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

Beets, anyone? Anyone?

Beet salad

Beet salad

This past weekend I found some good-looking beets at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.  They weren’t bulbous like typical beets but rather elongated, like miniature sweet potatoes. I had a feeling that they’d roast nicely, and they did — each individually wrapped in foil and cooked on a sheet pan in a 400-degree oven for about an hour. The skins peeled right off, and the tender beets sliced into pretty, uniform rounds.

Now came the hard part: trying to get my family to eat this suspect vegetable.

I tried flooding the zone with all of their favorites. I heaped a platter with arugula from the garden, avocado, goat cheese (Spanish Leonora, my current fave) and snipped basil. I dressed the beets with good olive oil, salt, crushed garlic and a several shots of Spanish sherry vinegar to play off their sweetness.

The results? As I had predicted, two of my kids went for the combination, even if they didn’t eat every single beet slice on their plates. But they appreciated …

Continue reading Beets, anyone? Anyone? »

Best chefs in the South?

Credit: Jason Wallis

Chris Hastings (Credit: Jason Wallis)

This morning’s post on Sean Brock at McCrady’s in Charleston got me thinking: Who are today’s Southern chefs worth driving for? Which are the restaurants outside of Atlanta that are worth planning a weekend around?

Here are my recommendations from the ones I’ve tried.

  • Chris Hastings at Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. I love eating at the bar in front of the open kitchen, and the heirloom tomato and butterbean salad is still something I dream of.
  • Mike Lata at Fig in Charleston. Such a smart, casual spot, and the menu changes so frequently that you always want to check in on every visit to Charleston.
  • Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham. This restaurant does such an amazing job of tying together French country cooking and Southern cooking into something that makes perfect sense. Again, the bar is an awesome stopover if you’re dining solo.
  • Adam Cooke, Joseph Lenn and Josh Feathers at Blackberry Farm. This Great Smoky …

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Sunday Column: Sean Brock’s rise

Credit: Green Olive Media

Credit: Green Olive Media

In yesterday’s column for the print edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I wrote about Sean Brock, the chef at McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston. Brock pulled an upset at this year’s James Beard Awards and won Best Chef Southeast, besting two more established Georgia chefs.

Have you tried Brock’s food? I’d love to hear your comments on it.

THE CHEF OF THE FUTURE

When the James Beard Awards were announced last month, most industry insiders expected the award for Best Chef Southeast to go to one of two Georgians: either Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta or Hugh Acheson of Athens’ Five and Ten. Both are innovative chefs with loads of national recognition, both are leaders who’ve done a lot to define Southern food today, both are nice guys who’ve paid their dues and both were repeat nominees.

As is often the case with the James Beard Awards, chefs are often finalists in their category a couple of times before they win.

But the …

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Five chefs to watch for

Chef Nick Rutherford, the Porter Beer Bar

Chef Nick Rutherford, the Porter Beer Bar

Mention Atlanta chefs and several names come up time and again. Anne Quatrano and Linton Hopkins are our standard-bearers for fine local cuisine. Richard Blais and Kevin Gillespie are our celebrities who made it to the bigs via “Top Chef.” Kevin Rathbun is everyone’s favorite purveyor of big flavors. But there are some up-and-coming chefs you’ve probably never heard of, like Nick Rutherford (above). These five have the goods — the palate, the skills, the P.O.V. — to have an impact on the city in years to come.

Who else belongs on this list?

Nick Rutherford, The Porter Beer Bar

This 30-year-old cooked in some of Atlanta’s most refined restaurants — Seeger’s, Quinones at Bacchanalia — before opening the inexpensive and pleasantly grungy Porter in the heart of Little Five Points with his wife, Molly Gunn. He has never strayed from his mission of serving burgers, fries and general absorption food, but he never misses an opportunity to put …

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Announced

afwfjpegAtlanta stages many annual food festivals, from the massive Taste of Atlanta to the hip Cabbagetown chili cook off called Chomp and Stomp. Even the alt music festival Corndogorama has a foodie come on.

It’s time to welcome another, and this one looks like a biggie.

On Wednesday night the organizers of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival announced their existence at an event staged at White Provision. The inaugural event will offer a full weekend of seminars, demonstrations, and drinks and nibbles under tasting tents in Midtown May 19-22, 2011, with festival headquarters at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. Chefs from throughout the South (Texas to West Virginia, and all states in between) will be invited.

Many of the city’s top chefs and restaurateurs — including Kyma’s Pano Karatassos, Shaun Doty of Shaun’s and Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield — are on the founders council. But this event is really the brainchild of two Atlanta consultants, Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter, who …

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First Look: Farmstead 303

photo

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist playing with the effects panel on iPhoto when I uploaded this picture taken on the patio at Farmstead 303. It presented such a vignette of country life.

The old Decatur train depot, which limped along as Depeaux for a few years, has reopened as — yep, you guessed it — a Southern farm-to-table restaurant. You have to admire its owner, Teri Rogers, who certainly isn’t afraid of hard work. Rogers, who runs Decatur’s popular Feast across the street, has her work cut out for her with this iconic and enormous structure.

Cucumber gazpacho

Cucumber gazpacho

The setting: The former depot has been moved away from the train tracks but left intact. You can imagine the vast dining room filled with commuters waiting on rows of benches. There’s also an upstairs bar and a grand wraparound balcony. We liked sitting outdoors, even as gusting winds turned the shade umbrellas into sails that pulled over their patio tables.

The food: Chef Ryan Stewart (late of Mac McGee’s on Decatur …

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McDonald’s vs. mac and cheese

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

A pair of San Francisco Bay Area restaurateurs were all set to open their macaroni and cheese specialty restaurant with the name Little Mac when a phone conversation with legal counsel for McDonald’s derailed their plans. It seems the burger giant doesn’t take kindly to restaurants that use “Mac” or “Mc” in their names, citing brand infringement.

Rather than fight, the mac and cheese entrepreneurs, Erin Wade and Alison Arevalo,  have put a call out for help in finding a new name. There’s lots of creamy goodness in your future if you come up with the winning name.

You can read about it on Arevalo’s blog. And also make a suggestion.

(Thanks to Slashfood.)

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Khima — a sweet “Moroccan fusion” spot

photoI am guessing that during slow times Khima is a one-man show. Owner Majid Elmaliki will welcome you warmly, take your order, disappear for a few minutes and bring your food. A few other guests come and go, some just for a bowl of soup.

This bright, friendly Howell Mill Road restaurant started life as Westside Garden Market before becoming Westside Garden Grill and, eventually, Khima. During that time, the grocery shelving came down, a bar went up, and a belly dancer was retained for weekend nights. The restaurant began identifying its style of cooking as “Moroccan fusion.”

The limited menu lists a few appetizers, halal meats, inexpensive tilapia and salmon entrees, and a couple of daily tagines. The halal lamb tagine (above, $13) brought a beautiful, aromatic lamb shank in smothered in a blanket of plump, golden raisins, onions and warming yellow spice. I loved the sweet/savory balance of the sauce but found the lamb itself a bit understewed. It was very tasty, but also firm …

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Who wants a tour of Kevin Gillespie’s tats?

showurtattoo.0621Oh, you lucky people. Click here and the Woodfire Grill chef will lead a tour of this fantastic and colorful terrain, complete with a Scottish crest, a lovely damsel and a wild boar.

Continue reading Who wants a tour of Kevin Gillespie’s tats? »

Linton Hopkins prepares lunch from White House garden

AJC staff

AJC staff

Linton Hopkins was getting ready to leave for Washington, D.C., to join 1,000 of his colleagues on the White House last week when he got an email from Sam Kass.

There might possibly be a small group breaking away for a little thing after the launch of the “Chefs Move to Schools” program, wrote Kass, the White House assistant chef and food initiative coordinator. Would Hopkins be interesting in joining it?

“It was all put together at the last second, so I had no idea what to expect,” said the Restaurant Eugene chef, who joined a select group from Atlanta, including his wife, Gina, caterer Cathy Conway, and Cook’s Warehouse owner Mary Moore.

The chefs gathered under the baking Washington sun last Friday as Kass introduced the program, an extension of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to provide healthier food in schools, to help kids become more physically active and to make healthy, affordable food available in every part of the country. Kass and …

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