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Archive for February, 2010

Best hamburgers? Let’s do this.

Beef burger from Jackson Hole Burgers, Lawrenceville (AJC Staff)

Beef burger from Jackson Hole Burgers, Lawrenceville (AJC Staff)

The burger scene in Atlanta is gearing up for a serious makeover this coming year. Consider:

  • Shaun Doty’s YEAH! Burger is slated to open this spring in White Provision. I hear they’ve already approached Usher about the marketing campaign. (Kidding…)
  • Across town, Farm Burger will also debut in spring in the Decatur space that was formerly Voilà. Owner George Frangos was working the crowd at the Georgia Organics conference in Athens last weekend.
  • Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner Alex Brounstein is reportedly shopping for a second location for his breakout success in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
  • Richard Blais and Barry Mills has been shopping for a Buckhead location for Flip Burger Boutique.

Which all raises the perennial question: Where are the best burgers in Atlanta?

To help me prepare for an exploratory burger-thon, I am asking for your help. Please recommend some good hamburgers in the comments section below. …

Continue reading Best hamburgers? Let’s do this. »

Could it be….seitan???

IMG_0406Recently I bumped into David Sweeney, the fine chef/owner of almost-vegetarian restaurant Dynamic Dish, at Whole Foods Market. We had a laugh because Sweeney, who is not vegetarian, was buying shrimp for dinner, while I was planning a meal around this blue box of seitan.

Seitan — a spongy protein made from wheat gluten — has long been a butt of my jokes. Then I tried it, and I have to say, developed a taste for it. I like the mild flavor that brings to mind a bowl of Cream of Wheat. I like the spongy texture that bounces back in your mouth like a Chicken McNugget. I like the way the semi-porous mass absorbs and melds flavors. Seitan is the perfect conduit for a subtle sauce.

And so it has made its way into the rotation in our house. I’ve learned to appreciate seitan not as a substitute for meat, but for its own gluten-y goodness.

Has anyone else gone to the gluten side?

Continue reading Could it be….seitan??? »

It’s not Whataburger. It’s What-a-burger!

center_pieceOh, no!

I’m sorry to say that a tip I got from the Foodservice Marketing and Research Group about Whataburger opening its first Atlanta-area location seems to be incorrect.

It seems that instead of the Texas-based fast food chain, we’re getting a Korean-style burger joint — something akin to Fusion YoriJori Burger, I would think — with an extremely similar name.

A nice reader named Bill sent me this email:

“I saw your blog post about Whataburger entering the Atlanta market and I thought I’d check out the address in the post since I live nearby, to see if any signs were up. Unfortunately it turns out there is not going to be a Whataburger there (and there are no sites in the shopping center to accommodate one).

Instead, a What-a Burger! has opened up in one of the suites of the shopping center. It appears to be a total sole proprietorship operation run by a Korean family…

All that aside, I did stop inside and the menu has burgers (including a bulgogi burger), as well as wings, …

Continue reading It’s not Whataburger. It’s What-a-burger! »

Riddle me this: Fried Hominy

Who knows what area restaurant starts your meal with this awesome bowl of warm, crisp, salty, lightly truffle-oiled, fried hominy?

Continue reading Riddle me this: Fried Hominy »

Revisit: Flip Burger Boutique

photo 4A colleague from out of town was visiting recently, and she wanted nothing more than to go to Abattoir and sample every squiggly bit of offal in the house. Alas, we could only meet for lunch, and the slaughterhouse is now closed midday. So we kept driving up the street and ended up at Flip Burger Boutique.

As it turns out, this a fabulous place to take out of town guests for these reasons:

  1. It no longer has that insane, last-plane-out-of-Saigon crush of people waiting outside. But it still buzzes loudly.
  2. Everyone who follows food doings knows of Richard Blais and approaches the menu with some sense of context.
  3. The food is still really good.

In fact, the food is better than ever. The menu has undergone some revisions, and the lineup of burgers, sides and milkshakes are more interesting and varied than ever before. The kitchen has also made the admirable decision to shift almost entirely to grass-fed beef (excluding the Wagyu meat in some of the high-ticket burgers). This …

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Front Burner: Peter Chang in ‘New Yorker,’ Pano’s no show, Zaza’s Bottle Bar

changjpegLast night I was sleepily paging through the “New Yorker” while my wife was watching the televised event I call “I Don’t Care If I Ever See a Freaking Ice Dancer Again,” when I came upon an article by the wonderful food writer Calvin Trillin.

At first I though it was another story about chef du jour David Chang. But, no, it was about Peter Chang — the chef who created such a sensation when he arrived at Tasty China restaurant in 2006. The chef stayed only briefly, but he put this Marietta restaurant on the map. (I revisited it recently.)

This peripatetic chef has moved throughout the Southeast — from Northern Virginia, to Marietta, to Knoxville, and most recently to Charlottesville, Va. — and his devoted fans follow him everywhere, often driving hours to taste his roasted fish again. It’s a great article, though you’ll have to buy the magazine to read it. Atlantan Steve Drucker, who parsed his first meals at Tasty China in an epic chowhound.com post, is mentioned in it.

I hear …

Continue reading Front Burner: Peter Chang in ‘New Yorker,’ Pano’s no show, Zaza’s Bottle Bar »

Revisit: 5 Seasons at the Prado

photo-5This is a fish.

It’s kind of hard to tell from the picture, which was taken with only the light of a votive candle, but let me tell you: this is one delicious fish.

It is a striped bass that was grilled on the bone util the flesh flaked and the skin crisped, then it was showered with slithery pieces of pepper and onion and capped with a flurry of lively, pungent fresh parsley.

This fish was a special one recent evening at the 5 Seasons Brewing Company at the Prado in Sandy Springs.

I had not been since the Prado had been refashioned from a weird entity on a hill into a major suburban mall with all the attendant flashy signs, bright lights and massive parking deck. The odd charm of the outdoor setting of the 5 is gone, but thankfully it remains inside.

I wish I liked the 5 Seasons Westside more because it’s a lot closer to where I work and play. (I’ve never been to the Alpharetta location.) But I find the new construction of the place a bit too sterile and empty — without that …

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Painted Table Cafe closes

Farm-to-table omelette

Farm-to-table omelette

Painted Table Cafe — the brightly colored and cheerful Grant Park eatery has closed after only a few months in operation.

Chef/owner Omega Angell announced the closure on Facebook:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, Painted Table Cafe is no longer in operation. We would like to extend our deepest thanks all of our incredible Grant Park regulars for making it an absolute joy to serve you the past several months. This decision was agonizing for us, as our heart and soul was poured in to everything we accomplished at the Cafe.”

I never went, but it seemed like the restaurant had overcome a difficult opening and was starting to attract a regular clientele. Grant Parkers: Will you miss it?

Continue reading Painted Table Cafe closes »

Is Pano’s at the St. Regis a done deal?

regisbiz.0402+bs2For well over a year, one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in the city has been Pano’s in the St. Regis Hotel — the reboot of Atlanta classic Pano’s & Paul’s, which closed a year ago.

But according to hotel sources, it is anything but a done deal.

“There is nothing under contract,” said St. Regis marketing manager Kimberly Murdock. “Right now, it’s just an empty space.”

In February of last year the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group announced that Pano’s would open in the St. Regis by November 2009. That date came and passed without any construction.

But according to Buckhead Life marketing manager Jennifer Boozer, Pano’s will eventually open. “We are working on plans for the restaurant and are looking forward being able to hit the ground running on the new Pano’s in the St. Regis. While it’s taking a little longer than everyone wanted, it’s definitely happening.”

Stay …

Continue reading Is Pano’s at the St. Regis a done deal? »

Front Burner: Crunchy Bites of News

Dover sole at Il Mulino

Dover sole at Il Mulino

If there’s one entree that really makes me go weak at the knees, it’s an English Dover sole, sauteed on the bone and then  filleted.

I learned how to prepare this dish in cooking school. You cut off the pin bones and fins with a kitchen shears, make an incision by the tail and rip the leathery skin off like a Band-Aid. Then you dredge the whole thing in seasoned flour and sauté it in a large skillet, finishing it in the oven. Finally the fish can be separated (perhaps tableside) into its four fillets; the backbone peels away cleanly.

On March 3, BLT Steak will be offering Dover sole and several of its signature steaks for the great price of $33.04. It’s a birthday celebration price: the chain’s flagship branch opened on March 3, 2004. See you there.

And FYI: The Dover sole pictured above from Il Mulino currently goes for $65 — albeit with all the gratis appetizers that are this restaurant’s signature.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Continue reading Front Burner: Crunchy Bites of News »