I did get a few good meals in, though. Memorial Day is a barbecue holiday and I hit Daddy D'z one night after 10 p.m. I hadn't visited the Grant Park favorite in quite a while and found it as good as ever. I ordered the crispy-skinned barbecued chicken with blackeyed peas, collards and the sweet cornbread that I always eat like dessert.
I also got a sample of the sweet potatoes and the new beef ribs — meaty, slightly chewy and spicy. I still prefer pork ribs, but give them a try.
Susan and Will, longtime employees there, continue to provide excellent service, even when Ron, the owner, is chilling on his new yacht....
We returned to One Eared Stag for another dinner and it was just as good as my earlier one. The standout was a shared entree of pork milanese with a wonderful piperade. A fried egg topped the dish. I don't really get the current fetish for fried eggs and this one, a bit overcooked, didn't add much.
I'll be writing a first look of the restaurant later this week. In the meantime, please check out Broderick Smylie's fantastic pictures and commentary....
Two — that's dos — new cantinas have opened: Big Tex Cantina opened over the weekend in Decatur. The new restaurant by the Fox Bros. guys features "Texas comfort food." Also check out Broderick's pictures of the festive new spot....
I still haven't made it to Riccardo Ullio's new cantina, Escorpion, at the corner of Peachtree and 5th streets. Friends report good food and mentioned that the restaurant is polling customers for their opinions, apparently before settling on a definitive menu.
Restaurant Eugene Wed., June 1, 6:30 p.m. Eugene Author Dinner with John T. Edge. Restaurant Eugene will host John T. Edge, executive director of Southern Foodways Alliance and columnist for The New York Times, Oxford American and other publications. Details
ONE. Midtown Kitchen Wed., June 1, 7 p.m. Summer Chef Series: Hugh Acheson. ONE. Midtown Kitchen's chef Drew Van Leuvan and Empire State South's chef Hugh Acheson pair up to prepare a five-course meal for guests, complete with beer, wine or cocktails. Details
In the "Best Food Essay" category, Rodell is up against Village Voice staff writer Robert Sietsema and Jessica Thompson of the website Leite’s Culinaria. She's won AFJ awards in the past, including a first place prize in 2009 for her piece "My week on an all-Georgia diet".
Congrats, Besha! Ms. Shirley would be proud ... or something like it.
We’ve got the food trucks, and now we’re getting our very own place to park 'em. The Howell Mill Food Park is opening its doors (and windows, and trucks) on Tuesday, May 31 from 5 — 10 p.m. The food park will offer a choice of ten food trucks, many of them familiar — Yumbii, Sweet Auburn BBQ and Tex's Tacos will be in the mix.
The idea for the food park came from one Atlantan’s search for the parks he’d grown to love in places like Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas. Mark Lindenbaum went to college in Texas, and when he came back to Atlanta, he was disappointed to see that the city lacked a real home for food trucks.
“It’s something Atlanta doesn’t really have — there’s not a dedicated spot, a destination,” he said.
So when his company purchased a grassy field last year at the corner of Howell Mill and Collier Road, Lindenbaum decided to change that. The field needed to be developed somehow, and he thought Atlanta’s first food park would be the perfect use for it. He partnered with Greg Smith, the founder of the Atlanta Street Food Coalition, and local marketing agent Brett Holtzclaw, and they developed the plan for the Howell Mill Food Park.
Now, the idea has taken off. The park has gotten governmental support from Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean and NPU-C Chairman Paul Melvin. It has its own Facebook page, which Lindenbaum said got 200 fans in its first two days. Facebook and Twitter are the main ways Lindenbaum is using to promote the food park, and so far, he thinks they’ve done their jobs. The Facebook page is filled with comments from excited locals who live “within walking distance” of the park.
Downtown Restaurant Week Sat., May 28 - Sun., June 5. Participating restaurants in the Downtown Dining District will serve a $25 - $35 three-course dinner during Downtown Restaurant Week, starting this weekend. Details
Atlanta Jazz Festival May 28 — 29. Hop City Craft Beer and Wine will be offering seminars at this weekend's Jazz Festival at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. both days. The seminars will be located in the Beer Garden tent and will pair brews with jazz songs. Details
Zoo Atlanta Sat., May 28, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Brew at the Zoo. Guests will have the chance to sample more than 70 beers and wines, listen to live bands and hang out with cute animals at this year's Brew at the Zoo. Details
Park Tavern Sun., May 29, 2:00 - 11:00 p.m. Brews, Bands and BBQ Fest. Four live bands will play and barbecue and beer will be available for purchase. Ticket sales go to benefit the American Red Cross. Details
Morelli’s has announced the opening date for their second location. Get your free scoops and celebrate the opening of Morelli’s at Edgewood on June 4 (free scoops for the first 2 hours only). The new store also contains a milkshake bar and a sundae bar with rotating selections that Kevin Gillespie, who is a partner in this new Morelli’s location, will create each season. The Morelli’s shop is located in the space that previously housed Coldstone Creamery, just inside the main Moreland entrance to the shopping center.
As Cliff reported earlier today, Bad Dog Taqueria is now open in Emory Village. Bad Dog is working on a menu of signature cocktails to accompany a selection of craft beers, but for they time being, it’s BYOB. Get on it, kids! Bad Dog will be open weekdays for dinner and will serve both lunch and dinner on weekends.
The Howell Mill Food Park is a new dedicated parking ground for food trucks. They'll host their first big food truck event next Tuesday evening with over 10 trucks participating. The Food Park is located behind Willy's on Howell Mill. Look for a post with more details later today on Omnivore.
In other food truck news, Season 2 of The Great Food Truck Race doesn’t include any Atlanta trucks, but the competing teams will make a stop in here. The trucks will roll through Atlanta this weekend. A tweet from the father of The Lime Truck’s Chef Jason does reveal some Atlanta ties - Jason was born at Piedmont Hospital and grew up in Decatur (how cute is it that his dad is tweeting to support him?!) Follow the conversation on Twitter to see where to find the trucks - we know some of them will be at Atlantic Station.
Using fresh and local ingredients, patrons can satiate their appetites with any cultural quest from Argentina to Korea at Bad Dog. Diners can start their meal with a mix of traditional corn, yucca, plantain, and boniato chips served with three salsas - salsa fresca, plantain pineapple serrano and smoked tomato - or grilled guacamole. The inventive and playful menu features nine mainstay tacos served on soft tortillas for just $2.99 a piece, including: The Bollywood, a traditional vegetarian Indian samosa with curried potatoes, peas, and served with tamarind coriander chutney; We’ve Got Seoul, a Korean BBQ pork belly taco with Kimchee slaw and salsa verde; Go Fish!, a plantain-encrusted tilapia taco with creamy cilantro sauce and cabbage slaw; and, the Uncle Morty, slow roasted brisket with marinated grilled onions served in its own special sauce. While the menu is eclectic, Bad Dog’s Yo Mama’s Taco, is the only taco served on a familiar hard shell and promises to be a traditional beef favorite for those who forgot their passport or still prefer the way it was done in the 80s. Taco elements can also be served over a bed of romaine and weekly taco specials, salads and burritos are also available.
Lunch will be in Buckhead, as usual. Last week, we went to Seasons 52. This was my third visit since the restaurant opened. The gimmick here is well prepared, seasonal food with measured portions and calorie control. I had a chicken-Caesar salad, which was pretty mediocre compared to other fare I've eaten here. I probably should have anticipated that the classic Caesar dressing would be much lightened.
Seasons 52 is part of the same chain — Darden Restaurants — that owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, among others. I think it fulfills the same attempted purpose as the subject of my "Grazing" column this week, the six-month-old Truffles across from Lenox Square. It is operated by the Ruby Tuesday people under licensure from a trio of independent restaurants with the same name in Hilton Head, SC.
Truffles and Seasons 52 both attempt to be "grown up" or more sophisticated versions of the Olive Gardens and Longhorns, where a generation has grown up dining. The food is for the most part better prepared and more aesthetically presented than at these others. The overwhelmingly kitschy decors are missing too.
I think Seasons 52 does accomplish this to the degree that most would never associate it with other Darden restaurants. Truffles is certainly a notch up from Ruby Tuesday and the Darden restaurants too. While its food is well prepared, though, I think it will need to boost the novelty of its recipes a bit before it can serve the dual functions of providing nostalgia and a sense of grown-up dining. Mac and cheese drizzled with truffle oil isn't going to do it.
But ain't it weird to realize these full-service chain restaurants have become the culinary home base of a generation?
Check out this video about the Bagel War that has erupted at Toco Hills Shopping Center. The Bagel Palace has been in business there since 1993. About a year ago, Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli, a local chain, opened at the opposite end of the shopping center. That's when bagels became grenades.
This entertaining video documents the rivalry, which seems to be significantly generational. Of course, general kvetching about Atlanta delis is nothing new. Talk to any New York transplants and they will immediately begin complaining that there are no good bagels or deli food in the city. I've been hearing this my entire life in Atlanta.
I do remember, however, when Goldberg's opened its original bakery and deli on Roswell Road in the early '70s. I craved the food constantly. The bagels were by far the best I had ever tasted. The chopped liver was exceeded in my young memory at only one deli in town — the tiny Nosh O'Rye, owned by Russian immigrants in the Henry Grady Hotel in downtown Atlanta. It was torn down the same year Goldberg's opened.
I would occasionally visit other delis for pastrami and corned beef. For pickled herring, I always went to Goldberg's. In fact, if I just wanted bagels, I drove to Goldberg's. When I lived in rural Georgia for five years, I'd stock up on Goldberg's food during visits home. This was all before the founding Goldbergs sold the business and the quality plummeted.
Rather strangely, this video has little to say about the two shops' bagels themselves. Allegiances seem more based on cost, service and family tradition than actual quality of the bagels.
There are a few intermittent problems with the video's audio, by the way. So use your earphones or plan to lean close to your speakers.
The market offers, among many other groceries, quality cheeses, sourced meats, beer, wines with great prices and baked goods from Jonathan St. Hilaire's Bakeshop. I spotted his gigantic triangular scones on the counter, bought a pecan-apricot one and headed home. With a cup of tea, it induced a nap quicker than Ambien. (You can, on the other hand, wake yourself up mornings with St. Hilaire's pastries and Community coffee, beginning at 7 a.m.)
The owners are serving cold Boar's Head sandwiches for lunch but should be firing up the grill in the next few weeks. The menu — mainly burgers — is already posted above the counter. When the kitchen gets going, the shop also plans to offer hot breakfast items as well as prepared meals to go.
Love pork belly.
Some food just doesn't photograph well, even if it is tasty.
Nothing wrong with grease on the walls if the burger is tasty.
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