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

Archive for October, 2010

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 …

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Doughnuts Come Full Circle

Dough in A Box2

Dough in A Box, credit: Jenny Turknett

According to a recent article in Time Magazine (Sep. 29, 2010), doughnuts are again back in style. Time reports that doughnut sales were up 6% last spring as compared to the same quarter the previous year. The doughnut chains (Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme) are still expanding despite the recession, possibly because doughnuts are cheap and comforting.

In Atlanta they are starting to pop up on restaurant menus, as well. Relish Restaurant in Roswell serves a diet-busting Krispy Kreme bread pudding with espresso kreme. And of course, there’s the liquid nitrogen Krispy Kreme milkshake at FLIP Burger Boutique.

At a recent cooking class at Rathbun’s restaurant, guess what was for dessert? Potato donuts, dubbed “Spud-nuts.” And who has been bold enough to try the Vandross Burger at The Gravity Pub? That’s the cheddar-bacon burger served on the grilled-glazed doughnut, a dish with enough calories to last you through the winter.

For the …

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Dining Team Member: The Southerner

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

Well, you’ve seen the caricature (cookie in hand noted). Want the story to go with the “face?” Here it is… If you’ve stopped by my blog, Going Low Carb, you know I’m a Southerner. I’m fourth generation Atlantan, in fact. So, I do have a certain fondness for Southern cuisine. Think cornflake fried chicken, cabbage cooked with ham hocks, and blackberry cobbler.

It seems that all my favorite pastimes have something to do with food – eating, cooking, talking about food, reading cookbooks… you get the picture. Thankfully it’s no longer taboo to admit that fact. Now I can let my super-foodie flag fly!

I inherited my grandmother’s love of food and feeding people, which inspired my work in catering, event planning, and professional baking. Venturing into food writing, beginning with my blog, has provided me with a way to contribute to the food community while enjoying my two small children at home.

The elephant in the room is whether or not …

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Foodie Idol Anthony Bourdain Coming to Cobb Energy Centre

On the evening of November 20, Anthony Bourdain, author and TV host of The Travel Channel’s No Reservations will be speaking at the Cobb Energy Centre and dishing on life as a globe-trotting food lover and writer.

Season six of his Emmy nominated show just finished and he’s on the heels of publishing his latest book, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook.  Like the title suggests the book is a candid look at popular food culture today, and the realm of people that inhabit it.

I recently had a phone conversation with Anthony where he dished passionately and humorously about food and life on the road. Mr. Bourdain sounds exactly like he does on television. His descriptions and story telling are just as colorful off camera as they are on.  What you see is what you get.

Some of his favorite cuisines are Vietnamese street food, high end Japanese, rustic Italian—which he stated have been some of his happiest meals, and Spanish ham.

I then …

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Postcard from New Orleans

photo-52Over the weekend my family and I decided to take a quick trip to New Orleans. As usual, we didn’t make any dinner reservations, preferring instead to play it by ear. It’s an easy city to eat well in. So well in fact, that I’m on a Clif Bar/tempeh/sparkling water diet until I resume my normal state of semi-bulbousness.

On my sister’s advice, we stopped in at Lüke — celeb chef John Besh’s brasserie in the Central Business District. Some of the food was great, including this amazing BLT made with a fried soft shell “Buster crab” (a local term meaning they’re ready to molt), Allan Benton’s bacon and toasted brioche. We also loved the duck egg crème brûlée — a reminder of everything good about this overplayed dessert. Duck eggs are traditionally used in France, as they make a richer silkier custard.

But I have to say the service wasn’t the best. With every single order of food that came we had to chase down a waiter or manager for silverware. We gave up on the hope of ketchup …

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Meet your new AJC Dining Team

They’re heeeeere …

A few months ago I announced on this blog that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was looking for local writers and bloggers to help me cover dining throughout this sprawling North Georgia population center we like to call greater Atlanta. I’m now thrilled to report we’ve retained the services of three outstanding contributors from the scores who applied.

Before we meet them, let me tell you about some key changes in the way we cover restaurants, in both print and online.

My primary review will continue to run in Friday’s Go Guide section of the newspaper and post online the same morning on the Food and More blog. You are welcome to join the blog’s increasingly lively dialogue with other readers and post your comments on the review. If you think I’m right on target — or way off base — let me know. Every Friday I will also post Behind the Review — an online-only extra that delves a bit deeper into some aspect of the review.

Our weekly Neighborhood Nosh will …

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Behind the Review: The Sound Table

Chinese-style pork ribs

Chinese-style pork ribs

Are we going for drinks or are we going for dinner?

This distinction matters less and less thanks to new places like the Sound Tablereviewed in today’s paper — that try to break down that wall between bar and restaurant. I believe these places are on the vanguard of a major generational shift. Younger diners consume their food and drink differently.

As one of the Sound Table’s owners explained to me, the menu is “modular” — i.e., composed of dishes that stand on their own, but fit together into something resembling a balanced meal. Meats on one plate, vegetables on another, snacks and sides on yet others. Each stands out with its own flavor profile that you can appreciate as you pass and share.

The drinks list — which I found to be more successful than the menu — is also modular. No, I didn’t try all two dozen house cocktails, but the couple I ordered were both balanced so that the sweet, bitter, sour and stinging alcohol flavors played a memorable …

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The Sound Table dining review, Atlanta



At the Sound Table, 5 o’clock brings the “Violet Hour” when the evening drinkers start to wander in, and barkeep Paul Calvert mixes a daily special Prohibition-era cocktail with a recipe derived from historical records. Named for a line from T. S. Eliot, Violet Hour has become a popular expression in today’s cocktail culture, as it sounds far cooler than Happy Hour.

Oaxacan hanger steak (All photos by Becky Stein)

Oaxacan hanger steak (All photos by Becky Stein)

That said, the much more intriguing time of night at this edgy Old Fourth Ward restaurant comes later — 9:30 or so, when diners are happy with wine and gin, the wood-slat benches they sit on start to glow from lights beneath, and a DJ slips into the long-empty booth in the back of the narrow space that has suddenly turned neon green. With thumps of ambient music come guests who mill about rather than sit. A few tables quietly disappear to make room.

You’re still eating? Good! The food is what the kitchen likes to call “modular,” so it makes …

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Taking pictures of food in restaurants

Roasted oyster mushrooms, avocado and almond salad

Roasted oyster mushrooms, avocado and almond salad

When I first started posting regularly on this blog, an editor assured me that I would not need to haul a big camera around. A semi-decent cellphone pic would be just fine.

Now, nearly a year later, I end up taking pictures of my food even when I don’t intend to post them on the blog. It’s become almost second nature to reach for my iPhone the second food hits the table in a restaurant.

I can never resist taking pictures at Dynamic Dish, where the food is as photogenic as it is delicious. The restaurant is also ideally lit during the daytime, and the unvarnished wooden tables provide just the right background. I also think that chef/owner David Sweeney has a very keen understanding of how people eat with their eyes.

I’m curious if anyone else has gotten into the habit of taking pictures of restaurant food as a matter of course. I’m noticing this more and more when I go out; I don’t imagine all these photo takers are food …

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The Indian chief and the barbecue

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

An interesting thread developed in response to my post yesterday on Pappy Red’s BBQ – a well established Cumming barbecue restaurant that recently set up shop on Chattahoochee Ave. (The sign reads “P. Red’s BBQ”).

My 13-year-old daughter, who is very attuned to issues of  justice and wrongdoing, was offended by all the representations of Native Americans in the decor — lots of stern-faced chiefs in headdresses. She was so incensed that she wanted to talk to the owners. I dissuaded her with a “maybe next time” as we were in a bit of a hurry.

I mentioned this exchange in the comments section, and a couple of readers responded that I should have let her express her offense.

What do you think? Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been put off by racial or cultural stereotyping in the decor?

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