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Archive for June, 2011

Casseroles now open in Morningside and other restaurant news

courtesy of Casseroles

courtesy of Casseroles

In Morningside, there’s a new solution for meals-to-go. A new shop called Casseroles fills that niche. The recently opened store offers what they call “Southern hospitality to go.”

Casseroles, located behind and below Rosebud, sells an assortment of main dishes, sides and desserts in three sizes ($12.50-$46.50). Don’t feel like cooking? Take home the classic tuna noodle casserole or the vegan Indian-inspired vegetable biryani. Or, maybe the Brussels sprout and fennel bread pudding is more to your liking. Whatever your tastes, they have something for you.

Products come frozen with reheating instructions, but if you want to arrive home the hero with a warm dinner, give Casseroles a shout a few hours before you stop in and they will heat your dinner so it’s ready for your table. Now, that’s Southern hospitality!

Casseroles also specializes in creating a “gifting experience” for housewarming, sympathy, new baby or illness recovery gifts. Have your casserole …

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Home barbecue 101: Pulled pork

DSCN0509I’m probably going to wake up one morning to find a briquette thrown through my bedroom window for this, but I’m going to let you all in on a little secret that most backyard chefs don’t want you to know: Making your own barbecue is easy.

While my friends chow down on a rack of my freshly smoked ribs, they assume that it is mere modesty that leads me to dismiss their compliments and tell them it wasn’t difficult. Of course, I don’t really try that hard to convince them of this, because I’m a fan of any degree of affirmation directed my way. But the fact of the matter is, as long as you follow a few simple steps, avoid shortcuts, and give your meat the love that it deserves, you will likely turn out better ‘que than most restaurants in town. And if you happen to have a bevy of famished beer drinking dinner guests hovering around your table, you will look like a hero.

I recently posted on my new favorite toy, the BGE. And while having a ceramic smoker at my disposal will surely …

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Restaurant Inspections, Jang Su Jang

Duct Tape may be the universal DIY fix-all, but a Korean restaurant in Duluth was told to use something else for its repairs.

Jang Su Jang Restaurant at 3645 Satellite Boulevard had points deducted from a recent routine inspection because Duct Tape was being used to hold a table together and to join a longer handle on the end of a spoon.

Tape is not easily cleanable, an East Metro Health inspector said, and advised them not to use it.

The restaurant was also told not to store raw vegetables outside. Some carrots, cabbage, potatoes and squash had been left outside overnight and were contaminated by rain. The food was discarded.

These code violations, among others, gave Jang Su Jang a failing score of 43 out of 100. Their two previous scores were A’s.

Among other violations, the restaurant had a dirty meat slicer, blender and vegetable peeler. There were several cleaned dishes with food debris on them. Floors in the storage area were rotted and needed replacing, and there were …

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Sufi’s Atlanta restaurant review, Atlanta

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There is a scene in the movie “Midnight in Paris” where the protagonist leaves a Parisian bistro in the 1920s to which he has been magically transported. He rounds the corner but then doubles back, only to discover he has returned to the modern day. That bistro that had been so full of life and laughter in a previous era was now a neon-lit laundromat.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

I can look around Atlanta and see some of the ghosts of restaurants past. When I drive past the Buckhead Bottle Bar, looking stark against the moonscape of stalled construction all around it, I remember it as the restaurant Blais, where my friends and I ate a 31-course menu prepared by the pre-“Top Chef” Richard Blais. After that epic meal we walked through the raunchy streetscape that used to be, as drunks spilled from bars and a girl on a swing swayed in a window front, her miniskirt fluttering.

But I haven’t been here long enough to remember when three popular restaurants lined up all in a row on …

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Kids’ Cooking Camps throughout the metro area

Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare

Jenny Turknett

We were all so ready for the lazy days of summer to begin.

But, now, as lazy gives way to boredom, get the kids in the kitchen for a little fun and — shhh, don’t tell! — some education along the way.

Cooking classes for kids now stretch beyond assembling a few low-prep ingredients.

Kids are doing some serious cooking in kitchens all around Atlanta. Through recipes, they explore different cultures and dabble in a little history and math. Check out one of these spots that offer such cooking experiences for kids.

For a full list of camps, classes and pricing see each facility’s website.

Young Chef's Academy (credit: Jenny Turknett)

Young Chef's Academy (photo credits: Jenny Turknett)

Young Chef’s Academy

Cooking programs occur in colorful kid-centric kitchens at Young Chef’s Academy. This summer, “Camp Can-I-Cook” takes the front burner for kids ages four through teens. During the camp, which is divided into three age groups, kids whip up three to four recipes a day while learning “a pinch of math, world …

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New pizzeria coming to Decatur

Credit: Holly Florio

Credit: Holly Florio

Fans of Neapolitan pizza will soon have another in town destination for authentic style pies in Decatur. Sapori di Napoli, a joint venture of two brothers from Naples, will open in the coming weeks at 314 Church St. near the Decatur square.

Daniele and Ambrogio Florio are the team behind the new operation, whose sign many Decatur regulars may now recognize. Daniele, who has worked as a chef in Italy, London, and New York City, came to the states 8 years ago, and his brother Ambrogio, a trained pizzaiolo, recently moved to Georgia from Italy to start the new restaurant.

Pizza-nerds will be interested to know that the brothers will fire up their pies in a recently acquired 5,000 lbs ACUNTO wood-burning brick oven. That name may sound familiar to those of us in Atlanta, as Antico currently sports three ACUNTO ovens in their kitchen.

Though they hoped for Sapori di Napoli to open right about now, some permit delays have pushed things back, but the team hopes …

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Richard Blais to open Midtown restaurant

Credit: Concentrics Restaurants

Credit: Concentrics Restaurants

Atlanta’s most famous chef will once again step up to the stove. Richard Blais, the recent winner of “Top Chef All-Stars” has announced that he will open a Midtown restaurant that serves “simple American food that tastes great.”

Blais will open the restaurant this winter in a partnership with Concentrics Restaurants – the hospitality group responsible for such popular Atlanta mainstays as One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks and Tap. The restaurant will take over the 5th Street location near the Georgia Tech campus that previously housed the Globe and, more recently, Waterhaven.

Blais, who previously worked as chef at One, says he’s happy to work again with Concentrics.

“I’m honored to be teaming up with them again in this newfound partnership,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’m super excited about getting ‘back on the line’ and doing it in Atlanta this upcoming year.”

The chef, who was a finalist on a previous season of “Top Chef” before …

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The transported dinner party

checklist-dinner

Behold my dinner party checklist.

In my humble opinion, this list is the most important tool in planning and throwing a dinner party; specifically one that you are not throwing at your own home. These offsite dinner parties are basically like catering, but on a smaller scale and you’re just having a casual gathering with friends. I personally don’t have the space to throw large dinner parties so I always have to draft one of these lists before I hit the road.

In the past when I have thrown dinner parties at home, the only list I need to make is for groceries. Everything you need is accessible and you don’t forget to pack anything. Throwing one at another person’s house leaves the door open for missing ingredients, tools, equipment and transporting issues that nick at your biggest enemy — time.

You basically want to minimize the time it takes to haul yourself back home to retrieve Himalayan salt or a knob of elephant garlic that you left on your kitchen counter.

Draft the …

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Guess where?

It’s that time again folks. Play the video above and guess where I recently dined. The hint will scroll along the bottom of the video.

Thanks for playing, and there is no prize for guessing the correct answer.

- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

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Making pickled peaches

Pickled PeachesWhat a fun assignment to choose the top five spots with pickled vegetables for Best of the Big A! I adore pickled vegetables and I owe that to my grandmother. Her pickled peaches introduced me to the world of pickles.

My grandmother had peach trees positioned about her yard, which yielded dozens of small peaches perfect for pickling. She spent hours laboring in the kitchen to can the peaches in her oversized white-speckled pot. When our family gathered for lunch at her house each Sunday, one of us was sent to the cellar to retrieve a jar of pickled peaches.

I remember studying those brown-tinged half-moons bobbing in the jars and puzzling over their sweet-vinegary flavor. I was enamored. On special Sundays, we popped open a second jar just for me.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had pickled peaches. I haven’t found them at any of the market stands selling pickled veggies and the like. So, I broke out my own oversized speckled pot — mine black — to make pickled peaches.

First, I …

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