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Archive for January, 2011

In the news: AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery & Pico Auténtico


courtesy AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery

AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery opens factory store and tasting room:

AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery, sold in many area farmer’s markets, Whole Foods, and some Kroger stores, recently opened an outlet store at their creamery. If you come by, owner Ron Marks says customers may “taste to [their] heart’s (and stomach’s) content.”

Though in an admittedly “weird locale,” the outlet, located in a Norcross office park, will offer the company’s full line of yogurts and cheeses at the lowest cost. It is also the only place in town to grab your AtlantaFresh gear including t-shirts, tote bags, and French-baker caps. The outlet will be open during winter months and may continue into the spring with high demand.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 6679 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard #M, Norcross.

Pico Auténtico opening January 20th:

Replacing Relish Restaurant in Roswell, Pico Auténtico is Condiment Group’s newest concept. It …

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Top Chef All-Stars recap, Episode 6: We’re gonna need a bigger boat

SPOILER ALERT! This recap contains absolutely NO spoilers. Seriously. If you have not watched the show, it is probably a great idea for you to read this. I promise it won’t completely ruin everything for you.*

As usual, we pick up right where the last episode left off, with the chefs reeling from the previous elimination. And, early on, Bravo and Jamie reiterate what every single person in the country already knew: Jamie should have gone home.

We also get to see drunken Marcel yelling at Dale about how he supposedly only cooked eight portions of his winning dim sum. Words can’t describe how lamely ghetto he tries to act here. Marcel’s sour grapes quickly descends into full-blown faux thug “smack talkin”, including flailing arms and the phrase “then get out the bleepin’ game”. Word to your mother.

QUICKFIRE (Or is it?)

The bleary-eyed chefs roll out of bed at 4:30 AM and head into the kitchen, only to find that Padma and Tom apparently got to sleep in. The kitchen is empty, …

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Best of the Big A: Atlanta’s best hot dogs


Well, it finally happened. After three months of writing for the AJC, I got my first piece of hate mail.

When Gene, Jenny, and I were hired for this job, I looked at our respective beats and realized that, of the three of us, I was probably going to provoke he most people. I’m tasked with finding the best pizza, burgers, BBQ, etc., and all of these elicit powerful reactions. It is nearly impossible to please everyone on these topics. No matter how much I believe that barbecue joint “X” is the best in town, there will be 10 people that think that I’m a moron for believing so. But my job isn’t to keep people happy.

So, when Shane Harrison tapped me to help with the Best of the Big A’s search for the best hot dogs in town, I embarked on a hot dog eating tour that would make even Anthony Bourdain grow sick of his beloved tubed meat. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t love this task, or that I didn’t gain 5 lbs doing research for it. But I wasn’t looking forward to actually …

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Checking in on Soto


Last week, my wife was in Manhattan and made it a point to pop into Soto, a sushi restaurant located in the West Village (all pictures of her meal that are shown here were taken by her). According to her, the unadvertised entrance to Soto is around W 4th and 6th Avenue (also known as Avenue of the Americas).

Some of you may have been around when its chef Sotohiro Kosugi had a popular sushi restaurant in Buckhead called Soto – the same name as the New York location. This 2006 article from John Kessler talks about his 11 year legacy here and the emotions that local diners and “Sotoholics” went through after learning that he was closing shop in Atlanta.

John’s article also discusses the 10 month period in 2003 when Soto-san closed to remodel and to decompress from work-related stress. When he reopened I visited him twice. Both times I participated in his notorious omakase (prepared special chef meal). It was one of the best sushi experiences I’ve had in America, which in my …

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Restaurant and pub openings for today, January 11

Below are a list of some local sites that are posting restaurant and/or pubs that are open today.  Otherwise, we encourage you to stay off the roads and walk to them if you can.

If you are a restaurant and/or bar-pub proprietor, please chime in if you are open throughout “Snowmageddon” in the comments section.

Creative Loafing’s list.  Be sure to read the comments that are coming in. Jerry Slater from H. Harper Station is reporting that they are serving food and drinks starting at 5 p.m. today.

Atlanta events culled a list from Creative Loafing and  They are also reporting that the Plaza Theatre on the intersection of Ponce De Leon Ave and N Highland are open for their 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. showings.

From Twitter:

Diesel in Virginia Highlands starting at 4 p.m. today

Star Provisions on the Westside until 6 p.m.

Rosebud in Morningside/VA Highlands starting at 5:30 p.m. with a limited menu

The Candler Park Market

Ray’s at Killer Creek will be open for dinner at 4:30 …

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In the news: Real Chow Baby opens second location

This Westside create-your-own stir fry eatery has opened a second location off Ponce De Leon Avenue. Stir fry bowls are all you can eat and just $7.99 for lunch and $11.99 for dinner. Diners can also take advantage of the full service bar offering a selection of “Chow Specialty Cocktails” such as the Chow Baby Mojito. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.(Lunch) Mondays-Fridays, 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (Dinner) Mondays-Thursdays, 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Fridays, noon-11:30 p.m. Saturdays, noon-10 p.m. Sundays. 782 Ponce De Leon Avenue, Atlanta. 404-671-4202, $.

In other news:

Empire Diner

A reader has informed me that the Empire Diner in Sandy Springs has closed. According to them, “..went right after Christmas and found a “Temporarily closed” sign on the door, but all fixtures still in place. Went today and the exterior sign was removed and fixtures removed. This was operated by the same group that was to operate the long-delayed Decatur Diner.”

A call to the diner’s phone number …

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Preparing for snow: marshmallows


credit: Jenny Turknett

It’s all about the food, isn’t it? We celebrate major (and not so major) life events with food. It’s no different with snow.

As children, my sister and I would place bowls outside the night before an anticipated snowfall to collect snow. For breakfast, we would eat the snow drizzled with maple syrup. We thought it was delicious and it became a ritual with each snowfall.

With my own children, I still prepare for snow with food. Antsy for the snow to begin, they have nothing to do except to turn their pj’s inside out — a tip for making the snow come, given by my daughter’s preschool teacher last year. So, now we prepare. We prepare the marshmallows that will adorn our hot chocolate after an exhausting morning playing in the snow.

This year, I experimented with flavorings. I made one batch of marshmallow and divided it into four equal parts. We left one plain, tinted one pink — the only proper color to a six-year-old girl — and the other two I flavored for …

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Critics unmasked!

egoNothing stirs the schadenfreude pot like a good restaurant critic whomping. I mean, we are a potentially despicable bunch, those of us who go out and stuff our faces for a living, then have the audacity to complain the food doesn’t have enough salt instead of just reaching our piggy fingers for the shaker.

But we’re also a thought-provoking bunch, right? We delve headlong into a discussion people never tire of and, for better or worse, provide an opinionated departure point. Some of us know enough about food to educate and inform; others are good writers who at least manage to entertain.

But people love seeing us get a taste of our own medicine. Just before Christmas, the Los Angeles Times’ longtime restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila, was outed by an irate restaurateur, Noah Ellis, who made her wait 40 minutes on a busy night, snapped her picture, threw her out and then published the picture and her reservation call-back number (presumably a cell phone) on his restaurant’s …

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In the news: The meat truck and Sister Louisa’s

Credit: Frederick Noble

Credit: Frederick Noble

Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium

Sister Louisa, owner/artist Grant Henry’s drag alter-ego, finally opened her new bar/ping pong hall/church on Edgewood Ave. in the old Danneman’s space. With two levels, all covered wall-to-wall in Sister Louisa’s irreverent religious-themed folk art, the bar includes a ping-pong table, large communal tables, and fully functional church organ. The menu, provided by Home Grown GA, includes hot dogs topped with broccoli casserole, cheese grits, and pimento cheese. 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 5 p.m.-midnight Sundays; 466 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, 404-522-8275. The website is not active yet, but the url is $-$$


Farm Mobile Food Truck

Over the last year, Atlanta has seen the rise of the food truck movement, but our newest entry isn’t selling tacos. They are selling meat. Riverview farms, an organic farm in Ranger, Ga., known for supplying some of Atlanta’s top …

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Behind the Review: La Fourchette

Loup de mer

Loup de mer

Mounir Barhoumi, the owner of La Fourchette, really brought me back a few years when he described his restaurant as “Mediterranean.”

Remember that catch-all phrase? It usually indicated that a restaurant was essentially French at heart but defaulted to southern French flavors — tomatoes, olive oil, saffron, garlic — and would go a little farther afield to include some Italian and Spanish dishes.

I used to rail against the phrase as it felt like vague terminology for a vague menu concept.  Now I realize how much I miss this kind of European fare.

This makes me wonder: what are the great unabashedly European restaurants in Atlanta. Are there any left?

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