Monday, September 21, 2009

Seaweed with that dog?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Wonderful World hotdog

The Tin Drum peeps have opened Wonderful World Burgers in Emory Village  (1561 North Decatur Rd., 404-373-8887).  We sampled a few of the cafe's tasty slider-size burgers, but this hot dog with teriyaki sauce, mayo and roasted seaweed was the standout.

Everything except daily specials costs under $3. And the specials, like Wednesday's kimchi stew with hanger steak, are only $3.75.

As is usual with Tin Drum's owner, the restaurant makes musical allusions. I presume the name derives from the song made famous by Louis Armstrong. In the bathroom, I found faux graffiti quoting lyrics of "Zero Landmine," the EP by (incredible) Japanese artist Ryuichi Sakamoto. It's probably best known to Americans for Cyndi Lauper's participation.

More in "Grazing" later this week.

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)

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Review: 30 Tables

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 2:00 PM

NUMBNUTS: The Asian meatballs at 30 Tables
  • NUMBNUTS: The Asian meatballs at 30 Tables

It’s easy to see why restaurants are becoming safer and less eccentric. When times are tight, the reflex is to return to simple, nonthreatening food that appeals to the masses. 30 Tables, in the Glenn Hotel, reflects that tendency, both on the part of the hotel and on the part of Concentrics, the group brought in to run the restaurant.

Let’s start with the Glenn, and the space 30 Tables inhabits. The restaurant is the third establishment in this space in three years. The hotel's tried one outlandish concept after another, starting with the ludicrous and preposterously bad B.E.D., and then Maxim Prime, a collaboration between Jeffrey Chodorow and the men’s magazine of the same name. Maxim Prime was only slightly less garish than B.E.D. in its design and concept, and the food was far more successful. But ultimately, the ’80s-themed den-of-iniquity decor, eggs topped with gold leaf, and Russian waitresses dressed up like “Simply Irresistible” dancers didn't hold sway over enough diners to make Maxim Prime a success. So what next?

Continue reading "Review: 30 Tables"

(Photo by James Camp)

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

'I could eat the salad, so I will order the fries'

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2009 at 8:00 PM


Just thinking about eating a salad gives you permission to eat French fries instead:

Just seeing a salad on the menu seems to push some consumers to make a less healthy meal choice, according to a Duke University researcher.

It's an effect called "vicarious goal fulfillment," in which a person can feel a goal has been met if they have taken some small action, like considering the salad without ordering it, said Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, who led the research.

In a lab experiment, participants possessing high levels of self-control related to food choices (as assessed by a pre-test) avoided french fries, the least healthy item on a menu, when presented with only unhealthy choices. But when a side salad was added to this menu, they became much more likely to take the fries.

No wonder Mickey D's and others have added salads to their menus!

(Graphic courtesy of Find Fitness Here.)

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Best dish of the last week

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2009 at 7:12 PM

eclipse chicken verde

eclipse cheese plate
This (above) was the best thing I ate  last week -- chicken cooked in a tomatillo sauce. It's a tapa-sized portion available at Eclipse di Luna. I used to eat the same dish, in a larger portion, at El Molino, my favorite Atlanta taqueria that, sadly, closed over a year ago. (I've yet to find another taqueria that prepares daily off-the-menu dishes like the cook at El Molino did.)

I lunched at Eclipse with four friends and every dish, including the cheese plate (right), was spot-on. Another dish I enjoyed for the first time was the chicken empanada.

Generally my friends and I order three dishes each here, but less gluttonous diners will be happy with two.

(Pictures by Cliff Bostock)

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Burger joint opens at Sweet Auburn Market

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2009 at 6:57 PM

grindhouse crowd

Grindhouse Killer Burgers opened Monday at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and my two visits have required waiting in long lines — not something you see frequently these days at restaurants. The dirt-cheap restaurant is open for lunch only, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. More in my next Grazing column.

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Upcoming food and drink events

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Here are some food and drink events coming up in the next week:

Share Our Strength's Great American Dine Out:

Sunday, Sep. 20-Saturday, Sep. 26

Around 75 restaurants in the Atlanta area have agreed to help out Share Our Strength in ending childhood hunger by donating a percentage of sales and collecting 202- 393-2925. prices vary

Author Michaele Weissman to speak at Octane Coffee:

Sunday, Sep. 20 at 2pm

Michaele Weissman, author of God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Cup, will be giving a talk entitled Deconstructing Coffee, which will discuss specialty coffee, boutique-quality coffee and she will be answering questions. Octane Coffee. 1009-b Marietta St 30318.

Inman Park Restaurant Week:

Monday, Sep. 21-Sunday, Sep. 27Inman Park restaurants serve up 3 courses for a set price: Pure Taqueria, Sauced and The Albert for $15; Fritti, Parish Foods & Goods, Park’s Edge, Rathbun’s, Shaun’s, Sotto Sotto, Wisteria and Zaya Mediterranean Cuisine for $25; and Kevin Rathbun Steak for $35. Be sure to make reservations in advance to ensure that you get in. North Highland Ave. 404-577-4212. $15-$35.

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Grazing: The Satyricon and modern dining

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 5:15 PM


I recently re-read Satyricon, often regarded as the western world’s first novel, written by Petronius, a member of the court of Nero, toward the end of the 1st century CE. The longest chapter of the satirical book is a description of a banquet hosted by Trimalchio, a freed slave who has become immensely wealthy.

Although Petronius’ motives are controversial, it’s impossible to read the banquet description without thinking of  life in our own culture during the last few years. Generally, the banquet satirizes the excesses of the nouveau riche. Eerily, like dining trends in our own time, Trimalchio is interested in changing the form of food, dressing up offal and turning dining into theater. He’s even into local food – it’s all from his own estates – and he psychologizes dining by pairing his guests with dishes appropriate to their astrological sign.

It is a measure of our time that we observe most of these same phenomena and, with rare exception, regard them only as completely positive, undeserving of even mild critical scrutiny. But I’m taking my cue from Petronius for citing some of the most dubious dining trends of late.

Continue reading Grazing: The Satyricon and modern dining.

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Ege Sushi and Japanese Cuisine: Marietta

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM

menu at Ege

Every few months, my sister and I inevitably find ourselves debating which three cuisines we could eat for the rest of our lives if we had to choose. Typing it aloud makes the whole thing sound ridiculous since I can’t fathom a scenario where we would need to do so. But the debate is always interesting because our choices evolve as we broaden our food horizons. Yeah, we are food-obsessed weirdos.

Although my sister and I tend to have wildly different tastes and appetites (I am always snacking while she is more regimented in her meal times), we both, without fail, rank Japanese in the highest position. Japanese food has everything you could want. Raw. Fried. Stewed. Steamed. Grilled. Sautéed. The list goes on and on. The ingredients are handled with reverence. Precision is of the utmost importance. And the flavors and presentation are simple, but stunning.

I don’t know how or when it happened, but Atlanta has accumulated quite the assortment of Japanese restaurants. People think San Francisco is rife with Japanese cuisine. But let me tell you something: I lived in San Francisco and it has nothing on Atlanta. My mind actually races with indecision when I have to choose a spot because there are so many options--Sushi House Hayakawa, Yakitori Jinbei, Shoya Izakaya, Taka, Tomo, Hashiguchi Junior and Nakato just to name a few of my favorites. We. Are. Lucky. And now, I found another Japanese spot to add to my rotation, Ege Sushi and Japanese Cuisine.

Click here to read the rest...

(Photo of Ege's special menu by Jennifer Zyman)

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wild, Wild Chefs: 'Top Chef' Las Vegas, Episode Five

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 1:24 PM

GREAT RED NECKWARE SPORTING EURO CHEFS THROUGH THE AGES: Or possibly time-lapse aging. Mattin in 20 years?
  • GREAT RED NECKWARE SPORTING EURO CHEFS THROUGH THE AGES: Or possibly time-lapse aging. Mattin in 20 years?

Welcome to the wild, wild west.

In last night's edition of “Top Chef," the remaining cheftestants left the comforts (and air conditioning) of the M Resort kitchen for fire pits in the Nevada desert, cooking for a few dozen cowboys and camping out in teepees on a veritable dude ranch. The desert heat (after all, it was “nine trillion degrees”) made for some agitated chefs and overwhelmingly mediocre food, "some of the worst of the season". Although Atlanta based Eli's tough tuna sandwich and accompanying radish “salad,” which looked more like a pile of raw radishes, was certainly among the mediocre, his commentary got to the heart of the episode: presenting the chefs themselves.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CLTV: Krystal Square Off VI at Lenox Square Mall

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 10:39 PM

On Sept. 13, 12 people competed in the Krystal hamburger-eating contest at Lenox Square Mall. The person who could consume the most Krystal and Big Angus hamburgers in eight minutes won a seat at the final table of the Krystal Square Off VI World Hamburger Eating Championship Sept. 27 in Chattanooga, TN where the top eaters will compete for $50,000 in cash prizes.

The winner at Lenox Square was “Humble” Bob Shoudt, “Humble” Bob consumed 41 Krystal and 5 Big Angus hamburgers in the eight minutes in a stomach-turning display of eating ability.

After the competition “Humble” Bob admitted to feeling a little guilty that he was not out protesting for clean water for the poor. “The world heath organization estimates over 400 people die a day because of poorly treated water,” “Humble” Bob said after consuming 46 hamburgers, “I feel guilty I am not protesting the use of treated water on soccer and football fields when it could be used to help those who have no clean water.”

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