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Archive for November, 2009

Leftover brown rice and furikake

My kinda/sorta nutritious desk lunch. Furikake are sprinkles of seaweed, sesame seed, salt, sugar and good old MSG. I honestly don’t mind a little MSG in moderation. I even put a little in homemade vegetable stews.

Posted via web from ajcfoodandmore’s posterous

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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Kevin Rathbun Steak

photo-14Fine dining may be on life support in Atlanta, but steak houses are thriving like never before. Why, during this recession, are people choosing to spend their money on high-end steaks but not other kinds of equally expensive dining?

To explore this question, I’ve decided to visit three influential steak houses and look at what they serve and what this says about the state of dining in Atlanta today.

Today, I’ll look at the first one: Kevin Rathbun Steak — a local eatery that seems to redefine what people look for in a cow palace. Tomorrow I’ll visit BLT Steak, a local branch of a high-end New York chain that has been peddling an interesting mash-up of French bistro cookery with great  American grain-fed beef and other ingredients. I’ll end this mini-series with a trip to Bone’s — the Atlanta classic that has tinkered little with its formula during three decades on the scene.

As I’ve been an abiding fan of chef Kevin Rathbun’s first namesake restaurant, Rathbun’s, I always …

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This Week in Eggs: Rise-N-Dine

Omelette and sweet potato

Omelette and sweet potato

Where do you get a great breakfast in Atlanta?

According to my kids, the best place on the east side of town is Rise-N-Dine cafe in Emory Village. I had only been once before, and I liked the way the menu could be made as healthy or as stick-to-your-ribs filling as the mood warranted.

When I recently found myself having to kill a couple of hours near Emory, I went back and got this plate of food: a “Farm-to-Market” omelette with assorted veggies, cheddar and mozz. From the list of sides I got this roasted sweet potato, which totally hit the spot. I wish more places offered a sweet potato with breakfast. (My kids say the sweet potato pancakes here are also very good.)

The thin omelette was fine, no more. I give it kudos for being yellow through and through rather than brown in spots, but the filling was dull and kind of slipped around the plate. But I recall on my first visit I had a fantastic bowl of homemade granola with yogurt and fruit.

Here’s a …

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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Taqueria la Oaxaquena

photo-18I am loath to declare any restaurant “best this” or “best that.” But if anyone can find me a better Mexican restaurant in all of the metro area than Jonesboro’s Taqueria la Oaxaquena, I’ll eat this fine fellow’s sombrero.

I first discovered this restaurant several years ago when I was hot on the trail of the elusive tlayuda — an enormous corn masa crisp slathered with bean puree and covered in a riot of cheese, meat and crispy vegetables. It is a specialty from Oaxaca (the southern Mexican state famous for its mole sauces, among other culinary treats). I discovered that just about any restaurant with the word “oaxaquena” in the name would like likely serve tlayudas.

At the time of my discovery, Taqueria la Oaxaquena operated from a smaller storefront around the corner from its current location. It did an extremely brisk business, and many among the mostly Mexican customers went for the tlayudas (sometimes called “Mexican pizza” and, indeed, served to go in pizza boxes). But …

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Front Burner: News you can eat

MUlogoWowza. We have yet more restaurant openings this week.

The biggie? Miller Union from chef  Steven Satterfield (former Watershed chef de cuisine) and Neal McCarthy (former Sotto Sotto general manager) on the West side at 999 Brady Avenue. If the various pictures of piggies being cut up on Satterfield’s Facebook page are any indication, it looks like we can expect some serious oinkage on the menu. Call 678-733-8550 for reservations.

Elsewhere:

  • Por Fin, serving “creative coastal Mexican” fare has opened in Johns Creek. The menu offers both tacos (of course: tacos, tacos everywhere) and more upscale fare like Yucatan-style fish wrapped in corn husks. You can find more information on the restauarant’s  Web site.
  • The Decatur Metro blog has great scoop on the restaurant that wants to go into the old Voila space in Decatur. Called Farm Burger, it promises locally raised Georgia beef outfitted with house-cured bacon, farm eggs, bone marrow and other goodies. That is, if the owners can …

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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Varasano’s Pizzeria

IMG_0004.jpg.scaled500After getting my serious pizza fix on yesterday at Antico Pizza Napoletana, it seemed only right to revisit Varasano’s Pizzeria — the restaurant that, when it opened eight months ago, set off a new dialogue in this city.

At that time, Fritti had reengineered its Neapolitan-style pizza and gave diners a compare-and-contrast experience that some brilliant person online labelled the “Atlanta Pizza Wars.”

These days it seems the battle lines have been drawn closer to the Antico/Varasano’s front.

But rather than call a winner, I find it much more interesting to consider the two on their own merits.

Antico’s Giovanni di Palma learned his trade apprenticing in some of the most famous pizzerias in Naples. He is a traditionalist in that he uses only the true ingredients (Type “00″ flour, San Marzano tomatoes) for a real Neapolitan pizza. His crusts emerge from his wood-fired ovens smoky, charred, stretchy, crisp on the edges and a little puddly in the center. The flavors are fresh and …

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The Great Mayonnaise Taste Test

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

May I explain why I managed to invite six food experts to my office one cold and rainy afternoon to lick mayonnaise off pieces of white bread? It’s a bit of a story:

Several months ago when the Cherokee Purple tomato vine in my backyard was heavy with fat, firm, “eat-me-now” specimens, I decided to have my first Southern tomato sandwich. I made it with one thick and drippy slice of the maroon fruit, two pieces of white bread and whatever mayonnaise I had in the fridge, which was Hellmann’s. Delicious. I posted a note on my Facebook page and then published a column on the experience.

I subsequently got hundreds of comments and e-mails from readers and got stopped repeatedly in the hall at work to discuss this sandwich.

Some told me it was about time I had discovered a quintessential Southern summer experience. But many more were aghast at the jar pictured in the accompanying photo.

Hellmann’s???

In the South you put Duke’s mayonnaise on your tomato sandwiches and …

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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Antico Pizza Napoletana

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

When Giovanni di Palma first opened Antico Pizza Napoletana five week ago, his intention was to prepare  Neapolitan-style pizzas for a mostly carryout market. He would half cook the pies, encase them in plastic sleeves and send them off to retail outlets with instructions on how to finish baking them.

And, oh yeah, he’d do a small carryout business. His odd location on the West Side by Georgia Tech could probably attract a few students with munchies.

And then?

“The first night these three girls ordered a pizza and had a picnic in the parking lot!” says the incredulous pizzaiolo. Soon, the ever enterprising tastemaker Blissful Glutton published a rave on her blog.

Within days di Palma had cleared off his dough prep table for diners. Then he brought in chairs. He set up a communal table in the kitchen, right by his three imported wood-fired pizza ovens. Then he built additional counter space.

The lines kept coming as word got out about the pizza. So di Palma …

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30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Grindhouse Killer Burgers

grindhouse1Does the sight of this burger make you hungry? Do you just want to pick it up and kind of schlurmph it down in about three large gulps?

That’s okay. Schlurmph in peace, my friend.

Before we start obsessing over the particulars of this burger — and you know we will, from the grease-cutting tang of the pickle to the plasticky goodness of American cheese — let us just stop and admire this messy heap and think about the great hamburger paradigm shift of 2009.

A mere year or so ago, we worshipped the backyard burger — the fat, stolid pattie of firm pinkish meat that bulged to an inch or more on its bun. You had to open wide, wider, widest to fit one of these things in your mouth.

Then, along came Holeman & Finch with its thin, grey patties, stacked and cheese-slicked, with pickles and juicy condiments. This wasn’t a huge burger in width or girth but rather a satisfying one — something you really hadn’t considered since your last Double Cheeseburger at McDonald’s (or, better yet, …

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Tomo Japanese Restaurant to open in Buckhead

tomo2

Rendering of Tomo, courtesy Restaurants Consulting Group

Great news for sushi lovers!

Tomo Japanese Restaurant — the excellent little spot in a Vinings strip mall — will soon get a whole lot more exposure when it moves the Ritz-Carlton Residences, currently under construction at 3630 Peachtree Road in Buckhead.

Tower0015 The new  mixed-use building (right) will have both office space and luxury residences, and is located just behind the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Cy Bickers, the architect who is doing the build out for Restaurants Consulting Group, says the new Tomo “will be a lot more high end [than the current one] but still have a comfortable atmosphere.”

Chef Tomohiro Naito, for his part, is keeping a little more mum about the plans because he hasn’t yet decided whether or not he’ll keep the current location, which has built a serious fan base. He’ll only say a regular customer facilitated the new venture.

Hilarious sushi flag Tomo created for the front page of the AJC

Hilarious sushi flag Tomo created for the front page of the AJC

I’m thrilled and …

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