Right now, Im at a coffee shop. A few moments ago, I signed an autograph on one of those papers you find in front of such places. Probably looks like the one youre reading now. Im in a baseball cap, pulled just over my eyes, and a pair of camouflage carpenter shorts I got from Target. And a nondescript navy blue sweatshirt.
Im Joe, Anytown USA. But Im not.
Ive achieved some sort of celebrity status. Falling in rank somewhere between the E and Z lists. Probably more toward the back of the alphabet. A fact that has been made increasingly obvious through some surreal experiences.
Often, Im just that guy from TV. A food channel dude. That chef.
Sometimes, Im a guy you think you know from somewhere, but cant quite place.
I recommend that if you find yourself going through this metamorphosis, do not tell the person who is stumped about your identity who you are. Telling them you're from this or that TV show has the potential to yield a most humiliating result. As it did to me once in Jacksonville. Early in my newfound life, the curious person who thought they knew me responded that no, they didn't know me from television. They just thought I was Craig Wilson from their intramural softball team.
I now refer to this as the Craig Wilson rule.
Jujubee's: Jujubees keeps it simple by offering a few flavors of its Italian-style frozen yogurt along with all the usual toppings. The pomegranate, a usual suspect at modern frozen yogurt establishments, is tart and tasty. But the chocolate is so full-flavored and rich, you may forget you're eating something low-fat. Instead of contending with rogue sprinkles and chocolate chips, the counter folks smartly secure the toppings with another thin layer of frozen yogurt, and they'll even let you mix up the flavors in the layers. 4279 Roswell Road. 404-303-0024.
(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)
I lunched with three friends at Star Provisions today. The place was packed inside and out and we had quite a wait in line. I ordered this bánh mì, the popular Vietnamese sandwich of a crunchy baguette stuffed with pickled vegetables, cilantro and meat -- braised pork in this case.
The sandwich was utterly delicious but the cost, $12, was bit of a shock, considering that you can buy these on Buford Highway for a couple of bucks (though not usually made with meat of this quality). With a side of pickled beets and a bottled soft drink, my tab was about $18.
I tried to spend more by purchasing a few cookies before we left. However, the slowest sales clerk I have encountered in a long time was working the cash register alone. I finally bailed, figuring it would be better not to eat cookies, anyway.
(Photo by Cliff Bostock)
The adult renaissance of the hamburger isnt difficult to explain. Nothing (besides maybe pizza) comes close to fulfilling an aging populations insatiable appetite for nostalgia. And God knows baby boomers are nothing if not nostalgic.
Then, too, theres the recession. (Im referring to the little depression that we keep reading is over.) Hamburgers are typically inexpensive, which is why McDonalds is prospering in a wretched economy. Still, its a bit mysterious that if you scan the average menu of a full-service restaurant, the burger will usually cost less than dishes that have cheaper ingredients and require less time to prepare. I suppose the burger has simply retained its rep as cheap, no matter the quality of the contents.
The latest in the absolute epidemic of burger joints to open here is Grindhouse Killer Burgers (209 Edgewood Ave., 404-522-3444) at Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
Anne Zimmerman of Culinate attends a dirt tasting. Yes, really. A typical observation:
The mud from Pugs Leap Farm in Healdsburg was thick and dark and hearty, and smelled like a green pasture. After smelling the soil, we tasted chervil grown at Pugs Leap, then a chunk of egg from chickens raised at Pugs Leap, and finally a delicate slice of tomme cheese made from the milk of goats raised at Pugs Leap.
Would you believe me if I said I could taste the continuity? The chervil was delicate yet distinctly herbaceous, and the yolk of the egg had a creamy green freshness. And the tomme was soft, mild, and can I say it again? divinely green.
I was stunned. Ive had some miraculous food experiences, but nothing that illustrated so convincingly the connection between the health of the land and the food that I put in my mouth.
Toby Young is back, and he's still very, very British.
In last night's magic-themed episode of Top Chef Las Vegas, Toby Young, the show's resident foul-mouthed, analogy-making Brit, returned to judge the remaining cheftestants' deconstructed versions of classic dishes, from a showy Caesar salad to eggs foreign to me, alongside deconstructionist showmen Penn and Teller. Fittingly, both classic British dishes shepherd's pie and fish and chips flopped last night, failing to meet Toby's, or even Teller's, expectations. Ash's shepherd's pie was clunky on the plate and poorly cooked (his tomato looked like a bad tomato Provencal I actually did get at a buffet in Vegas) and Laurine's fish and two chips, aside from being overcooked, failed to recreate the fatty flavor of fries.
Ultimately, though, it was Ron's pathetic paella, his countless mediocre fish dish of the season, that was deemed the worst of the night and sent the Haitian chef packing his knives. While I doubt Ron thought he was the best chef of the bunch, his disillusioned commentary (I could win for this, I've made award-winning clam chowder) made him seem out of touch with the competition and his abilities throughout much of the season. Thankfully, his heartfelt goodbye saved some face and helped to show that at least a part of his cocky/confused persona was created in editing. Keep living the dream, Ron one day you can cook for Tyra Banks.
Cabbagetown Market will hold its third annual pig roast 12 noon-5 p.m. (or so) this Saturday, Sept. 26. You get your local pig, your locally grown sides and your locally brewed beer, plus local music. That's a lotta local flavor. Last year's event was fun.
The rain has forced this year's event to sheltered space. It will be held at the Cabbagetown Community Center on Estoria Street, between Gaskill and Kirkwood.
Proceeds benefit the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Association. Call 404-254-1454 if you have questions.
Best of Atlanta hits the streets and the interwebz tomorrow, but because we know you cant wait, well offer up some teasers. Were running through a few of the most popular categories readers voted on and see if you can guess who/what won. You can also guess on what's the best free thing to do in Atlanta.
*And yes, these were actual reader submissions.
Check out this photo of the restaurant from yesterday:
Not only was the entire restaurant flooded, but the edible garden which they have just put so much work into has been totally wiped out. We'll keep you up to date as we hear more.
(Photo by Evan Richardson)
The Georgia Dome is featuring some new pig-out food. PR rep Lauren Fibres writes about the oddity at right:
One of the most notable new additions is the Victory Knot (photo attached), a two-pound, giant, gourmet soft pretzel. The Victory Knot is topped with sea salt and served with three dipping sauces beer cheese, spicy mustard and a sweet vanilla cream. Meant to be shared between 3-4 fans, the Victory Knot is so huge, it is served in a full-sized pizza box....
The Iberian Pig will open next Monday, Sept. 28. Can't hardly wait to try Cabrito Carbonara, slow-roasted goat with chittara pasta tossed in a carbonara sauce with applewood smoked bacon, fresh cream and a poached egg....
The Top Floor (or TOP FLR) people, including Chef Shane Devereux, are hosting private dinner parties at secret locations around the city every other Friday night. You can check out the most recent menu on the Dinner Party website. Your $55 buys five courses paired with wines. Unfortunately, the next dinner is already sold out. So get on their list now....
I lunched at the new Grindhouse Killer Burgers at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Run. Seriously. Even in the middle of the current epidemic of burger joints, former real estate attorney Alex Brounsteein is serving some of the best burgers I've encountered. The Apache, featuring roasted green New Mexico chiles, is dangerously addictive, I'm afraid. Thank God they aren't open after 4 p.m....
There are other restaurants besides PCM all right, and even cheaper than Super Expensive Pan.
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