Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rosebud chef speaks out against immigration law

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Tomorrow, Georgia's House Bill 87, an attempt to crack down on illegal immigrants in the state, will take effect. A few of the law's points have been put on hold, but on Friday, specifications like jail time and fines for people who use fake identification to get a job in the state will be put in place.

The law struck a chord with Ron Eyester, chef at Rosebud and the Family Dog and CL columnist. In protest of the bill, members of We Are Georgia have been urging businesses to close for "A Day Without Immigrants" on July 1. But Eyester has chosen to do something a little different — he'll be flexing his culinary creativity instead of turning it off for a day. On Friday, in support of the immigrant community, he's turning Rosebud into Capullo de Rosa (yes, that's "rosebud" in Spanish). The restaurant will serve a Mexican menu along with the normal Friday brunch menu at lunch and just the Mexican menu at dinner. Eyester, who said he usually doesn't get involved with politics, wanted to show his opposition to the bill because of the connection he — and the restaurant business as a whole — has with immigrant workers.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to pay tribute to the guys who support my restaurant concept every day, and to bring awareness to a situation to people who might not otherwise give it much thought."

Eyester said he doesn't think many people realize how important immigrant workers are to restaurants. All of his kitchen staff are Mexican. He spends more time each day with Mexicans than he does with anyone else, and he's been moved by their passion for cooking and camaraderie with himself and one another. He also thinks there aren't many other Americans who would want to take their jobs.

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July 4th Food Events

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Whats more American than all you can eat pancakes?
  • D. Sharon Pruitt
  • What's more American than all you can eat pancakes?

Bakeshop Mon., July 4, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast. Bakeshop will be serving up unlimited plain, blueberry and whole wheat pancakes for $10. Details

The Family Dog Mon., July 4. Whiffle Ball and Flip Cup Tournament. The Family Dog will be hosting its first whiffle ball and flip cup tournament this July 4th. Details

The Georiga Aquarium Mon., July 4, 6 - 10:30 p.m. Red, White and Brew. Eat, drink, and watch the Centennial Olympic Park fireworks from the top floor of the aquarium's parking deck. Details

Market Mon., July 4, 6 a.m. Fourth Fest. The celebration starts at 6 a.m., when customers can watch the Peachtree Road Race from Market's patio. Details

Rooftop 866 Mon., July 4, 12 - 5 p.m. Summertime Cookout. Rooftop will offer a $10 cookout-style buffet as well as draft beer and cocktails. Details

Shula's 347 Grill Mon., July 4, 5 p.m. Shula's Ultimate 4th of July Cookout. Shula's is holding a patio party with entertainment, beer and a cookout, as well as a view of Lenox Square's fireworks at dark. Details

Sundial Mon., July 4, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. Red, White and Blue with a View. Enjoy either a prix fix menu or a seasonal buffet at Sundial. Details

TAP Mon., July 4, 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Fourth of July at TAP. Enjoy food and drink specials, live music and a view of the Peachtree Road Race from TAP's patio. Details

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"Get Delicious Again!"...and again

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 12:15 PM

"Get Delicious Again! Atlanta's Global Eateries" premiered recently on PBA 30. This is a sequel to the popular "Get Delicious! Atlanta's Hidden Restaurant Treasures." Here's the promo video:

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Iced tea story of the month

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 11:30 AM

It's summertime and you can count on the annual spate of articles about iced tea. (I'll get to tomatoes later today.) Here is the grimmest so far: Rush Limbaugh is marketing bottled iced tea whose label features a graphic of him as Paul Revere. Says Palm Beach Post writer Frank Cerabino:

Rush Limbaugh is getting into the iced tea business, launching Two If By Tea, a soft drink that recasts the lumpy talk-show host as a modern-day Paul Revere.

"That's me as Rush Revere sounding the warning that the liberals are coming," Limbaugh said on his radio show last week as he pitched his new beverage.

Limbaugh didn't mention trying to cash in on the tea party phenomenon. Instead, he said that the venture is just part of his lifelong love of tea, and his plan to show that even "in the face of the obstacles put in front of us by Pharaoh Obama," capitalism could flourish.

I like this riff:

Not to be too nitpicky about those Rush Revere labels, but Paul Revere was a man of action during a time of war. Limbaugh's chance for Revere-like derring-do would have been during the Vietnam war, when Limbaugh was a civilian bystander by virtue of a cyst on his rear end.

So at the very least, the Rush Revere caricature ought to be standing in the saddle.

And not to be too nitpicky again, but despite Limbaugh's pitch about the "finest ingredients", the label of the Two If By Tea original blend shows that its first two ingredients are water and sugar.

Patriotic sugar water. At about $2 a bottle. Drink up, tea party.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Price points - the $20 cocktail and $65 terrine at Grant Achatz's new speakeasy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 4:30 PM

The interior of the Office
  • Via Achatz's twitter feed @gachatz
  • The interior of the Office
I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago to visit our much-missed former editor Mara Shalhoup. Of the many jealousies I exhibited towards the Chicago dining scene while I was there, the biggest was that they have restaurants that are so exciting, so grand, it's impossible to get a reservation. When was the last time Atlanta had a restaurant like that? Our last few true special occasion restaurants - Seeger's and the Dining Room - were so empty most nights you could have walked in any old time. It's not hard to get a table at Bacchanalia. Occasionally, at a hot new place, there will be a few months where it's hard to dine at prime time. But Chicago has many restaurants where people will wait months to get in, or wait hours at the door for a table. I miss that excitement. But there's a madness to that kind of restaurant frenzy.

While there, our sister paper's restaurant critic Mike Sula got a copy of the Office's menu, the speakeasy in the basement of Aviary, Grant Achatz's new cocktail-driven restaurant.

Here's the deal with the Office. It only has 14 seats. You can only get in with an invitation. What does this mean, exactly? You literally have to sit around upstairs hoping they'll tap you on the shoulder and invite you in. And once you're in, you're rewarded by being allowed to order from the list of $20 cocktails and $30+ appetizers. There's a $65 foie gras terrine. A $50 beef tartare. A $25 ice cream sundae.

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Paula Deen's chickens face uncertain future

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Poor guys
  • Poor guys

There’s little I don’t love about Paula Deen. Her butter obsession, her slow, deliberate “heyy yawwl,” her Santa Clause husband and even her wide-eyed, way-too-tan face ogling at me from the cover of her magazine (ok, maybe not that last part).

But now, I love her even more. Apparently, Deen keeps a flock of rescued chickens at her Savannah home, and is completely in love with the birds. Check out this video from April 2010, in which Deen takes cameras on a tour of the coop and talks to her chickens like they’re children (if you said things like “I’m not gonna put you in the fryer” to your children).

Unfortunately, I found out about Deen’s love for chickens of the non-fried variety by learning that her hens, and the hens of a few other Savannah residents, are in danger of being evicted. Basically, people complained about one man’s chickens, because his home isn’t in an area that’s zoned for agriculture. Now, Chatham County is investigating other chicken owners, including Deen, to see whether they're adhering to the zoning laws. Here's what Deen's publicist had to say about the matter:

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fat Friday: a visit to Miso Izakaya

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Miso Izakayas dining room
My Fat Friday dinner group dined last week at Miso Izakaya. Few restaurants have improved as radically for the better over time as this one, thanks to the creativity of chef-owner Guy Wong.

I'm not the only one to discover that, of course. In April, Bon Appetit called the restaurant one of the six top izakayas in the country. No wonder the place was overwhelmed with business Friday night and the kitchen had difficulty keeping up. By coincidence, half of our party of six received their food promptly, while the rest of us had a pretty prolonged wait. Nobody at our table was drinking, which ordinarily is part of any izakaya's scene. So if you go on a crowded Friday night, plan to drink sake or shochu while you wait.

Chef Wong's small plates were as good as always. Standouts included:

Pork kimchi rice: This dish, a Korean classic, is pure comfort — with a kick. Wong tosses kimchi with fried rice and pieces of pork. Then he tops it with a fried egg,

Kakuni bun: Call this a Japanese slider. It's a fluffy folded bun stuffed with braised pork belly, daikon, cilantro, a bit of chili pepper and pickled carrot. The latter provides an acidic note that reduces the pork belly fat's pervasiveness. And it's only $4, as are two others on the menu.

Seared skirt steak: The meat is seared in tare and served in medium-rare slices over a puree of kabocha squash with grilled scallion tips. It's one of the best treatments of skirt steak around town.

Corn kari-age: Corn, naturally sweet, is fried in light tempura and served with contrasting green tea salt. Addictive. Say good-bye to popcorn.

I could go on. We also liked the tonkatsu, a crispy cutlet of pork tenderloin and the fried camembert cheese with basil-tomato jam and candied ginko nuts. There are lots more adventurous dishes on the menu but the Fat Friday boys inevitably order less challenging dishes.

Wong has lately become famous among late-nighters for his ramen, only available after 10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, when the restaurant is open until midnight.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Applebee's brings back sexy

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Well, I guess the days of subliminal marketing are behind us. OK, I have a dirty mind. But who in the world came up with Applebee's new slogan, "Stacked, stuffed and topped"?

EDIT (July 13, 2011): Apparently, Applebee's has disabled embedding of this video, but you can still see it on YouTube. (CBB)

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A visit to Wisteria

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 12:40 PM

We dined at Wisteria in Inman Park Sunday night. You'll have to read "Grazing" later this week to learn about our meal, but our visit did bring up something that drives me crazy.

I'm talking about inaccurate websites. I should have learned by now to call any restaurant before visiting. But I checked Wisteria's hours online. The site said they were open until 10 p.m. Sundays. When we got to the restaurant just before 9 p.m., the valet told us we had "three and a half minutes" to get through the door. He said the hours on Sundays had been abbreviated.

They did seat us, but only after checking with the kitchen. Chef/owner Jason Hill recognized me and later explained that the early closing had to do with kitchen cleaning that was occurring that evening. I'm still unsure whether the early closing is temporary. Like I said, call any restaurant that you have any questions about.

By the way, one of the Will and Grace cast members was there Sunday night. As I explained to the incredulous Chef Hill, I literally don't watch TV and had no idea who he was talking about. The chef also told me he had been swamped for months because of advertising a Scout Mob coupon. He was expecting "about 2100" to redeem the coupons. Instead, 12,000 have showed up.

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Atlanta food events, June 27 - July 3

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

ONE. Midtown Kitchen Wed., June 29, 7 p.m. Wednesday Summer Chef Series. La Pietra Cucina's chef Bruce Logue will work with chef Drew Van Leuvan to prepare a five-course meal with pairings. Details

Ray's in the City Thurs., June 30, 5 - 7 p.m. Duckhorn Wine Tasting. Hors d'oeuvres will be served and Duckhorn wines will be available for tasting. Guests will also receive a $20 credit toward their dinner. Details

Woodfire Grill Sat., July 2, 5:30 p.m. Woodfire Grill's Annual "BBQ and Beer" Celebration. Woodfire Grill will offer a special three-course meal for $38 and beer sale proceeds will go toward the Save the Hooch campaign. Details

East Atlanta Village Farmer's Market and Grant Park Farmers Market Thu., June 30 and Sun., July 3. Peach Jam. Slow Foods Atlanta and the EAV Farmer's Market are celebrating all things peachy this week. Details

Perrine's Wine Shop Tues., June 28, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Wine Tasting. Guests will sample wines from Steve Pignatiello, an importer who specializes in family-produced wines. Details

Three Sheets Wed., June 29, 7:30 p.m. Four Course Beer Dinner. Unibroue beer will be featured at Three Sheet's Beer Dinner. Details

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

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