Naturally, I sped to Taqueria del Sol on Cheshire Bridge today to get a taste of the season's first Hatch green chiles. Chef Eddie Hernandez (right) whipped me up a ginormous and delicious chile relleno as an example of what's to come in the next few weeks. I also sampled the cheeseburger-Hatch chile taco.
I ran into Paul Luna (left), chef-owner of Lunacy Black Market, during lunch. Paul plans to run for mayor. Yes, really. Meanwhile, he is battling City Hall over the terrible situation created by the decision to put a meter at every street parking space in town, with a subcontracted company enforcing the system 24 hours a day. Check out Paul's website blog for more information. Here's his most recent post on the issue.
• A 21-year-old man dressed in a child-size banana costume was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington, after allegedly exposing himself to an employee at a local Wendy’s. When police arrived on the scene, the banana man was already in his car but exited with a shotgun in his hand and started yelling “something or other about white supremacy,” according to police.
• Buffalo police arrested a man after hearing a cat meowing from the trunk of the man’s car during a traffic stop. They discovered the unfortunate feline “marinating” in oil and chile peppers within a cage. The cat was cleaned up and taken in by the local SPCA.
The Shed at Glenwood, Tues., Aug. 24: King Estate and Pacific Northwest wine dinner features five courses and five wines from vineyards in Oregon and Washington. Reservations required. $85. 7 p.m. 475 Bill Kennedy Way. 404-835-4363. www.theshedatglenwood.com.
Buford Highway Farmers Market, Tues., Aug. 24: Chinese Southern Belles cooking class focuses on a wide variety of rice dishes made with all kinds of rice. Samples include fried rice, rice rollies, rice snacks, stuffed rice pockets and more. Register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Free BHFM gift card for all participants. $15. 7-9 p.m. 5600 Buford Highway, Doraville. 678-873-7447. www.aofwc.com/index.aspx.
Cooks Warehouse Brookhaven, Tues., Aug. 24: Justin Keith of Food 101 demonstrates how to make a full menu based around seasonal-peak tomatoes, including tomato salad, gazpacho and tomatillo salsa verde. Registration required. $45. 7-9 p.m. 4062 Peachtree Road. 404-949-9945. www.cookswarehouse.com.
Soho, Weds., Aug. 25: Flight Night spotlights the wines of California, featuring three wines, three paired tapas plates and a complimentary cheese plate. This week: Napa. $18 per flight or $9 per glass; $6 per tapas or $12 per wine and tapas pairing. 5:30-11 p.m. 4300 Paces Ferry Road. 770-801-0069. www.sohoatlanta.com.
They are on the menu this week as a green chile taco with hamburger, but the restaurant will be offering an all-you-can-eat special 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, at its Howell Mill location. For $12, you can eat green chile rellenos, cheeseburger sliders, enchiladas and brisket tacos with no limits beyond your tolerance for delectable Hatch chiles.
Our favorite side dish was black beans seasoned with chipotle and maple syrup. That's like Cuban-Mexican-Vermont fusion. Another surprise was Tater Tots made with sweet potatoes.
Dessert was vanilla-cardamom pound cake with a lemon glaze (right).
The cafe has a pleasing ambiance. It's currently featuring photography by Marty Maxwell. A moon shot is especially intriguing.
More in this week's Grazing.
Aw shizzle. It appears that Dunwoody is back in the hizzy.
The AJC's John Kessler has been tweeting in recent days about going back to the old critic grind, and this morning on his blog he confirms that he'll be taking over again as main critic. The AJC hasn't had regular starred restaurant reviews since Meridith Ford Goldman left a couple of months ago to work for local PR firm the Reynolds Group.
In this morning's post, Kessler addresses a few questions, particularly one about his anonymity (or lack thereof). He also invites reader questions in the comments section.
In Grazing, Cliff visits 5th Street Cafe, the new venture from Hawks player Zaza Pachulia, in the former Eno location.
I asked the hostess why the restaurant, which is quite informal, had established this policy, I literally did not understand her reply. My friend Brad, who lunched with me there Friday, had also asked and could not discern the reason either. He speculates that team hats have provoked noisy rivalries.
I haven't encountered anything like this in years. I do remember once wearing a baseball cap to the Buckhead Diner on a Sunday afternoon. As we were seated, the host grabbed my hat and put it on the seat beside me. I assumed that had to do with proper attire.
The Cheesecake Factory topped 14 other restaurants whose names are like a mantra of dubious taste and poor health.
As it happens, two food critics, Kelly Alexander and Michael Ruhlman, recently got in a friendly debate about the quality of the Cheesecake Factory's food. Alexander wrote that she likes it. Ruhlman responded by making fun of her. She challenged him to try the restaurant, which he did. Their dispute is summarized on the Huffington Post website and by Ruhlman on his own site.
I haven't been to a Cheesecake Factory in many years. I do, however, recall the opening of the one in Buckhead. I wrote probably the harshest review I've ever written after visiting it. It wasn't just that the food was not very good. The experience of dining there was like taking up residence in a cartoon. Nothing felt very real about it.
Actually, Ruhlman ends up tempering his own opinions after visiting one of the restaurants. If he's right, it sounds like the food has improved. But he seems to have had the same experience I did of finding the place unreal.
Morelli's + Gillespie = Collaborative genius. Totally wonderful combination of flavors. The cinnamon toast isn't especially crunchy, but who gives a damn?
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