Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Atlanta food events April 27 - May 1

Posted by on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Atlanta Wine School's Reserve Wines With Friends, April 27. Starting at 7 p.m., seven reserve wines will be uncorked and shared for $79 a person. Call 770-668-0435 for more information.

The Shed at Glenwood's 2nd Anniversary, April 27. Celebrate the restaurant's anniversary with a buffet of the year's favorite food items, as well as new offerings for the spring. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Buffet will be available from 5-9:30 p.m., and the celebration lasts until midnight. Call 404-835-4363 for more information.

Rosebud’s “Strawberry Fields Forever Dinner,” April 28. The dinner features strawberries in every course and costs $38 per person. A wine pairing option is available for an additional $20. For more information, call 404-347-9747.

Les Dames d’Escoffie’s NEO Unplugged, April 28. The Mansion on Peachtree dinner guests are invited to leave all electronics at the door. The four-course, prix-fixe dinner is $65 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity). Ten percent of proceeds from all food sales go to LDEI. For more information, call 404-995-7558.

ONE. midtown kitchen Hosts Dinner and a Show, “On Broadway,” April 30 - May 1. The restaurant partners with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to present a three-course prix fixe menu at ONE. midtown kitchen, followed by a live performance of "On Broadway" at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. Dinner reservations available at 5:30, 6, and 6:30 p.m.; the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $48 for both. Call 404-733-4807 for more information.

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Review: Rare Soul Food Tapas

Posted by on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I GOT SOUL: The bar area at Rare retains its cool vintage vibe.
  • I GOT SOUL: The bar area at Rare retains its cool vintage vibe.

If you ever visited the original incarnation of Rare, there's an eerie quality to returning to the newly reopened restaurant. While the bar area and dining room have changed slightly due to the fire that destroyed much of the building in April 2008, almost everything else about the place is exactly as it was when it opened in late 2006. The food is the same. The service is the same. The vibe is minutely less funky, but basically the same.

Rare has always had a strong sense of place. Where else other than Atlanta would you find a restaurant that combined authentically executed soul food and the urban populism of tapas? The original design of the place was inspired: a dark warren of vintage tchotchkes and red velvet, 1930s cartoons playing on old televisions and projected onto the walls of the loungy, pillow-laden back room.

Now, when you step in from the street, the bar area is sleeker, with less of those original touches, and the trip down the hallway to the room in the back (an unlikely hike without a reservation) reveals a sparser, less opulent collection of padded platforms to recline upon. But it's still dark, the old movies still play against the brick walls, and the vibe is still downright sexy. As a destination, Rare screams with potential – a sultry setting for date night or a more social atmosphere for a larger party (the bed-like platforms organized around low tables is simply more fun than traditional seating).

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(Photo by James Camp)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

A visit to Wahoo Grill

Posted by on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 6:59 PM

wahoo scallops

wahoo wahoo
Wayne and I set out for dinner Sunday night at the new Farm Burger in Decatur. We found the place absolutely packed. Among those waiting in line was food blogger and photographer extraordinare Broderick Smylie.

After five or 10 minutes of standing in a line that wasn't moving, Wayne and I decided to leave and head somewhere else. We landed at Wahoo Grill, which we found nearly empty. However, the guy up front told us there would be a 15-minute wait. I looked around the dining room and asked, "Why?"

"To give the kitchen time to catch up," he said.

It was only later that we realized the restaurant's large, popular patio in the rear was full.

We had a mainly good meal, starting with an appetizer of three fat scallops wrapped in maple-cured bacon, drizzled with spicy mayo and garnished with arugula (top photo). Our second starter was shrimp simmered in a Louisiana-style barbecue sauce that tasted like it was spiked with Worcestershire sauce. We liked both dishes.

For an entree, I chose the regular Sunday special of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. My plate included two boned breast halves partially covered in gravy. I have no serious complaints about the moist meat but I don't understand fried chicken without the bone, which does impart a depth of flavor you don't get with boned chicken.

Wayne ordered the signature grilled wahoo topped with a vinaigrette with capers and rather flavorless cherry tomatoes. The dish also included green beans and a cheesy risotto.

Dessert was a dish of bread pudding for Wayne and something like blackberry cobbler made with oatmeal for me. (Think "apple crisp" with blackberries substituted.) Skip the latter. It was unpleasantly mushy while the super-sweet bread pudding hit the bourbon-glazed spot.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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Taste of Decatur FAIL

Posted by on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM

There's been a lot of chatter on the web about what went wrong at this past Saturday's Taste of Decatur. Apparently the rain caused a cancellation of the event, but ticket holders (and participating businesses) weren't alerted. Decatur Metro has the whole blow by blow, as well as news that LivingSocial (the event organizer) is offering refunds to anyone who purchased tickets.

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Grazing: First Look: Ziba's Restaurant & Wine Bar

Posted by on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM

GOT BEEF?: Ziba's Restaurant & Wine Bar doesn't have its pouring license yet, but it does have tasty eats.
  • GOT BEEF?: Ziba's Restaurant & Wine Bar doesn't have its pouring license yet, but it does have tasty eats.

God, it's a tiny world, the food world. When I entered Ziba's Restaurant & Wine Bar (560 Boulevard, 404-622-4440), I was greeted by a familiar face who turned out to be Marcie Meirndorf, the former manager of Eclipse di Luna. She's opened Ziba's in the spot vacated by Solstice Café; the owners, Eric and Sean, worked for her at Eclipse.

I kept waiting for Paul Luna to step out from behind the bar, too.

Ziba's, which takes its name from the Farsi word for "beautiful," features a Mediterranean menu with 12 small plates and four or five entrées. The young chef, Landon Thompson, who was at Top Flr for a while, emphasizes Middle Eastern ingredients befitting the Farsi name.

We sampled a good bit of the menu and were happy to eat well. Ziba's is across Grant Park from our house. Like many others in the hood, we were sad when Solstice closed. Grant Park has many restaurants now, but few serious ones.

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(Photo by James Camp)

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Atlanta weekend food events, April 23-25

Posted by on Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Events for the Weekend
Steeplechase at MARKET Buckhead, April 24. Patio party from 6-10 p.m. There will be drink specials, an outdoor grill, and a live jazz band. Guests are encouraged to wear derby-style hats to this event. For more information call 404-523-3600.

The Corner Pub's Fifth Annual Gumbo Off, April 24. The judging will take place at 4:00 p.m. and there will be a free sampling of all the entries right afterward. The winner will receive a $50 prize. For more information call 404-377-0603.

Atkins Park Tavern in Smyrna’s 8th Annual Atkins Park Crawfish Boil, April 24. The event will have live entertainment, carnival-style rides and spicy crawfish, which will be sold by the pound and served with all the fixings from chef Jason Monroe.  Inside Atkins Park, Dave McCoy & The Attractions will be performing, and live music from Blair Crimmons & the Hookers, Travel by Train and Lost City will also be provided in Market Village.  The entry fee is $5, and proceeds from the event will benefit Mustard Seed Communities. For more information, call 770-435-1887.

The Art Institute of Atlanta’s “Julia Child’s Classic French Spring Dinner” class, April 24. 10 a.m  – 2  p.m. Chef Lisa Hubbard instructs on how to make a multicourse spring themed menu from Julia Child’s recipes. Along with the meal participants will learn some classic French techniques. The cost is $99 a person. For more information visit http://www.artinstitutes.edu/atlanta/Admissions/smart_cooking.aspx or call 1.800.275.4242

Taqueria del Sol’s 10th Anniversary “Month of Sundays,” April 25. Each Sunday one location will be open and serving a special menu. Every week, all locations will offer the popular Chocolate Chimichanga with Grand Marnier and Tequila cream sauce for $3.00. Twenty percent of the proceeds from the Atlanta events will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Sunday, April 25; 6-9 p.m. Taqueria del Sol, Cheshire Bridge, will serve turnip green tamales with pork crackling and refried black-eyed peas for $10.00. For more information call 404-321-1118.

Corkscrew Café April Wine Tasting, April 25. Dave Klepinger will be leading a wine tasting of six different wines. The tasting will last from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Appetizers will also be served. Reservations are requested. The cost is $40 per person, tax and gratuity included.  Have a credit card available when making reservations. For more information or to make reservations call 706-867-8551.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Atlanta Mother's Day restaurant events

Posted by on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 3:36 PM


4th & Swift. Prix Fixe 3-course brunch menu for $39/person. They will be offering the regular menu for dinner. For more information call 678-904-0160.

103 West. Annual Mother's Day Buffet from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., featuring live piano entertainment. $59 for adults, $24.50 for children under 12 and free for kids under 6. Call 404-233-5993 for reservations or more information.

Aqua Blue. The brunch buffet will be from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $29.95 per person. Children under the age of 14 are $9.95, and children under 4 eat free. Bottomless mimosas will be $15 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 770-643-8886.

Atlanta Grill. Brunch will be served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Atlanta. $59 per adult and $29 for children. A complimentary glass of champagne or a diamond tiara cocktail will go to each mother.

Bacchanalia. From 12 p.m.-4 p.m., Chefs/Owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison will offer a specially prepared menu to celebrate the day. For more information call 404-365-0410.

Basil's. They will be serving brunch from 11a.m. to 3p.m. The cost will be $28 a person. Moms get a free mimossa. For more information call 404-233-9755.

Craft Atlanta & Craftbar. Dinner items from Chef de Cuisine Kevin Maxey will be served family style from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Craft Atlanta, including a prix-fixe menu. Guests can also have a more casual meal at Craftbar. Chef de Cuisine Adam Evans will serve brunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and dinner from 3 until 8 p.m. For more information call 404-995-7580.

Cabernet. Brunch buffet, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Adults eat for $49.95 and children ages 6-12 cost $21.95. Children 5 and under are free. Dinner is from 5-10 p.m. The full menu as well as  including a $35 prix fixe menu will be available. For more information call 770-777-5955.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ethnic.city: Kusum Foods

Posted by on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM

CRUNCH TIME: The dal vada at Kusum Foods in Decatur resemble hush puppies minus the underlying sweetness.
  • CRUNCH TIME: The dal vada at Kusum Foods in Decatur resemble hush puppies minus the underlying sweetness.

"Not today," says the gruff older Indian woman behind the counter at Kusum Foods (2899 N. Decatur Road, Decatur, 404-296-3338). That's the third time she's said that after I've asked for a specific dish. I'm frustrated and a little embarrassed, so I try to joke about the lack of availability, but her stoicism doesn't break. I finally select a few dishes with success and escape to my booth in the oddly bright blue room. The woman shouts that one of my orders is ready and I timidly approach the counter to whisk away my chaat, a style of street snack originating in India's Gujarat state – the birthplace of Kusum's cuisine. Gujarati cuisine is primarily vegetarian with an emphasis on seasonality.

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(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get your Greek pizza at Sweet Auburn Curb Market

Posted by on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 7:10 PM

the greek

the greek slice
I stopped by The Greek Gyros and Pizza (404-254-2899) at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market for a slice on Monday. The new food booth is owned by Johnny Gianoulidis, from a family of Greek pizza makers.

Aside from the (optional) use of classic Greek ingredients like feta cheese and kalamata olives, Greek pizzas are made in a pan. That means they are considerably thicker than the currently favored Neopolitan pies from Antico Pizza and Fritti.

I ordered a single slice with feta and sundried tomatoes and, believe me, that was enough for one meal. The feta was piled atop the standard white cheddar and tomato sauce. It was chewy, gooey, crispy and crunchy. I have always preferred thin pies myself, but I'd definitely return for more of this.

I also ordered galaktobouriko -- phyllo wrapping a dense custard. I took it with me and ate it an hour later. Addictive.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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A report from Cochon 555

Posted by on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM


On Sunday I judged the pig-cooking competition Cochon 555, which took place at the W hotel downtown and is part of a national tour. At each event, 5 chefs are asked to cook a whole pig, using it in whatever way they decide. A butcher demonstration, wine, cheese and revelry are also involved.

The chefs at the Atlanta event were Kevin Rathbun, Todd Mussman (of Muss & Turner's), Kelly English from Restaurant Iris in Memphis, Sean Brock from McCrady's in Charleston, and Mike Lata from Fig in Charleston. I'm not going to go into detail about what each chef made, but I will say that the Charleston chefs were so far ahead of the rest that it mortified me a little. Sean Brock, who was ultimately named the winner, turned out close to 15 dishes, including one of the more inspired things I've seen all year: Korean "noodle" soup, with the clear noodles made from the pig. Brock was positively delerious, having worked service in Charleston the previous night, then driven without sleep to Atlanta to do the cooking and work the event.

  • Some of what Mike Lata presented at Cochon 555

Mike Lata also had a huge assortment of dishes (11 if my count was correct), including an adorable pig-shaped cracker that tasted of sharp cheese straws (and was made with lard from the pig), and an outrageously good banh mi sandwich, made with head cheese, liver pate and pickled ramps. Lata's food was my favorite of the event - I thought he had a cohesiveness Brock lacked - but it was mighty hard to choose between them. They both got perfect scores from me.

The other chefs each turned out one, or in Rathbun's case, two dishes. I wondered what happened to the rest of the pig. True, these dishes each had some components from different parts of the animal, but so much of it must have gone unused. Part of the beauty of Brock and Lata's presentations was that you could tell they used everything they were given. I can't say that any of the other contestant's dishes stood out as much as most of what Lata and Brock brought. It wasn't simply a question of quantity, but of inventiveness and  passion on the plate.

There are some great photos from the event over at Savory Exposure.

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