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Archive for October, 2010

Taking the High Road: Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet

Courtesy of High Road Craft

Courtesy of High Road Craft

“You should open a bakery.” “You should go on Ultimate Recipe Showdown.” How many of us hear words of encouragement like this from friends and family? How many of us actually follow through with such plans?

Thankfully, partners Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton listened to those who encouraged them to start a business producing artisan ice cream. Schroeder, who hatched the idea about ten years ago, later entered an MBA degree program at Kennesaw State University and found the support needed to make his dream a reality.

Schroeder used his time at Kennesaw State to further develop his business plan. Pairing up with classmate Hunter Thornton, he entered in a number of graduate level business competitions with this plan. Having won several of these, including the New Ventures World Competition at the University of Nebraska, the team had a little seed money and enough legitimacy to get investors on board. Schroeder offers encouragement to …

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Doings around Decatur: A chicken burger and a renewed German Bakery

chickenburgerMy family and I can recite the menu at Taqueria del Sol upside down and backwards because we go there so often. Farm Burger, right across the street, has not been part of our regular too-lazy-or-bare-of-pantry-to-cook rotation because — truthfully — one or more of us isn’t in the mood for red meat. (There’s a quinoa-based veggie burger, but it’s been bland and crumbly.)

When we stopped by Taqueria last week the line snaked out the door and clear to the end of the parking lot. So we ventured across the street to discover a much shorter wait at Farm Burger and — lo! — a new chicken burger. I found this patty of well seasoned ground chicken quite delicious, particularly after outfitting it with fried eggplant, arugula and pickled jalapeños. My wife, who was in the mood for a seriously beefy hamburger, got one with cheddar and bacon and declared it snarftastic.

photo 2I also recently stopped by the German Bakery (2914 White Boulevard, Decatur, 404-508-5900), just off Lawrenceville …

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Weekly column: Octopus and a famous stranger for my birthday

Birthday_cakeFor this week’s column I reveal the strangest birthday dinner of my life.

By John Kessler

This year I spent my birthday in New York rather than at home, dining with a stranger (who turned out to be a television star) rather than my family, and with octopus rather than cake. And it ended with a fever delirium. All in all, my 49th was one of the stranger days I’ve experienced in quite some time.

The day began early that morning in a windowless Midtown accounting office boardroom with my fellow members of the James Beard Foundation journalism awards committee. It was one of those hermetically sealed meetings, where the sandwiches come to you, and everyone talks through mouthfuls of panini and cookie.

The meeting broke up in the midafternoon, and we exited to the street and stood around in a circle chatting before going our separate ways.

“What are you doing tonight?” asked the New Yorkers in the crowd.

I didn’t quite feel like saying, “Well, I’m going to treat myself to a …

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Everyday Dining with Sara Moulton

Credit: Jamie Tiampo

Credit: Jamie Tiampo

This weekend, Atlanta welcomes Chef Sara Moulton as she arrives to judge Aetna’s Healthy Food Fight at Taste of Atlanta and to teach a class at The Cook’s Warehouse in Brookhaven. Sara recently released her third book, Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners. I had the opportunity to talk with her about her newest book, her career and a few of her guilty pleasures.

Q: How did you decide on the theme for your newest book?

A: It’s actually sort of a continuation of my last book, which was Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals. It’s also what I’ve really been focusing on in general — when I did the TV show on the Food Network and in most of my work — it’s family dinner. Even though I am a trained chef, I’ve always had family dinner. I just want everybody to have family dinner. I work full time and then come home and make dinner, just like anybody else. So, I tried to take advantage of all of the things that I’ve learned as a home cook and a …

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Behind the Review: Snarking about spring rolls

Davio's trademarked spring rolls (Photos by Becky Stein)

Davio's trademarked spring rolls (Photo by Becky Stein)

When Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhousereviewed in this week’s Go Guide — sent out its press materials, no one could help but notice the registered trademark next to one of the menu items — the Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls. It didn’t take too long for folks in the local restaurant and food writing communities to start wagging their tongues.

“What is that about?” we all wondered with a snicker.

Well, it’s this: A chef at the Philadelphia branch of Davio’s developed the recipe, and they were a great enough success that owner Steve DiFillippo decided to package them. There are now four varieties of spring rolls on the menu, with trademarks on two. Locally, the spring rolls are available at Costco, as the waiters are instructed to tell customers who ask.

For the first several weeks Davio’s actually displayed the boxes in the entrance foyer,  which definitely seemed to be an incongruent display of marketing in a very …

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Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Acworth

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Acworth, Small Town USA, chosen for the filming of the recent remake of the movie “Footloose,” houses an unlikely celebrity: Louisiana native Henry Chandler.

Jenny-Turknett-Review

Review by Jenny Turknett

Chef Henry, as he is affectionately known by the locals, is the recent winner of the People’s Platelist Award, a contest held by ABC ’s “Nightline.”
This popularity award celebrates chefs with a distinctive approach and a loyal following. With his Southern twang, shaggy hair and brightly patterned chef’s pants, Chandler holds court at Henry’s Louisiana Grill. He works his dining room, pronounces first-timers “virgins” and bestows Mardi Gras beads upon all the ladies.

Henry’s re-creates the feel-good vibe of the Big Easy — clearly a draw for the regulars who crowd into church pew benches beneath Mardi Gras posters, drink Louisiana craft beer and strain to hear helpful advice from the eager waitstaff over the loud, excited din. They may also like the heavy, deep-fried …

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Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse review, Buckhead

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Let’s play a game. I’ll describe some customers, and you tell me where we are.

First up is a couple who seems to have ordered meals from two different restaurants. He drinks red wine from a bowl-shaped glass and saws a rare steak contemplatively. She sips Coke through a straw and eats spring rolls with her fingers.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

Now turn your attention to my wife, standing by the hostess stand and wondering aloud if she is overdressed. Let’s follow her dubious gaze as it pans through the dining room and lands on a young family. Dad tries and fails to carry off the Turtle from “Entourage” look of outsized athletic wear, gold jewelry and backwards ball cap. Mom rocks a baby in a car seat; 4-year-old bolts from his seat. But over there in that banquette sits a cashmere-swathed matron with sculpted grey hair and earring rocks so massive they would cause a lesser dame to keel over into her soup. And isn’t that manager in a natty suit Claude …

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Now Open: Flip Burger Buckhead

Flip Buckhead

It seems so long ago that Richard Blais, Atlanta’s first Top Chef hometown hero, opened Flip Burger in West Midtown in 2008.

Though Atlanta had plenty of fantastic hamburger joints that had been in business for years before Flip opened their doors, Blais’ celebrity combined with his left-of-center cooking techniques and wildly creative burger selection stirred up a foodie frenzy. I might even go so far as to call it a “hoopla”.

Thus began the so-called Atlanta “burger wars”.

This Tuesday marked the grand opening of Flip’s 2nd Atlanta location, right in the heart of Buckhead. Taking over the vacant Blockbuster in the Tuxedo Festival shopping center on Roswell Rd., Blais’ and owner Barry Mills hope to duplicate the success they’ve seen across town, as well as at their 2nd location in Birmingham. And if the crowds lined up for the past two nights are any indication, I’d say they are on the right track.

If you’ve been to the original location, then you …

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Dining Team Member: The Chowhound

Jon-Watson-Review

Since this is my “get to know me” post, I figure that I should start with something I’ve never told anyone before.

When I was growing up, I absolutely refused to eat bacon.

Whew! It just feels good to get that off my chest, you know? But before you write me off completely, rest assured, I grew out of it.

I’m a born-n-raised Atlantan (Ok, technically East Cobb) with Alabama roots and, as is often the case with southern families, food was a major part of my upbringing. Some of the most vivid memories I have as a child are of my Grandfather’s fried chicken and helping my mom make the dressing for Thanksgiving dinner. Food took hold of me at a young age.

Shortly after college, I moved back to Atlanta and landed a good job that afforded me more disposable income than a food and drink obsessed 22-year-old should have access to. Nothing crazy, but enough to be dangerous. Predictably, I blew every penny of it. And I blew most of it on food.

Then reality came crashing down …

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Shaun’s to close

Shaun Doty (AJC staff)

Shaun Doty (AJC staff)

The Atlanta Magazine dining blog, Covered Dish, is reporting that chef  Shaun Doty (left) will close his eponymous Inman Park restaurant after dinner December 18.

Doty, who trained under chef Guenter Seeger and was chef at Mumbo Jumbo, MidCity Cuisine and Table 1280 — opened Shaun’s four years ago in the space that was the longtime home of Deacon Burton’s – a soul food favorite.

Shaun’s was highly acclaimed, and it carried a four-star rating from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This was a hard decision in many ways,” Doty said in a prepared statement.  “But I believe it is better to focus my energy right now.”

That focus would be on Yeah! Burger — the upscale burger bar that is going gangbusters in its original Westside location. Doty and partner Erik Maier plan to open a second location in Virginia Highland this fall.

Look for Jon Watson’s review of Yeah! Burger next Friday.

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