City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for January, 2010

The Grange in Decatur becomes The Marlay

Courtesy of Marlay House

Courtesy of the Marlay House

Last October, the owners of  the Grange Public House in Decatur received a letter from the National Grange, an agricultural advocacy group, challenging their rights to the name “Grange.” If they chose to, they could pay an annual fee for the naming rights.

Instead the owners — siblings Colin, Darren and Jen Comer — decided to rename their popular Irish pub, opening the effort to the public in a “Rename the Grange” contest.

On Saturday evening before a crowd of 350 people, the new name was revealed by Decatur mayor Bill Floyd. A sheet dropped to reveal a new sign reading “The Marlay.” The full name is the Marlay House, which refers to a famous 18th Century Georgian-style mansion on the outskirts of Dublin. Why reference this building?

“Because it was called the Grange before that,” says Colin Comer. “Then this French fellow [David La Touche, governor of the Bank of Ireland] bought it and changed the name of the Grange to the Marley House for his …

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Solstice Cafe in Grant Park closes

15366_202438008884_46561233884_4139186_2457118_nA neighborhood favorite, Solstice Cafe in Grant Park announced its closing on Facebook with this message:

“hello everyone. want to thank you for all the great times we had and helping us live our dream. it is with a sad heart that we must close the door on this place. we will miss all of you.”

I’m sounding like a broken record here, but it’s another place that I never made it to. Grant Park neighbors: will you miss it?

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What is this? Where is this?

Who can tell me what this is a picture of and where it was taken? Answer to come in a post later today.

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Flip Burger Boutique get big ups on Serious Eats

Courtesy of Serious Eats

Courtesy of Serious Eats

There’s some serious food-porn love given to Flip Burger Boutique on the influential A Hamburger Today blog on Serious Eats.

The Westside restaurant, which is owned by chef Richard Blais and Barry Mills, got high marks for the milkshakes, fries and concept. The burgers themselves were all deemed very tasty even though not a one was cooked as ordered.

More than anything, though, this post is notable for its googly-eyed, close-up shots of juicy ground meat.


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Valet parking woes

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

It was interesting to read the comments following the post about the closing of Aquaknox, the glitzy seafood restaurant in the Terminus building in Buckhead.

Some past patrons liked the food and service. Others didn’t. But nearly everyone had complaints about the valet parking situation.

I had never been to Aquaknox before it closed, but I’ve made several visits to its neighbor, MF Buckhead, and can share in the valet parking frustration.

If you choose to valet part, the cost is quite high ($6, if I remember correctly) and there’s always a long wait for your car at the end of the evening. I recall it taking nearly 15 minutes on one freezing evening. My wife eventually went back into the restaurant, and I stood outside, hopping to keep warm.

You can also self park, but the parking spots aren’t particularly close to the restaurants and the set up is strange. I actually got lost in the parking garage once. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I could get …

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Tops from the Blogs

Now that I have this big, fancy blogroll, I’m going to try to do a weekly round-up of the most interest-piquing posts. Without further ado:


A Cook and Her Books: lemon puddig

A Cook and Her Books made this appealing, seasonal warm lemon pudding and let her husband scarf up the all the strained-out bits. What a nicely written post. I can’t wait to try the recipe.

Cured Meats: lamb for prosciutto

Cured Meats: lamb for prosciutto

Cured Meats takes this boneless leg of lamb from Costco and seasons it with gobs of rosemary and other spices to make lamb prosciutto. Judging by the comments, a few folks are trying this.

Live to Nibble: Steamed papaya

Live to Nibble: Steamed papaya

This pretty steamed papaya contains coconut milk, honey and — oh, yes — the fallopian tubes of snow frogs. Live to Nibble ate this in China and will tell you about its texture and health benefits.

Sous Vide Geek: salmon

Sous Vide Geek: salmon

Sous Vide Geek made this tasty-looking salmon the first day he had his fancy new Sous Vide Supreme. The fist was cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag in …

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Avra Greek Tavern closes


AJC Staff

After so many weeks when I was reporting nothing but restaurant openings, now it seems that I’m only hearing about closings.

Avra Greek Tavern — the little sister to Taverna Plaka — has indeed gone out of business. The Midtown restaurant was the latest occupant of a seemingly snakebit restaurant space on Juniper Street that has been home to several failed restaurants. Avra did hang on the longest, for more than four years. It closed after New Year’s Eve.

I’ve got a question, and it comes with a prize. What restaurant was in the space before Avra. The first person to answer this correctly will win a $10 gift card to Denny’s.

I know…the mind boggles…

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The Power of Smell

Credit Alison Cook, Houston Chronicle

Credit Alison Cook, Houston Chronicle

The Houston Chronicle’s restaurant critic, Alison Cook, has a wonderfully descriptive essay on how the evocative aromas of some dishes bring up memories and associations, and really make a difference in how you experience food.  I highly recommend it.

The same idea came to me the other day when my wife, back from a business trip to Bahrain, brought me back a spice from the market there I had never seen before called dar filfil.

Dar filfil (left) and licorice root

Dar filfil (left) and licorice root

These hard dried fruit spikes (they look a little like tiny pine cones) are grated and used as a spicy seasoning, which is why they are sometimes called “long pepper.”

The flavor is similar to black pepper in that it’s sharp and fruity, and it makes your tongue tingle. But there is also something more that comes out in the smell. A friend was over, and we ground one of these little cones into a hillock of powder when we both made the same comment: The smell! Musky, floral, kind …

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Revisit: Spice Market

photoAdmitting that you have a thing for Asian fusion restaurants is like saying you prefer the Eric Clapton covers of Robert Johnson to Robert Johnson.

But as I see it, Asian fusion cooking can have something to say in the hands of the right chef. It doesn’t have to mean mealy seared tuna, limp field greens and sweet sauces.

No chef in America has done as much to burnish the reputation of fusion as Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He opened the original Spice Market in New York as one of his first forays into casual, high-volume dining with a menu that riffed on Asian street food. It was so popular when it opened that reservations were impossible. When I stopped by one evening and asked just to peek inside, I was turned away at the door by a bouncer.

The Atlanta branch of Spice Market in the W Hotel Midtown reprises many of the dishes made popular in New York. It would be a fun restaurant to like.

I stopped by for lunch last Friday and found a mostly empty dining room, and food that had …

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Old Spaghetti Factory closes

View Larger MapThe Midtown mainstay — which has fed families heaping plates of pasta in that antique-y, Tiffany-lampshade style that was so in vogue in the 1970’s and 1980’s  — finally gave up the ghost on Sunday and served its last supper. The restaurant had been in business for over 20 years.

I never did visit the one in Atlanta, but hit up the Denver branch more often than I care to admit. Our children were in a daycare center next door, and on more than a few occasions we’d find ourselves rushing in at 6 p.m., scooping up the kidzos, turning to another strung-out parent and proposing: “Spaghetti Factory?”

I don’t even remember what the food was like. I do remember that it arrived lickety split and included a salad, drink and ice cream dessert for a small fixed price.

My former AJC colleague Maria Saporta has a sweet essay about the restaurant on her blog, the Saporta Report. Yes, she actually did eat in the streetcar booth once.

Any Atlanta parents out there have stories …

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