When a restaurant changes hands, it's a tricky situation. How to retain enough of the original flavor to keep loyal customers happy while making the necessary changes to bring in fresh faces?
At Rolling Bones Premium Pit BBQ (377 Edgewood Ave., 404-222-2324, www.rollingbonesbbq.com), the changes made by new chef/owner Todd Richards (formerly of the Four Seasons hotel and Spice restaurant) and his partners are a big improvement. The drive-thru is still there, the retro diner décor is the same, but the food at this Southern-style barbecue joint has received a serious upgrade. The menu is more chef-driven and now includes slight gourmet twists such as Bentons bacon in the creamy potato salad, smoky sweet "Reggies baked beans," and balanced, flavorful mustard greens. The new owners have also started using Georgia hickory and pecan to smoke the expanded selection of meats and side items. Corn is smoked in its husk and slathered with paprika and butter. The new and vastly improved Memphis-style barbecue sauces (hot or mild) hint of tomato, spice, sweetness and tang while the consistency masterfully straddles the fence between too thick and too thin.
(Photo by Garnish Photography/Courtesy Green Olive Media)
Help! My Estro-Profi espresso maker has given up the ghost after 12 years, and I'm in the market for something new. Honestly, I do not want to spend $500-plus dollars again.
What is it? It's pizza, very strange, very thick pizza made with pureed black beans, chicken, avocados and creme fraiche. I ordered it at the new Prickly Pear Taqueria (950 W. Peachtree St., 404-881-8887), located between Marlow's Tavern and Steele.
The restaurant, which is inexpensive, was absolutely packed when we visited Saturday night. It's the usual, mediocre, mainly Tex-Mex fare. How mediocre? Well, a staffer actually told me not to order the chicken mole because, she said, it is completely inauthentic. Of course, none of this matters after your first margarita or two or three or four.
Look to learn more in "Grazing" this week.
(Photo by Cliff Bostock)
I miss the Globe. I miss its sleek, understated design and its modern American menu. I miss its Technology Square location, convenient to Midtown, the Westside and downtown. I miss going there for drinks after work, or as a fallback for brunch or a business lunch. Parking was a pain, but apart from that, I miss almost everything about it.
So I was happy to hear that Oswald Morgan, one of the partners at the Globe, opened a spot in Johns Creek this past January. Of course, it being in Johns Creek, it took me eight months to get out there to try it.
You can see the Globes aesthetic the moment you walk into Kozmo Gastropub. Sparse without being the slightest bit austere, it features the same streamlined, polished angles and surfaces. Black leather booths and blond wood tables form rows, large blackboards denoting weekly specials adorn the the light walls, and huge vases filled with apples and limes provide vibrant decoration.
(Photo by James Camp)
We visited the new Niramish (1146 Euclid Ave.) in Little Five Points a few nights ago. This is a mainly Bangladeshi restaurant and you'll likely encounter some dishes you've never had before.
Above is a plate of vegetable fritters cooked in the Balti style. This is a style of cooking that originated with Pakistani immigrants in Birmingham, England. We also had a rather strange pasta dish featuring a very sweet, very creamy tomato sauce.
Most of the food was good and a departure from the usual Indian fare around town. There are lots of vegetarian dishes and many made with fish, but no meat. You won't miss it.
I'll have more to say later this week in "Grazing."
(Photo by Cliff Bostock)
In Episode 2 of "Top Chef": Las Vegas, there were a few obvious, spirited political issues included in the plot. One was whether or not a girls versus boys challenge is sexist. And of course the legalization of gay marriage.
Youll all be glad that Im not going to discuss those issues in this column. OK, well, for the record, I think people should be able to wed whomever they want.
But, what I felt was the biggest controversy of the episode was the comment made that the boys food was contrived and that mass appeal is as important as the judges opinion.
These are both issues I take pretty seriously. The former is an issue we battle every day in my kitchens.
Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and king of all things politically correct in the food world, has announced that he does not support the boycott of Whole Foods:
John Mackeys views on health care, much as I disagree with them, will not prevent me from shopping at Whole Foods. I can understand why people would want to boycott, but its important to play out the hypothetical consequences of a successful boycott. Whole Foods is not perfect, however if they were to disappear, the cause of improving Americans health by building an alternative food system, based on more fresh food, pastured and humanely raised meats and sustainable agriculture, would suffer.
I happen to believe health care reform has the potential to drive big changes in the food system, and to enlist the health care industry in the fight to reform agriculture. How? Because if health insurers can no longer pick and choose their clients, and throw sick people out, they will develop a much stronger interest in prevention, which is to say, in changing the way America feeds itself.
When health insurers realize they will make thousands more in profits for every case of type II diabetes they can prevent, they will develop a strong interest in things like corn subsidies, local food systems, farmers markets, school lunch, public health campaigns about soda, etc. So Mackey is wrong on health care, but Whole Foods is often right about food, and their support for the farmers matters more to me than the political views of their founder. I havent examined the political views of all the retailers who feed me, but I can imagine having a lot of eating problems if I make them a litmus test.
Announcement of the statement on Huffington Post produced over 1500 comments.
SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY: Nancy Cole's family-run Decatur dessert mecca makes decadent brownies. The word brownie may conjure images of diminutive treats, but there is nothing small about these monsters theyre almost as big as a box of Raisinets. Coles recipe uses two types of imported chocolate, which results in an incredibly rich and sticky treat whether your preference is regular or with toasted walnuts. Its the stuff of which fudgey brownie dreams are made of. Both choices are finished with a lacy drizzle of deep chocolate ganache to take these destination-worthy beauties over the top. 186 Rio Circle, Decatur. 404-373-8752. www.southernsweets.com.
(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)
Maizie Hale, the PR Queen, writes with details about the Iberian Pig, a new Spanish restaurant that will open in Decatur next month:
The Iberian Pig will open in mid-September on the Decatur Square, offering an array of innovative dishes, including some that feature the restaurants exotic namesake -The Black Iberian Pig. Federico Castellucci III, whose family introduced the popular Sugo restaurants to metro Atlanta, created the concept and is co-owner with his sister, Stephanie Castellucci. The siblings are graduates of the Hospitality School at Cornell University and are fourth-generation restaurateurs.
The Iberian Pigs eclectic menu will focus on traditional cured meats, cheeses, tapas, cocas (flatbreads) and main plates like the Iberian Burger made with American Waygu Beef, a toasted brioche bun, bacon-onion relish, vine-ripe tomatoes, mahon cheese and butter lettuce, served with eggplant fries). Another planned main plate is Cabrito Carbonara, slow-roasted goat with chittara pasta tossed in a carbonara sauce with applewood smoked bacon, fresh cream and a poached egg.
The European décor evokes the feel of a festive Spanish tapas bar, while an upbeat mix of modern, independent and Spanish music helps create a high-energy atmosphere.
The Iberian Pigs chef is Chad Crete, a managing partner and fellow graduate of Cornell University. Cretes tapas include tacos made with slow roasted pork cheeks, fire-roasted corn salsa, avocado, butter lettuce and cilantro oil. Another features slow-simmered octopus char grilled with barbecue sauce, fennel and shallots, and served with crunchy potatoes.
The bar, a focus of the restaurant, will be managed by Bar Chef Thomas Fable Jhun, who distinguished himself as mixologist at Sugo in Duluth with in-house infusions, culinary cocktails and fresh in-house squeezed juice. A huge ice block stationed in the bar will be chipped to prepare individual cocktails. There is also an extensive selection of comfortably priced wines.
The Iberian Pig is located at 121 Sycamore St. in the center of historic Decatur Square. (This is the former home of Sage.) The restaurant seats 140, including a 20-seat bar area and a 40-seat private room.
Hours will be: dinner only Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. A late-night menu will be served until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
(Photo of Iberian Black Pig courtesy of Wikimedia.)
One morning, we are all going to wake up and find that we have turned the same color. A post-racial world will eliminate a significant portion of Americans conflicts. Until then, there is Buford Highway.
For at least 25 years, the road has been transitioning to an intense multicultural enclave best known for its ethnically diverse restaurants. Stop a moment to ponder the role of dining in the diminishment of ethnocentrism. Every visit to Buford Highway is an opportunity to cross a cultural boundary. Dining on delicious, unfamiliar ethnic food is a serious step toward the realization that ethnocentrism and racism not only oppress other people, they also limit our experience of much of the worlds beauty.
During the decades of Buford Highways transition, Ive watched the cultural diversity blend ever more. Its not just a matter of an authentic Chinese restaurant now. A few years ago, for example, I went to a Mexican restaurant that specializes in Chinese cooking. (A fist fight erupted while I was there.) My understanding is that theres a restaurant in another area of town that features Indian-style Italian cooking.
(Photo by James Camp)
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