Monday, March 31, 2008

Javaology closed

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 10:05 PM

I heard a rumor that Javaology was closing today, so I swung by there to see what was going on. I tried calling first, but the phone has already been disconnected.

I found an employee outside the building who could not get his key to work. He said he only found out on Friday that they would be closing. The owner had informed him via email. I asked why they closed and he said that part of the business plan had been an airport location, and that had recently fallen through. He also said the tornado has negatively affected business in recent weeks.

One of the strange things about Javaology was how you could not charge less than $10 on a debit or credit card, so if you didn't have cash the only way to get coffee was to buy a $10 gift card. I have one with most of the $10 left on it, and was feeling all indignant about losing my money until I came across the newly unemployed guy outside the store.

This isn't the only business in Atlanta suffering because of the tornado. I've spoken to quite a few folks, mainly from restaurants downtown, who say that business has been hurt because of the storm.

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Wanted: Creative Loafing Visual Arts Writer

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Creative Loafing Atlanta is looking for a visual arts writer with the knowledge, wit and point-of-view to become Atlanta’s next great arts critic.

Check out PopSmart for more info.

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Your website is real purty but just about useless

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 4:44 PM

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Here's a question we'd love answered: Why do so many restaurants not include their (damn) hours of operation on their website?

Do web designers know something we don't know? Do people go to restaurant websites mainly to look at the flash graphics and glamor pictures of chefs? Or do they go to hear the sounds of people chattering and raking silverware over plates or to hear repetitive, banal mood music?

Do the people who design websites and the people who hire them have any clue how incredibly annoying it is when basic information is missing?

Sunday, I planned to go to Vita for dinner. I checked out the website and found no mention of hours. So I called the restaurant, thinking, "Well, surely, their voice mail system will state the hours." Nope, no voice mail at all.

Then I looked up the new Cakes and Ale in Decatur. Same deal. No mention on the website of hours and no voice mail message.

Around 6 p.m., I called Vita again and got an answer! Yay!

"Are you open?" I asked.

"Yes," the perky person replied.

"What time do you close?" I asked.

"Oh, we're only open for a private event tonight," she said.

Whatever!

Vita and Cakes and Ale are just the most recent I've encountered that don't post their hours. The phenomenon is widespread. Stop it!

(Photo from maedeans.blogspot.com.)

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Cook you own meal!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 4:40 PM

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I admit that I've never gotten the "fun" of fondue. Somewhere in the attic, I have a red-enamel fondue pot, a gift, that has gone unused more than 25 years.

I don't object to fondue as something on a cocktail party buffet, but I don't enjoy making a full dinner out of spearing chunks of food and going fishing in a pot of cheese, chocolate, oil or broth. I've enjoyed classic raclette in Switzerland several times, but that didn't involve cooking in a communal pot.

Nonetheless, I visited the new Melting Pot (745 Peachtree St., 404-389-0099) in Midtown Sunday night. I'll have more to say in a future "Grazing" column about this franchise restaurant that must have the lowest food overhead for the dollar in the city. Above is a shot of the entrée portion of our $86 (for two) din din.

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We had a very entertaining server. But I was embarrassed when she brought a shaker of seasoning (left) to the table and proclaimed its miraculous good taste, available for purchase at the remarkably low price of $6. It just tasted like garlic salt to me.

The best thing I can say about the meal is that the beef was high-quality and mercilessly free of the harsh seasonings that flavored some of the other meats.

I found this description of fondue etiquette on Wikipedia:

As with other communal dishes fondue has an etiquette which can be both helpful and fun. Most often, allowing one's tongue or lips to touch the dipping fork will be thought of as rude. With meat fondues one should use a dinner fork to take meat off the dipping fork. A "no double-dipping" rule also has sway: After a dipped morsel has been tasted it should never be returned to the pot. In longstanding Swiss tradition if a nugget of bread is lost in the cheese by a man he buys a bottle of wine and if such a thing happens to befall a woman she kisses the man on her left. Lately, rather more humorous twists on this have shown up in Switzerland such as young diners diving into the snow whilst clad only in underclothing.

We saw nobody running through the dining room in their underwear, but you go ahead.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Hurry up and get your crab

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 7:01 PM

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This just in from Woodfire Grill:

Soft shell crabs tonight! Only 5 dozen came into the city this morning and they will be here at Woodfire for tonight! They will be available on a “first-come, first-served basis”. Every spring we look forward to this day!

We also just got in some very fresh pastured lamb from the Johnson Family Farm in North Alabama and are about to spit roast the legs for tonight! Johnson Family Farm is a responsible producer of all natural grass-fed lamb.

Woodfire Grill is located at 1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-347-9566.

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Cheap and tasty Friday lunch

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 7:00 PM

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I lunched today at the brightly decorated Little Bangkok (2225 Cheshire Bridge Rd., 404-315-1530). Many foodies regard this as the best Thai food in town. It's certainly the best for the buck — even if finding a parking spot at lunchtime is difficult. (You can park next door during evening hours.)

I had my usual green curry chicken today and my friend Michael had a special, panang flounder. Our lunch, with soup, was just over $7 each.

Always be sure to check the specials board here. Now and then, you'll find dishes you've probably never had before.

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Wine with a meal, and with your children

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Eric Asimov has an interesting story in the New York Times this week about drinking wine at home with teenagers. In it, he learns of a study that showed that introducing wine as part of a meal to teenagers in the home could have a positive impact:

Dr. Vaillant compared 136 men who were alcoholics with men who were not. Those who grew up in families where alcohol was forbidden at the table, but was consumed away from the home, apart from food, were seven times more likely to be alcoholics than those who came from families where wine was served with meals but drunkenness was not tolerated.

Dr. Vaillant goes on to say:

“If you are taught to drink in a ceremonial way with food, then the purpose of alcohol is taste and celebration, not inebriation,” he added. “If you are forbidden to use it until college then you drink to get drunk.”

Other experts quoted go on to say that the context of the setting is important. If the child sees the parents get drunk, then the child will see that as appropriate use of alcohol.

I grew up in a country that is much more relaxed about alcohol consumption, and where it was acceptable for teenagers to start drinking at a much earlier age (and where the drinking age is 18). My father always allowed me to taste his wine, even as a child, and once I was about 14 I was allowed to have a glass myself. I do think this instilled an appreciation and ability to taste wine rather than just swig it to get drunk. On the other hand, I saw my parents' friends and sometimes my parents drink heavily at the table and beyond. And I did spend a lot of my teenage years and 20s drinking for the express purpose of getting drunk. I'm not sure I can blame my parents or their behavior for my teenage drinking — I was fairly compelled to do whatever I could to be as stupid as possible for a while in there — but I am sure I can thank my early wine tasting and education for my palate, at least in part.

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Eat bacon and make an actor happy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Woo-hoo! All the beer and bacon you can eat, plus crazy improv. It's BaconFest '08, benefiting Dad's Garage Theatre Company. The lovely ladies of Atlanta Dish have the story here.

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Should hot naked women be used to promote veganism?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Hey, it's a serious question. Read about all about it here. Meanwhile, check out the PETA porn below:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/yudSSwivc9g" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

And you can gawk at the winners of the 2008 "Sexiest Vegetarians Next Door" contest here.

Yay! Veganism=Orgasms!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dine-out for Cabbagetown tornado victims

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 6:34 PM

On April 14, approximately one month after a tornado ripped through downtown and ravaged most of Cabbagetown, a dine-out has been planned to benefit those affected in the Atlanta neighborhood. The event was planned by Rich Chey, owner of HomeGrown Restaurant Concepts and the recently opened Stella Neighborhood Trattoria in Grant Park. Twelve local restaurants will donate 15 percent of the proceeds earned from 5 p.m. to close (some restaurants will also donate lunch proceeds) to Cabbagetown Initiative's disaster relief fund, which provides assistance to those who suffered from tornado damage.

It is a worthy cause and another reason not to cook on a Monday night.

Participating restaurants include:

Stella Neighborhood Trattoria, Six Feet Under, Redfish, Dakota Blue, Agave, Grant Central Pizza, The Standard, 97 Estoria, Flatiron, The Depot, Ria's Bluebird and Vickery's in Glenwood Park. For more information on the dine-out and directions to participating locations, visit www.AtlantaTornadoRelief.com.

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