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

Dining Team Member: The International Beat

Dining Team Member Gene Lee

I am the son of South Korean immigrants, husband to a native New Yorker, uncle to a budding foodie, and native to the South by way of the East Tennessee foothills. The subject of food has always been a significant aspect of my life in some shape or form, specifically because of the power of it.

When I was younger I once heard something that resonated with me my whole life. It was that children forget that their parents were also young once. Growing up, that felt especially true in my case as my parents didn’t seem to have any pictures or fond memories of a carefree life back in occupied and an impoverished South Korea.

But eventually I grew up and the wedge of unfamiliarity between my parents and me slowly disseminated over many homemade Korean meals. At our dinner table, my parents would paint vivid pictures of their childhood or young adult years sparked by random dishes set before us that reminded them of something in their past. I didn’t need to see pictures of them any longer; they transferred their memories over to mine.

Along the way and over many more meals we learned a lot more about each other, and fortified our respect and love for one another even if two entirely different upbringings hindered it in the beginning. And that’s essentially why I love food, and why I find it profound and fascinating. It’s why I have been seeking food adventures my whole life, and why I eventually started my food blog Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.

And well, maybe it’s also why you’re reading this here, now.

I’m happy to be joining John Kessler and the rest of this talented dining team. We hope to cover all the broad range of food related topics in the metro Atlanta area where my beat will be focusing on the ethnic dining scene inside, outside and way outside the Perimeter.

I’m excited about some of the print reviews and digital stories that I am working on, so I hope you will find them informational and entertaining. I should also disclaim that there is nary a dish that I’m squeamish about. Some of you might find the idea of something like organ meat or dried, stinky cuttlefish as challenging, but in other cuisines these can be commonplace.

Lastly, feel free to pass along any info that you have on restaurants, markets or food events (preferably ethnic related – Asian, Latin, Mediterranean, African, Eastern-European, etc.) that you feel the Dining Team should know about, and I will do my best to cover it.

So let’s get started shall we?

14 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Dining Team Member: The International Beat [...]


October 20th, 2010
12:00 pm

Welcome to the discussion Gene! I look forward to hearing more from you.


October 20th, 2010
12:10 pm

Welcome, Gene! That’s a great story. I like to be adventurous too with food, but usually feel a little better if someone has tested the waters first. So thanks for being our guinea pig! And thanks for eating some guinea pig if the opportunity should present itself ;)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Erickson and June Shin, Live to Feast. Live to Feast said: AJC readers, meet Gene (AKA @eatdrinkman) : [...]

Steven A.

October 20th, 2010
12:53 pm

I’ve long been a fan of Gene’s blog and an avid follower of his on Twitter. He’s singularly responsible for introducing me to Umaido, the ramen joint in Suwanee that has become one of my favorite places in town. Really glad his great work will be getting a broader audience!

Super Frankie

October 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

Love your work Gene!

John Kessler

October 20th, 2010
2:59 pm

I do know of a place that serves cuy (guinea pig), Gene. Game? You buy the guinea pig, I’ll bring the salt lick and the habitrail.


October 20th, 2010
3:49 pm

Check out Uptown Grill on the square in Lawrenceville. Its owned by a lebanese couple and their mediteranean food is delish!

Gene Lee

October 20th, 2010
4:00 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

@John Lead me to the cuy..

@Steph Thanks for the tip, I will be on the lookout. And keep ‘em coming!


October 20th, 2010
4:03 pm

Cuy? Didn’t they shut down a couple of restaurants a few years ago for serving those?

Here’s a homework assignment for someone. With the international population here in Atlanta, where are the other sub-Saharan restaurants other than Ethiopian around here? I get vague directions from cabbies but no real recommendations.


October 20th, 2010
5:47 pm

Welcome Gene!

And well done AJC; Eat Drink Man is one of the most thoughtful and finely written food blogs around.


October 20th, 2010
8:32 pm

Looking forward to your post Gene. Please remember not everyone has been following your blog for years in this forum. I think Jenny came off as out of tune with her first post and responses.


October 21st, 2010
10:17 am

@Michael: There was one on Buford Hwy that closed years ago. So did Papaye.
Nadia’s West African was also closed last time we drove by it (en route to Gimza). Hope they didn’t close for good.

Hall of Fame opened on Labor Day weekend in that cursed spot on Pike St where several restaurants and a food store all failed before them. They got to an active start but now the activity is visibly declining based on the number of cars parked there. As you leave downtown Lawrenceville heading on 120 towards Duluth it’s on your right before you get to Langley Dr.

I’m sure there’s several others around so if you can get your cabbies to be more specific that would help.

There’s also several Somali places along Memorial Dr in Stone Mountain.

Erick Lee

October 25th, 2010
12:37 am

I will be sure to check out some the better spots you visit next time I come to Hot-lanta.