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Archive for April, 2010

Sunday Column: Korean road food

kKorean food (Wikimedia)

Korean food (Wikimedia)

On the way home to Atlanta from spring break a couple of weeks ago, we made a great road-food discovery. JK House Korean Restaurant is less than a mile off of I-85 in Valley, Alabama, just across the Georgia state line. It caters to the Korean management community for the nearby Kia Motors  Manufacturing Plant in West Point, Georgia.

Of course, getting my family to eat Korean food is another matter altogether.

Below is the Sunday column I wrote about the restaurant. But I’m curious to know. What are your great hidden finds for road food in and out of Atlanta?

A Korean find in Alabama

By the time we pulled into Valley, Ala., my wife was fast asleep, the teenage girls in the back seats had depleted every laptop battery on episode after episode of “The O.C., ” and the minivan was out of gas. We had been driving for nearly five hours, and once I stopped at a gas station, stomachs started growling.

We looked around. There were a couple of fast food …

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Front Burner: Brunch…at Burger King?

bk_breakfastaprilOh, yes, indeedy. But not here.

The trade publication Burger Business is reporting that Burger King has begun test-marketing brunch at stores in Massachusetts and Florida. Flush with the success of its BK Breakfast Bowl (left), the fast food giant has decided to test a menu that skews markedly more upscale than its competition. New menu items include an scrambled egg ciabatta sandwich with cheese, tomato, ham and bacon, as well as a mimosa made with orange juice and Moët Champagne Sprite. But if you really want a Whopper for brunch (and what says brunch more than a Whopper?), you can get one of those, too. I know where I’m taking my wife for Mother’s Day brunch!

In other news:

  • Ziba’s Wine Bar has opened in the old Solstice Cafe space on Boulevard in Grant Park. According to its Twitter feed, the restaurant is BYOB (or BYOW) until its liquor license goes through.
  • Bobby and June’s — the breakfast mainstay in West Midtown — will close after more than 30 years in business. Owner …

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Revisit: 10 Degrees South

10DsosotiesWelcome to the one, the only, South African restaurant in Atlanta: 10 Degrees South.

The menu here, with all its unusual words, seems to be talking to you in a foreign language.

But the flavors speak a language you know — that of staid, familiar Continental cooking. Throw in some easygoing sweet-and-sour sauces and a basketful of South African wines, and you’ve got a nice, non-challenging, date-night kind of spot with a slightly exotic sense of dress.

Consider these cheerful  sosoties ($11) — an appetizer portion of skewered beef tenderloin served with a tangy, balanced apricot curry glaze. I was impressed that the first flavor wasn’t sugar. That said, 11 bucks seems a little steep for four bites of beef.

10DboerI had to order this sliced beef sausage ($9) after hearing the waiter carefully pronounce it with the right accent, sounding the “w” like a “v.” Boer-VUHRS.

You know what it was? Beef sausage swimming in a brown sauce that brought a strong whiff of Worcestershire as soon as …

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Where is this?

photo-15

Who can tell me where this sun-streaked dining room is? It was my first time here, and I had to wear sunglasses during the first 30 minutes of our meal. I felt like a rock star, although I’m sure I looked like a doofus…

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Burger of the Week: Serpas True Food

Double Beef PattyThe “Double Beef Patti” at Serpas True Food ($13) in the Old Fourth Ward is not so much a hamburger as it is a small building.

Though it was too dark on the patio for me to get a good picture of the actual burger eaten, this publicity shot is essentially what we had — minus the green frills and the upside-down top bun. The middle slice of bread on ours had compressed into something that looked like one of those novelty dry sponges that spring into form when you put them in water.

And I mean this in a good way: it was nicely absorptive.

The curious spelling must surely be a reference to the first line of Patti Smith’s “Gloria” — i.e., “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” — because this burger is the very picture of gluttony. Maybe chef Scott Serpas can enlighten me.

Serpas Double Beef Patty 2Despite its verging-on-preposterous height, this burger is neither too drippy nor too plumped with slide-about ingredients. So if you are able to open wide and not risk lockjaw, it is possible to eat with …

Continue reading Burger of the Week: Serpas True Food »

Gluten-free pastry find

einatThese almond macaroons are for sale at OU For U — a vegetarian Kosher restaurant in Dunwoody that I first discovered last December.

Prepared by Einat’s Bakery, they contain just almonds, egg white and sugar and are labeled “gluten free.” They are fantastic — delicate, sheer and just the tiniest bit chewy in the center. They seem like they would be perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon.

I spoke briefly with the baker (Einat?), who works at the restaurant, to make sure they are prepared in a facility free of cross-contaminants. Though she didn’t speak much English, she seemed to understand the drift of my question and was very reassuring about the safety of these cookies for sufferers of celiac disease. She also said that she was planning to debut a line of gluten-free cakes later this week.

A look at her website shows that Einat makes all kinds of Kosher cakes, cookies and pitas and is now conducting a “Passover mega sale.”

Does anyone else have recommendations …

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“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” finale airs Friday. Are you watching?

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

And so it ends. The sixth and final episode of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” airs this Friday on ABC in a stadium. From the promos, it looks like there will be tears, hugs, surprises and twists aplenty, and general yumminess bursting over Huntington, West Virginia, like fireworks.

I’ve streamed the first three episodes online, and will certainly see the rest. Though I find some of the reality TV tropes cheesy and manipulative, the message of this show is incredibly compelling, and its truths cut deep. It presents a powerful indictment of our food system.

Have you been watching the show? Do you think Jamie Oliver is really planting the seeds for change in our school lunch programs nationwide, or do you find his quest too idealistic?

Continue reading “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” finale airs Friday. Are you watching? »

First Look: Bishoku

Nasu karashi -- eggplant with miso-mustard sauce

Nasu karashi — eggplant with miso-mustard sauce

A friend and I stopped in for lunch today at Bishoku Japanese Restaurant in Sandy Springs — a spot that has been getting good play on local food blogs. It has a unique presence in the Atlanta Japanese food scene: the lengthy menu offers a number of small plates much like you’d find at Shoya Izakaya, Hashiguchi, Jr., or Sushi Yoko. In other words, it has bona fides. This place is a real Japanese restaurant, not a sushi-fusion whatever.

But unlike those other places, which push the booze, Bishoku is kind of fancy. Dark wood, soft lighting and discreet nooks create a serene effect. There is  no bar and no bottle of liquor in sight, though I think the restaurant serves beer, sake and shochu. A large sushi bar dominates the center of the room.

The young, businesslike woman making the rounds of tables is Jackie Fukuya Merkel, the owner and daughter of the founding owners of Sushi Huku — a longtime Northside favorite.

I haven’t tried …

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Front Burner: Atlanta gets its first Pinkberry; new gourmet food market talk

Tomorropinkberryw’s News Today is reporting that Atlanta’s first franchisee of Pinkberry frozen yogurt was handing out samples this past weekend in front of its still-under-construction retail space at  3937 Cobb Parkway.

I’ve heard the owner is David Beall — the younger brother of Sam Beall, who runs the ultra-exclusive inn/working farm Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Both Bealls are heirs to the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain fortune.

Pinkberry is the California chain widely credited with starting the new age of FroYo.

In other news:

  • Bill Addison is reporting over on Atlanta Magazine’s Covered Dish blog that Linton and Gina Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene have plans to open a gourmet food market in 2011. The working name? Drovers. No, it’s not a skin condition…
  • Decatur Metro (hey, dude, you a dad yet?) says that Farm Burger will open its doors on Wednesday and unleash its grass-fed goodness on Decatur. A friend of mine went to a preview dinner and says the burger brought her paroxysms of …

Continue reading Front Burner: Atlanta gets its first Pinkberry; new gourmet food market talk »

How do food writers keep it off?

anton-egoSam Sifton, the newish restaurant critic for the New York Times, has been writing and blogging about the massive caloric intake required by his job. He has even gone so far as to track his diet and exercise habits for a week and show the net calorie consumption day by day. Not surprisingly, on one day he had a net intake of over 4,000 calories thanks to fried oysters, rabbit livers and a couple of meat pies.

The restaurant critic calorie confidential seems to be turning into something of a blogging subgenre. Recently, Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner tracked her own 20-pounds-in-20-weeks “Restaurant Critic’s Diet.” Like Sifton, she kept track of everything she ate and energy expended through exercise with calorie counts. Unlike Sifton, she restricted her daily caloric intake by only taking bites of the food she reviewed and cooking sensibly at home.

I don’t know if the AJC’s Meridith Ford Goldman counts calories, but I do know she shows amazing restraint at the table. …

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