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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for January, 2009

Restaurant Stories

For this week’s column, I spent an afternoon with Merrideth Ziesse (left), the hilarious actress whose nonstop schtick keeps the lunch line moving at Souper Jenny in Buckhead. (Because of this site’s architecture, you have to click through to get the link.)

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Just tell your guests it’s foie gras mousse

They’ll never know the difference!

Liver-flavored Kong “stuff’n.”

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Homemade yuzu liqueur

The thing I most like about yuzu — i.e., Asian citron — is the fantastic, distinctive flavor of the zest. It’s a bit like lemon zest but brighter, warmer, exotically mellow. I can think about yuzu and taste it in my mind.

While a few top sushi bars get fresh yuzu, it isn’t readily available to mere mortals. So we make due with expensive little bottles of yuzu juice or yuzu vinegar that show up in gourmet food markets like Star Provisions. 

But if you know what to look for, you can readily find this product in any market that stocks Korean groceries. Called “Korean Honey Citron Tea,” it is meant to be dissolved in hot water for a beverage and only costs about $6 for a kilo jar. It tastes like a thick, sweet marmalade, and so we use it as such. In fact, it makes a mighty fine PB&J. 

 

 

But then my mind went to, um, less childlike pleasures, and I started thinking about how tasty a yuzu cocktail would be. So I picked up a handy-dandy fifth of Smirnoff vodka and blended it with …

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Stars Shine on Georgia

Everyone calls the James Beard Awards the “Oscars of the Food World.” Maybe the annual ratings from the Mobil Travel Guide are then the Golden Globes. 

Whatever, The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton and the Georgian Room at the Cloister on Sea Island each returned with the top 5 Star rating, announced today. The Georgian Room (left) features the sumptuous and creative cooking of Scott Crawford, while the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton showcases the talents of Arnaud Berthelier. 

Georgia’s Four Star restaurants are Bacchanalia, Quinones at Bacchanalia and Park 75. You can find the full list of rated restaurants, hotels and spas here.

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Some nice office ladies put jars of Hersheys Kisses on their desks…

And others have individually-wrapped prunes….

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Aloe martini sounds gross, tastes delicious, wins award

Here’s the Aloe Sapphire martini at Room, the restaurant inside Twelve Centennial Park. It won “Best Restaurant Cocktail” in a contest sponsored by Bombay Sapphire. Because of that, I decided to give it a spin even though I fear sweet martinis and think aloe vera should only be used topically.

It is one of the further-out drinks on Room’s far-out martini list. Contents: gin (yay), grapefruit schnapps (I can deal), fresh rosemary (sure, why not) and fresh aloe vera juice (eww?). All this for $12.

Taste: sweeter than I normally like but interesting. The flavors all kind of dart in and around each other. The aloe vera juice has a distinctive taste — honeyed and tropical, but with a clean, tart edge, like litchi. And here I thought it was going to taste like ointment. Not that I eat ointment…

Afterwards I asked to see the bottle. It’s a Korean beverage, which I later picked up on a trip to Super H Mart. It tastes kind of like natural Hawaiian Punch, and it has a lot of little …

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Haiga rice — nutritious and plain

 
If you eat a lot of white rice, you should look out for this wonderful stuff, which has the haiga (germ) still attached. You don’t get the fiber that you would with brown rice, but you do get all the vitamins and minerals that are normally stripped away when the rice is milled and polished. Consider it like that “whitewheat” bread you buy for your kids who only like white food. 

This particular variety is koshihikari short grain, which has a wonderful sweetness to the flavor as well as a soft texture that can turn sticky with too much water. I usually go with about 1 1/3 cups water to 1 cup rice when I cook it, and I always make sure to give it a good rinse and and half-hour soak first. 

This bag (about 5 pounds) costs a little over $7. I got it at Super H Mart, but I also often pick it up at Tomato Japanese Grocery (7124 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross).

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Tricked-out Chitlins with Candied Ginger and Kumquat Relish!

Todd Richards (above) — the chef at One Flew South in Hartsfield-Jackson airport — is working on a new project in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood to be called Harmony Park Canteen. The concept? Small plates, inexpensive large plates and a local neighborhood garden to supply vegetables. 

The menu, which Richards has posted on his blog, promises all kinds of creative-yet-homey-if-occasionally-challenging Southern-themed nibbles (you know the genre, right?) such as crispy chicken livers, slab bacon sliders, fried okra, pigs’ trotters and the aforementioned chitlins served with the aforementioned offal gilders. 

No word on when we can expect the restaurant to open.

It well nigh sucks that the only place for Atlantans to sample Richards’ food is on the E Concourse at the airport, because he was a seriously big deal in Louisville before moving to Atlanta.

Read about it on the chef’s blog.

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Restaurant Stories

Now that’s a serious cabbage. This week’s Restaurant Stories column here.

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Shoya Izakaya coming to Doraville, Miso Izakaya to Inman Park

 

En Brasserie in New York

En Brasserie in New York

I just got confirmation that the folks behind Duluth’s wonderful Haru Ichiban restaurant plan to open Shoya Japanese Restaurant in Doraville in late April, and it will be an izakaya or Japanese-style pub. It will join Miso Izakaya, which opens next week in Inman Park, and fatten the ranks of Atlanta’s izakayas to two. Double yay!

This promises to be very good news for Asian food fans in Atlanta. An izakaya is a bit like Japan’s answer to the tapas bar — i.e., a convivial spot where groups of friends can drink and nosh on shared plates. Usually, izakaya offer a lengthy menu of dishes prepared every which way, from grilled to fried, vinegared, simmered, raw and steamed. A typical meal might include, say, grilled eggplant in sweet miso, smokily charred cuttlefish rings, potatoes steamed in a foil pouch with rivulets of butter, super-crispy fried chunks of bone-in chicken with salt, feathery-light meatballs and sashimi. Hungry yet?

Izakaya usually have a …

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