Food media

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is Atlanta's story better than Tampa's "Farm to Fable"?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Chefs and farmers talk local sourcing at the Nosh Talks roundtable - BRANDON AMATO
  • Brandon Amato
  • Chefs and farmers talk local sourcing at the Nosh Talks roundtable

The food world was abuzz in April when the Tampa Bay Times ran a series titled Farm to Fable, with a headline stating, "at Tampa Bay farm-to-table restaurants, you’re being fed fiction." One aspect that made the story so notable was not just the premise of restaurants deceiving consumers, but the fact that author and Tampa Bay Times Food Critic Laura Reiley had so thoroughly researched and documented case after case after case of lies and misrepresentations by Tampa area restaurants. Anyone reading the story couldn't help but wonder, "How does my city's farm-to-table situation compare to Tampa's?"

As an Atlanta food writer and farmers market devotee, I believe that we're not anywhere near as bad as the Tampa depicted in Reiley's story. Atlanta has a thriving local/regional farm and farmers market scene. We have restaurants going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to farm to table sourcing. We have numerous organizations making real headway in a range of food issues tied to local and sustainable practices. But even when taking all of that into account, the nagging question still remains: Are some of our restaurants selling diners a bit of fiction when it comes to their farm-to-table promises? Who better to answer that question than a roundtable of Atlanta chefs, plus the farmers themselves who work so hard to get locally grown produce and protein on the table.

Shortly after the Tampa Bay Times story came out, it just so happened that a restaurant industry group called Nosh Talks was putting on such a roundtable. The invitation promised "a panel of marriage counseling ... chefs, farmers, how they work together, and everything in between." While the two hour discussion didn't specifically touch on the Tampa story, the overwhelming takeaway was that Atlanta restaurants are in a good place and consistently improving their relationships with farmers ... but the system isn't perfect.  

After the panel, I followed up with the chefs and farmers to specifically address the state of local sourcing in Atlanta restaurants, and what diners can do to be better informed. Here's what they had to say:

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:00 AM


I've long been a fan of the Food Lab, AKA J. Kenji López-Alt's geeky recipe factory over on Serious Eats. His writing tends to focus on technique, and typically comes with headlines that instantly make you want to try out his recipes - like "Use Your Cast Iron Pan and a Tortilla to Make World Class Bar-Style Pizza in Under 12 Minutes" or "Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)." Really, what food nerd could resist click-bait like that? Not me.

His take on traditional French cassoulet? Brilliantly un-traditional in its use of chicken cooked in duck fat for flavor and a few packs of gelatin to improve the crust. His boast that a potato gratin recipe "might be the best potatoes ever"? It's true, thanks to the simple trick of standing the sliced rounds of potato on their sides. So when I heard that a Food Lab cookbook was hitting the shelves, I didn't need a witty headline to pique my interest - I knew a compendium of López-Alt's brilliant technique and witty, accessible writing would be worth reading. The question was - how exactly would the book build on the great repository of Food Lab goodness already online?

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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Ultimate Atlanta Pizza Smackdown cometh

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM

  • Rachel Hortman

What is the best pizza in Atlanta? It's a question that has dominated the hearts, minds, and stomachs of Creative Loafing's dining team for months. There are hundreds of pizza joints around metro Atlanta; so many styles, so many types. The first order of business was to narrow the playing field to just 12 contenders. For us, 12 felt like a magic Goldilocks number: It's enough to feel somewhat comprehensive, but at the same time, still manageable. (We gave burgers the same treatment last year.) It was tough, but with the help of some core criteria we were able to decide on 11 worthy competitors.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CL nominated for 2 AFJ awards

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 5:48 PM


The Association of Food Journalists dropped its list of award finalists for the 2014 school year and Creative Loafing has been honored with two nominations: Best Newspaper Special Food Project for the 2014 Food Issue and Best Writing on Beer, Wine and/or Spirits for Austin L. Ray's September cover story on Red Brick Brewing Company.

The Food Issue was built around the theme of "Legacy" and included an expansive history of Atlanta farmers markets by CL Food Editor Stephanie Dazey; a mind-melting web of restaurant connections by Dazey, Restaurant Critic Jennifer Zyman, and Graphic Designer Rachel Hortman; tours of swanky old school haunts by Scott Henry and Joeff Davis; burritos, BBQ; brews; recipes from ATL's ethnic food trailblazers, and more. Writers, editors, photographers and graphic designers on the project included: Cliff Bostock, Todd Brock, Angela Hansberger, Scott Henry, Brad Kaplan, Alex Lockie, Miles Macquarrie, Sucheta Rawal, Austin L. Ray, Jennifer Zyman, Wes Duvall, Rachel Hortman, Joeff Davis, Konyin Ayuba, Eric Cash, Adam Komich, Matthew Smith, Mia Yakal, Dazey and yours truly.

Ray's longform feature on Red Brick Brewing, nee Atlanta Brewing Company, looked at the scrappy local brewer's fight to stay relevant and in business over the last 21 years. The story traced the ascension of the craft beer market in Atlanta over the past two decades, the fight over distribution and direct sales, and the brewery's fresh talent that's turning out some of the best beer in the company's history.

Winners will be announced Sept. 17 at AFJ's annual conference in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5 new cookbooks from Atlanta chefs to look out for

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Chef Steven Satterfields new cookbook Root to Leaf is out now
  • Chef Steven Satterfield's new cookbook Root to Leaf

A wave of cookbook mania has set in for several Atlanta chefs. Here are five we've got our eye on:

Miller Union executive chef Steven Satterfield launched his Harper Collins publication, Root to Leaf, last Saturday at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

Kevin Gillespie will release his Pure Pork Awesomeness book at Gunshow March 29.

Empire-builder Ford Fry is working on his first cookbook, but no details regarding a timeline are yet available.

Spice to Table's Asha Gomez is working on her own tome, My Two Souths, which will fuse the influences of Southern American and Southern Indian cuisine. Look for that book in 2016.

Last but not least, local celeb chef Virginia Willis is releasing her new cookbook Lighten Up Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome today. The book's launch party will be held tonight, Tues., March 3, 6 p.m., at the Cook’s Warehouse in Midtown. The event is free and open to the public.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Atlanta's year in food: 2014

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Here's (a lot of!) what happened:

The beginning of 2014 was made bittersweet by the death of chef Ryan Hidinger and the subsequent Team Hidi 2.0 memorial fundraiser, which raised $325,000 for local nonprofit the Giving Kitchen. After a six-month run on the Westside, Guy Wong's fast casual dim sum joint Yum Bunz closed the first week of January. Wong's new Vietnamese restaurant Le Fat, however, is slated to open in the former Yum Bunz space at 935 Marietta St. in 2015.

Atlanta restaurant mogul Ford Fry's empire grew with the opening of St. Cecelia in the former Bluepointe space in Buckhead. Waffle House offered candlelight dining to lovers on Valentine's Day. TV personality Andrew Zimmern was in town to film the Atlanta episode of "Bizarre Foods", just in the knick of time before thousands of Atlanta motorists and students were stranded overnight due to an unthinkable gridlock caused by a major winter storm.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Death & Co, Modern Classic Cocktails

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Death & Co book

Let's face it - you've got to be pretty audacious to think the world needs another book about cocktails. Pick any topic having to do with the drinks, and it's been written about to death. But the folks at Death & Co, a heralded New York cocktail bar, are exactly the type of bold bar evangelists who are audacious enough to think they have something unique to share. Don't believe me? Just look inside the front cover of their big, beautiful new book, where the boastful braggadocio kicks in with the very first sentence:

Death & Co is the most important, influential, and oft-imitated bar to emerge from the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Since its opening in 2006, Death & Co has been a must-visit destination for serious drinkers and cocktail enthusiasts... boasting a supremely talented and creative bar staff - the best in the industry.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The #ATLBurgerSmackdown needs your vote

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Love burgers? Of course you do. And now, Atlanta, it is time to make your burger-loving voices heard. The dining team here at CL has been sampling the city's most beloved cheeseburgers as part of our soon-to-be-published 2014 Atlanta Burger Smackdown. After an intense, fisticuff-filled elimination process, we narrowed down our contenders to eleven. But we want your help in filling the twelfth and final spot...

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AFJ recognizes CL's 100 Dishes

Posted By on Tue, May 27, 2014 at 11:27 AM

I'm happy to share the news that Creative Loafing's 100 Dishes has been nominated for a 2014 AFJ award for Best Food Multimedia Presentation. Info about the entire package and nomination over on Fresh Loaf.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jennifer Zyman is CL's new dining critic

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM


We're giddy to finally announce that Jennifer Zyman, aka the Blissful Glutton, will be writing monthly starred restaurant reviews for Creative Loafing starting immediately. Read all about it on Fresh Loaf!

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Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly
Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly

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