Food & Life

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Food Ink #2: Kevin Clark, Home Grown

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Welcome back to Food Ink, a sporadic series of indeterminate length in which we explore a bunch of creative, inspiring, and downright rad body art sported by members of Atlanta's food service industry. We'll be highlighting people whose passion for their work runs so deep, it's indelibly inked on their skin. Check out our first installment with The Little Tart's Sarah O'Brien here. (And if you know of any chefs, bakers, sous chefs, bartenders, line cooks, or anyone else with a particularly awesome tattooed homage to the culinary arts, let us know.)

Food Ink #2: Kevin Clark, owner of Homegrown
Artwork: Corn, broccoli, parsnip, okra, carrot, Brussels sprouts, a butcher’s diagram of a hog, the Homegrown logo, and much more
Artist: Mark Green (“Gaucho”) at Memorial Tattoo; Sam Parker at Memorial

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Atlanta chefs gobble about their favorite dishes this Thanksgiving

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market
  • Rusty Bowers
  • Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market
Whether it's with family, a Friendsgiving, or a feast of orphans & blacksheep, Thanksgiving is that time of year when we gather with those we love and scream “pass the mashed potatoes” when talk of religion or politics comes up. We asked a few of Atlanta’s favorite cooks how they would be celebrating the holiday. It came as no surprise that most would be doing the cooking. Those are some lucky families and friends! We are certainly grateful for the food they put on our plates. Which dish did they say they were most thankful for in Atlanta?

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

James Camp, 'CL' contributing photographer, has died

Posted By on Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 5:04 PM

James Camp RIP (1978-2014)
  • James Camp RIP (1978-2014)

James Camp, longtime Creative Loafing contributing photographer and Atlanta freelance photographer at large, has died. According to his family, he took his own life early Wednesday morning. He was 36-years-old. The Lithia Springs, Ga., native, who mainly focused on food photography but frequently took on music assignments, first began freelancing for CL in 2004. Over the next decade, his work became a centerpiece of CL's food and drink coverage.

His girlfriend, Theresa Couvillion, died the following day. CL has yet to confirm the cause of death. A joint memorial service for Camp and Couvillion will be held tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (1345 Piedmont Ave.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the James Camp Photography Scholarship Fund at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

Along with some of his most memorable photography, Camp is remembered by his friends and colleagues, whose recollections are included below:

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Food Ink #1: Sarah O'Brien, The Little Tart Bakery

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Introducing Food Ink, a series of indeterminate length in which we explore a bunch of creative, inspiring, and downright rad body art sported by members of Atlanta's food service industry. We'll be highlighting people whose passion for their work runs so deep, it's indelibly inked on their skin. Feel free to follow along. (And if you know of any chefs, bakers, sous chefs, bartenders, line cooks, or anyone else with a particularly awesome tattooed homage to the culinary arts, let us know.)

Food Ink #1: Sarah O'Brien, owner of the Little Tart Bakeshop
Artwork: Butterknife, rolling pin, whisk
Artist: Phil Colvin, Memorial Tattoo

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Giving Kitchen gives back

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

At the Benefit for Claytons Bills and Boo-Boos
  • Brandon Belcher
  • At the Benefit for Clayton's Bills and Boo-Boos
I want to hug all of them, at least once a day, every day for the rest of my life. - Clayton Anderson, on the people of the Giving Kitchen

The Giving Kitchen is good at giving and inspiring all kinds of hugs - hugs of thanks, relief, happiness, love, and support. And their hugs continue to multiply. The Atlanta nonprofit was formed in May 2013 to establish a fund that benefitted restaurant workers in need of financial assistance - for living expenses, travel, rent and other costs - in the face of unanticipated hardships. It began with chef Ryan Hidinger's fight against cancer, but the group's goals quickly broadened to try and assist as many restaurant folks as possible.

On June 12, the Giving Kitchen announced its latest list of beneficiaries - restaurant workers who have applied for and/or received grants to help them in times of need. (Full Disclosure: CL contributor Brad Kaplan volunteers with the Giving Kitchen.) The list includes a server who had a housing emergency when the house he was living in was condemned, a breast cancer patient grappling with treatment costs, a father who suffered a brain aneurysm, and a young bartender who was injured in a motorcycle accident, Clayton Anderson.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Give $$ to Living Walls, courtesy of Kroger?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM

You can give cash money to Living Walls by shopping at your neighborhood Murder Kroger.
  • Living Walls
  • You can give cash money to Living Walls by shopping at your neighborhood Murder Kroger.

Hipster Kroger, Murder Kroger, or Disco Kroger - doesn't matter which one you shop at, you can officially feel better about a feverish late night rampage for nacho fixings.

Living Walls, the nonprofit that brings new murals and public art to our neighborhoods each year, was just accepted to the Kroger Community Rewards program, meaning every time you swipe your Kroger Plus card, .5 percent of the purchase will be donated to their noble cause.

We tested the waters and it took us all of 1.8 minutes to do the deed: Just activate your Kroger Plus card account online and visit Community Rewards to enroll in the program. Make sure you select "Living Walls" as the benefiting organization, and you're good to go.

If you're not down with the Plus card (or just not down with shenanigans in the Edgewood Retail District parking lot), you can also hit up Across the Street next Tuesday, April 15 from 6-8 p.m. for a Living Walls dine out benefit event. There will be free appetizers (which might best your nachos, sorry to say) and a cash bar. Donations will help them score supplies like spray paint and scissor lifts and help them on their mission to beautify Atlanta's public spaces one wall at a time.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Starbucks goes pink

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Fat and protein at Starbucks
"It's time to start thinking of Starbucks for great food," said the tediously unending advertising for the new pastries it has been introducing at its 17,000 locations. The pastries are a product of La Boulange Bakery, a popular Panera-like chain in San Francisco that Starbucks bought about two years ago.

The new pastries have been controversial,
to say the least, especially for their high butter content:

The "La Boulange" pastries that are now infesting my local Starbucks are so shot through with butter - which increases shelf life - that they are all leaden horror stories. You can tell they've been goosed with coagulated moo by the calorie count, which is fast approaching that of vending machine baked goods like those execrable Otis Spunkmeyer muffins. 480 calories for a doughnut that's three inches across? Give me a break.

Take one of these warmed-over baked goods out of its protective wax-impregnated bag and put it on a stack of those extra-absorbent napkins they use. Wait about five minutes; any longer, and the fat will re-coagulate. Pick up the pastry and look at the nauseating film of grease that has soaked through the napkins and left on the table. Pizza is supposed to do that; cheese danishes are not.

Barista Codo dresses pink for pastry
I've tried a few of the pastries, including a croissant that was so oily, it had no flakiness. Further, the portions seem to have been reduced, despite the increase in calories. Many besides me have complained about the cinnamon scone's disappearance. It was the only pastry I liked.

The marketing of the new line of pastries at the Ansley Starbucks in March was pinker than a breast-cancer fundraiser: pink flowers, pink cup holders, pink aprons, pink ties, and pink banners. Wardrobes are no longer pink, but much else endures.

Meanwhile, the AT&T wi-fi connection at the Ansley store remains agonizingly slow most of the time, as it does at many others. Starbucks has ousted AT&T and signed up with Google, but the improved connection certainly hasn't made it to Ansley yet. An alternative with better wifi and pastries, is Panera, a few doors down. And Bantam & Biddy's connection is often faster than Starbucks' too.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Not-so-loving letters to Costco, Big Sky, Ansley Kroger

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 9:00 AM

  • Freestock/Wikimedia Commons
Dear Costco:

Thank you for demonstrating the monstrosity of corporate greed and proving once again that our 1 percent really is indifferent to the welfare of the growing class of the poor - especially when it's inconvenient.

I'm referring to your decision to require dumping 950,000 jars of peanut butter - nearly $3 million worth - in a landfill rather than donate them to community food banks. There was initial concern about the condition of the peanut butter, but it was demonstrated beyond doubt that it was healthy. In case you haven't heard, peanut butter is among the best foods for the hungry.

USA Today has the details and Jonathan Turley puts it in perspective.

And now for some relative trivialities:

Dear Big Sky Buckhead:

It was odd enough that I had to scour the Internets to find your phone number. It is not on your website or your Facebook page.

When I finally found the number, I discovered that nobody ever answers your phone. Instead, there's a recorded announcement that explains that it's impossible to leave a voice message. Seriously! Instead, you instruct people to send you an email.

The reason I keep calling is to determine your hours. Did I mention that they are reported differently just about everywhere?

Dear Ansley Kroger:

Have you ever considered displaying prices on ALL your produce? I shop there several times a week and I'm constantly asking an employee to go through the tedious process of getting a price on something. And how about keeping the arugula stocked on the shelves, so i don't have to ask the same employee to fetch it from the back?

The same situation prevails throughout the store in one form or another.

That said, your staff is great - even the folks who attend the self-checkout stations that require continual assistance.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Notes: Nostalgia at McKinnon's, sadomasochism and Sriracha, McDonald's and humilation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I experienced a strong blast from the distant past Saturday night, when I had dinner at McKinnon''s Louisiane in Buckhead. Billy McKinnon, who died about four years ago, opened this restaurant in 1972 and sold it to his manager in 2002. It's been going strong ever since its opening.

I dined in the lounge where longtime patrons take turns singing old standards. Think "Send in the Clowns" and crawfish.

I'll have more to say in a forthcoming Grazing column....

A LONG LIST: Eater Atlanta has posted a comprehensive list of the amazing number of restaurants scheduled to open in the next year, many of them this spring....

BARF: A Fox News affiliate has once again distinguished itself for hard-hitting, investigative reporting. They dispatched a reporter to a McDonald's in Culpepper, Va., where the manager told an elderly couple they had to leave after 30 minutes. Shockingly, the Fox reporter could find no sign announcing the 30-minute limit. And she made a thorough search.

Carl and Barbara Becker told the reporter that they have been going to McDonald's several times a week for decades to indulge in what they call "scrunch," a meal between lunch and dinner. Despite that, they have survived into their 80s!

Becker wrote a letter to McDonald's management in which he outlined his military career and said the eviction was the worst experience of his life. McDonald's has apologized and offered the couple two free cups of coffee....

WHY THERE ARE FIRE EATERS: We're all in a panic over the possible shuttering of the Sriracha factory in Irwindale, California. The owners have been giving constant tours of the factory in order to survey smell-sensitivity. So far, no sudden deaths have been reported. In fact, out of 61 bad-smell complaints, inspectors have traced only four to the Sriracha factory. It should all be resolved next month.

Organic Authority recently grabbed the controversy as an opportunity to explain what makes hot sauce so appealing to so many people:

The response to that scalding sensation is a release of endorphins, our body's way of allowing us to deal with pain. This is similar to what your body does on a long run. And what do runner's always talk about? A runner's high. In a sense, thanks to the release of endorphins, the runner's high and the Sriracha high are one in the same. Our body feels good after eating hot sauce.

In other words, it's kinda like sadomasochism - conflation of pleasure and pain, a bit of jouissance. Be a dominatrix, tie up your mate, and force him to eat Sriracha.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Looking for Girl Scout cookies in Atlanta?

Posted By and on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Girl Scouts (from left) Ansley, Madison, Frida, Sage, and Erica, hype the cookies.
  • Joeff Davis
  • Girl Scouts (from left) Ansley, Madison, Frida, Sage, and Erica, hype the cookies.

Earlier this month, the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta hosted a girl-led presser to commemorate the launch of the 2014 Girl Scout cookie season, which extends through mid-March. Good news for cookie fans: Figuring out where to find them is super easy these days ...

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