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Archive for April, 2011

Leftover Easter candy

Easter candy

Another holiday means another holiday-candy dilemma.

I laughed last fall when I read John Kessler’s column about Halloween candy. I laughed because as a child, he ate his most treasured piece of Halloween candy in mid-December. That’s about the way it goes at our house — the Halloween candy still snatching shelf-space in December.

Candy has become associated with holidays and for each we buy and/or receive far too much.

This year at our house, we put mostly loose change, small trinkets and Chuck E. Cheese tokens in the Easter eggs with only a little candy mixed in. But between multiple egg hunts, gifts from family and from parties, we still ended up with a mountain of sweets.

We usually allow our kids to eat a few treats on the actual holiday and then a piece after dinner each evening for a few nights while candy is still foremost on their minds. After that, they only ask for a piece when they wander into the pantry itching to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Each Easter, I purge the …

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The Korean tries Heirloom Market’s Korean barbecue pork sandwich

PorkSandwichRecently, my colleague Mr. Kessler wrote “Take a bite of the spicy pork sandwich – a lunch special at Heirloom Market BBQ – and you are tasting the future…”


At the time, Kessler’s review stated that the sandwich is a lunch special. But now it seems the sandwich is also available at dinner, which is when I recently had it. Out it came – thick, tender chunks of pork that have been “smoked for hours in hickory and fruitwood” and swabbed in a fiery (albeit tempered), sweet Korean gochujang marinade. All that delicious piggy protein is then stuffed between toasted, yellow-tinted potato buns and topped with kimchi slaw.

This sandwich hits all the right notes. The smoky pork is tender and flavorful, the crisp kimchi slaw cuts the richness, and the buns keep all the flavors in balance (almost like rice, which Koreans eat with most everything).

If this is the future, count me in.

Heirloom Market BBQ, 2243 Akers Mill Road, Atlanta, 770-612-2502.

- by Gene Lee, Food and More …

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Two North Carolinians coming to town

Andrea Reusing (courtesy James Beard Foundation)

Andrea Reusing (courtesy James Beard Foundation)

Two cool events to think about for the weekend:

Andrea Reusing, the James Beard-nominated chef at Lantern restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C., will join Watershed chef Joe Truex to prepare a six-course menu at the Decatur restaurant on Sunday, May 1. Reusing is the author of the new cookbook “Cooking in the Moment”, which has been getting great reviews.

The menu costs $125 with wine pairings, and it included Riverview Farms porchetta, oxtail dumplings and “hand-pounded Carolina Gold rice,” which we have assume is a good thing. Details on reservations here or by calling 404-378-4900.


Jeff Bramwell, a wine columnist and co-owner of the Raleigh Wine Shop will  appear at The Grape in Phipps Plaza on Saturday, April 30, to oversee a flight of wine-and-burger matches from his hilariously  themed and completely interesting new book “Vinoburger” (Free Run Creations). I’ve seen an advance copy of the book, and it’s a tour of all the world’s …

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Restaurant Inspections, Happy Wok

Happy Wok, a Chinese buffet and take-out restaurant in Alpharetta, voluntarily closed after a health inspector observed unsanitary conditions and numerous food safety violations during a routine inspection April 18.

The restaurant at 12315 Crabapple Road was given a failing score of 29 out of 100. The list of code violations was long, and the inspector took photos as proof of the conditions.

There were rodent droppings on the kitchen floor, as well as dead roaches in the facility. The floors, walls and ceiling had “heavy, heavy debris,” and the bathroom was described as having “gross conditions” with heavy debris, according to the inspector’s report.

The soda machine had mold in the tubes and nozzles. The facility had no bleach sanitizer, and employees were washing dishes without it.

Employees did not wash their hands while the inspector was there. The employee hand sink was piled high with dishes, bucket tops and cups.

The facility had no thermometers to measure food …

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Korean taco party

A few years ago we started hearing about Korean tacos, and at the time it seemed such an only-in-L.A. phenomenon. Here was a mobile truck dishing out tortillas stuffed with kimchi and meat, with lines of wacky Angelinos snaking up to the take-out window and clamoring for a piece of the action.
But then Korean tacos started showing up everywhere, including here in Atlanta of all places. Hankook Taqueria begat the mobile Yumbii truck. Now Southern barbecue joints like Decatur’s Burnt Fork BBQ see good reason to make room on the menu for Korean tacos.
What sounds like fey fusion faddishness actually makes perfect sense. Mexican and Korean cuisines conduct love affairs with the Capsicum genus of hot peppers. Both revel in the contrast of fatty, crusty barbecued meat with crisp, fresh garnish. And both like to wrap: The ready cognate to the Mexican taco is the Korean ssam, or (usually) leafy vegetable wrap we best know from the countless Korean barbecue restaurants around the …

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Fritti brings in the big guns for new pizza oven

Stefano Ferrara building Fritti’s new oven.  Photo credit: The Reynolds Group

Stefano Ferrara building Fritti’s new oven. Photo credit: The Reynolds Group

Ask any true pizza fiend about the most important elements to making a great pie and you are sure to get a range of answers: Some will say that it is all about the water used in the dough, others will say that you can’t have a great pizza without the right tomatoes or the right mozzarella. But none would argue that you can’t make a great pie without the right oven. And in the world of Neapolitan pizza, there is one man whose name you want across that cast-iron door: Stefano Ferrara.

Ferrara, the third-generation owner of the Naples based brick oven maker Uno Forno, is a certified rock star in the pizza world. So, when Fritti chef/owner Riccardo Ullio found himself in need of an oven upgrade, he decided to spring for the best.

Though Fritti won’t be the only pizza shop in town to sport a Ferrara oven – the soon-to-open Double Zero Napoletana on Roswell Rd. shipped in a pair of pre-fabbed Ferrara ovens …

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Score a last-minute Easter brunch reservation

Brunch with the bunny may be hard to come by, but there are some other great Easter brunch options available.

Although brunch with the bunny may be hard to come by, there are other options available.

Are you scrambling for a last-minute Easter dining reservation?

There are still some reservations to be had, but be quick because they are disappearing rapidly! Here are a few options that still have (or had at the time of this posting) reservations available.

Restaurants serving buffets:

  • Local Three will serve a buffet on Easter with both breakfast and lunch favorites. You will find items such as biscuits with gravy, shrimp and grits, barbecue duck and a wide variety of pastries. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 3290 Northside Parkway, Atlanta. 404-968-2700, $29.93 adults, $14.93 ages 6 and under.
  • Ray’s Killer Creek: Under the direction of Chef Tracey Bloom, Ray’s Killer Creek in Alpharetta will also serve a brunch buffet this Easter. Omelet, salad and dessert stations will complement many other breakfast and lunch items. Reservations are currently available for groups of four and smaller. 9 a.m.-3 …

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Restaurant Inspections, Easter brunch edition

Whether you’ve already made plans for Easter brunch at some fancy place, or you’re looking ahead to Mother’s Day or a graduation party, you’ll want to check out the food service health inspection scores first.

Area restaurants will be showing off their best stuff with the upcoming holidays and graduation events, but you can find out what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchen.

Every dining facility is expected to post its latest health inspection score in a place that can easily be viewed by customers. In addition, most counties post restaurant scores on their county or district health department websites. In some cases, the entire inspection report is posted.

Here are a few listings from restaurants in the metro area and beyond where families might gather to celebrate this spring.

Beyond the metro area

  • Blue Willow Inn, 294 N. Cherokee Road, Social Circle: 100/A.
  • Five & Ten, 1653 S. Lumpkin St., Athens: 93/A.
  • The Inn at Chateau Elan, 100 Rue Charlemagne Dr., Braselton: …

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Who’s watching “Top Chef Masters?” Because we still have a dog in this race

Credit: Bravo TV

Credit: Bravo TV

Who’s rooting for Hugh Acheson (left), the Athens-based chef who runs Midtown’s terrific Empire State South?

Acheson is currently a contender on “Top Chef Masters” — the Bravo TV spinoff of the popular franchise in which accomplished chefs compete for charities. After a salty scallop fiasco in the first episode, Acheson was asked to leave. But when another contestant dropped out, he came back.

The third episode aired last night and Acheson won his first challenge with….

“Fried crickets in carrot salad with carrot purée,” he told me by telephone.


“We were cooking with bugs. That was the challenge,” he explained.

Any chance we’ll see this winged yumminess on the menu at Empire State South?

“Oh, definitely,” he assured me.

Do you all like Masters as much as regular “Top Chef?” Josh Ozersky doesn’t….

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Umezono Japanese Restaurant review, Smyrna



At least once a week I leave my office in Dunwoody and drive to pick up my kid from a lesson that ends at 8:30 p.m. in West Midtown. It is a schlep, to be sure. Sometimes I’ll coordinate with my wife or a friend to try a noteworthy restaurant beforehand. But usually I end up somewhere by myself, eating at a bar, with “noteworthy” the farthest thing from my mind.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

I don’t mind at all. In fact, I’ve started to treat these evenings as a kind of quest. What am I looking for? Really just … food.

OK, not just food. But something that won’t fill me with salt, and fat, and 1,400 calories I don’t need. I don’t want a huge portion that will end up mindlessly shoveled down my piehole, or cast to the rotting mountain of waste and overindulgence, or retired to a clamshell box to ripen in the back of my car overnight.

I want food that won’t annoy me with a corn-syrup based sauce, or a rubbery cube of frozen carrot, a rancid squiggle of Southwestern corn chip garnish, …

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