Thursday, April 24, 2008

Enforcement of controversial NY restaurant law delayed

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Whew! There's still time to eat in chain restaurants in New York without the guilty knowledge of the number of calories you're consuming.

In a case that is being nervously watched by restaurants everywhere, a federal appeals court judge delayed enforcement of city rules that require some restaurants to post calorie content on their menus. The delay is temporary, pending oral arguments before the appeals court on Tuesday.

The New York Times reports:

Under the rules, which the city’s health department revised after Judge Richard J. Holwell struck down an earlier version last fall, any chain with at least 15 outlets nationwide would have to display calorie counts on menu boards, menus or food tags. The rules would apply to roughly 2,000 restaurants, or about 10 percent of the 23,000 in the city, the health department said.

Some chain-restaurant outlets, among them Starbucks, Subway, Quiznos and Chipotle, have already posted calorie counts (startling some customers.)

Read more here.

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Culinary Institute and Harvard team up

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 1:43 PM

NPR's "Morning Edition" featured a segment this morning about an interesting collaboration between the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard Medical School. The two recently held a joint conference devoted to healthy cooking.

"Intention is the driver of all behavioral change," says Dr. David Eisenberg of Harvard Medical School, who initiated the collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America a few years ago. He says healthy and delicious go naturally together — but sometimes people need a little education and help. Doctors can be leaders in this area, he says.

Many of the physicians attending the Culinary Institute/ Harvard conference say they want to spend more time focusing on diet, lifestyle and disease prevention in their practices. Patients, they say, are hungry for concrete advice.

I was a bit repulsed to learn one dish was made from canned salmon and frozen spinach, but I do like those fried salmon patties served at soul-food restaurants. Somehow, I'm guessing Harvard's version is less ... fried.

Listen to the whole story or read the transcript here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cheap Eats: Little Cake Bakery

Posted By on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 9:46 PM


For true cupcake connoisseurs, trying to find a perfect version of the hand-held treat can make you feel like a character straight out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Too big. Too small. To sweet. Too bland. Too dense. Too dry. What's a girl to do? Why, head to Little Cake Bakery (3792 Roswell Road, 404-841-8856, where the cupcakes are "just right." The tiny Buckhead storefront, owned by self-proclaimed Francophiles Pamela Laurent and Meg Genone, has become the spot for in-the-know locals longing for something a bit more sophisticated than the ordinary Publix cupcake.

Continue reading Cheap Eats.

(Photo and article by Jennifer Zyman)

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An endless meal of Southeast Asia flavors

Posted By on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 8:11 PM


We dined at Spice Market, inside the new W Midtown Atlanta hotel last week. The restaurant is one of the latest in culinary superstar Jean-Georges Vongeritchen's empire and features the flavors of street food in Southeast Asia. Ian Winslade, formerly of Bluepointe, Shout and Posh, is the chef.

We ordered the mammoth five-course meal, which actually featured about 10 generous dishes (and is a phenomenal bargain at $48). Among the starters was one of tempura-fried onions garnished with radish slices, served over ripe avocado and — weirdly — Chinese mustard (top photo).

One of the more compelling dishes was the ginger fried rice (above). The kitchen fries an egg sunny-side up and coats the white with browned ginger and garlic, then places it over a heap of rice. The server breaks up the egg and mixes it with the rice.

I'll have a full first look in next week's Grazing column.

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I'd like to return this for two Krystals

Posted By on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 8:09 PM


I made a salad a few nights ago with ingredients purchased from Publix. The only thing that was any good was the arugula, the fancy stuff that Barack Obama likes.

The shrimp, which I sautéed in olive oil, were utterly tasteless. Organic grape tomatoes had as much moisture in them as dry cotton swabs. Two tangerines were mainly dried out.

I think some stores should start offering a "flavor guarantee." If the food you buy has awful or no flavor, you would be able to return it for a refund ... or maybe for coupons to the Krystal, whose food has better flavor.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beer pick of the week: Black Wattle Superior Ale

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 5:01 PM


Black Wattle Superior Ale

Barons Brewing Company Ltd.

Sydney, Australia

5.8 % ABV

This intriguing ale spiced with roasted wattle seeds comes from a land Down Under, where the flowering plants of the acacia species grow in abundance, and the golden variety is even the national flower. The seeds of the black wattle give this clear, amber-brown brew a nutty, mocha flavor, similar to chicory. The malts are bready, with a maple-and-brown-sugar sweetness. A mild, earthy hop flavor and low hop bitterness keep the focus on the malts and spice. Medium-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, Black Wattle is similar to an English brown ale such as Newcastle, but with a more complex flavor profile. Easy drinking and smooth, this Aussie is a good choice for the “shoulder season,” when you’re tiring of heavy ales but not yet ready for the lagers and wheat beers of summer.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Puffin Muffin cookbook found

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:34 PM


Othe Kendrick wrote this in response to a Dec. 19 post: “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?”

Today, Othe writes: "I found the recipes. Meals in a Muffin, by Beverly Worrell and Alice Chapin, was published 1995. It is out of print, but copies can be found on for under $10. And the Muffin de Soul is in there."

Those things were delicious. Somebody needs to start retailing them again.

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Part-time Romans find happiness in Atlanta

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:33 PM

My friends Brian Lapin and Eric Varner, part-time residents of Rome, are continually complaining about the lack of good mozzarella di bufala in the city. They are (almost) happy at last:

We went to the neighborhood farmer's market this morning and stopped by the Via Elisa table to buy cheese. They had some packages of mozzarella di bufala and since they were only $6, we decided to try one. Incredibly and amazingly, the cheese was delicious and while not of the same exquisite quality as in Italy, far and away the best we have ever had here. Run, don't walk.

That would be the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, open every Saturday in the parking lot of the Cathedral of St. Philip at 2744 Peachtree Rd. If you can't wait, visit Via Elisa's shop.

(17th Century drawing of Roman banquet, featuring recumbent diners, from the Royal Collection of the British monarchy.)

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More on the city's crackdown on alcohol specials

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 7:32 PM


I recently reported rumors that the City of Atlanta is enforcing archaic laws that prohibit restaurants from using wine specials to entice diners on slow nights. Some commenters clarified that these laws apply to bars as well and they outlaw "happy hours" and any kind of nightly drink special.

Kindly, Mazie Lynn Causey, an attorney with a non profit agency, wrote me the following:

"Recent Omnivore posts got me curious. Here are some of the Atlanta ordinances at issue, regarding special beverage pricing on any given night. (Oh, and thanks for your consistent promotion of Dynamic Dish, I work across the street, and though my non-profit salary does not afford me to dine there as often as I'd prefer...I love having the option of great food and the kindness of David and his staff.)"

Sec. 10-226. Certain promotions prohibited:

(a) All on-premises alcoholic beverage licensees are prohibited from selling or

giving away alcoholic beverages under the following circumstances:

(1) Serving multiple drinks for a single price or offering all you can drink for

a set price.

(2) Making a single price the basis for a required purchase of two or more servings.

(3) Serving alcoholic beverages by the pitcher, except to two or more persons

at any one time.

(4) Offering to any person or group of persons any alcoholic beverage at a price

less than the price regularly charged for such alcoholic beverage during the same

calendar week.

(6) Offering or delivering any free alcoholic beverage to any person or group

of persons.

(7) Increasing the volume of distilled spirit, malt beverage or wine contained

in an alcoholic beverage without increasing proportionally the price regularly charged

for such alcoholic beverage during the same calendar week.

(5) Using coupons or other special promotional items as an inducement to purchase

alcoholic beverages.

(b) This section shall not apply to private functions not open to the public.

The term "private function not open to the public" means any function

wherein the licensee has agreed to the use of licensee's establishment by a

person for a set period of time for valuable consideration.

(Code 1977, § 14-2148; Ord. No. 2004-12, §§ 1, 2, 3-9-04)

"And they can't even credit a cover toward drink prices:"

Sec. 10-219. Purchase price of drinks credited against admission or cover charge.

No licensee for the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink shall authorize or

permit the purchase price of any alcoholic beverage sold by the licensee to a customerto be credited against any minimum, admission or cover charge imposed upon the customerby the licensee.

(Code 1977, § 14-2136)

"Gender-related covers might come under fire too...and maybe they should:"

Sec. 10-224. Discrimination in admission fees or membership fees; notice of admission charges or membership fees.

(a) No retail licensee, licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, who requires an admission fee or periodic membership fee before permitting any person to enter the licensed premises shall discriminate as to the amount of such fees because of any person's race, color, creed, religion, sex, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, disability or age, except that nothing in this provision shall prohibit the imposition of age limits up to 21.

(b) Any retail licensee, licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, who requires an admission fee or periodic membership fee as a condition of admission of any person to the licensed premises shall prominently display, unobstructed in a place clearly visible at the point of entry, a sign setting forth the amount of the admission fee or periodic membership applicable to all patrons, as well for the time at which application for any membership may be required.

(Code 1977, § 14-2146; Ord. No. 2000-78, 12-12-00)

Cross references: Discrimination generally, § 94-66 et seq.

(Images of Mayor Shirley Franklin impersonating famous prohibitionist Carrie Nation from the Library of Congress collection.)

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Not so "Bam-tastic" for Emeril's

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Emeril's restaurant in Buckhead, is closing its doors at the end of this month after five years. The restaurant is one of six in a chain named after the owner and celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse.

But it might take him a while to realize that he is down one. The Emeril empire is massive and he seems to have his hand in just about everything: From a new "Emerilware" line, including the "BAM! Machine", a 3-in-1 Food Processor available in May, to another show called "Emeril Green," which begins airing this summer on Planet Green. Maybe there's a point when you have to choose quality over quantity.

Needless to say the Atlanta Emeril's didn't live up to the hype from the very beginning. Food critics didn't exactly give the place a warm welcome.

Check out the review from former CL Food & Drink Editor, Bill Addison, shortly after its opening in 2004.

There is some serious foreshadowing.

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