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 May, 2010

Wow, wow, wow: 10 million Double Downs served

double4Guess what, my bunless brethren? KFC is reporting that nearly 10 million Double Downs — that “Why mess with bread?” fried chicken sandwich — have been sold and that this, um, sandwich, will remain on the menu past its limited time availability.

Here’s part of the press release, lightly edited (i.e., their words, not mine):


Originally Slated as a “Limited Time Only” Offer, Double Down Approaches 10 Million Sales Level

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 19, 2010 – America has spoken and the Colonel listened. The wildly popular KFC Double Down™ is going to remain on the KFC menu past May 23, when the “Limited Time Only” promotion for KFC’s first-ever bunless chicken sandwich was scheduled to end.

While the launch of the unique Double Down created unprecedented buzz for the brand, it also received a warm reception from KFC customers. Later this month, KFC will sell its 10 millionth Double …

Continue reading Wow, wow, wow: 10 million Double Downs served »

Dining and cooking notes: Suno opening Emory satellite, rich broth at Umaido, Thai soup, rack of lamb

photo 3Hello!

I have a complete and total mish-mosh of dining and cooking tidbits. No organizing principle whatsoever.

First up — great news for east-side fans of fluffy frozen treats:

Suno Dessert Café will open a new location near Emory University, at the corner of N. Decatur Road and Clairmont Road, later this month. The Asian-style dessert features freshly shaved milky ice topped with fruit, powders, beans, syrups, condensed milk and various other options. Here is a strawberry/kiwi cup I ate last weekend at the Suno in Duluth.

Next — Ramen noodle restaurant offers rich broth option:

I have always liked the broth at Umaido in Suwanee just the way it is. But I do sometimes hear from ramenaniacs who find the tonkotsu pork bone broth not rich enough. They should go back and try the “rich” option, now available on all the soups. Here is my daughter’s rich tonkotsu ramen:

photo 2And here is the non-rich, extra-spicy ramen I ordered:

photo-18The restaurants offers spice levels of 1 to 3. This is 3. …

Continue reading Dining and cooking notes: Suno opening Emory satellite, rich broth at Umaido, Thai soup, rack of lamb »

Front Burner: Farmstead 303 hires Ryan Stewart as chef

2341245143_7676993af4-w650-h400-300x225A source at Feast in Decatur has confirmed that  Ryan Stewart will be the new chef at Farmstead 303 — the new, soon-to-open venture across the street that replaces the defunct Depeaux. Stewart, who is currently finishing up a gig at Mac McGee’s Irish Pub, earned a fan base for his work at the Glennwood in East Atlanta.

In other news:

  • The shuttered Eno by Zaza will reopen as 5th St. Cafe in June. Owner (and Hawks Forward-Center) Zaza Pachulia has brought in the team of A.D. Allushi and Chef Ian Winslade (the forthcoming Buckhead Bottle Bar) to rework the vinous concept into more of a French bistro, with a bakery/patisserie where the wine bar shop used to be.
  • Willamette Week is reporting that Brady Lowe — the Atlantan who travels the country with his  Cochon 555 porcine cook-off — landed in a Portland hospital with a leg fracture after getting into a fistfight with local chef Eric Bechard. The chef was apparently upset that Lowe allowed an Iowa pig into the locavore Valhalla …

Continue reading Front Burner: Farmstead 303 hires Ryan Stewart as chef »

Joe Truex to become chef and partner at Watershed

n700415651_4709365_5096-1Today Watershed restaurant in Decatur announces the appointment of chef Joe Truex as its new chef and operating partner. He replaces Scott Peacock, who left the restaurant in February after 11 years, to pursue a documentary film project and begin working on a memoir. Truex, who has run Repast restaurant with his wife, Mihoko Obunai-Truex, for the past four years, will assume the position June 1.

“I couldn’t ask for a better place to get back to my Southern roots,” says Truex, a Louisiana native. “It’s where I’m at right now in my career and my life.”

While Truex will leave many of the restaurant’s signature dishes — including its iconic Tuesday-night fried chicken — he plans to change the menu more frequently than it did under Peacock’s leadership and to introduce more daily specials that reflect seasonal produce. He will also take a lead role in remaking Watershed’s wine program.

Truex will join co-owners Ross Jones and Emily Saliers as a managing partner. Saliers, who is …

Continue reading Joe Truex to become chef and partner at Watershed »

Secret sodium overload: Raisin Bran, V8 juice, lowfat cottage cheese


Once, when I was on a flight, I had what seemed to be the bright idea of ordering a can of Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary for my beverage/lunch by proxy. Full flavored, filling, healthy — right?

If only.

That one 12-ounce can contained 1560 mg of sodium, or nearly two thirds of the daily allowance. I was shocked. has recently posted a fascinating graphic of 25 Surprisingly Salty Processed Foods. The big surprise is that so many of these foods are purportedly healthy options: 1% milkfat cottage cheese, bran muffins and a Lean Cuisine frozen entree, among others.

I was disheartened to find out that Raisin Bran has twice the sodium of some other popular cereals.

The accompanying story about “salt addiction” is here.

Have you ever had the experience of eating a food that you think is healthy, only to find that “healthy” is a relative term?

Continue reading Secret sodium overload: Raisin Bran, V8 juice, lowfat cottage cheese »

Big changes at Repast

Mihoko Obunai

Mihoko Obunai-Truex

Mihoko Obunai-Truex announced today that she will take over as chef and owner of Repast Restaurant — a position she has shared with her husband, Joe Truex, since the restaurant’s inception in 2006.

Truex will leave by the end of the month to pursue a new Atlanta-area venture.

“The menu will have a different format with a lot of new dishes,” Obunai-Truex said, “but we’ll still keep a number of the Repast signatures, such as our crab cake and hanger steak.”

I got a look at the new menu, which is a fair bit less expensive than the current menu and thick with small plates and dishes to share. A number of items reflect Obunai-Truex’s Japanese heritage, such as tako-yaki (soft dumplings with octopus) and blistered shishito peppers with Okinawan sea salt. Other new dishes will include pork tonkatsu with shiso cheese, miso-cured foie gras with sansho pepper, and pork belly steamed buns with house-made ramp kimchi. Meat and seafood entrees will be served with sauces …

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Sunday Column: A question of umami

photo 5If you’ve read all you care to about Swedish food on this blog, please move on. But I thought I would share this column, which appeared in yesterday’s print edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I took my travelogue from a couple of weeks ago and used it as a starting point for a geeky meditation on the presence — and absense — of umami in food. I’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts on the subject.

Swedish food adventure

By the third day in our hotel room I felt like I could use the shower without getting scalded, or frozen, or shooting water out of the weird little side nozzle past my head and into the toilet. The bank of gleaming steel controls on this shower were both beautiful to behold and wholly unmarked. This was, I was beginning to understand, another example of Swedish design.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to Stockholm for vacation and spent a lot of time admiring the way everyday objects were designed. We also admired the food: Amazing …

Continue reading Sunday Column: A question of umami »

Revisit: China Cooks

photoOnce upon a time, China Cooks had the best salt and pepper squid in town — a spicy, glorious heap of softness and crunch, a thing to inhale without restraint.

This is not it.

This is the perfectly fine squid served at China Cooks now. It is crisp and flavorful, if a little chewy. There are few tentacles, and the one I did get seemed suspiciously thick in the middle. Because I have cleaned squid, I knew what to look for — the creature’s hooked black beak, still in place. Um…no thanks.

I used to have a real fondness for China Cooks — this little Cantonese restaurant in the Copeland Village shopping center near the intersection of Roswell Road and I-285 in Sandy Springs. It was worn, lived in, real. It has that heap of squid goodness.

photo 2I stopped by for lunch with a friend, and we found ourselves the only ones in the quiet, dark dining room. We were offered the American Chinese menu and asked instead for the Chinese one (which is a pink sheet in a plastic sleeve). This dish of …

Continue reading Revisit: China Cooks »

Point/Counterpoint: Should food writers alert readers to health risks?


Warning: this dish may contain fava beans (Credit: Wikimedia)

I recently got into a thought-provoking discussion on this blog with reader Kenneth Braunstein, who took umbrage with my many reviews of unhealthy, fat-laden hamburgers. Braunstein used this forum to raise the issue of responsibility in food writing. Namely, he asks if  critics should, as a matter of course, alert readers to health dangers lurking in restaurant food.

I asked Braunstein, who is a physician, to write an editorial. I responded.

Please let us know what you think about this issue in the comments section, and — please, please, please — keep it civil.


By Kenneth Braunstein

Unfortunately, restaurant reviewers will usually cover how well the wait staff performed, the execution by the kitchen staff (i.e., was the food flavorful and properly prepared in a reasonable amount of time and as described in the menu), and was the meal worth the expense, but only …

Continue reading Point/Counterpoint: Should food writers alert readers to health risks? »

Table 1280 chef Tracey Bloom to appear on “Top Chef: D.C.”


Bravo TV has announced the cast for its newest season of  “Top Chef,” which debuts June 16th and will take place in Washington, D.C.

The lone Atlantan among the 17 contestants will be Table 1280 chef Tracey Bloom. (Table 1280 is the restaurant at the Woodruff Arts Center.)

You can read Bloom’s  bio here.

And you can read Meridith Ford Goldman’s favorable review of Bloom’s cooking here.

Continue reading Table 1280 chef Tracey Bloom to appear on “Top Chef: D.C.” »