According to Dave [BSP co-owner] this will be a separate venture in the vein of cool bar/bistro/beer/food concept (dare we call it a Gastro Pub?). If the lease negotiations go through they will take over July 1.
No word on the East Atlanta location, but from what I have heard getting a liquor license in the City of Atlanta is harder than getting into Augusta Country Club.
They say it'll be located in Rue de Leon's current space right around the corner.
Hummus is showing up on menus everywhere. I had a particularly good version at the new Artistry last week. It was flavored with sundried tomatoes and had a peppery bite to it. But my favorite in town remains this straight-up version at Olive Bistro (650 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-874-5336). Everything about it, from its creamy texture to its high-quality olive oil, makes it stand out. There are no overpowering seasonings.
We dined at Olive Bistro before heading to nearby Dunkin' Donuts (see post below). Wayne ordered a half-portion of each of the day's special ravioli, one made with smoked chicken and the other stuffed with spinach and mozzarella. They were in the house sauce a blend of basil, tomatoes and lemon. I ordered lamb kabobs, a generous portion of grilled, marinated lamb with onions, peppers and tomatoes, served over lentils and rice. Both dishes were flavorful and inexpensive.
I also love the cafe's falafel and white bean salad.
(Photo by Cliff Bostock)
I heard some interesting news yesterday the new W Hotel in Buckhead will also feature a restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It will not be Spice Market, but the theme is not yet known apparently it will be revealed to the hotel's PR people in two weeks (the guess was that it would somehow fit in with the "country club chic" theme of the hotel). I'll keep you posted...
Here's another tale of food and madness.
I reported a few days back that the ultra-right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin (right) has given up Starbucks. She objected to the company's foisting its evil "corporate social responsibility" on her, when all she wanted was a caramel macchiato. Then she learned that Starbucks refused to put the phrase "laissez faire" on someone's customized card. Starbucks couldn't explain why the phrase was rejected but Michelle of course suspects the company doesn't really support laissez faire capitalism...or something.
So, she quit Starbucks cold turkey, switching to Dunkin' Donuts. She has been a longtime champion of the company because it has been very aggressive in requiring its franchise owners to document that immigrant employees are legal. This has been a special problem along the southern border, apparently, where Mexicans by the truckload sneak across the Rio Grande to pursue the American Dream of becoming a waitress in a donut shop.
Well, the latest installment gets even weirder. Michelle learned that food star Rachel Ray (left) had done a video ad for Dunkin Donuts. But oh my god! Rachael is wearing a type of scarf worn all over the Middle East. It's become trendy in Europe and America, too. But Michelle identifies the scarf as a "jihadi chic keffiyeh," a favorite garment of terrorists. She is actually concerned that Dunkin' Donuts and Rachel Ray may be tools of jihad unwittingly perhaps, but who can deny that if you dress like a terrorist, you might be a terrorist? I'm not making this up.
In the interest of my readers' welfare, I decided to visit the Dunkin' Donuts shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue the one in the shopping center with Whole Foods. A friend told me he recently tried to stop there but was impeded by swarming Mexican day laborers begging him for work. He assured me that he didn't see any Mexicans decked out in jihadi chic couture, but I was nonetheless surprised that the Indian owner of a franchise so dedicated to immigration law would tolerate this spectacle.
And really, who knows? Dunkin' Donuts could be dispatching Mexican surrogate jihadists with explosive donuts under their shirts. Imagine the horror of pink shrapnel it looks like innocent icing exploding in your face! Imagine your ear drums punctured by candy sprinkles and chocolate jimmies!
We entered the blindingly bright store, which shares the space with Baskin-Robbins, and found it almost deserted. I ordered three donuts and a cup of coffee (right). I am pleased to tell you that none of the three exploded. I am not so pleased to tell you that I have rarely tasted anything as repulsive as these dried-out donuts with super-sweet, almost crispy icing. This was my first visit ever to a Dunkin' Donuts and it was on Memorial Day. Maybe the donuts were not as fresh as usual?
I will say that the coffee, which the company calls its "number one priority" was good. It wasn't as strong as I like, but the flavor was rich.
So far, Michelle Malkin, whose insanity is so intense that she lost her gig on Bill O'Reilly's TV show, has decided not to call for a boycott of Dunkin' Donuts. After all, terrorists are not nearly as bad as advocates of corporate social responsibility. Meanwhile, the pussy jihadists at Dunkin' Donuts have pulled the offending ad.
I'm stickin' to good ole Protestant Krispy Kremes.
I ate lunch today with my longtime friend Bette Harrison, a former writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We decided to visit Artistry (942 Peachtree St., 404-888-0101), which has opened in the space vacated by Sweet Lowdown.
The restaurant has been serving a limited preview menu during the last week or so, but the entire menu will be available this weekend, according to our server. I suggest you call ahead to verify that before visiting.
Lunch was OK not terrific, not awful. I ordered a Cuban sandwich with new potatoes and a cup of spicy gazpacho. Bette ordered avocado eggrolls (above) and gyro (top photo). Dessert was very mediocre chocolate cake with strawberry coulis.
The restaurant features live music upstairs most nights and hosts art exhibits and various other events. Check its website here.
Somebody's running a You Tube campaign against the McDonald's at 30 Marietta St. in downtown Atlanta. The angry diner has uploaded two videos documenting the claims. (Warning: the second is mind-numbingly long.)
OK, so there's porn and panhandling there. But what about the food? Why are you eating there?
[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/-PYmzT0CaD4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/gXBIHq-eIzE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
By the way, McDonald's announced this week that it's completely giving up trans fats. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The world's largest restaurant chain is now cooking French fries, hash browns, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and chicken in a blend of canola, corn and soybean oils, Chief Executive Jim Skinner said at the company's annual meeting here Thursday. Those items are now considered to have zero grams of trans fat per serving; some items may still contain a trace amount of the substance, though it is negligible. McDonald's plans to finish converting pies and cookies so they also qualify as free of trans fat by year end.
Read more here.
Chef Michael Tuohy has long been a supporter of organic growing, and helped launch Georgia's Organics, a nonprofit group that promotes healthy, local, sustainable food in the diet of people across the state. While he uses local produce to create dishes, his cooking shows North Californian influences, hinting at his San Francisco roots.
His commitment to adapting his menu with the seasons is clear: The day's fresh, local ingredients take center stage on the homepage. And even the decor has a local theme: Tuohy asked Atlanta-based craftsman Tracy Hartley to make some of the tables and wood paneling for the Grill.
In many cases, the menu pays homage to the farms that provided the fare: There's a Wood-Oven-Roasted Bramlett Farm Trout with Anson Mills Grits, Steel-Pan Greens, and Herb Butter; and a Chilled French White Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche (an aïoli sauce with chopped herbs, capers, lemon juice, and spices) and Ashland Farm Micro Celery.
Tuohy is indisputably our city's pioneer in this area. Be sure to check out his blog here.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that 22-year-old Alex Naylor was kidnapped outside the Majestic Diner on Ponce de Leon Ave. Two men grabbed Naylor, put a bag over his head and forced him into a car. They drove him around while one of the men tried to wrestle his wallet away from him. Naylor managed to escape the car before they got anything.
This occurred about a week after Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a new law that permits licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns in restaurants, state parks and on public transportation. The law was opposed by the Georgia Restaurant Association, whose members just don't seem to understand how important it is to be able to protect your family from an uppity waiter or a chef who gives you a tiny portion. (The law, effective July 1, does not allow you to drink alcohol while you carry your concealed pistol. So don't get drunk before you shoot your server, 'cuz that part's against the law! Oh, and don't forget that your server could be toting a gun too. So don't let on that you're angry before you shoot him or he might shoot you first.)
Go ahead and laugh about the absurdity of the new law, but just think: If young Mr. Naylor had been carrying a gun, he could have blown those two kidnappers to kingdom-come! Puts a whole new spin on it, don't it? Thank you, Sonny Perdue, for making our restaurants safe again.
(Image of condiment gun and angry young diner from ohgizmo.com.)
This just in from the National Restaurant Association's 89th annual show:
There are three important features a foodservice menu must emphasize to be successful in todays market: freshness, flavor and health. This is according to Nancy Kruse, a menu trends analyst and president of The Kruse Company in Atlanta, who led an educational session Monday at the National Restaurant Associations 89th annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel show.
If you cannot deliver on the big three, I cannot imagine that you could stay in business and thrive for very long, she said.
Doesn't this leave you wondering what the industry's priorities were before "freshness, flavor and health" came on the scene?
In other heartening news from the convention, held in Chicago May 17-20, John McCain addressed the group on Monday. The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Apron-wearing anti-war protesters disrupted Republican presidential candidate John McCain's speech to the National Restaurant Association Monday.
To the tune of "I've been working on the railroad," they sang, "McCain's in the kitchen with George Bush, cooking up another war" and unfurled red banners.
As they were escorted out of McCormick Place, McCain said, "The important thing in America is we have the right to free speech."
Although Barack Obama calls Chicago home, he apparently was not invited to address the convention, despite his much maligned fondness for the freshness, flavor and health of arugula.
(Image from icanhascheezburger.com.)
I lunched at Taqueria del Sol on Cheshire Bridge Monday. (This week's special is one of my faves a burrito made with carne adovado).
Eddie Hernandez insisted I sample the pimento cheese he was experimenting with in the kitchen. It was made with pecorino, cheddar and cottage cheese, with some diced red jalapenos. Very tasty. Eddie is famous for playing with southern dishes; his turnip greens are legendary.
I also learned that the restaurant is expanding to Athens. That means the Taco Nazi, George Trusler, won't be around much in the next few months. He will be supervising the new restaurant's construction and opening.
(Photo by Cliff Bostock)
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