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Archive for March, 2010

Kevin Gillespie’s BBQ joint far from a done deal

kevinWe’re all squealing in anticipation for Kevin Gillespie’s planned barbecue restaurant. But despite some breathless reports out there Gillespie’s spokesperson, Melissa Libby, tells me that no lease has been signed. Not only is the ink not yet dry on the deal, it’s still in the pen.

The Woodfire Grill chef and “Top Chef” contestant hopes to serve his first plate of ‘cue sometime next year.

Continue reading Kevin Gillespie’s BBQ joint far from a done deal »

Burger of the Week: Dantanna’s

Courtesy of Dantanna's

Courtesy of Dantanna's

Ladies and gentlemen: What we have here is not a sports bar but an “upscale sports restaurant.” At least, that’s what Dantanna’s proclaims on its Web site.

Indeed, this restaurant’s two locations — the Buckhead original next to the Westin hotel, and the downtown offshoot in the CNN Center — both seem like hybrid entities. In Buckhead (above), the bar front bar area has TVs, TVs, TVs galore and loads of bar stools. The back dining room features more discrete sports viewing, mahogany-stained wood, soft lighting and $24 fish specials.

photoBut I was here for the burger ($9).

Before proceeding any further, let me express my apologies for the quality of this photo, which was taken in that softly lit room with my iPhone. Even after adjustment, it still looks like a page I ripped out of a 1970’s edition of Ladies’ Home Journal.

But now let me give you the good news: this is a burger to search out.

Why? Well, for starters, it’s a burger to trust. Dantanna’s lets you …

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Louisiana Postcard No. 2

The meat case at T-Jim’s in Cottonport, Louisiana. We ordered some amazing hog’s head cheese — spicy, spreadable, finely ground — and fantastic boudin to go.

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Postcard from Louisiana

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and Joe Truex of Repast Restaurant sample the local fare at Avoyelles Charter Public School in Mansura, La. This may not be exactly what Waters meant by “edible schoolyard,” but Truex cooked kale from the garden for a chaser. More to come.
I’ll pick up the pace on this blog when I’m back in town.

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Where do you go for burritos?

Burrito Bill in Snellville (AJC Staff)

Burrito Bill in Snellville (AJC Staff)

Sheik Burritos n Kabob — which I wrote about earlier today — goes right onto my list of favorites places for burritos in the city.

Where else?

Keeping in the realm of fusion, I kind of dig Hankook Taqueria for its burritos filled with kimchi fried rice and barbecued pork. (I actually like the burritos a lot better than the tacos).

I’ll also admit to be being a fan of that national chain, Chipotle. I really appreciate that it uses natural and hormone-free meats.

But I wonder: are there any straight-out Mexican restaurants with great burritos?

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Sunday Column: Welcome to Jahanland


For my Sunday Column, I made a visit to Sheik Burritos n Kabobs — a hilariously creative Persian-Southwestern fusion burrio restaurant. Yes, I just said that.

A culinary passage made to Jahanland

“This is our flag, ” says an animated Jahan Ostad, pointing to an image of a banner depicted on the incredibly bizarre and hilarious mural that covers a wall of his restaurant. “The Persian flags and the Mexican flag are the same! Both green, white and red stripes. Except the Persian stripes are horizontal, and the Mexican stripes are vertical. So ours are diagonal! And see what we have in the center?”

I look closely at the flag flying from the turret of an Arabian fortress. Underneath, turbaned oil barons patrol the flat-top mesa in Rolls Royces, a camel meanders by a saguaro cactus, and a genie with the face of Barbara Eden and the body of Pamela Anderson’s really curvaceous sister rises from a bottle in a plume of smoke. Inside the central white stripe of the flag is an image of …

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Unhappy cupcake

My daughter and I felt a little guilty splitting this “Diablo” — Mexican-spiced chocolate — cupcake from the Atlanta Cupcake Factory.
But it was worth it.

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Pricci pastry chef Jennifer Etchison wins Great American Baking Contest

Etchison accepts award from Q100's Jeff Dauler

Etchison accepts award from Q100's Jeff Dauler

Last night I helped judge the 3rd annual Great American Baking Contest — a fun local event that raises money for Share our Strength. Contestants in three categories — professional, amateur, children — enter baked good, and a panel of overfed judges scores them and hands out prizes. This year, the event took place at the wonderful new Cook’s Warehouse in Ansley Mall.

I left Alon Balshan (Alon’s Bakery), Kathryn King (Aria) and Jonathan St. Hilaire (Bakeshop) to judge the kids and amateurs, while I focused on the professional entries with Mary Moore, owner of Cook’s Warehouse. (It was a blind tasting, with no chef identified.) We ended up with a kazillion-way tie after trying a lot of great desserts that each could’ve used a small tweak or improvement.

There was a gorgeous and complex charlotte undone by a (seeming) overload of rosewater, an exquisitely decorated layered torte that didn’t really sing with its advertised cherry …

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Front Burner: Home restaurant to close

June 2008 at Home, watching the "Top Chef" finale

June 2008 at Home, watching the "Top Chef" finale

Home restaurant — the tony Buckhead eatery where Richard Blais was cooking during his “Top Chef” run — will close at the end of the month and reopen as Coast Seafood & Raw Bar in the beginning of April. Is it the first “Southern farm to table” spot to meet Davy Jones’ locker? (Or would it be Bubba Jones’ turnip patch?) Would this signal a peaking trend? Hmm….

Perhaps more significantly, this is the second time in recent months that Home’s parent company, Here to Serve Restaurants, has reconcepted an underperforming restaurant. In December, it closed Lola Bellini Bar to reopen as Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar, home of the $25-but-free-if-you-finish-it burrito the size of a Dachshund.

You can read more about the change here from he who broke the story.

In other news:

  • Pizza Fusion — that healthy, LEED-certified, thoughful pizza parlor in the Aramore building in South Buckhead — bit the dust. Maybe it couldn’t compete with the …

Continue reading Front Burner: Home restaurant to close »

Would you drink this?

-1The #5 juice from the juice bar at Whole Foods Market in Sandy Springs — apples, carrots, celery and kale ($3.99).

It’s absolutely delicious, but it does look like a salve used in alien medicine….

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