Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Antico Pizza plans to add wine to their repertoire

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Antico Pizza

By now most of us have willingly jumped onto the Antico Pizza bandwagon, whose Neapolitan classics have come to be regarded as some of (if not the) best pizza in Atlanta. Until recently however, the only type of sauce to be found in the joint came on the pies, leaving those interested in an alcoholic accompaniment to their own BYO-whatever devices. Well Antico fans, it seems the times they are a'changin'. Those in want (or need) of a big-kid drink with lunch can rest easy, you've got some Italian wine options coming your way.

Earlier this month, Atlanta Magazine reported that team Antico had in fact applied for their liquor license. On Tuesday, owner Giovanni di Palma confirmed that Antico had received a license to sell beer and wine to customers. In response to the question of whether or not patrons would still be able to BYOB, di Palma offers his reassurances, insisting "we have no plans to change our allowance to patrons [who] bring beer or wine within reason, and [who are] of age and consume responsibly. You may bring or buy it."

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Swilling juice at Thali and Patel Brothers

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:58 PM

At Patel Brothers juice bar

My Grazing column this week is mainly about a visit to Thali in Decatur. While I was there, I ordered a popular Indian beverage called jaljeera pani. Our server was not encouraging. "I need to warn you. It's an acquired taste," he said. "I doubt you'll like it."

He was right. The drink is made with spices dissolved in water. Pale green, it was very salty with — to my palate, anyway — a predominant dose of cumin, a spice with which I have a mainly negative relationship. It was garnished with boondi, something like Rice Krispies made with chickpea flour.

Glasses of jaljeera pani and buttermilk
  • Glasses of jaljeera pani and buttermilk
Our server laughed when I told him he must be psychic. He then told me I needed to visit Patel Brothers grocery, next door in Patel Plaza, to try another popular drink made of sugar cane juice, ginger and lemon. “It’s soooo good, you don’t have to worry about acquired taste,” he said. “They make it right there while you wait.”

Wayne and I visited the grocery the next night, Saturday. If you haven't been there, go. It's truly like stepping into another world. I don't know if Saturday night is a big shopping day in the Indian community. But when we visited, the store was so crowded and so exotic that we wandered around like zombies, unable to find anything like a juice bar. I asked an employee if she knew where it was. I assumed she was Indian but she turned out to be Mexican. I asked her in Spanish where I could find the juice bar and she said she had no idea.

Eventually, we found it - in the front of the store - behind the teeming mass at the cash registers.

Although other drinks, like traditional lassis, were available, everyone was ordering the same sugar-cane drink. We had to wait about 10 minutes while the juice man scurried off to replenish the sugar cane. I looked at an adjoining case of livid pastries that, weirdly, could have come from Kroger. A couple of kids raced around me, playing peek-a-boo with my legs. The juice arrived. It was pale green and sweet enough that it really required the lemon and ginger. Wayne sprinkled some black salt atop his. The drink was not iced but refreshing.

I don’t think it’s going to replace iced swee'tea in the South. But give it a try if only to behold the amazing spectacle at Patel Brothers.

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Eat chocolate or die young

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Well, it's official. You're a dumbass if you don't eat chocolate every day. Cambridge University recently reported that its meta-analysis of seven studies of 100,000 people concludes that chocolate consumption dramatically reduces risk of heart disease. Says The Telegraph:

Those who eat more chocolate have a 37 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who eat little, according to a Cambridge University analysis of seven separate studies, containing in total over 100,000 people.

They also have a 29 per cent lower chance of stroke, although they do not have a lower risk of heart failure.

The studies, which followed people in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US and Japan for about a decade on average, did not focus on dark chocolate alone, which is believed to be the most beneficial type.

Rather, they included consumption of other types including milk chocolate and chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts.

The bad news is that you don't get to gorge yourself:

[The study] only suggested two pieces of chocolate a day; while other studies have indicated a mere 20 to 50g — a small bar’s worth — is enough

This is a great reason to visit our city's new chocolate shops — Cacao in Virginia-Highland and Sugar-Coated Radical in the Old Fourth Ward. In fact, your life may depend on it.

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Kroger further eliminates necessity for human interaction ... thank you, Kroger!

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Despite any misgivings that might exist following my "review" of its "bistro", I did my weekly grocery shopping at the Edgewood Kroger on Sunday — and caught a glimpse of the future.

The grocery chain is already big on self-checkout lanes — particularly at Murder Kroger, where they employ roughly one person after 10 p.m. — and now they've introduced touch-screen machines at the deli. It's like this, see: you touch the screen, pick the meats and cheeses you want, specify the weight and how you want it sliced, and submit your order. Then you go away from the deli and do the rest of your shopping, and when you come back 10-or-so minutes later, your cold cuts are waiting for you in a refrigerated case.


It's seriously so smart. But you know when you go to the movie theater and there's a line of people at the box office, but no one at the automated kiosk things? Likewise, lots of people at Kroger's deli appeared to be eschewing the newfangled machines and ordering from the flesh-and-blood deli folks instead. Creatures of habit, I suppose.

The only problem I can imagine with the new system is not being able to see if the lunchmeat is cut to your satisfaction before there's an entire pound of it. But, I can't imagine they wouldn't fix your order if it isn't right.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tom Maicon discovers cod sperm

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

  • Tom Maicon,
Tom Maicon of Food & Beer Atlanta reports on his latest discovery:

In this country, sperm is a naughty five-letter word on any menu. Not so much in other countries, but here in the good ole US of A, it’s in our nature to run as fast as we can the other way.

That’s why I believe Sushi Nami (5316-B Windward Pkwy, Alpharetta Tel: 678.566.3889 ) is due special kudos. Not only do they serve the city’s best hamachi sashimi, the kitchen sticks to its guns by offering cod sperm (also called cod milt) on the specials board almost every single day, even lunches.

He goes on to describe it in delicious language.

An Asian-American friend agrees with him. "Oh, that's nothing. It's good," he said.

"You've had this in Atlanta?" I asked.

"Oh, no, in Tokyo. It's all over the place. And in Philadelphia."

There's something new to eat every day.

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Visits to Thali and Luqma

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I dined Indian and Pakistani this weekend, with visits to Thali (1709 Church St., 678-705-1290) and Luqma (1706 Church St., 404-477-1400), both at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Church Street in Decatur. I've been urged by several friends to try Thali, whose menu is west Indian, so I headed there with my usual Fat Friday mates.

I'll have more to say about the food in "Grazing" later this week, but I heartily recommend the place, if not wholly for the food, for the experience. The menu is prix fixe — $15 for a huge amount of all-vegetarian food served in three courses on the thali plates that give the restaurant its name (right photo).

It's the look of the place and the affable young staff and owner — American-raised Indian guys — that make the place particularly appealing. Their fluency means you get a very thorough explanation of every single morsel you devour.

Thali, inside the Patel Plaza, glows with murals painted on the large windows. The restaurant is otherwise spare, although the dining area by the door is contained inside a boxy, bunting-trimmed space that sort-of gives the impression (at least to me) of people eating on a train. It's all great fun.

Luqma is an Indo-Pakistani restaurant across the street where nobody spoke much English when we visited, so it was hard to get guidance on the food. I'm advised it is more Pakistani than Indian, featuring 100-percent halal meat. In fact, there was a special Ramadan menu available.

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Lobster lobster everywhere

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:33 AM

A Lobster Roll with a view at Shaws, New Harbor, Maine
  • Brad Kaplan
  • A Lobster Roll with a view at Shaw's, New Harbor, Maine

I love lobster rolls. The simplicity of fresh lobster meat, a butter toasted bun (ideally the "top-loading" hot dog style), and... that's about it. Actually, I do prefer a touch of mayonnaise mixed in with the lobster, and am not averse to a crunchy leaf of lettuce. I was lucky enough to spend some time in Maine recently, where I went from lobster shack to lobster shack trying to devour as many lobster rolls as humanly possible. We hit ten different places in four days, and, while the differences were subtle, there were definitely some great ones and some merely very good ones. Most of them were served right beside the dock where the lobstermen were bringing in their catch, so you can't get any fresher than that. Our favorite was distinguished by it's homemade top-loading roll and the deft touch with a hint of mayonnaise mixed in with the lobster meat.

Back in Atlanta, I'm always on the lookout for a good lobster roll. I've tried Souper Jenny's (not my cup o' tea), and Legal Sea Foods (a poor replica of what they used to be up in Boston), JCT (pretty good) and Crawfish Shack (that is NOT a lobster roll). My favorite in Atlanta has actually been the special that comes along every once in a while at Yeah! Burger.

It sounds like I should check out Goin' Coastal's version, and I've read on Atlanta Cuisine that Once Upon a Cake actually has a good one up in Alpharetta. So... tell us where you've had a good lobster roll in Atlanta. Besides, of course, in your own kitchen.

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Richard Blais hints on The Spence

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Last night Richard Blais joined chef Drew Van Leuvan at One Midtown Kitchen to host a special dinner as part of One’s “Summer Chef Series.” Blais spoke fondly of his time in the kitchen at One, and also hyped his new restaurant which is set to open this winter - The Spence - in partnership with Concentrics (One, Two Urban Licks, Tap, Parish, etc.).

The five course (plus two amuse) meal from the two chefs showcased some of Blais’ greatest hits, like his “Oysters and Pearls” with horseradish dippin’ dot pearls, as well as some dishes that may give further hints of what is to come at The Spence. Any Blais menu is sure to contain a few plays on words, and this one did not disappoint. A “Chateau of Beef Ribeye” came served atop chanterelle mushrooms and “New Yorkshire pudding,” which was more of a sweet and savory bread pudding than a traditional Yorkshire pudding. I’m not sure what was New York-ish about it, other than the fact the Blais hails from up that way. Whatever the name, the dish was a knockout combination of medium rare beef medallion, creamy sweet bread pudding, and earthy chanterelles. In soccer terms, it was a simple though well executed straightaway boot into the goal, no fancy footwork required. Likewise, a riff on pasta Bolognese came off pretty close to the real thing, despite the proclamation of “beef belly” and prawns on the menu as ingredients. No powders, foams, or extruded gelatin in sight.

Based on these dishes and Blais’ comments to date, it continues to sound like The Spence will be a significantly less risk-taking endeavor than some of Blais’ former stops, but I won't be surprised to see the trademark liquid nitrogen behind the counter. Blais likened the super cold stuff to his own personal version of “Freebird,” a greatest hit he’ll be stuck playing for the rest of his days, to the joy of fans worldwide.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chef Mark Nanna leaves Flip

Posted By on Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Mark Nanna has left his position as chef at Flip Burger Boutique. Nanna has lead the kitchen at Flip's original location - under the creative direction of Richard Blais - since its opening in December 2008. No word on where Nanna will land or who will replace him.

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