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Archive for February, 2009

はい、できます!

Translation: Yes, we can. Can’t wait for that Marvelous Malia Maki and Sweet Sasha sashimi.

You want this link, don’t you?

Continue reading はい、できます! »

Tasty food discovery and a slammin’ 90-second breakfast

This little tub on D’Artagnan black truffle butter cost $6.50 at Sawicki’s Meat Seafood & More in Decatur. I bought it to melt over some broiled salmon for dinner one night.

“Save some for the morning to put on your eggs,” Lynne Sawicki advised. 

I don’t think she was quite envisioning this dish: leftover rice from Vietnamese takeout microwaved with an egg and a scoop of the butter. 90 seconds. Beep, beep. I love lazy cooking. 

This butter (from the foie gras purveyor) is good stuff, and a little goes a long way. It really communicates that mild, musky, mushroomy flavor of black truffle.

Continue reading Tasty food discovery and a slammin’ 90-second breakfast »

Of weeknight wine and pan sauces

Normally my wife and I try to avoid opening a bottle of wine with dinner on school nights because it will be all too easy to polish off by evening’s end. 

But I have to say nothing feels quite as right as finding the right bottle of wine to share between the two of us and the sauté pan for a weeknight treat. Factor off a cup of juice to use for a good pan sauce, and you’re each left with a glass and a splash.

So last night I came home with what has fast become my favorite steak in town — a Kobe beef coulotte that’s sold at Star Provisions. This thick piece of bottom sirloin is called a tri-tip steak everywhere besides Star Provisions and France. 

This particular one costs $20 a pound, but since I usually budget 4-5 ounces per person, it’s still cheaper than making a Chipotle run. 

 

Star Provisions has added wine back to its shelves (yay), so I picked up a bottle of Chateau Pesquié Terrasses. It’s a southern French wine (Côtes du Ventoux) that is widely available, inexpensive …

Continue reading Of weeknight wine and pan sauces »

Dork high-fives Martha Stewart

Yesterday at the Georgia Aquarium, Martha Stewart wedged me in for 10 minutes — just after her lunch of fried chicken and collard greens (hand delivered by Watershed’s Scott Peacock) and just before 700 eager souls got their copies of “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” and “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” signed. Some had waited in line for three hours, so I was brief. 

I managed to ask her a few stupid and semi-stupid questions, But mostly I had fun making these observations about her:

  • She’s smart. You see the mental wheels turn very quickly after every question, and her responses come out as well-formed declarative sentences with all the parts of speech in the right places.
  • She has a gift for reading tone and mood. One television interviewer was serious, one was a bit fawning, and I was simply odd. In a flash, she could switch gears from reasoned response to the noblesse oblige expected of her, to lobbing a quick joke. That’s why she’s always so good with the master of squirrely …

Continue reading Dork high-fives Martha Stewart »

You can’t have any

This is my personal watermelon, and I’m not sharing. (At Whole Foods Market, Midtown)

Continue reading You can’t have any »

Subversive candy hearts? Of course!

For as long as I’ve been an overgrown adolescent, I’ve delighted in writing obscenities on candy hearts with a fine-point Sharpie and leaving them on my coworkers’ desks for a Valentine’s surprise. Now I — we — can do it with just a few clicks. 

Yes, folks, it’s the Acme Heart Maker!

Continue reading Subversive candy hearts? Of course! »

Allegro closes

 

From the restaurant's website

From the website

Allegro, the upscale Italian restaurant on Dutch Valley Road (around the corner from One Midtown Kitchen) closed after Valentine’s Day. 

The restaurant had a good reputation. In a three-star review, AJC dining critic Meridith Ford called chef Jose Rego’s cooking “big, bold and full of flavor.” 

No word yet on where Rego will go next.

Continue reading Allegro closes »

Omakase meal at MF Buckhead (loooooooong post)

Just about a year after opening MF Buckhead, owner/chef Chris Kinjo opened his upstairs omakase room — an 8-seat sushi bar where he prepares a special menu of his choosing. (”Omakase” is the term guests in Japanese restaurants use to signal they’ll leave the dinner in the chef’s hands.) Until now, he has steadfastly refused to let customers peek inside, opting instead to build the mystery.

The menu features the best, most exotic and most seasonal kinds of fish Kinjo’s buyers can score at the the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. 

The price for such indulgence doesn’t come cheap. Kinjo says the meals (which, for now, he prepares every Thursday) will cost between $200 and $350. You can read my story about it here. 

My wife and I scored two seats at one of the first such dinners. Our bill for two, with one extremely nice bottle of daiginjo sake, was over $600. But it was a meal we’ll never forget: 18 courses plus dessert, 4 hours, a roomful of people who became fast friends. There …

Continue reading Omakase meal at MF Buckhead (loooooooong post) »

Octane rocks the barista competition

The Southeast Regional Barista Competition just concluded this weekend at the King Plow Arts Center, and Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge left the competition wallowing in milk foam. 

Baristas Danielle Glasky and Crystal Rodgers placed first and second and will head to the nationals in Portland, Oregon, in three weeks. (Barista Joshua Flail was also a finalist.)

The contestants each had 15 minutes to make four espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 non-alcoholic specialty drinks, and then discuss their coffee with the judges. 

The Southeast regionals pitted 17 contestants from 10 Southern states; Atlanta was well represented on that list.

Nonetheless, Octane serves what I think is the best espresso in the city, and I’ve looked far and wide. It has a beautiful crema on top, a weightiness on the tongue and a tasty integration of bitter and roasted flavors. (That sounded kinda pretentious, didn’t it?) The brewed coffee (French press, made in small batches throughout the day) is terrific as …

Continue reading Octane rocks the barista competition »

Potato-chip-crusted libation lands in Inman Park

Brian Stanger has replaced Lara Cresey as mixologist at Shaun’s, and the cocktail list has taken a detour to Weirdsville. At left is Stanger’s Root Down — a take on the Dirty Martini made with Old Tom gin, pickled scallion brine, demerara sugar and a fine, potatoey crust made from salt-and-pepper chips.

I really loved the sweet/salty axis of flavor in this drink, and the way it enhanced the botanicals in the gin. The sweetness was only there to the extent you looked for it but never registered as syrupy on the tongue. To me, that’s a perfectly balanced drink.

But I thought the chips went from fun to annoying pretty quickly. It was like sticking your nose into a bag of Ruffles every time you raised the glass. 

Other fascinating oddities on the list include the Monte Bianco made with grappa, pine liqueur and elderflower syrup; and the Shire with calvados, gin and basil syrup. Try one, try ‘em all. I can’t wait.

Continue reading Potato-chip-crusted libation lands in Inman Park »