Food Finds

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CL's #ATLDoughnutSmackdown needs your vote

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM

  • Brad Kaplan
Doughnuts are having a moment right now. To be fair, they never really went away — Krispy Kreme, the cronut craze, famed institutions such as the original Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., etc. But the popularity of dedicated boutique doughnut shops is on the rise all over the country. The bulk of Atlanta’s doughnut renaissance is happening outside of Atlanta proper. Apart from a few intown mainstays, most of the magic is happening in the ‘burbs. With so many appealing options luring us ITP-ers to far-flung corners of metro Atlanta, we started to wonder which doughnuts were really worth the time and gas money.  

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown was born.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Get in Ma Mouth: Monkey Bread Edition

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 9:30 AM


If you've ever tried monkey bread, chances are you've been seduced by its sweet, soft and buttery, cinnamon spell. Not familiar with the treat? I particularly like its Wikipedia entry, which may not tell you that much about monkey bread itself, but at least provides a litany of amusing alternate names:

Monkey bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, pluck-it cake, bubble loaf, Legal Brioche and monkey brains [citation needed] is a sweet, sticky, gooey pastry served in the United States for dessert or as a treat. It consists of pieces of soft bread with cinnamon sprinkled on it and is often served at fairs and other parks.

The distinguishing factor of monkey bread is the fact that it's made up of many individual orbs of dough, mushed together, but easily pulled apart. Imagine a gaggle of donut holes snuggling together on a comfy couch, draped in a warm blanket of buttery cinnamon and sugar, and slowly but surely... one by one... the donut holes depart the comfy couch and plop right down into the confines of your mouth. Pleasure ensues. That is monkey bread. 

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Boom Biscuits are bangin' at Peachtree Road Farmers market

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 8:01 AM

Boom Biscuits

Chef Lauren Raymond is one of the strongest players in Atlanta's pastry game. She started out by baking bread at Star Provisions, and has also been the assistant pastry chef at Empire State South, worked the biscuit station at the original Watershed under Scott Peacock, served as the opening pastry chef at the General Muir and Miller Union, and served as the VP of Operations at High Road Craft Ice Cream. Raymond most recently landed the pastry chef position at 4th and Swift.

Now, Raymond is in the biscuit game with her partner, Jori Mendel, whom she met over challah at the General Muir. The company, which is named after Mendel’s grandfather “Boom Boom,” debuted at Peachtree Road Farmers Market this season. If the last few weeks are any indication, Boom is bound to become as busy as fellow market vendor Crepe Masters, whose stall frequently has one of the longest lines.

Simplicity is something Raymond says she learned to appreciate from mentors Scott Peacock and Steven Satterfield. They taught her that pulling off simple food requires a ton of good technique and even better ingredients. With Boom Biscuits, Raymond uses Peacock's tips to craft what are some of my favorite biscuits in Atlanta right now. They are flaky, buttery, and just the right size for sandwiches.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Livin' la vida Tostilocos, a mighty street-food snack

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:30 AM

I must live under a rock, because, until a recent trip to Mexico, I had never heard of Tostilocos. Or Dorilocos. Or Takilocos. Or whatever you call the version of Tostilocos that's made with Conchitas Encanto corn chips. Maybe Conchitalocos? No, it took a trip to Mexico for me to be enlightened in the ways of this street snack, which is essentially a south-of-the-border version of Frito pie. And I am now forever grateful.

Tostilocos are not a new thing. If you've been to Monterrey or Tijuana in the past fifteen years, in fact, you've probably passed by a stand or two or twenty selling bags and bags of the stuff to hungry patrons. Chef Adrian Villarreal, of the Spence and the upcoming Rreal Taco, grew up in Monterrey, and recalls seeing them as early as the mid-'80s.

"I first saw Tostilocos, or at least a variation of them, as a young kid," Villarreal says. "I could walk and buy them at the neighborhood bodega, at school, or in the street outside school. Later in the nineties you started to see a lot of little stores in malls or strip malls that did them and chamoyadas (fruit drinks) as their main business. I don't even remember if they had a name for them."

Tostilocos have started gaining attention here in the U.S. in recent years. John T. Edge, the South's wandering poet of all things delicious, wrote about them in the New York Times three years ago. NPR featured it last year (click on the link and dig that animated gif). I'm willing to bet that somewhere along Buford Highway at this very moment someone is whipping up a bag of Tostilocos. And rightfully so, the stuff is delicious and super simple to throw together.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Red wine in powdered form. All hype?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

packets of resveratrol rich Vinia
  • packets of resveratrol rich Vinia
Wine is widely talked about like a veritable fountain of youth. For thousands of years, sipping it has been purported to have health benefits. It was the medicine of Mesopotamia, a directive in the Bible and the Talmud. We know now that all of this is mainly because of the antioxidant resveratrol, a polyphenol compound that boosts cardiovascular health. But is this why we drink it? What if you could get the same amount of this magical elixir without the alcohol, calories, or sugars? Would you?

Pharmaceutical companies have been trying for years to create a supplement that boosts health the way red wine has been shown to, usually using dried Japanese knotweed which is also high in resveratrol (Cacao, peanuts, cranberries, and blueberries are as well). It’s a pretty amazing compound that works as an antifungal agent on the skins of grapes and works to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while raising HDL (good cholesterol) and metabolism. Most studies on resveratrol have been performed on mice—imagine the tiny goblets—or yeast cultures with few involving human subjects. Of those none have measured long-term health or longevity.

Enter a new player on the market, Vinia red grape powder. Bioharvest, the company behind the product, purports they have “pioneered a way to provide the benefits of red wine, in one convenient zero calorie packet.” The burgundy fruit powder claims to have pure extracted resveratrol from Avnir red grapes with one serving equaling a similar amount “as found in 1000 grapes or one bottle of ‘fine’ wine.” A 30 day supply runs $149.99 and can be mixed with anything you would normally eat or drink without calories, sugars, or alcohol.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Get in Ma Mouth: Buckboard Bacon Edition

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM

Driving south on I-75 towards Florida, a couple hours south of town, you start seeing billboards for Carroll's Sausage somewhere around Cordele. They're noteworthy mainly for the fact that you don't often see billboards for sausage companies. At least not in Atlanta. And who can deny the urge to visit a sausage company once you've seen their billboard (OK, their DOZENS of billboards) along the interstate?

Just like those billboards, Carroll's Sausage and Country Store sits right by I-75, in Ashburn, Georgia. If you see the giant Georgia peanut by the side of the road, you've just passed Carroll's, so turn around. Once you exit your vehicle, legs sore from the drive, just follow your nose in through the door, where whiffs of smoke and pork and Southern pride scent the air.

Inside, you're greeted by beef jerky bins and displays of scuppernong wine and row after row of molasses and sorghum and every-type-of-jarred-stuff-you-might-hope-to-find in a Southern roadside market. Imagine the love child of a Cracker Barrel and a butcher shop, and you'll be pretty close to picturing Carroll's Sausage and Country Store.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wholly Brownie: Searching for the best brownie in Atlanta

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Let the grail quest for ATLs Wholly Brownie begin
  • Monique Huiet
  • Let the grail quest for ATL's Wholly Brownie begin

Wholly Brownie, kicking off with this entry, intends to be an occasional blog on one man's search for brownie bliss.

Tales of grail quests, as literary lore goes, are routinely fatal to their authors. Specifically, writing the last line of a quest for the grail (or maybe even just a grail) seems to beckon the Grim Reaper like no other enterprise.

Good thing someone’s always coming along with a new brownie recipe, in that case. Of course, some folks consider the eating of processed sugar one of the open-armedest invitations to a premature demise a person can make. A better thing, then — well, maybe — that I ignore what some folks consider conventional wisdom.

My sweet tooth is basically bigger than my whole head. Steve Almond’s memoir Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America is my own autobiography, despite having been written by someone else (if I’ve failed to eat at least one piece of chocolate on any day of my adult life, I must’ve been in a fugue state at the time because I cannot recall such a day).

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Get in Ma Mouth: Pita Edition

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This is not what I was anticipating. When I first heard about Yalla, the new Middle Eastern food stand at Krog Street Market, I was eager to see what chef Todd Ginsberg and baker Robert Alexander could do with pita, laffa, falafel, and shawarma. If they could make a sabich like the one I had in Tel Aviv this past summer, I would be supremely happy. If they could do with hummus what they've done with pastrami at the General Muir, I would be thrilled. But when I got to Krog Street Market for my first visit to Yalla last week, I didn't even order falafel, or hummus, or sabich. I felt compelled to order a daily special that sounded so confoundingly strange (and outside expectations) that I couldn't not order it.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Would you pay for Atlanta's most expensive cocktail?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM

The Barrel of Jewels cocktail

Move over Pappy, there is a new way to impress your friends by dropping vast amounts of money on a mere glass of booze. Recently spotted: Article 14 in Midtown likely has Atlanta’s most expensive cocktail on its menu. The Barrel of Jewels costs $99 ($99 DOLLARS!) and mixes Louis XIII Cognac, Lock Stock & Barrel straight rye whiskey, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, and bitters.

This riff on the classic Vieux Carré is presented in an etched crystal whiskey glass that sadly is not a take-home keepsake.

Louis XIII dates back to the 19th century and is aged up to one hundred years. Only encountered in prestigious places (so the website says), it's a taste of a century in a bottle.

Regardless of what comes in the glass, Article 14's $99-cocktail begs the question: How much is too much for a drink in this town?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nobody effs with the Jesus (brand of canned piquillo peppers)

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Mª Jesús piquillo peppers stuffed with Manchego
  • Brad Kaplan
  • Mª Jesús piquillo peppers, stuffed with Manchego

Shopping at Buford Highway Farmers Market is a never-ending adventure. On a recent trip, in addition to some jars of French duck fat and canned sake with some excellent label art, I came across cans of piquillo peppers from a Spanish producer called Conservas Artesanas María Jesús.

In the US, canned goods tend to have a lowbrow image, so the idea that the very best of an item comes in a can is somewhat foreign. But canning has been around approximately 200 years. In Spain, the best white asparagus? Canned. The best tuna? Canned. The best razor clams or mussels? Canned. Anthony Bourdain did an episode of "No Reservations" in Spain that featured canned seafood, and let's just say it will change your mind on the merits of canned seafood forever.

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The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
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