push from the U.S. government to legalize and open public waters to offshore aquaculture, a potentially harmful and financially risky solution to our seafood issues. In a recent report, "Fishy Farms: The Problems with Open Ocean Aquaculture," nonprofit consumer organization Food & Water Watch examines the government-supported program and its frustratingly widespread pitfalls.
Over the past 20 years, Americans' affinity for seafood has climbed. Touted by medical experts as full of health benefits, and with more varieties of fish available in supermarkets, American's seafood consumption has increased by 25 percent.
To satisfy consumer demands for all things fishy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is trying to maximize seafood production while finding a way to cut our $9.2 billion seafood trade deficit and relieve the heavy stress on our seriously depleted wild marine fish populations. As is his way, President Bush places his faith in human ingenuity and has been pouring money into risky and unproven technologies without re-examining our current processes.
One of the solutions proposed is open water aquaculture, a completely new practice of fish farming that involves growing huge numbers of fish in nets or cages far off the coast. The government has spent more than $25 million supporting four experimental open aquaculture fish farms and funding research into the technologies. Yet despite the funneling of millions of tax dollars and millions more of private investment into the industry, open water aquaculture has failed to show that it is an environmentally sustainable, financially viable, or technically possible practice on a commercial scale.
Dish (870 N. Highland Ave., 404-897-3463), contrary to yesterday's post, is not closed yet. Owner/chef Sheri Davis will close the eight-year-old restaurant at the end of this month. If you've never visited this restaurant, make a reservation now. It's one of the most creative and atmospheric in the city. I hate to see another chef-run restaurant close.
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