Movement among the chefs of Atlanta's Chinese restaurants is quite fascinating and entertaining to follow. Heres how it goes down: Immediately after a restaurants popularity peaks, the chef jumps ship and is suddenly cooking down the street or, in the case of Tasty Chinas original chef Peter Chang, another city. Poaching with the lure of higher paychecks is how it's inevitably done. But you cant fault another restaurateur for seeking out the best.
Thus, the news that Wan Lais chef Danny Ting had moved to Bo Bo Garden (5181 Buford Highway, Pine Tree Plaza, 678-547-1881) was far from surprising. He had proven himself uniquely talented with the Cantonese/Hong Kong-style casseroles he served at Wan Lai along with his 14 years of experience in the industry. But, for now, chef Ting doesnt seem to be going anywhere. Hes not only the chef at Bo Bo Garden, but also a partner with co-owners Kay Chan and Lynn Ng.
(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)
On Mon., Aug. 3, Donny Vomit will be at Taco Mac Perimeter at 5:30 p.m. and Taco Mac Metropolis in Midtown at 7 p.m. He will perform at the The Porter Beer Bar in Little Five Points at 9 p.m. the same night. The freak show continues on Tues., Aug 4 at The 5 Spot where Donny will host an evening of extraordinary feats, burlesque dancing from Blast Off Burlesque, and carnival-themed films and music. An art reception featuring local artists will kick off the evening at 7 p.m. All of the performances are free.
CARVERS COUNTRY KITCHEN & GROCERY: The facade of Robert and Sharon Carver's Southern meat-and-two dive is deceivingly spartan. But the inside is cluttered with an eclectic mix of clippings and knick-knacks. Carver's fried chicken has plenty of crunch and juicy meat. You can either get an order of leg and thigh or a breast so big the Carvers actually call it the "Dolly Parton." Any of the sides (you get two vegetables and bread with your order) satisfy, but starchy items are the best on the menu especially the hush puppies and mac-and-cheese creamy with Velveeta. 1118 W. Marietta St. 404-794-4410. www.carverscountrykitchen.com.
(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)
Here's my friend David Sandler photographing his chocolate cake at Varasano's Pizzeria earlier this week. Dessert is free if you use your mobile device to post something "nice" about your meal on Twitter or Facebook.
It wasn't hard to say something nice. I ordered the margherita pizza with bufala mozzarella and David ordered the Nana, a similar pie that features more complex herbs than the straight up fresh basil on the margherita.
I noticed that the restaurant now has instructions on the right way to eat pizza (right) on every table. It's true that eating it this way makes the sometimes gooey texture less problematic. But we got no goo with our pizzas. They were just about perfect.
(Top photo by Cliff Bostock; right photo by David Sandler)
I had a great lunch at Anis today with my friends Brad and Frank. We learned from owner Arnaud Michel that he and his business partners have leased the space vacated by Allegro on Dutch Valley Road. He plans to open a new restaurant, Amuse, there by the end of September.
The chef will be Lenny Robinson, who was chef at Anis for several years. Arnaud said the menu is still in planning but, of course, diners can expect it to have a French accent.
Arnaud said he is "shrinking" the dining room a bit to make the space more intimate.
Today I lunched on a special of sauteed skate wing (above) under a warm salad of fresh corn, potatoes and octopus. Skate doesn't seem to be very popular in our city. Many people seem to find Its texture and sweetness displeasing, but it always reminds me of scallops.
We finished lunch with dessert samplers that included a profiterole filled with coconut ice cream, flan, a scoop of apricot sorbet and some cherries and strawberries. A light lunch.
(Photos by Cliff Bostock)
Best of Atlanta voting ends tonight at 12 a.m. for our 2009 "Filthy Rich" ballot. You can also submit your picks through facebook. Online voters have to enter at least 10 categories. We already have a record of over 5,400 votes!
For more Best of Atlanta action, Fresh Loaf has a new poll up where you can vote if you'd rather see more fine dining or more cheap eats restaurants in Atlanta.
It wasnt that long ago in the urban South that you heard can openers whirring in the summer heat. My assumption is that people became so accustomed to the convenience and taste of canned vegetables, they werent really attracted to garden-grown produce.
When fresh produce did show up on urban tables, it usually came from the grocery store and was typically cooked beyond recognition often to the degree that it was indistinguishable from canned food. Im thinking about green beans in particular. Yellow summer squash was boiled and mashed with butter and bacon fat. Tomatoes, thanks to the miracle of hydroponic greenhouses, were mealy and flavorless year round. It was not until I was in my 20s, living in Elberton, that I tasted a garden-grown tomato.
Happily, restaurants have turned local produce into a virtual fad during the last few years. One of those is Atkins Park Restaurant (794 N. Highland Ave., 404-876-7249), well-known as the longest continually licensed bar in the city. The chef is Andrew Smith, who earlier worked for Scott Peacock of Watershed and Shaun Doty of Shauns.
(Photo by James Camp)
Here's a good opportunity to try a new restaurant and help support the Atlanta Community Food Bank:
Abattoir Chophouse, the sixth venture from celebrated Chefs and Restaurateurs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, will host Supper Club to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Banks Atlantas Table on Tuesday, August 11. Quatrano and Harrison, along with Chef and Partner Joshua Hopkins, invite Atlantans to experience this meatcentric concept with a menu that is based around whole animal cuisine, a term referring to Quatranos use of every functional piece of the animal.
Supper Club is a monthly event that allows diners the convenience of enjoying a meal at some of Atlantas hottest restaurants while supporting their community. Each month, a different restaurant serves as host, and 20 percent of the evenings proceeds benefit Atlantas Table, the prepared food rescue project of the Food Bank.
A more casual dining experience than Quatrano and Harrisons other culinary destinations, Bacchanalia and Floataway Café, Abattoir is located at 1170 Howell Mill Road within the White Provision building that was originally a meat packing plant in the 1940s and 50s. Read Besha Rodell's review to learn more about the restaurant.
Supper Club was created in the late 1990s to celebrate the partnership between Atlantas Table and Atlantas hospitality community. Atlantas Table, a project of the Food Bank, provides approximately 40,000 pounds of prepared food for Atlantas hungry each month. With sponsorship from Ethic Inc., Jezebel magazine, TrendCRM and 92.9 dave fm, Atlantas Table Supper Club generates funds to ensure continued operations of the project. For more information about Supper Club, visit www.ACFB.org, or contact Daphne Hill at 678.553.5996 or daphne.hill@ACFB.org.
Great Divide Brewing Company
Great Divide celebrates its 15th year in business with a potent Double India Pale Ale aged on French and American oak to "round off the edges." Indeed, it's a very drinkable DIPA, with tons of malt complexity and vanilla essence to balance the aggressive hop bill.
Unlike typical over-the-top hop bombs, the initial nose carries significant fruity esters, along with brandy-like alcohol and vanilla. Floral hops, pineapple, and fresh wet pine needles round out the subtle (for a DIPA), inviting aroma. Toffee sweetness hits first in the taste, followed by a solid, resinous smack of hops. The malts, oak and citric bite of hops combine to create a whiskey sour-like quality, right down to the smoky, boozy warmth and cherry sweetness. Oaky dryness and vanilla hold onto the middle, with a pine and grapefruit rind hop bitterness rising in the finish. An alcohol burn lingers in the sinuses on the long fade.
Considering the strong elements contributed by the wood aging, the mouthfeel is somewhat raw and grainy and could be a bit softer and creamier. No doubt some further aging will help with that, as well as mellowing the burn. Medium-full and sticky, this is definitely a sipper, but balanced and enjoyable. I had no problem finishing a 22-oz bomber, leaving me warm and happy.
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