Thursday, July 24, 2008

New lunch menu at the Globe

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 2:35 AM

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I've been worried about The Globe ever since Govantez Lowndes, one of the owners, disappeared without explanation. Lowndes brought natural elegance to the restaurant and it's a bit odd to go there now and not see him.

Since Lowndes' departure, one of my foodie friends complains that the restaurant "becomes more mainstream by the day," even though Joshua Perkins is still the chef. I'm not sure I agree but I was surprised when I lunched there Tuesday and found it so packed that there was a wait for a table. I've never had that experience at the Globe before. So, if there's any marketing to the "mainstream," it seems to be working.

Perkins has created a new daytime menu for summer that seems more comprehensive than earlier ones. My friend Daryl White, an anthropologist who specializes in the culture of food, and I both ate well at the bar Tuesday. (I'll be posting my interview with Daryl in a few days.)

I ordered a dish called "Love Letters" (above, right). It featured beef pulled from short ribs and layered with tender pappardelle and Swiss chard. My only complaint is that there wasn't more of the fresh grated horseradish that seasons the dish. I really only ran into it in one bite.

Daryl ordered black grouper in a pool of raw almond and coconut milk with mango and papaya pickles (top photo). He enjoyed it, but my taste of it, a bit bland, made me happy I'd settled on the short rib, which, by the way, our server/bartender said was the restaurant's "best value." It was indeed filling.

The Globe remains one of the best looking restaurants in our city.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Guest blogger: Theraputic baking

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 6:59 PM

Last week I extended an invitation to readers to contribute to Omnivore with stories of food and life. I've had quite a response already, and today I'm happy to present our first guest blogger, Lauren Leschper. Lauren writes about how for her, baking is way cheaper than therapy. Enjoy, and if you're interested in blogging for Omnivore, send me your ideas at besha.rodell@creativeloafing.com.

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Cheaper (and tastier) than a psychiatrist

By Lauren Leschper

Everyone deals with stress in a slightly different way. Some people eat, some exercise, and some do nothing at all. Me? I bake.

I don’t know why, but at least since I’ve been in college, the best way for me to calm down and de-stress is to make a cake, pie, whatever. I have little desire to eat the resulting dessert, however. I always manage to cover myself in homemade icing when I make cupcakes, so by the time I finish I have usually eaten my fill of sweets for a while.

Which is the interesting fact about baking, for me at least – making lots of cupcakes actually keeps me from eating many desserts on a daily basis. Luckily (for them or me?) my boyfriend and his four roommates are more than happy to scarf down whatever treat I’ve decided to make. Otherwise, my roommates would certainly throw me out for keeping them from fitting into their formal dresses.

Brownie and muffin mixes were basically the extent of my mom’s baking when I was growing up, other than the blackberry pies she would make for special occasions. My family was never a “dessert” family. Yet somehow I discovered the absolute magic of from-scratch baked goods. In my experience, there are few things as sure to brighten someone’s day as a homemade cupcake. Knowing this fact helps make the preparation and effort worthwhile for me, but there’s more to it than that. The combination of art and science, creativity and precision, is the paradox and essence of baking. I think that inherent contradiction is what gives baking its therapeutic qualities for me. I have to concentrate and devote my full attention to what I’m doing. Depending on the recipe, sometimes the smallest mistake could lead to disaster. I don’t have time to think about my midterm, or my fight with my boyfriend, or anything else that might be weighing on my mind.

Plus, I get to eat some yummy frosting. Calories from icing licked off your fingers don’t count, right?

(Photo from Wikimedia commons)

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Beer pick of the week: Double Simcoe

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 6:48 PM

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Double Simcoe

Weyerbacher Brewing Company

Easton, PA

9.0% ABV

Simcoe hops are capable of providing a strong hop aroma and flavor without imparting an astringent bitterness, and this new arrival to Georgia shows it to brilliant effect. I don’t want to give the impression that Double Simcoe is not bitter, however. It is, but in a good way. Huge grapefruit and pine flavors hit first in the taste, but gradually the deep whiskey-like malts and floral honey sweetness assert themselves, resulting in a flavor that is balanced in the way that two linebackers on a teeter totter would be balanced—big on both sides of fulcrum. The hop oils coat the tongue and, along with the warming alcohol, have a slight numbing effect that is soothing but not dulling. The big flavors and boozy aroma encourage a slow, savoring pace. Despite its full body and creamy, sticky mouthfeel, the finish is dry and woody, with a lingering hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue. A true treat for hopheads and an excellent example of what the best American brewers are producing.

(photo by Jeff Holland)

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The last supper

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 2:01 PM

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The Food Studio served its last meal Saturday night and Broderick Smylie was there with his camera. Check out all of his photos of the event here. (Also, check out Broderick's regular site and blog, replete with Erin Ivey singing "Chocolate," here.)

I'm sorry to see the Food Studio close. When it opened in 1996, it was a radical departure from the usual in Atlanta. Located in the King Plow Center, its decor and menu echoed the arty function of most tenants there.

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Student Culinarian of the Year

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 3:45 AM

John Michael Lynch, a line cook at Cherokee Town and Country Club, has been named Student Culinarian of the Year by the American Culinary Federation.

The organization also gave the greater Atlanta chapter its 2008 National Chapter of the Year award at its annual conference in Las Vegas last week.

You can read an article about Lynch, written before he won the national title, here.

If I'm not mistaken, Tom Catherall first made his name in Atlanta as chef at Cherokee in the mid- '80s, before opening Azalea, Atlanta's introduction to fusion cuisine. Maybe Lynch will be our next restaurant magnate. I've put in a call for an interview.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Eclipsed by Crescent Moon

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 4:31 PM

As research for our upcoming Best of Atlanta issue, I took my wife and daughter to Crescent Moon at Northlake Mall. All three of us have enjoyed the place in the past, and Monday night is Family Night, allowing kids to eat free off the versatile children's menu. Alas, we ended up eating Chic-Fil-A at the mall's food court instead.

There was no wait, but our first warning sign came when the Crescent Moon hostess offered to seat us at a booth near the counter. A visibly tense server strode over and told the hostess that he also had an 11-party table on the other side of the restaurant, and he would have trouble paying attention to anyone sitting in that booth. He was so clearly stressed out that my family and I should have just left then, but we took a seat in a more populated part of the restaurant instead.

Continue reading »

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Repast chefs to cook for next Kudzu Supper Club

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 1:22 PM

The Kudzu Supper Club, which promotes "field to table" dining, meets next on Fri., July 25. Chefs Joe Truex and Mihoko Obunai of Repast will be cooking. Also on hand will be folks from Gum Creek Farms, Riverview Farms and Woodland Gardens — all sustainable operations.

Cost is $125 for five courses with wine pairings. Click here for more information. The location is not disclosed until you make a reservation.

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Eat inexpensive, wonderful flavors with your hand

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 1:02 PM

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I had one of the best meals for the money I've had in a long time last week at Desta (3086 Briarcliff Rd., 404-929-0011), after hearing my friend Broderick rave about it.

That's saying something for me. Desta is Ethiopian, which has never been on my list of favorite cuisines, partly because I get tired of picking up every bite with the injera, the sour-dough bread on which the food is typically served. But I expect Desta to become one of my regulars.

The restaurant is located in a shopping center that contains two other Ethiopian restaurants. This one's chef, Titi, prides herself on depending as much on high-quality meats as the usual spices. I don't mean that the food doesn't feature exotic flavors — it does — but you'll immediately notice the difference in quality if you've eaten Ethiopian cuisine before.

Above are two of the restaurant's most ordered dishes — fish tibs in the foreground and a vegetarian combo platter. Do not fail to order kitfo (raw ground beef), seasoned with hot chiles, served with cooling aiyb (similar to cottage cheese).

It's a very convivial place with a wonderful staff.

Read more in next week's Grazing column.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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Alon's responds to post about cheese price

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Last week, I wrote about how much higher the price for Drunken Goat, a favorite cheese, is at Alon's ($20), compared to Whole Foods ($12.99). Meanwhile, I checked out the fancy new cheese counter at the Ansley Kroger, and they are also selling the cheese for $20.

I received this email from Alon Balshan, owner of Alon's:

I was reading your comments about our prices on the Drunken Goat cheese and was not flattered, but it definitely makes me run around to find out how come our prices are so much higher than Whole Foods. There are two reasons that our price was so much higher: we bought the product for a lot more money than we could have, and Whole Foods was able to get the product for less money than I can get it, for the fact that they are a much larger company with more buying power. Since I know the owner of Mitica/Forever cheese, the company that imports the product to the USA, I called Michelle and asked her about it, and she explained to me that the month of June was a promo month for Whole Foods for this cheese. However, it still was way too low....

Alon’s is not an overpriced establishment, never has been. For the quality of product we use, our prices are too low. Our artisan handmade breads are less expensive than Whole Foods'.... Cakes at Starbucks are more expensive than they are at Alon’s. I’m sure their quality is not as high as ours. Many times, some of our products are less expensive than Whole Foods, but you may have not been shopping for these products. However, we could just forget about all these special stores that bring us these special products, take great care of these products, give personal service, and contribute to the quality of our living style, and doing so with passion.... [We could get rid of all that] and just have few Sams Clubs around and save lots of money.

Alon also included an email from Drunken Goat's importer, saying: "

I called a [Whole Foods] store and was told the retail is $12.99 - not sure for how long. In other regions, it ranges from $14.99 to $17.99. That means they are NOT taking a full mark up on this.

Meanwhile Alon has reduced the price to $17.99.

I'm not sure why Alon seems to think my noting the price difference on one item means I'm generally critical of his bakery. I'm not.

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Figs at Dynamic Dish

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 1:00 PM

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Among my favorite summer tastes is figs and the dish above, which I ordered Thursday night at Dynamic Dish, made superb use of them.

Owner/Chef David Sweeney found the organic Black Mission figs at the Dekalb Farmers Market on Thursday morning. They were ripe, but not over-ripe, still a bit coarse, but with a pointed sweetness. He served them atop whipped chevre spread on bread. They were garnished with lightly candied pecans.

Interestingly, the open-face sandwich was served with a purple potato salad, garnished with cucumber slices. I say "interestingly," because the skin of Black Mission figs turns purple with ripening, so it was cool to see the color turn up unexpectedly.

I also ordered a gazpacho made from local tomatoes, tinted with yellow turmeric and garnished with sunflower sprouts. For dessert: warmed rhubarb compote, almost shockingly sour, sweetened with vanilla ice cream dusted with cardamon.

Honestly, the array of flavors in this and every other meal I've had at Dynamic Dish is staggering.

The restaurant was doing a brisk business Thursday night and the most exuberant diner was the youngster pictured here, throwing his arms up in victory as he stepped on another of his toy cars, like Godzilla destroying Tokyo.

Incidentally, Atlanta magazine featured Dynamic Dish in its July issue. You can read Christiane Lauterbach's review here.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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