Monday, November 23, 2009

Graveyard Tavern goes gastro-pub

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 8:28 PM

graveyard pork

The Graveyard Tavern in East Atlanta has bumped its menu up to gastro-pub quality. Chef Justin Bright is preparing daily specials like this one of pork loin stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and topped with a raspberry demi-glace, served with grilled green beans, roasted new potatoes and balsamic-sherry onions.

The regular menu has plenty else to recommend it.Look for "Grazing" later this week.

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)

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Video: Antico Pizza Napoletana

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:30 PM

We chat with Giovanni Di Palma, owner of Antico Pizza, the spot for true Napoletana slices in Atlanta's West Side. We fell in love with the restaurant when we reviewed it, found in this week's issue.

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Talking Head: Thanksgiving beers: Don't serve a turkey with your turkey

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Hennepin saison from Brewery Ommegang
  • Hennepin saison from Brewery Ommegang

If you are dreading the uninspired jug of chardonnay or white zin that your in-laws break out every Thanksgiving, why not shake things up a bit by bringing something out of the ordinary, something special, something with a beautiful label and a cork-and-cage closure that opens with a satisfying pop? No, not Champagne, but beer.

Sure, MGD or Bud Light are fine when you're chilling in front of the TV watching the game, but finding something appropriate for the dinner table can be a bit more intimidating. So many different flavors and textures are part of the mix, and not everyone has the palate for a complex, richly-flavored  beer. But don't despair; there are a number of excellent options that can outshine any wine.

Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, author of The Brewmaster's Table, a book celebrating the pairing of beer and food, finds that bière de gardes, the earthy, country-style ales brewed in the border region between France and Belgium, are the quintessential Thanksgiving beers, and it's not necessarily because they pair well with turkey. "Well, let's face it--the Butterball is a sideshow; modern turkeys don't really have much flavor," Oliver writes. "[But] both [the stuffing and the gravy] have strong herbal flavors, which anchor the match with the beer's herbal flavors. Then the caramelized malt meets the brown turkey skin, the biscuity malt flavors match the lightly nutty flavor of the meat, and the carbonation lifts everything, so you don't realize you're eating so much."

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Miller Union opens

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:44 PM

miller room

miller chicken
and foodies are buzzing enthusiastically about the Westside home for chef/co-owner Steven Satterfield's take on Southern cooking. Satterfield spent nine years in the kitchen at Watershed with Scott Peacock and has teamed up with Neal McCarthy, the popular manager of Sotto Sotto for years.

The interior, another work by ai3, is just freakin' amazing. I don't know what to call it -- maybe "PoMo Salvaged Southern." The restaurant is divided into several dining rooms, one of which is so crowded it could be in Paris, and they all have ai3's usual spare, clean feeling.

miller pork
But many of the walls feature construction that recalls farm-style pantry cabinets. The architects have played with the geometry of the cabinets to produce a look that avoids even a single cliche.

Satterfield's food -- local and organic when possible -- is delicious. Our entrees included grilled poulet rouge over green beans and cranberry beans, and beer-braised pork with kale and a sweet potato.

We didn't have a dish that misssed the mark. I'll report more fully in "Grazing" later this week.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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Review: Antico Pizza Napoletana

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:00 PM

SAN GENNARO: A specialty pizza at Antico
  • SAN GENNARO: A specialty pizza at Antico

It'd be possible to fall in love with Antico if the pizza was just OK. The feel of the place alone is enough to inspire instant infatuation long before a slice ever touches your lips: the sparse counter and the sassy Italian woman behind it; the rustic communal wooden table outfitted with bowls of salt, raw garlic and hot red peppers; the blaring opera music; the plate over the kitchen door with Jesus looking down at the diners. And that kitchen – with its cooks in kerchiefs, massive wood-burning ovens, orders shouted in Italian – hums with authenticity.

But luckily, the pizza isn't merely OK. Just as it would be easy to love Antico for the atmosphere alone, it'd be possible to love this food if it were served in a filthy dive with plastic tables and terrible service. It's the meeting of the two – the utterly charming restaurant and the outrageously delicious pizza – that makes Antico the subject of intense adoration by almost everyone who walks through the door. Including me.

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(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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Friday, November 20, 2009

'Best meat on Peachtree'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 10:43 PM

bruce logue wagyu

bruce logue wagyu2
It's been a month since my regular Friday lunch bunch visited La Pietra Cucina. We did today and found chef Bruce Logue in an unusually upbeat mood. (Yes, he knows me.) He visited our table wielding this chunk of the highest-grade of Wagyu beef and insisted we each try a skewer of the meat.

I've eaten plenty of apparently lower-grade Wagyu over the years. This was completely unique to my taste. The beef, from the hanger cut, virutally had the texture of foie gras.

"This is the best piece of meat on Peachtree right now," Logue said. "I'm telling the staff tonight they better sell this, because if they can't sell this, they're in the wrong place."

If I were you, I'd get a reservation tonight or Saturday to sample it as a starter or entree.

The rest of our lunch included a round of soup with escarole, white beans and housemade fennel sausage, followed by speck panini for two of us and a chicken panino for another.

Another light lunch.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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Awful waffles

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 8:52 PM

EGGO: Listeria monocytogenes never looked so good
  • EGGO: Listeria monocytogenes never looked so good

As if the ruined economy wasn't enough, now poor Americans have to deal with a nationwide shortage of delicious (and cheap!) Eggo waffles afflicting our country. What could cause such suffering?

Eggo's parent company, Kellogg Co., blamed the frozen waffle shortage on the floods that struck Atlanta this September, claiming the heavy rains shut down one of its main plants located in the city. But in actuality, the plant was closed during most of September and October after Listeria monocytogenes were found in a sample of Eggos. Listeria is a bacteria that is harmless for most people but can be dangerous for pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.

The company recalled nearly 4,500 cases of Eggos and ceased production at the plant for much of September and October. The flooding then delayed the plant's re-opening, according to Kellogg.

Still sure you won't leggo that Eggo?

(Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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First Look: Burger Club and FuzeBurger

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 3:00 PM

BURGER CLUB: The Artery Annihilator is an 8-ounce Angus patty on two Krispy Kreme doughnuts
  • BURGER CLUB: The Artery Annihilator is an 8-ounce Angus patty on two Krispy Kreme doughnuts

It arrived like any other hamburger of its type, crowding the plate, oozing melted cheddar cheese from which lengths of crispy bacon jutted. Above all, it glowed with the nostalgia of every American kid's favorite meal. The economy has tanked, the plutocrats bid the lawmakers to let us eat cake, the teabaggers exhort us literally to vote against our own interests. The world has gone mad, but we've still got hamburgers.

Sort of. I took a closer look, as did those sitting at nearby tables in the bar of the new Burger Club (4300 Paces Ferry Road, Vinings, 678-888-9036). There was a barely discernible gasp. A woman's hand flew to her chest. "Yeah," I said, "it's the 'Artery Annihilator.'"

The 8-ounce Angus patty's bun wasn't a bun at all – it was two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As my gaze took in the concoction, childhood nostalgia melted – like the sugar glaze on the doughnuts, the globes of fat in the burger, the crystallized fat in the bacon and the drooping fat of the cheese – into an adult's vision of slow suicide. Why wasn't it served with Lipitor and beta-blockers?

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(Photo by James Camp)

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Here and there

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I dined alone at Stella in Grant Park Thursday night. I had a Caesar salad and a white pizza featuring zucchini, bacon and mozzarella, streaked with balsamic vinegar. The restaurant is slated to close and be resurrected as a Doc Chey's Noodle House within the next few months. (The same people own both restaurants.) Meanwhile, the chef has left the restaurant to open her own venue in Florida.

I asked a server why the owners think Doc Chey's will do better than Stella and she told me that "foot traffic" is much higher at all locations of the noodle house. She said some limited remodeling will occur before the transition...

roxx burger
In my quest for new burgers, I dined Monday night at Roxx Tavern and Diner on Cheshire Bridge Road. On Mondays, the restaurant offers a build-your-own-burger special.  You start with a $5.95 Angus beef, turkey or veggie burger and add toppings of your choice.

Weirdly, the restaurant doesn't offer a list of ingredients and their cost. You just choose whatever you like that is mentioned in the regular menu of kitchen-designed burgers and you'll have to ask what each ingredient costs. I chose this Angus patty with caramelized onions. feta cheese and bacon. I ended up saving a couple of bucks.  It was quite good, if a bit undercooked....

Speaking of burgers, the Shed at Glenwood featured a slider at  its regular Wednesday "slider night" that included duck confit and fresh cranberries that had been marinated in port wine, jalapeno peppers and cloves. I keep craving it....

Entice, a "Caribbean tapas restaurant and lounge," is soon to open on Ponce de Leon Avenue near the Spaghetti Factory....

Marketing Ploy of the Week: Over the weekend, the Ansley Publix appeared to repackage its small cobb salad in the large container, lowered the price a dollar and claimed it was on sale. Ugh....

It appears Vesuvius, the new pizzeria on Edgewood Avenue, will not open tomorrow night, Friday, as hoped. Maybe next week....

So light, so airy, so incredibly fattening....

So noisy, so airy, so inedible....

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)

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Combat Keds for the pizza wars

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 3:26 AM

Hurry and get you a pair.

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