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 May, 2011

Weekend food events and news



10th Annual Dunwoody Beer Festival

This Saturday, May 14th, Perimeter Mall will host the 10th annual Dunwoody Beer Festival from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. The festival will feature over 150 beers, malt beverages, and liquors from all over the world. Admission is $35 and includes a souvenir pint glass and all of the drinks that you can consume without being an idiot about it.

All proceeds go to benefit Camp Twin Lakes, a nonprofit organization that offers year-round recreational, therapeutic, and educational programs for children and young adults facing serious illnesses, disabilities and challenges. 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, May 14th. 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. $35 admission.

15th Annual Crawfish Boil – Virginia Highlands

If you are a fan of crawfish, beer, fun, and charity, then check out the 15th annual Crawfish Boil in Va. Highlands this Saturday. The event benefits the Make-A-Wish foundation, and features …

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Atlanta’s ‘Cake Hag’ shares a gluten-free recipe

The Cake Hag's chocolate chip cookie

The Cake Hag's chocolate chip cookie

As you may have seen, this week in the place of my regular review, I compiled a list of bakeries that carry alternatives for people seeking gluten-free, low-carb and vegan baked goods.

For one of my stops, I visited The Cake Hag, who sells gluten-free and low-carb products in addition to a full array of traditional cakes and baked goods. One of my favorite items there were the gluten-free/low-carb chocolate chip cookies. Maggie Sweeny, aka the Cake Hag, graciously shared the recipe.

The Cake Hag’s gluten-free/Low-carb chocolate chip cookies


  • 1 cup room temp. unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups Skoopz Baking Formula (available at Whole Foods and Natural Foods Warehouse)
  • 1 tsp Blackstrap molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored sugar-free whey protein
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. sugar-free chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)


  • Preheat oven to …

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Greg Koetting passes

Greg Koetting in 2005 (AJC Staff)

Greg Koetting in 2005 (AJC Staff)

The Atlanta restaurant community is reeling from the news that Greg Koetting – one of city’s great dining room managers and wine directors — passed away on Sunday, following a brief illness. With his bitingly funny wit, bustling energy and canny wine palate, Koetting cut a distinctive figure in the many restaurants he worked in and managed over the years. He is perhaps best remembered as the opening wine director at Woodfire Grill — where he made it his mission to introduce patrons to alternative varietals. Because of Koetting’s early work, Woodfire established itself as one of the city’s most interesting venues for exploring wine.

Koetting entered the hospital a week ago in Naples, Florida — where he had moved last October to be closer to his ailing parents — with extreme fatigue and shingles. While in the hospital, he suffered a massive heart attack. He had just turned 45.

“We had to pull the plug on Mother’s Day,” said his brother, Jeff …

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Creative Loafing’s “100 Dishes” issue hits the stands

Fried goat cheese balls with honey and pepper from Ecco (AJC Staff)

Fried goat cheese balls with honey and pepper from Ecco (AJC Staff)

Creative Loafing’s ambitious cover story this week features a list of  “100 Dishes to Eat in Atlanta Before You Die.” Food editor Besha Rodell and writers Jennifer Zyman and Cliff Bostock combined their palates and wits to come up with this whompingly eclectic list.

I love that one blurb starts, “If Hello Kitty had a mouth…”

Reading it I had lots of “oh, yeah, that was great” moments as I recalled bites of strawberry cake from A Piece of Cake, tempura-fried uni from Tomo Japanese Restaurant and crispy goat cheese balls with honey and black pepper from Ecco (above).

Have you read the list? Do you agree/disagree with the choices?

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Alternative baked goods throughout the city

This week Jenny Turknett visits several bakeries throughout the metro area in search of baked goods for people with dietary restrictions.

Pure Knead Bakery (photo by Becky Stein)

Pure Knead Bakery (photo by Becky Stein)

Pure Knead

Often, bakeries carrying alternatives are created out of personal need. Such was the case with Pure Knead (186 Rio Circle, Decatur, 404-377-5567), an “allergy-friendly” bakery with products that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and shellfish. Owner Michelle Kelly, formerly of the corporate world, donned an apron when her son was diagnosed with severe food-related allergies. She was frustrated by the challenge of dining out safely with her son and set out to devise a solution. A friend introduced her to Shaun Doty of Yeah! Burger for whom she made her first gluten-free hamburger buns. Her product line grew from there, as did her client list. In addition to Yeah! Burger, Pure Knead currently supplies many restaurants including Farm Burger, Sprig, Victory Sandwich Bar and the Outback …

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Truffles Cafe restaurant review, Buckhead



“You’ve got to try the grouper!” says our ecstatic waiter, who loves many dishes on the menu but none with quite the ardor he feels for the grouper. “The chef glazes it in Parmesan and basil and the sauce runs off it in rivulets,” he explains, his fingers fluttering down the sides of an imaginary mid-air fillet. “I’m not embarrassed to tell you I squealed like a schoolgirl when I first tried it!”

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

We all burst into peals of laughter at the image: squealworthy seafood.

This waiter has a mandate to sell hard and he does so with good humor. If Truffles Cafe is to succeed with its ambitions, it will need for every customer to find their own squealer of a dish.

This new restaurant across the street from Lenox Square in Buckhead looks like any number of restaurants that hug the periphery of shopping malls. It’s a vast box of space, dark and glossy, with distinct areas for every dining need. There are booths to sink into and a bar to belly up to, tables to …

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My hot sauce addiction

IMG_0996Hello. My name is Jon, and I have a hot sauce problem.

Do any of you have that crazy Aunt that just seems to horde cheesy trinkets? The one that, every time she sees some sort of ceramic angel figurine or a little plate with a kitten painting on it, she just can’t resist buying it to add to her already oversized collection?

That is me, but with hot sauce. No matter where I am, if I find a hot sauce that I have not tried yet, I can’t hold back from taking it home with me.

I recently moved, after living in my previous abode for over 3 years. During the moving process, I uncovered an inhuman amount of sauces and spices that I’d accumulated during that time. Sadly, I found myself throwing away numerous bottles of hot sauces that had long since separated and turned to that disconcerting pale orange hue. This got me thinking about my hot sauce problem, as well as some of my favorites.

Hot sauce simply makes everything better. My kitchen is rarely without a bottle of Cholula, …

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Visits to Phnom Penh Cambodian restaurant, Peter Cheng’s, So Kong Dong

Phnom Penh noodle soup

Phnom Penh noodle soup

Recently, I made a lunchtime trek out to Lilburn to check out Cambodian restaurant Phonm Penh. Two years ago, former AJC dining critic Meridith Ford reviewed its Tucker location.

I never made it out to Phnom Penh when it was in Tucker. And according to the husband and wife owners, they recently relocated to Lilburn for cheaper rent.

I had trouble finding the place because Google Maps pinpoints the restaurant in the shopping center across the street from where it actually is. So if you go looking, Phnom Penh is in the Greenhill Shopping Center (to your right if you are travelling north on Lawrenceville Highway) down a few doors from a Southern buffet-style restaurant.

The menu reads similar to Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. And Malis Mam — the female owner — prepares and cooks the food. I ordered the Phnom Penh noodle soup, which is like a simplified version of Vietnamese pho.

When I researched Phnom Penh noodle soup on various sites, the original style …

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Growing green onions and chives

Green onions after two days

Green onions after two days

On one of my recent posts, one of you planted the idea in my head to reuse green onion bulbs. I use green onions a lot in cooking so this was an idea I easily got behind. Onions are easy to grow. Heck, they’ll sprout on your counter if you just leave them there.

I live in a condo building and have a small Juliet balcony attached. It’s not a large space but ample enough to put a variety of potted plants on. Last Saturday, I planted some unused green onion bulbs fresh from the market. Two days later some of them already have inch long sprouts.

While I was at it, I also planted chive seeds in a long planter box. I also like to use chives a lot in cooking, but the thin, mild version that I prefer is 1) hard to find, 2) expensive ($1.99+ for a small bagged bunch at times), and 3) usually past its prime. I don’t particularly care for the thicker, more mature chives that are sold at Asian grocers so my diet is generally chive-less. I’m hoping this changes …

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Attempting the royal groom’s cake

Groom's cake attemptWhat did you think of the royal wedding cakes? I was intrigued by the unbaked groom’s cake made from Prince William’s favorite brand of tea biscuits and chocolate. From the time I heard the details of the cake, I intended to try making one. Yet, I didn’t have to invent my own recipe because like the knockoff of Princess Kate’s dress that hit stores in L.A. within a day of the wedding, groom’s cake recipes soon flooded the internet.

I selected the recipe posted on Serious Eats that included golden syrup, an amber-colored sugar syrup commonly used in the United Kingdom. Some versions of the cake omitted the syrup, but I reasoned that its caramel flavor could add a layer of depth to the butter-chocolate-tea-biscuit concoction.

For an authentic attempt, I needed McVitie’s tea biscuits and Lyle’s Golden Syrup. While both are available on, I first checked a little shop in historic Norcross — Taste of Britain. The shop sells a variety of foods and gifts from …

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