I don't think I ever actually cooked a beet until I was about 30 years old. My childhood was one of those that included the repulsion that only canned beets can produce. Their staining red syntheticness scarred me, scared me off beets for years to come. Until I moved to California. Maybe it wasn't the fact that it was California, but rather that I started shopping at local farmers markets. There were the easy temptations - the heirloom tomatoes and the ripe, fragrant stone fruits and the supremely bitter arugula. Then there were those things that I simply hadn't cooked before. I started cooking Brussels sprouts after buying them still on the stalk, and have loved them ever since. And I finally found a way to overcome my aversion to beets, having read about the wonders of roasting them in the oven and the reassurances that doing so would erase all (OK, most) memories of canned beets from the brain.
Which brings us to Jerusalem. Or at least the cookbook called Jerusalem.
I returned to the General Muir for lunch last week and ordered - very unlike me - a hot dog (above). The new deli's is made with lamb sausage, eggplant spread, harrisa slaw, and a za'atar hot dog bun. It was so good I could have eaten two but didn't want to cough up another $9.
My friend Lee ordered the "Lower Eastside," a plate with salt-cured lox, smoked nova, and smoked trout, while Frank ordered the "Avenue A," an open-faced bagel with nova, a schmear, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber, onion, and dill.
All praise-worthy and more traditional than the riff-licious dinner menu.
Earlier this week, CL's resident beer dude Austin L. Ray penned a piece explaining House Bill 314, a bill that proposes limited retail sales for breweries and brewpubs in Georgia. It appears the local beer community is mobilizing support of the new legislation. This just hit my inbox:
Dear Beer Lovers,
What's a growler you say? A growler is a 64 oz. jug that is the industry standard for brewpubs and breweries to sell "to go"
Recently, the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, with the support of Representatives Tom Taylor and Ron Stephens, introduced the "Fill the Growler Bill"-HB 314. HB 314 is all about expansion of the market, job creation, giving the consumers what they want, increased awareness of Craft Beer, and the growth of the Craft Brewing industry in the State of Georgia. What the bill will do is allow Breweries and Brewpubs to sell up to 288 oz. (that's equivalent to one case) of beer per person per day for off premise consumption. What's that mean for you? It means you can go to your favorite pub, have a great meal, and take home some great beer to enjoy back at home.
So the time is now! We need your support! We know you want it because we hear it every day, but now you need to tell the people that can make the change- your House and Senate Representatives. Call them, email them, fax them, heck send the Pony Express! Below are links to help you find out who represents you and how to contact them. Don't delay! You can drop a quick email saying you support the bill. Exercise your citizenship! Also check out the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild web site.
In case you missed it, check out CL's Feb. 7 cover story by Austin L. Ray, Georgia's Brewed Awakening: Atlanta leads a statewide craft-brewery boom.
I've become addicted to this chocolatey hazlenut spread recently. There's no need to worry. It's only 100 calories per tablespoon, about the same as butter and peanut butter. Could be slimming, if you ate nothing else. And the Nutella folks have been kind enough to design breakfasts that contain their spreadable crack. The meals are "based on FDA and USDA Food Pyramid guidelines!"
But that's not when I eat it. I eat it at 2:30 a.m.
Some background: After my botched knee surgery, I developed severe insomnia and began taking Ambien, the drug that got slapped around by the FDA about a month ago. It ordered all pharmaceutical makers using Ambien's active ingredient, Zolpidem, to cut pill doses by half.
The reason specifically mentioned was the frequency with which users of the drug cause auto accidents in the morning. Blood levels turn out to remain higher than thought. The day before the FDA issued its order, I had a horrific experience with the drug myself. The police can tell you all about it. I'm writing about that for another publication.
That aside, the drug has another common side effect. Many people taking it get up in the middle of the night, sleepwalk to their kitchens and majorly pig out, with no memory of doing so. It's called "sleep eating." Several friends have told me stories of waking up and finding their bed littered with food boxes and wrappers. It's not uncommon, either, for people to actually drive to a store and return with armfuls of ice cream and candy.
I take a very low dose of the drug and, until my experience a month ago, have never blacked out. But I have found myself staggering to the kitchen a lot, going directly for the Nutella. I heat up some soft flat bread in the microwave, spread Nutella on it, fold the bread in half and eat it. And then I do it again. And occasionally again. It's also good on apple slices, fingers and pickles. I should ask my partner Wayne to hide it, but, believe me, I'd find it, even in this 4,000-square-foot house. (If I chose not to blame the Ambien, I could conclude that I suffer "Night Eating Syndrome," the latest eating disorder identified by psychiatry.)
I could go on about Nutella's effect on me, but I'll refer you to the website Cracked.com, which has a thorough analysis. I also draw some comfort from the fact that my addiction, prosaic as it is, is widespread and, really, not my fault. It's the damned Ambien.
(Seriously, Ambien turns out to be a dangerous drug for many people. Please talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking doses over 5 mg.)
Georgia International Convention Center Fri., Feb. 22-Sat. Feb. 23 FarmRx: A Prescription for Better Health Explore the link between good food and good health through educational sessions and hands-on workshops led by top Atlanta chefs, plus a keynote address by neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Details
Cypress Street Pint & Plate Sat., Feb. 23, 5 p.m. Cheers for Charity An event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with complimentary beer, tasty appetizers and a variety of raffle prizes. Details
Georgia World Congress Center Sun., Feb. 24, 1:30-5:30 p.m. 2013 Atlanta Chef's Expo This event includes menu tastings and cooking demonstrations from local chefs. Proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Greater Atlanta. Details
Atlanta's Cochon 555 event was an eating and drinking porkasborg, a porkapalooza, a whiskey-a-go-go.
The boys and I hit Canton House last Friday. I had not visited the restaurant in years, although I was a frequent dim sum diner on weekends. It has long been reputed to serve the city's best meals on cart wheels.
I did try a couple of dim sum dishes Friday, including fried tofu skin wrapped about pork, mushrooms and shrimp. Also: the ubiquitous glossy buns filled with barbecued pork.
Then I took advantage of the whole lobster (above) offered as a special for $15. You get your choice of spices with which the lobsters are rubbed. I went for the Sichuan-style, while another person at the table ordered a tamarind one.
I gotta say that the best part of my lobster was the spicy coating. Even though the server kept telling me it was going to be "too hot," it was in fact barely lip-burning at all. Unfortunately, the hacked-up lobster didn't offer much flesh, so the dissection was exhausting and, of course, messy. No Chinese lobster bib offered.
Other friends at the table did their usual thing of poring through the menu to find basically Chinese-American dishes. Next time, I'm tying them up and force-feeding them jowls, stomach and chicken feet.
The restaurant, by the way, was nearly empty Friday night, with half the dining room closed. Our server said most of their business still occurs weekends for dim sum.
A natural gas explosion led to an inferno in one Kansas City restaurant Tuesday night. According to NBC News, 14 were injured and one dead.
After much public outrage over its announcement to lower the alcohol content of its renowned bourbon from 45 percent to 42 percent ABV, Maker's Mark announced via Twitter that it will renege on its decision. How will it solve the supply problem? Sounds like a lot more work for those in the factories over in Kentucky. And now we can keep up with that 3 percent increase in buzz. As if it would have made a difference.
You spoke. We listened. ow.ly/hN3kC
- Maker's Mark (@MakersMark) February 17, 2013
Here's an interesting portrayal of portion control. Wisegeek presents a photojournalism piece titled "What Does 200 Calories Actually Look Like? for a number of common foods.
If passed, Georgia House Bill 314 would change that. The bill would:
...provide for limited exceptions to the three-tier system for the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages; to change the definition of the term 'brewpub'; to provide for limited retail sales by brewers of malt beverages manufactured on their premises for off-premises consumption; to provide for the collection of applicable taxes on such sales; to change certain provisions relating to the terms and conditions that exist for owners and operators of brewpubs to allow for retail sales of malt beverages manufactured on their premises for off-premises consumption; to change certain provisions relating to manufacturing limitations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Got all that? Great. End of blog post ...
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