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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for May, 2010

Grindhouse Killer Burgers announces second location

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

The Piedmont Heights neighborhood newsletter has this interesting little slider of information on its Web site:

“Scheduled to open in the August/September timeframe (sic), Piedmont Heights will soon have another neighborhood restaurant. Grindhouse Burgers has their first success in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market location. This summer the owners will be re-developing the old abandoned Detail Car Wash at the corner of Wimbledon Road and Piedmont Road into a swanky new patio restaurant called Grindhouse Burgers.”

A call to the restaurant confirms it.

Fat Matt’s. Sheik Burritos. Now Grindhouse. Piedmont Heights is turning into quite the interesting alterna-food neighborhood.

Continue reading Grindhouse Killer Burgers announces second location »

Jane Fonda on her favorite Atlanta eats

pink-jersey-janeSliders!

That was the message I heard loud and clear from Jane Fonda when I sat down with her for a few minutes at Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation — the annual taste-around/auction at the Georgia Aquarium that raises money for hunger relief. Jane loves sliders! Particularly the ones at Ted’s Montana Grill.

Of course, the fact that Fonda — the event’s honorary chair — was sitting next to Ted’s owner George McKerrow, Jr., might have had something to do with her avowal of slider love.

Buzztastic Jennifer Brett filed this report today on Fonda’s charity work, so we kept our conversation on food.

Q: So What are you going to miss from Atlanta now that you’ve moved to Los Angeles?

A: Food!

Q: Specifically?

A: The fried chicken at Watershed on Tuesdays. That broth that’s made of cooked soul food at Mary Mac’s.

Q: The potlikker?

A: Yes. The potlikker. And those sliders with the quail egg at Canoe. [Another restaurant owned by McKerrow.]

Q: How does diet fit into a good fitness …

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Front Burner: Two new Asian markets for Gwinnett, Cabbagetown Market reopens

Making homemade noodles at Assi Plaza (Credit: Vino Wong)

Making homemade noodles at Assi Plaza (Credit: Vino Wong)

Gwinnett County — already a wonderland of Asian supermarkets with Super H Mart, Assi Plaza and the Gwinnett International Farmers Market — will soon have two more mega markets. Great Wall Supermarket, a Chinese grocer based in the Northeast, and Mega Mart, a Korean grocer, are both gearing to open.

I’m particularly excited about Mega Mart, which will take over the Macy’s space in Gwinnett Place Mall. It will be the first mall-based supermarket — rare here but more commonplace in Asia.

The AJC’s Rachel Tobin Ramos has the full, well-researched story here.

In other news:

  • A reopening: Lisa Hanson writes to say that she has reopened the Cabbagetown Market after a four-month closure. Lots of goodies: “Making our own ice cream in house: Chai; Brown Sugar Vanilla; Peppermint Stick; Pandan; Chocolicious; Mango Sorbet; Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet; Coffee. Cones, cups and toppings. We’re also carrying King of Pops: Grapefruit …

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Burger of the Week: Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries

photo 2 I’m not sure what to make of — or how to attack — this burger.

Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries has opened in Sandy Springs with a squint-and-you’re-there vision of the Maryland shore in its beach-themed digs. It is one of the first national franchises of a Maryland-based company that grew out of the popular Boardwalk Fry chain of french fry concessions.

Here’s the drill: The basic “Boardwalk burger” ($4.99), a double patty behemoth piled high, comes with all kinds of free add-ons and sauces as well as a few non-free add-ons. The “Surf Burger” ($3.59) is a not-insubstantial lone patty. You can also get grilled chicken, chicken tenders, hot dogs and salads.

Here’s how I did it:

  • The Burger: Opted for the full Monty to preserve my honor as a professional eater. The patties were appealingly irregular and loosely packed. The menu boasted that it was 100% Georgia grass-fed beef, which I appreciated. That said, the meat really didn’t have a lot of flavor. It didn’t seem to have more …

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Have you tried the new Coke Freestyle machine yet?

cokeI recently found myself with a group of tween fencers at the Wendy’s on Howell Mill Road. After everyone got their food and empty cups to fill, we found ourselves face to face with one of these fine machines — called the Coke Freestyle. This branch of Wendy’s was one of several dozen test sites for the new machine, which spits out 104 flavors of soda and still beverages in whatever flavor profile your palate craves. You want Vanilla Coke? Peach Fanta? Yours for a moment of scrolling through the screen, making choices and pushing the right buttons.

The machines are being tested in Georgia and California. A full list of the sites can be found on the Coca-Cola Freestyle Facebook page.

How did my gaggle of kids react? With supreme indecision — pushing buttons, tasting, pushing more, acting very much like they were at the World of Coca-Cola until I told them to get a move on. They wanted to go back and get more, but I enforced the one cup/one drink rule.

I ended up with some kind …

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Shopping the farmers markets

Morningside Farmers Market

Morningside Farmers Market

Sometimes I think there are more farmers markets than farmers these days. When I first moved to Atlanta in the late 1990’s, the Morningside Farmers Market was the only game in town. But what a game. All organic. Friendly local farmers. It was where I tried my first Black Krim heirloom tomato and my first Georgia blueberries. I learned to get there early or I’d never get my hands on a dozen farm eggs.

The Piedmont Park Green Market soon followed. I went a few times and found the produce less interesting, but the add-ons a draw. One could get a nice pastry and coffee while shopping, and then pick up a bag of cookies and some dried pasta.

But now it seems the biggest player among the intown markets is the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, where dozens of vendors sell produces, fresh cheeses and meats, frozen tamales, handicrafts and all kinds of food to consume on site — from Holeman & Finch Bread Co. croissants to Souper Jenny chowder.

And there are …

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Food News: Ritz Maitre d’ Guillaume moves on; Eno by Zaza may have closed

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

Claude Guillaume, the class-act maitre d’ who oversaw Atlanta’s two top restaurants during the city’s dining heyday  – Seeger’s and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead — has announced that he will leave the Ritz. Guillaume, who has an uncanny ability to put guests at ease in formal situations, has stayed on at the Buckhead hotel since last year’s closing of the Dining Room. He will become the general manager at Davio’s — the  Boston-based Italian steak house under construction in Phipps Plaza. He’ll remain at the Ritz through the end of May.

My favorite moment with Guillaume came once when I was reviewing Seeger’s a decade ago. I always used a credit card with an alias that Guillaume knew — a name he called me by whenever I visited the restaurant. Alas, the card was declined and I had to put the bill on my debit card with my own name. “Thank you, Mr. Chapman,” he said when I gave him the card, and “Thank you, Mr. Kessler” when he returned it.

In other …

Continue reading Food News: Ritz Maitre d’ Guillaume moves on; Eno by Zaza may have closed »

Back to Hankook Taqueria

Pork sliders

Pork sliders

The last time I was at Hankook Taqueria I noticed that everyone around me was ordering these pork sliders — two White Castle worthy squish buns filled with the kitchen’s spicy shredded pork, pickles, lettuce and cheese.

My kid and I stopped by last weekend to give them a try. While I applaud the messy generosity of these little sandwiches, I have the same problem with them that I do with the tacos at Hankook. Something about the mix of pasty shredded cheese and oily Korean chile paste does not appeal. I really love the free spirit of Hankook and only wish I liked the food better.

photo 3We also tried the day’s special — this Korean-style Cuban sandwich. Deli-style ham, cheese, kimchi and “Korean bacon” (crispy squares of pork belly — delicious) are piled in a soft sub roll. It’s really not a Cuban unless it’s pressed, so I was a little disappointed when it arrived. The flavors were interesting for a bite, maybe two.

Actually, no, just one. Bite. Hmmm. Pick out …

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Pizza find: Moto Bene food truck

photoDoesn’t this look snarf-worthy? It’s a slice of wood-fired pizza, one minute from the oven. Set on a background of bright, ripe tomato sauce are rounds of Star Provisions salami, fat batons of  shiitake mushroom and some torn basil. I particularly love the mushrooms, sourced from a local organic farm, which are dry roasted, resulting in a juicy, springy, rather calamari-like texture.

Moto Bene sets up its brick-lined oven on wheels Saturdays at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market. Pizzaiolo Dan Latham used to run the well respected L&M Salumeria in Oxford, Mississippi. I hear he is looking for a bricks-and-mortar space in which to make his fine pies. You can read more about it on the Web site (linked above) or on this Facebook note written by Green Olive Media.

Several market goers stopped by to order custom whole pizzas. I opted for this quarter-pie slice ($3). The crust was soft, pliant and perfect for folding, yet retained a bit of crackle. My only complaint was over a …

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Why is white asparagus in America usually so bad?

Produce stall, Stockholm

Produce stall, Stockholm

This is my last post with a Swedish theme, I promise. But as I go back to catching up on Atlanta restaurant news and stuffing my face, I keep thinking about the great (m0stly German) white asparagus that is currently in season in Northern Europe.

We ate it steamed, pickled, blended into soup, every way we could.

White and green asparagus are the same species. The only difference is that the white undergoes etiolation — i.e., it is grown in the absence of light. Traditionally, this is done by mounding dirt around the spears. It makes me think of the chive patch that had wintered over in my garden and came back, white as snow, under a pile of pine straw.

The white asparagus in Europe doesn’t have the buttery flavor of green asparagus, but it is juicy, snappy and crisp, and it has a mild flavor that I could imagine associating intimately with early spring in my mind if only I knew it better.

Alas, the few times I’ve purchased white asparagus here I find …

Continue reading Why is white asparagus in America usually so bad? »