Monday, July 28, 2008

New juice bar

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 3:44 PM

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We headed to Noni's, the new Italian deli-bar on Edgewood Ave., for dinner Saturday night but found it still not open. Owner Matt Rupert swears he's opening tonight, though. The problem has been getting a liquor license.

We parked around the corner and found this new juice bar, Juiceez & Etc. It's not open yet, either, but should be soon.

The address is 20 Jackson St., 404-688-3812.

UPDATE: I had a call from Matt Rupert this morning. Noni's will not open tonight. He plans to open Tuesday at lunchtime instead.

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Parish valet woes

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 2:52 PM

This email just in from Brian:

Read your review. My wife and I recently tried to go on her birthday. However upon arriving, the valet told us that the parking lot was full and to "come back in like 15 minutes". Given valet is the only option, we left. I wrote a letter to the restaurant, but in true concentrics style, I've not heard back. It's too bad because it's now on our 'no go' list.

I have always refused to use the valet at Parish. I'm happy to find parking the old fashioned way — driving around the neighborhood until I find a street spot. The strange new condo neighborhood directly across the street from Parish often has street parking. But isn't Brian's point a funny Atlanta conundrum — when your valet parking situation dictates your restaurant's viability, there's no real winner. If all your tables are full, that's one thing, but empty tables and a full parking lot are not good business.

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Tales of the Cocktail

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Unless you own a bar or work for a distillery, attending the Tales of the Cocktail convention in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter is one of the more self-indulgent things a person can do. Also fun, informative, entertaining and, yes, intoxicating. The seminars – and thus, the drinking – begin at 10:30 a.m. and the mood is predictably convivial. It's perfectly acceptable, almost unavoidable, to maintain a day-long buzz.

Created only six years ago in the birthplace of the cocktail, and housed in the historic Hotel Monteleone, the annual convention has grown substantially in just the last couple of years. I had the good fortune to attend last year's event and was pleasantly surprised this week to note the larger crowds and the more numerous free events. This is a prime venue to debut a liquor and grab the attention of some of the world's top bartenders, industry insiders and booze critics.

Last year's event saw the launch of two French liquors: La Fee, one of the first of the new absinthes to hit the American market, and St. Germain, a versatile cordial flavored with elderflower. This year, the new entries are too many to count, including several absinthes, a tequila line, an artisan American gin and an herbal vodka.

Apart from the drinks, one comes to Tales for the fascinating historical tidbits. Did you know, for instance, that cocktails gained mainstream popularity in the U.S. during Prohibition, when various mixers and ingredients were used to mask the skunky taste of bathtub gin? Well, you, too, would find such trivia fascinating if you were half-hammered.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

California bans restaurant use of trans fats

Posted By on Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 2:34 PM

The State of California has outlawed the use of trans fats by restaurants, according to The New York Times:

Under the new law, trans fats, long linked to health problems, must be excised from restaurant products beginning in 2010, and from all retail baked goods by 2011. Packaged foods will be exempt.

New York City adopted a similar ban in 2006 — it became fully effective on July 1 — and Philadelphia, Stamford, Conn., and Montgomery County, Md., have done so as well.

But having the requirement imposed on the most populous state’s 88,000 restaurants, as well as its bakeries and other food purveyors, is a major gain for the movement against trans fats. That movement has been led by scientists, doctors and consumer advocates who trace the largely synthetic fat to a variety of ailments, principally heart disease.

Read more here.

Incidentally, California did not ban the use of carcinogens in the manufacture of cigarettes.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Rattlesnake beans, pork belly, basil sorbet....

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 11:30 PM

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This is going to be good. Ryan Stewart, chef at The Glenwood, plans to launch a series of "summer farm dinners" on Aug. 4. The first will feature vegetables, herbs and fruit from Scharko Farms.

Cost for five courses is $35, a bargain, to say the least. You must make a reservation by calling 404-622-6066. I suggest you do so promptly. The Glenwood's last special meal, a "beer dinner" earlier this week, sold out.

Stewart's menu follows:

First course: Heirloom tomato water with cucumber and basil ice sorbet.

Second: Quail rillettes with field pea pistou.

Third: Salmon on polenta, rattlesnake beans, crispy pork belly.

Fourth: Venison loin with sweet corn pudding and arugula salad.

Dessert: Raspberry Napoleon with lemon verbena cream.

The Glenwood is located in East Atlanta Village at 1263 Glenwood Ave.

(Full disclosure: Yes, Ryan Stewart is the spouse of our cuisine editor Besha Rodell. No, nobody bribed me to write about this. The man's cooking is incredible. Photo from Scharko Farms' website.)

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Salty China

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Tasty China is known for overload on many counts - copious spice, MSG and attitude are all hallmarks of the place, none of which have ever bothered me. But now it seems there's a new ingredient to take to extremes and that's salt. I ate there yesterday and could barely taste the food for the salt. I just tried to eat some leftovers for lunch and my mouth is numb - and no, it's not because of Szechuan peppercorns.

Just to be clear, I am a salt fiend.  It's by far my favorite spice (I know it's not really a spice, but you know what I mean). But this was like salt-lick salty, like drinking Dead Sea water salty. And it was across the board - out of five dishes, only one was not too salty to enjoy.

The sad part is, much of what I love about Tasty China is the unexpected quality, the way ginger or chilies can create a piercing high note where it is least expected, the way the delicate nature of the food is allowed to shine through the outrageous spicing. The food I had yesterday was sadly one-note, even under all that salt there wasn't much nuance.

I am hoping it was a fluke.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life (almost) impersonates starving female impersonator's art

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Big news at the Ansley Publix. I was paying for my stuff when I noticed a lot of commotion near the manager's office. The bag boy (or whatever they call them now) informed me that they had caught someone shoplifting and were calling the police. It seems the man tore open a package of meat and stuffed his pockets full.

This of course instantly reminded me of the famous scene in John Waters' Pink Flamingos (1972) when Divine shoplifts a steak she later feeds to her family back at the trailer. I could only find a clip without the original dialog but please don't watch this if you have delicate sensibilities....and I know some of you do.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/5tlWaPvrE0M" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Ultra-luxury on Peachtree

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 3:44 PM

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I visited Neo (3376 Peachtree Rd., 404-995-7545), the new Italian restaurant in the Mansion on Peachtree, last week. This development is the ultra-luxurious hotel with residences that will soon be home to a branch of Craft, the ultra-hip New York restaurant.

Our meal was a mixed success. The take on Caprese salad pictured here looked good but featured a tasteless buffalo mozzarella. The organic tomato was equally bereft of flavor. It typifies much of the food here: pricey, pretty and pretty bland.

On the other hand, an entree of osso bucco was quite good and accompanied by a celery puree whose almost minty sweetness ideally complemented the roasted meat.

I can say without equivocation that the restaurant is gorgeous, with classic architectural features (sans showy theatrics) and a view of a large English courtyard garden. It has a super-attentive staff, too.

Look for my review in Grazing next week.

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)

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Random news

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 5:06 AM

Don't forget: This is Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week. All week, through July 27, you can have a three-course meal for $25 in some good restaurants (including Spoon, Cafe Circa and French American Brasserie).

The event coincides with the National Black Arts Festival, so you should definitely make reservations before heading out. For full details, go here....

Paging Miss Ann. You have competition! Best burger in town? As if....

Slate, the online magazine, is tracking the closing of 600 Starbucks stores. It's issued an invitation to readers to participate in a memorial project:

We want to hear from you. If you frequented a Starbucks that's soon to be closed, write a testimonial about it for the map. What's the history of the place? Did it force a mom-and-pop joint out of business? Or was it the kaffeeklatsch of the community? Did the service suck? Was there a certain demographic (hipsters, old folk, caffeine-addled yuppies) who swarmed the premises? Pictures and video are all welcome, as well.

Get the whole story here. You can read some of the submissions here....

The Standard in Grant Park is toying with its Wednesday night specials. For weeks, it was Korean barbecue, which didn't really rock my palate. Last week it was a Thai curry whose appearance on another table immediately convinced me not to order it. This week it was a very strange and quite tasty "South African curry" made of ground beef served like meat loaf over rice....

It's a hassle to find a parking space in the booming Luckie Marietta District downtown, right? Stop your complaining and go whirlybird.....

Nathalie Dupree re-emerges....

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Slow students plan to party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 4:12 AM

This could be fun:

The Slow Food on Campus Club at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta will host its first “Summer Harvest Event” on August 3, at the Tucker campus, 1927 Lakeside Parkway, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For the most current information about this event, visit the club's website, www.slowfoodlcb.com.

The Slow Food Club is a campus convivium of Slow Food USA -- food lovers who want to share good food and who care about how it reaches local plates and palates. The purpose of the August event is to increase awareness of sustainability efforts and to support locally-owned businesses that use local resources and serve primarily local consumers.

The “rain or shine” festival is open and free to the public and will include a local farmers market with celebrity chef demos, including Chef Linton Hopkins from Restaurant Eugene; Chef Kevin Rathbun from Rathbun’s, Krog Bar and Rathbun’s Steak; Delia Champion from Flying Biscuit, Michael Klein from Emory University; Michael Tuohy from Woodfire Grill; Cathy Conway from Avalon Catering; and Hector Santiago from Pura Vida. There will be local bands, BBQ and children’s activities.

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