Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Hash 11/28/12: Virginia Willis gets "Chopped," Facebook makes you fat, and more

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Is milking the new planking?

Local celeb chef Virgina Willis appeared on last night's episode of "Chopped." Coming up short in the final round, Willis says she is disappointed, but still proud. "I wanted to win," Willis wrote on her blog. "But, you know what? I may not have won, but I didn't fail."

But that's not all. Atlanta chefs Ria Pell, Linton Hopkins, and more have also earned some national and local love.

Is Facebook making you fat? A study conducted by the Columbia Business School and the University of Pittsburgh links higher body mass index to Facebook.

The proposed Old 4th Distillery in Old Fourth Ward will be Atlanta's first since Prohibition.


Offal eating at Bei Jing Kabobs

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM

FOOD PORN: Bei Jing's spicy sliced pig ears and ox penis kabobs
  • James Camp
  • FOOD PORN: Bei Jing's spicy sliced pig ears and ox penis kabobs

Dear Stephen,

You're young and adventurous. You have a master's degree in anthropology. You're not Asian but you lived a while in Beijing. And you recently recommended I eat at Bei Jing Kabobs.

Why did you do that? You've ruined my rep and humiliated me. You made me eat something I never in a million years would have thought to eat. Let me start at the beginning.

Every Friday for two years, I've taken five friends to restaurants with the hope of broadening their tastes beyond LongHorn and Moe's. Some of these are new, mainstream restaurants and some are ethnic. As I've explained before, no matter the type of Asian food, they tend to pore through the menu looking for fried rice and egg rolls.

When you suggested Bei Jing - formerly called Te Wei - it sounded safe. I even researched online commentary and found it mostly positive. Our group had been to Chef Liu's and my friends loved the dumplings. And who could dislike grilled kabobs? So, off we went to the blindingly bright little restaurant in a shopping center that looks like every new shopping center on Buford Highway.

Read the full story by Cliff Bostock here.

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Nearly two years of dining with scaredy-cats

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Dinner at Stir It Up

In an earlier post I mentioned that I dine weekly with a group unaccustomed to eating anywhere but Longhorn and Moe's. Here's a list of the restaurants we've visited since March 2011. (HT to Ryan Jung for having a memory.)

2012 Restaurants

Longhorn - Hard base line reset 11-23-12
Bei Jing Kabobs
Eclectic Bistro
Nuevo Laredo
Cruzado Cuban
Osteria Pasta & Pizza
Sun in my Belly
Cheif Liu's
Hong Kong Harbour
Harold's Fried Chicken
Figo Pasta

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Longhorn: never again

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 1:47 PM

My favorite dining experience for most of the last two years has been joining five or six friends every Friday night. This started when I went with them to Longhorn Steakhouse and was shocked by the cost and mediocre food. I told them that Atlanta is blessed with countless interesting restaurants, many of them much cheaper, where they could have better meals. Thus was born our Friday Night Dining Club.

Last Friday night we returned to Longhorn on Piedmont Road for what one of us, Ryan, called a "reset." I found the food worse than my first experience of it. At least then, I could compliment the restaurant for its simple, grilled steaks. This time, I ordered nothing that I could finish except for a baked sweet potato in which sugar, butter, and cinnamon were dumped. Candy!

I ordered the filet "stuffed," according to the menu, with white cheddar and bacon (photo above). There was nothing "stuffed" about it. The tasteless cheddar was dribbled on top of the gray meat along with a tangle of burnt bacon. The meat tasted like it had been "tenderized." I found it so unpleasantly mealy that I gave half of it to our table's garbage-mouth, Frank.

Just as unpleasant was a Caesar salad so drenched in dressing that it bordered on soup. I picked the cheese and croutons out and threw the bowl aside.

Bobby ordered an entree that looked like it needed return to the kitchen. It was another filet, topped with an offensively over-cooked lobster tail. His mom ordered a Cobb salad, probably the most acceptable dish on the table.

Perhaps it was because of Thanksgiving the day before, but most of the restaurant was empty. I'm not going back.

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The 25 Douchiest Bars in Atlanta

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM

  • Complex Magazine

In the latest installment of The 25 Douchiest Bars in... (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston each have their own chapter), Complex magazine gets down on the 25 Douchiest Bars in Atlanta.

Filed under the magazine's City Guide, a section dedicated to the strange experience of living in a major city, Complex contributor Larry L warns, "Douchebags drink all over the ATL, and their mere presence can ruin a night out." What constitutes a douchey bar, you ask? The varied list of offenses include everything from inconsiderate cokeheads and Dave Matthews cover bands to the prevalence of flip flops and cargo shorts. According to Larry L, these establishments (The Ivy, Hudson Grille, Neighbor's Pub, Halo, and RiRa to name a few) should be avoided at all costs.

Here are a few excerpts:

20. Smith's Olde Bar

Continue reading »

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Notes: from Gen. Petraeus to the abolition of Xmas

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Above is the ridiculously inexpensive lunch special of the day at the new Bantam & Biddy. It's fried catfish with fennel slaw for $6.

There's been a lot of kvetching about prices at the restaurant whose main feature is pasture-raised rotisserie chicken. I ran into co-owner Shaun Doty today and he told me that other dishes - like the pork schnitzel and meatloaf - are actually selling better than the chicken. In other words, the restaurant is morphing into a diner of sorts.

Gossip: Southern food writer extraordinaire John T. Edge was spotted at Bantam and Biddy recently....

Shame on Gen. David Petraeus! He joins Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and countless others subjected to public shame for the sin of adultery.

Is there anything - anything! - of value to say about the man? Well, here's something. He's the father of a foodie blogger. Check out daughter Anne's blog, Fannetastic Food....

Slider Report: Last week's Wednesday-night meal at the Shed featured the usual $3 sliders, but we also sampled a fantastic small plate by Chef Todd Richards - "smoked trout risotto balls." The crispy globes were filled with risotto mixed with the trout, producing a flavor much like brandade. They were topped with a dollop of lemon aioli and trout roe. My God....

Please don't forget to ignore Christmas this year, since the Mayan calendar supposedly predicts the end of the world on December 21. If you want to try to tough it out, here's a food source..

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Looks really huge. Uh, where's it at?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I presume there's some logic to this, but why post a video about a restaurant and not provide its name? (And, by the way, why do so many restaurants still make a treasure hunt out of finding their location and phone number on their websites?

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Bites: Booze at Starbucks, update on Villains, and more

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM

New York strip at Bacchanalia, Zagat's top Atlanta restaurant for the 18th consecutive year
  • James Camp
  • New York strip at Bacchanalia, Zagat's top Atlanta restaurant for the 18th consecutive year

Four metro Atlanta Starbucks locations now serve wine, beer, desserts, and small plates after 4 p.m., as part of the Starbucks Evenings menu. Participating locations include Roswell (10800 Alpharetta Hwy.), Westside (1801 Howell Mill Road), Buckhead (1200 West Paces Ferry Road), and Duluth (9700 Medlock Bridge Road).

David Stein of Twain's Billiards & Tap will step down from his position as Head Brewer on Dec. 21 to focus on opening his own Athens brewery, Creature Comforts. Creature Comforts is a startup craft brewery slated to open mid-2013. Twain's is currently searching for Stein's replacement.

Villains sandwich shop, a collaboration between Grindhouse Burgers owner Alex Brounstein, Jared Lee Pyles and Jason McClure, formerly of HD1 and Flip Burger, will open in Midtown early next year at 903 Peachtree St. Villains will replace Little Azio, which is scheduled to close on Dec. 15.

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Poisoned again, with two friends

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Another week of dining in restaurants, another episode of food poisoning. Last week, five friends and I dined in one of the city's favorite ethnic restaurants, one where I've eaten regularly without incident for well over a year.

I've been begging my friends to try the restaurant for the last year, but most of them rejected it instantly as "too weird." Finally, last week, Bobby and I decided to make dinner a surprise. We gave Ryan, our usual driver, directions to it without identifying it. When we arrived, most burst into whining resistance.

The restaurant was packed. Ryan, who was particularly opposed to eating there, asked at the bar for a Bloody Mary and was incensed when he was informed they had no tomato juice on hand. "Just as I expected!" he barked. "Terrible ambiance and service. Next week we are going to Chili's - someplace normal."

After terrified deliberation and quizzing our server about every dish, we ordered. Just as I expected, everyone liked the food. I felt smug.

Then God punished me for my smugness.

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Atlanta food events: Nov. 26-30, Farmers markets, SoHo wine tastings, free coffee, and more

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Private event deals at BLT Steak

Wine dinner? Beer tasting? Cooking class? Let us know. Submit Food and Drink events here.

Town Brookhaven Last Tuesday of every month, 10 a.m. Continues through Nov. 27 Tuesday on the Town. With its Tuesday on the Town series, The Town Brookhaven Merchants Association will offer special deals, samples, and giveaways on the last Tuesday of each month. Association merchants invite guests to spring into seasonal savings by enjoying special discounts and sampling restaurant bites throughout the day. Details

Spruill Gallery Wednesdays, 8 a.m. Continues through Nov. 28 Dunwoody Green Market. Vendors offer a wide range of seasonal vegetables, fruits, locally produced honey, free-range eggs, beef, pork, and poultry and cured meats are available at the market each week. Also included in the market are various artisans, bakers and unique food purveyors. All produce vendors grow using organic methods and most are Certified Naturally Grown or Organic. Details

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