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Archive for January, 2009

The Real Slim Shady

Guess who’s back?

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Tom Colicchio performs Heimlich maneuver, saving famous food writer’s life



Bravo TV
credit: Bravo TV

 

It isn’t every day Alice Waters runs out into a crowd of the country’s best chefs and shouts, “Does anyone know the Heimlich maneuver?” Good thing Tom does.

The Craft-y chef was in Washington, D.C., at the opening party for Art.Food.Life — a series of pre-inauguration fundraising dinners held throughout the city and featuring meals from the nation’s top chefs, including Scott Peacock. Daniel Boulud and Lidia Bastianich were also in attendance. According to one eyewitness report, the party’s hostess, legendary Jewish food expert Joan Nathan, got a piece of chicken stuck in her throat. Colicchio obliged and sent the chicken flying promptly.

“He’s so strong!” exclaimed the grateful Nathan when all was said and done.

Read all about it here.

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Abattoir Not Opening Any Time Soon

 

The latest effort from Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison is still an empty shell, so I wouldn’t be hounding Opentable quite yet for a reservation. Though the couple was shooting for an early 2009 opening, it doesn’t look imminent.

Abattoir — set in the White Provisions complex across the railroad tracks from Star Provisions and Bacchanalia — promises the coming of a new era of slaughterhouse chic in Atlanta dining. It is the former site of the United Butchers Abattoir complex that opened a century ago and, yes, was an actual slaughterhouse floor. (Click here to see a historical map.)

When I spoke to Quatrano about it a few months ago, she said the restaurant will specialize in “whole animal cuisine” and feature many items roasted in a wood-fueled oven as well as an expanded charcuterie program. Prices will be reasonable — less than those at the couple’s Floataway Cafe. 

The most striking architectural element of the new building is the slanted ramp that cuts a …

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Scott Peacock Cooking at the Inauguration

No he won’t be unmolding congealed salad for Michelle Obama. But I did catch up with Scott Peacock as he was picking up a box of Maldon sea salt at Cook’s Warehouse. 

“I’m going to Washington, D.C., this evening, and I don’t want to go looking for it there,” said the Watershed chef and go-to Southern food expert.

The occasion? A $500-a-plate dinner that Peacock will cook in a private Georgetown home for guests celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama. This dinner, one of 12 around the nation’s capital, was spearheaded by Alice Waters and organized by the group Art.Food.Hope as a fundraiser for D.C.-area greenmarkets and a local food bank. Other participating chefs include Craft’s Tom Colicchio and Rick Bayless, whose haute Mexican restaurant, Topolobampo, is a Chicago favorite of the president elect. 

“We were told to prepare a casual 3-course meal like we’d prepare for friend and family,” said Peacock, who was bringing flour milled from a colonial-era cultivar of wheat …

Continue reading Scott Peacock Cooking at the Inauguration »

BBQ U

While other college boys are slogging through macroeconomics or Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” these four students at Birmingham-Southern College are traveling around the South in a Ford with a pig snout on its grille and snarfing up barbecue.

For credit.

It seems the college has a 4-1-4 yearly schedule, so the BBQ boys talked the college administration into letting them pursue porcine pleasures for their winter study month. Of course, they’re not merely stuffing their faces but rather “focusing on the cultural origins, differences in style, and significance of Southern pork barbecue through an 17-day tour of southeastern barbecue establishments.” All this will end up in a pile of individual research papers, to be submitted at the end of term, presumably with Wet-Naps.

The boys — Jeff, Will, Art and Matt — will stop in northern Georgia on January 18-20 to try three famous old-timers: Fresh Air Bar-B-Que in Athens, Old Clinton Bar-B-Q in Macon and Sprayberry’s …

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So long Usher, Hello Taco…

Well, that didn’t take long. Michele Sedgwick, who owns the Sedgwick Restaurant Group with her husband Chris, has confirmed that a franchise location of the couple’s slammin’ Pure Taqueria in Alpharetta will open in the defunct Inman Park location of the Grape. Yes, that Grape. The one that was owned by Usher. 

Quoth Usher:

I’m always on the top, tonight I’m on the bottom

‘Cause we trading places

Another franchise location of Pure Taqueria will also open in Duluth this year. No word on when either will open.

Continue reading So long Usher, Hello Taco… »

Restaurant Stories

For this week’s column, I met and had lunch with an up-and-coming local food blogger. Gene Lee is a fine photographer, writer and researcher, and he puts it all together in a way that makes his blog a pleasure to read. Plus, he has a serious jones for real Japanese ramen, the likes of which he finds at Yakitori Jinbei in Smyrna. (For whatever reason, you have to click “Continue reading Restaurant Stories” to activate the link.)

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Crispy Salmon

 

It can be far too tempting to reach for the soy sauce, the garlic, the garam masala, the peanut butter, the bottle of teriyaki marinade, the jar of spaghetti sauce or any of the myriad other items I keep around the kitchen to goose the flavor of whatever I’m cooking. Particularly when it’s a “spontaneous” evening meal — i.e., a Tuesday-night dinner slam. When I don’t have time, I’m attracted by the promise of instant flavor.

The trick is keeping things simple.

Here’s a dinner that didn’t cost much and tasted great precisely because I slapped my hand when it started to reach for the Cajun seasoning mix. This fillet of salmon was simply seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-roasted until it was crispy all over.

What you see here is fresh farm-raised salmon. Normally, wild salmon is preferable — even if it’s frozen — for its flavor. But for this preparation, you’ll get better results with farmed fish, which tends to be oilier.

Simple Crispy Salmon

Start with good, …

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Marshmallow Peeps after a minute in the microwave

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Usher’s franchise of the Grape closes

 


Usher, above is pictured with business manager Solomon Smallwood and Grape CEO Jack Mazur, just prior to the wine bar’s opening in December 2006.

 

The Inman Park franchise of the Grape that pop star Usher opened to widespread publicity in late 2006 has closed, according to the parent company. The shop — a wine bar, bistro and wine retailer rolled into one — did not reopen in the New Year and did not renew its liquor license with the Georgia Department of Revenue. 

Currently, there remain three local branches of the Grape: in the Vinings Jubilee shopping center, Phipps Plaza and Atlantic Station. The Atlanta-based Grape Enterprise Group Inc., which  both owns and franchises shops mostly throughout the Southeast, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. Its franchise locations, such as the one in Inman Park, were not party to the filing.

When Raymond Usher IV first met with reporters at the opening of the Inman Park branch wearing a cabernet-purple blazer, he …

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