In case you live under a rock, Ludacris is an Atlanta native (well, he went to high-school and college here...)and hip-hop/rap/thespian supernova. Ludacris is also apparently made of cheese according to this meme.
Did you know that your stomach has as many nerve endings as a cat's brain? Did you know that your body is in a constant state of hunger? These fun-facts, along with Nestle's newest attempt into satiety-science (keeping you fuller, longer) are covered in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday. Apparently, Nestle has a 1 million dollar artificial stomach to test their foodie science.
In New York, it's a wine smackdown! The New York TImes' Eric Asimov says you can drink rosé whenever you damn well please. The New York Observer says that's wrong! You CAN'T drink rosé now, and the Times is wrong to say so! What do I do now? I'm so confused!
In Tennessee, a poultry farmer is taking on Tyson farms. The farmer opposes the giant's practices and is hoping to go to the Supreme Court, according to 11Alive.com.
Flavor Flav cooks chicken!
Reportedly, Dorito's was almost going to air gay-themed commercials during the Super-Bowl. The ads were fan-made and submitted, but will not be airing because of mixed-reviews.
Over at the ACJ's dining blog, Gene Lee has a cool post about the varieties of Korean rice.
However, Daily Spark reports that evidence is rapidly accruing in support of the addiction model, not only for overeating, but many other behaviors as well :
Many health professionals and researchers now consider it possible for people to become addicted to gambling, sexual activity, shopping, online gaming/internet use, and other such behaviors. The common denominator in all addictive behavior, according to this new perspective, is that in people with a neurobiological susceptibility to addiction, any behavior that triggers a strong response in the primitive pleasure/reward centers of the brain can be heavily reinforced by this pleasure response. Over time, this potent reinforcement can overwhelm the individual's "normal" judgment and self-control processes, and make the behavior very difficult to control. In effect, it's not the external substance or behavior we get addicted to, it's the chemical reaction in our own brains.
The article links to six sources, including one about brain-imaging studies and another about rats turned into food pigs.
It's this week's special, jambalaya, at Taqueria del Sol. It's a better version than you'll find at most Louisiana-style restaurants in town. Besides containing the usual chicken and sausage, you get a sharp taste of chipotle and banana peppers. The dish is also available for dinner.
The restaurant is still featuring the winner of its "Tacomania" celebration that invited diners to vote for their favorite taco special during December. The winner: the cheeseburger. Yep, Atlanta diners can't get enough of ground-beef tacos with cheese. I tried one. It tasted good enough, but, good God. As every blogger on the Internet says about everything, "Seriously?" "Really?"
Pizza packaged with cookies or faux chicken wings called "wyngz." Somebody try it and let us know.
But Zagat describes La Grotta this way: "Spectacular service coupled with superb Italian cuisine at this elegant Buckhead classic." Well, the original La Grotta is indeed in Buckhead, but the Crowne Plaza one is in Dunwoody.
That aside, the restaurant is one of the least expensive choices on the list, with the average dinner costing $54, including a drink and tip.
USA Today makes this general observation about the designated hotels and the state of fine dining in America:
Most are very expensive with impeccable service and attractive décor, and some have stunning views. Every one has the potential to give diners a taste of food heaven, Zagat Survey says.
"Twenty years ago, hotel food was like country-club food — OK but not exciting and never top of the line," says Zagat Survey CEO Tim Zagat. "In the last 10 years, hotels decided they had to have outstanding restaurants."
Hotel managers realized a first-class restaurant is a good way to advertise and promote a hotel and its brand, Zagat says.
I don't think it's that restaurants are getting more expensive. In fact, it probably has more to do with the economy than any change in pricing. Like most people, I am far more cautious with my money than I was a few years back. Without going into too much detail, the recession has had a very real effect on my family's finances, and luxury items are out, for the most part.
Of course, when I eat for work I am usually not spending my own money. I have a budget to stick to, and my dining is in no way unlimited, but I'm not under the same constraints as my readers. But when I've eaten out over the last few months, more and more I'm asking myself, "Would I spend my own money on this?" And more and more, the answer is no.
Alabama law firm Beasley Allen has filed a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell that claims the chain is falsely calling its taco filling "seasoned beef" and "seasoned ground beef" when allegedly the mixture, which would be more properly called "Taco Meat Filling," only contains 36% beef. The firm is not asking for money, but is instead asking the chain to make changes to their menu to reflect the food they are serving.
What in the hell else is in there? Taco Bell's meat filling is people! No, it's mostly water and "extenders" like "wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate." Also, something called "Isolated Oat Product." Mmm, oat product.
(H/T: Broderick Smylie)
In case any followers of the Eyester-Kessler exchange missed it (I did), Nick Oltarsh also responded to Kessler's open letter to Atlanta chefs. Oltarsh, chef at Lobby Bar and Bistro and Room at Twelve, was in agreement with Kessler for the most part. His response opens this way:
Mr. Kessler and all the Atlanta dining folks:
In response to your open letter to chefs, as a local Atlanta Chef the message has been heard and truth be told, I concur. I think we chefs and restaurateurs have acquiesced to the challenges of the Atlanta dining scene and have done so without much fight. We need to regroup and accept this open letter challenge. But we need help from our partner, the diner, in two key areas. One, we need your financial support. Last year was tough. Please dine out! Two, the more adventurous our diners are, the more we can express our creativity. Here are my suggestions for how the Atlanta community can help us become a more dynamic restaurant town
It ends this way:
There is a world beyond burgers and french fries. Don’t get me wrong. I eat burgers and I love them and any chef who says otherwise is a big, fat liar and a Judas to the profession. Yet, I also love exhilarating, innovative, tricky, witty and daring cuisine. Yes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but isn’t it fun as a diner to be part of the process? So go to your favorite burger joint, where you could very well see me, but also support your local independent fine-dining restaurant. Both of us deserve your business.
In between are seven other points worth reading.
But I hadn’t made it to another of his ventures until Sunday. Last summer, as if he didn’t have enough to do — did I mention catering too? — he opened Burro-Pollo, a burrito stand in the parking lot across the street from Pura Vida.
It’s open only 12 noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and sells only two burritos — one made with chicken and the other made with tofu. The chicken version is so good you'll be glad you can only get one on the weekend.
First, there is the tortilla, grilled until slightly blackened. Santiago, spreads deliciously spicy shredded chicken over the tortilla, adds crema and an airy salad of shaved radishes and greenery. You’ll also feel the sour burn of tomatillo sauce, if you request it.
You can select the “normal” $7 size or a monster for $11. The latter literally contains “about half a chicken,” according to Santiago’s wife Leslie, who was working the stand with him Sunday.
But wait, there’s more. My understanding is that the stand often offers pozole, but Sunday it was a flat-out amazing chili full of red beans and chunks of (what I assume was) pork belly. A Peruvian-style aqua fresca made with everything from tamarind to blue corn was also available, along with the most amazing hot chocolate you’ll taste in our city. I’m talking liquefied pudding made with good chocolate.
There is, by the way, a picnic table on the premises, but the cold weather motivated us to take our order home. The burritos, wrapped in newspapers, held up quite well.
BLT Steak Atlanta Sat., Jan. 22 2 - 4 p.m.: BLT Steak Atlanta Cooking Class and Wine Pairing. Chef de cuisine Jean-Luc Mongodin hosts the downtown steakhouse’s inaugural interactive cooking and wine pairing class. $45 per person. 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. 404-577-7601. www.bltsteak.com.
Atlanta Community Food Bank Annex Sat., Jan. 22, 9 a.m.-noon: 2nd annual ALFI Fruit Tree Sale. Last year more than 2,000 fruit trees, vines and berries were planted as a result of the sale. All proceeds benefit the Atlanta Local Food Initiative to further its work to build healthy, local food communities. Pre-sale through Jan. 17. 970 Jefferson St. NW
Everybody’s Pizza Mon., Jan. 24, lunch or dinner: Shearith Israel Shelter for Homeless Women. Today, Everybody’s will donate 20% of your tab to the shelter. Bring printed postcard from www.sishelter.org and present to server. 404-377-7766. Emory Village, 1593 N. Decatur Rd. www.everybodyspizza.com
Perrine's Wine Shop Tues., Jan. 25, 5:30 - 8 p.m.: Wine Tasting. Wine Tasting with Steve Miles from Steve Miles Selections. $25 per person. Reservations recommended. 404-254-5077. 1168 Howell Mill Rd. Ste. B. www.perrineswine.com
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