Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eliminate the bread, double the chicken, add bacon

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Oh, Sweet Jesus, they are gonna kill us all!

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Unions enlist in Whole Foods boycott

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:00 PM

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The Huffington Post reports that two unions are encouraging their six million workers to join the Whole Foods boycott:

Now the Change To Win Investment Group and United Food And Commercial Workers Union -- both a part of the Change To Win federation of unions representing six million workers -- have put out statements criticizing Mackey and encouraging a boycott of the store.

CtW called for Mackey's removal as chairman of the board and CEO. "Mr. Mackey attempted to capitalize on the brand reputation of Whole Foods to champion his personal political views, but has instead deeply offended a key segment of Whole Foods consumer base," the group's executive director Bill Patterson said in a statement. UFCW has begun handing out pamphlets to Whole Food shoppers. The group said Mackey's op-ed was an "attempt to undermine Obama's health-care reform." (Whole Foods is not unionized.)

Meanwhile, Whole Foods' brand perception appears to be taking a serious hit. Below is the "reputation chart" from YouGov. The brand's reputation has fallen from 33.3 on Aug. 12 to 20.3 by Aug. 20. I'm not sure how much this research can be trusted. It's all conducted among members of the YouGov site.

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Lots of bloggers are waiting for Michael Pollan, who wrote negatively about the grocery chain in The Omnivore's Dilemma, to take a stand on the issue. I'm betting he stays quiet. You may remember that he engaged in a public conversation at Berkeley with CEO John Mackey a couple of  years ago. Pollan then acknowledged Mackey's courage in appearing before an audience of foodie activists.

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Apple profiles Atlanta restaurant group

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 1:59 PM

I wrote recently about the new iPhone application for Chipotle lovers. Now I learn that the staffs of Social Vinings and Paul's, both owned by Great Foods Inc., are using iPhones for everything from turning on the lights to producing daily reports.

Great Foods is one of only 12 companies, and the only Atlanta one, that Apple has chosen to profile on its website. The profile includes video of Patrick Albrecht explaining his restaurants' use of the phone.

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'Top Chef' Las Vegas, Episode Two: Battle of the sexes

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 12:49 PM

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Oops, she did it again. And she really, really shouldn't have.

In last night's Vegas style battle of the sexes, the girls served up a heaping helping of repeats – an impressive feat for the second episode – practically handing fuel to Michael Isabella's fire. Eve, the midwest complicated/simple girl, served the judges and a cabana full of bachelors underseasoned and over complicated (not to mention over cooked) shrimp, this time with salsa instead of curry, and still couldn't explain a lick of it. Jesse came up with another decent idea for chicken and did everything wrong again. Not even Jennifer's snotty octopus ceviche could save the day for the girls' team, no matter how much I was rooting for them.

Thankfully, Atlanta fared much better than the ladies, with both Eli and Hector winding up at the top during judge's table. Despite missing out on the elimination challenge victory (it's pretty hard to beat a macaroon filled with guacamole after that many shots), Hector's tequila lemon-lime tofu proved he still had plenty of huevos, earning accolades from the judges and even more sighs of envy from my couch. Fellow Atlanta representative Eli also scored with his thai-inspired tuna tartar with wild rice, winning over Gail Simmons and the bevy of “so hot” bachelorettes (Thanks, Mattin).

Continue reading »

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Two tasty things

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 4:35 AM

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Here's a couple of tasty dishes. Above is the latest slider to erupt from Lance Gummere's imagination at the Shed at Glenwood. It's a super-slider-sized Reuben sandwich -- only $3, like the rest of his creations every Wednesday night.

Yeah, I'm totally addicted to Gummere's sliders. I've finally found my own version of crack. I feel like Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoons.

By the way, the restaurant also offers a Thusday-night "Harvest" dinner of four vegetables for $10, according to owner Cindy Shera. It's a healthy follow-up to the Wednesday night pig-out.

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This is the chile relleno plate at Taquería la Norteña (4166 Buford Hwy., 404-320-0770) in the food court of Plaza Fiesta. It's a huge poblano pepper stuffed with a decent white cheese and fried in a light batter -- a classic that is often poorly prepared around town. It was about $10, including the usual rice and beans and five or six corn tortillas.

I sliced up the quite hot chile and rolled the pieces into the tortillas with some of the beans. Unfortunately, there was only one salsa available -- a generic, mediocre red dispensed from a gigantic jar like ketchup.

You can do a lot of grazing with very mixed success at Plaza Fiesta. But it's a fun afternoon, no matter what you eat.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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The best Cajun food on Buford Highway

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 3:33 AM

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Okay, it's not the most elegantly plated lunch I've ever had, but it's the best fried catfish I've encountered in many years. This -- two crispy filets of catfish, four jumbo shrimp, red potatoes and corn on the cob -- is "meal #1" at Crawfish Shack Seafood (4337 Buford Hwy., 404-929-6789).

The tiny restaurant has drawn raves from the critics on Yelp since its opening last October. Adding to its fascination is the background of the family that operates it. They are an all-American blend of Chinese, Cambodian and Vietnamese.

The owner is the son of the family and he was born and raised in Georgia. He loves Cajun seafood, which blends perfectly with the spicy and seafood-heavy cuisine of his family's Asian heritage. So you get a uniquely spicy crawfish boil that is used with everything from the corn to snow crab legs. Meanwhile, the owner's mother whips out spring rolls to go with your crawfish and fried oysters, just in case you've had your fill of her perfect hushpuppies.

Read more about it later this week in "Grazing."

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Talking Head: Green beer

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Raining beer: The rainwater catchment system at 5 Season Westside
  • Raining beer: The rainwater catchment system at 5 Season Westside

I just heard the best news to come down the pike since Stone Brewing came to town. Even if Judge Magnuson pulls the plug on Atlanta's Chatahoochee River water supply in 3 years, there will still be beer at 5 Seasons Westside.

The recently opened restaurant and brewery, which already fires its brewing kettles with used cooking oil from its kitchens, announced that it has installed a rainwater catchment system from RainHarvest Systems of Cumming that will provide all the water for their beer. The water is purified through 6 stages of filtration, followed by a dual-beam ultraviolet sterilization that results in water of superior quality to tap water. "The processed rainwater not only fulfills our commitment to environmentally responsible production, but it also tastes better than municipal water, which ultimately makes a smoother, better tasting beer," says head brewer Crawford Moran. "We're the only brewery in the world doing this."

Continue reading »

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Got iPhone?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Then you're one application away from a burrito. Check out Chipotle's latest marketing gimmick.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheap Eats: Little Cuba

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 2:00 PM

SWEET RELIEF: The flan at Little Cuba
  • SWEET RELIEF: The flan at Little Cuba

Cuban food in Atlanta has its limitations. Yes, we are blessed with spots such as the exceedingly warm Las Palmeras. But Atlanta’s Cuban cuisine scene has taken a big hit in the past year. Havana caught on fire, and the sweet owner of Kool Korners closed his restaurant to everyone’s dismay. Both have since opened in other less convenient locations — Canton and Alabama, respectively.  But that doesn’t help the rest of us folks pining for a little taste of Cuba closer to home.

Little Cuba (3350 Chamblee Tucker Road, Suite D, Chamblee. 770-451-0025) is not a new restaurant, but it deserves a little love for its massive menu of classic Cuban dishes. The restaurant has managed to receive very little press in the 10 years it's been open. But the seats have been filled every time I've dined here, and a wait at lunchtime is not uncommon.

Continue reading Cheap Eats

(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)

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Whole Foods boycott: it's all about social media

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 2:44 AM

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Simon Owens is a  journalist and new media consultant who writes a blog called Bloggasm. He e-mailed today to alert me to his interview with Steven Mikulencak and Mark Rosenthal, who started the 27,000-member Facebook group calling for a boycott of Whole Foods.

Rosenthal explains his motivation to Owens:

[The op-ed] lit a fire under me,” Rosenthal said. “This person was using his company as a sort of Trojan horse for a bunch of discredited, bad ideas that we have said no to over and over again. And it was just really frustrating because we had an election where we voted on these things, and we said no to these stupid ideas about deregulation being the solution to any of our problems. We’ve said no to the notion that ‘I’ve got mine and everyone else can go suck an egg.'

The post is well worth a read. It mainly focuses on how so-called social media have become a highly effective means of community organizing.

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Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly
Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly

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