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Archive for July, 2010

New (for me) mango-eating technique

photo-34Now that I’ve discovered that I don’t like to share mangoes, I’ve decided the best way to eat them is to peel them like bananas. This works best with the small ataulfo mangoes (sometimes called Champagne mangoes) that have become popular.

Just pinch the skin with your fingers to break the surface and start pulling strips of it down. Have a paper towel ready to invert it once you reach bottom. And the pit — where the flesh becomes beguilingly sour — is all yours.

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Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2

photo-33So things are moving along fairly quickly with our kitchen renovation. As you can see, the framing, electrical and drywall is mostly completed. You can also see the outline of the “pass” — a window into the kitchen that will be framed by a support beam on the left and a flush wall of appliances, cupboards and counter space on the right. Through the window will be a counter top with, perhaps, a drinks fridge underneath.

As I wrote previously, the open floor plan of our former kitchen invited everyone to come and congregate between the range and the cook’s work area, turning every dinner party into a frottage fiasco. Like many open kitchen plans today, ours brought too much of the action into the cooking area.

With the renovation, we want to encourage onlookers to visit other parts of the house or stay on the sidelines. If you come into the heart of the kitchen, you are there to help, or at least stick your finger into the sauce.

So most folks will be entering this area of the …

Continue reading Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2 »

GreatWall Supermarket: Now the Chinese perspective

photo 5GreatWall Supermarket — an international grocer with a handful of stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic — has opened its first outlet here, right in the thick of things at 2300 Pleasant Hill Road near Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Gwinnett International Farmers Market and the original Atlanta-area Super H Mart. The other two markets offer international foods from a Korean baseline perspective; GreatWall is Chinese, though a full selection of Asian and Latin ingredients are available. If you can read Chinese, take a look at the Web site.

I spent an afternoon walking around and making mental notes for future visits. Set in a former Target, it seems just as bright and clean as Super H Mart, if a bit more stark and less fancy. There are also some wild specials: $6 for a crate of mangoes and 88 cents a pound for catfish to name just a couple.

There are also a handful of carryout restaurants in the food court along the side — two Chinese …

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“Top Chef”: Purloined pea puree!

TC-707-Update-Top-RecipeSee this lovely plate of seared salmon with mushrooms, onions and some kind of neon-green velouté of alien brain? Well, friends, this verdant elixir is a pea puree that won the elimination challenge for heretofore under-performing cheftestant Alex.

This pea puree was so silky that guest judge Art Smith was practically felled by a case of the vapors. Alex not only won the challenge, but he will get his bald pate immortalized in a likeness on the wall of a Palm restaurant.

The problem? Alex may have stolen the pea puree!

Ed — good old Ed — spent the better part of the last half of the show searching hither and yon for his pea puree. Not in the fridge. Not in the pantry. Not splattered on the walls, or caked on Amanda’s face as part of her beauty regimen for flawless, luminescent skin. “Alex, are you sure you haven’t seen my pea puree?” Ed asked, over and over and over again.

What do you think? Did Alex grab the goo and go?

By the way, check out the trending hashtag on Twitter — …

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Who knows what we have here?

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Front Burner: Ibiza, Savor Specialty Foods to close

Ibiza (AJC Staff)

Ibiza (AJC Staff)

We’ve been kind of behind the curve lately on reporting restaurant openings and closings here on Food and More. So with a formal and grateful tip of the hat to three blogs that do a great job of getting the scoop — Creative Loafing’s Omnivore, Foodie Buddha, Atlanta Magazine’s Covered Dish blog and Tomorrow’s News Today – Atlanta — I regurgitate these bits of news.

  • Ibiza Restaurant & Lounge – the South Buckhead spot adjacent to Imperial Fez — will close at the end of the month. The Web site claims the lease will not be renewed “at this location,” offering some hope the tapas bar/hookah lounge/soft lighting mecca will reopen elsewhere.
  • Savor Specialty Foods in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center will close at the end of the week. This market has tried to straddle that difficult line between operating as a high-end deli and stocking its shelves like a boutique — with housewares and fancy dry goods. We’ll see how Linton Hopkins and crew will fare with their plans …

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Las Arepas de Julia — Colombian corn cakes in Norcross

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A recent post on the Chow Down Atlanta blog the other day reminded me that I had long wanted to try Las Arepas de Julia — a Colombian restaurant in Lilburn that specializes in these savory griddled corn cakes. This article by food writer Lori Johnston piqued my curiousity a year ago.

I found Las Arepas de Julia in the space that was formerly Tropical Restaurant — another Colombian place that specialized in pastries and baked goods, including a great red wine-soaked spice cake called torta negra. The room has been prettified, and the self-service pastry cases have been replaced with tables. A waitress who speaks a little more English than she lets on passes out thick, laminated menus that offer a variety of arepa sandwiches, entrees and daily specials. Most of the crowd the day we visited were eating bandeja paisa — the Colombian plate lunch that piles beans, egg, avocado, an arepa, a thick rasher of fried pork belly and other goodies onto a oversized platter. My friend and …

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Fine dining on the skids

Bacchanalia (AJC Staff)

Bacchanalia (AJC Staff)

In case anyone missed it, here’s business reporter Michael Kanell’s fine report on how the economy has taken the toll on Atlanta’s fine dining scene.

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Healthy dining at a barbecue joint? It’s possible

A kitchen sink salad with a side of pulled pork at Community Q

A kitchen sink salad with a side of pulled pork at Community Q

I have one rule in regards to healthy dining. When I’m grabbing a meal in a restaurant out of convenience, then I make myself choose the best, lowest-carb or healthy-carb option available. Even if it’s a good restaurant with delicious carb-freak food.

The other day I took a break from working at a coffee shop and wandered over to Community Q BBQ in Decatur for lunch. Sure, I could have had a pork sandwich with a side of the insanely cheesy macaroni. But since this was a meal of convenience, I ended up with this salad made with all kinds of fresh, local vegetables. Lady peas, green beans, tomatoes, pattypan squash, potatoes, cukes and lettuce made for a bodacious bowlful of greenery. Truth be told, it was a bit hard to eat — what with all those huge, honking lettuce leaves and tiny bits of bean and pea — and it needed a stronger vinaigrette to tie together all the disparate pieces. But I ended up adding the pork to …

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Sushi Mito: New izakaya in town

IzakayaMenu_add_Jun2010There are any number of Japanese restaurants around town that serve what can be called an izakaya menu — i.e., a vast list of small plates made for passing, sharing and washing down with an alcoholic beverage of choice. An izakaya is a kind of pub, and so the menu should reflect the demimonde of drink, or what Japanese call “mizu shobai” — the “water trade.”

But Shoya Izakaya broke out of the pack when it opened in spring 2009 because it was more than just a menu — it was the real deal. A loud, fun, modern-style izakaya zinging with boisterous energy. Plates clatter and pile up on rustic wooden tables. Beer foams up in ceramic cups, sake splashes, and the hapi-coated staff shouts “Irrashaimase!” whenever anyone walks in.

Now that izakayas are starting to have more crossover appeal, more and more Japanese restaurants are taking the plunge and introducing their customers to a style of dining that is, frankly, more popular in Japan than sushi bars. The latest is Sushi Mito, a …

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