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Archive for June, 2011

Restaurant Inspections, Sabri Kabab House

Sabri Kabab House in Norcross offers some of Atlanta’s best Pakistani food, according to diners who rave about its authentic hot and spicy cuisine. The obscurely placed restaurant shares space with a gas station at 6075 Singleton Road.

Usually the restaurant has a decent health score, but it had a few problems with insects and temperature controls during a recent routine inspection and was given a failing score of 49 out of 100.

A dead fly was found in some beef being stored on a shelf at room temperature. A dead beetle was observed in a container of karahi gosht, a traditional Pakistani main dish, being kept in a walk-in cooler. These foods were discarded.

Other cooked food was thrown away because it had been inside a walk-in cooler held at the wrong temperature for more than six hours. Manager Arshi Syad said the cooler was not regulating the temperature properly and that cost the restaurant 20 points during the inspection.

“We got the cooler fixed and everything should be …

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10 ideas for your crop of tomatoes

First have a tomato sandwich, then let's talk

First have a tomato sandwich, then let's talk

This hot, early summer has brought us one not-unwelcome byproduct — an early crop of local tomatoes. “It’s almost kind of alarming, ” says Craig Richards, chef at La Tavola restaurant in Virginia-Highland, who is serving local tomatoes six weeks earlier than he did last year. While Richards wonders what the early crop means about shifting weather patterns, he’s wasting no time featuring them at the restaurant. I’ve noticed my backyard tomato plants are filled with fruit and the cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen. I’m already planning for tomato salads and sandwiches, but the crop looks so good I’m thinking ahead. Want some ideas on how to use up your tomato crop? I’ve got a million of them. OK, maybe not a million. But I do have 10:

  1. Grate them: This is my favorite tomato trick of all time. Cut the tomato in half through the equator, pluck out the seeds with your fingers and grate the cut side against the large holes in a box …

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Cupcake craze continues, more Father’s Day options and restaurant news

Dulce Vegan Bakery (photos by Jenny Turknett)

With three new cupcake shops opening this summer, the cupcake craze appears to be going strong.

Already open is The Cup Gourmet, touting itself as “a gourmet cupcake cafe.” The Cup serves a variety of cupcakes, cheesecakes, coffees and teas. Cupcake flavors run the gamut from the classic red velvet and carrot to the more exotic key lime sublime and brown sugar with rum sauce. The Cup Gourmet also offers a rotating menu of gluten-free and vegan cupcakes. 7 a.m.- 8 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturdays, 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. Sundays. 705 Town Blvd., Atlanta. 678-705-9883. $.

Also opening this month is The Great Cupcake Company, an all-natural bakery that uses 70% organic ingredients and offers vegan and gluten-free options. Expect to find 12 of the shop’s 21 rotating flavors available in the bakery case each day. Customers — my kids included — will delight in the “cupcake creation station” where you can design your own cupcake. 10 a.m.- 10 …

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Concessions get an upgrade

At Chef's Daily Pasta in Philips Arena (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

At Chef's Daily Pasta in Philips Arena (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

The AJC’s crack lifestyles reporter Melissa Ruggieri kicks off her look at concessions around the city with this sentence:

“Lousy food and entertainment venues have been synonymous probably since the Colosseum in Rome held its first gladiatorial contest.”

So true. Yet apparently things are getting better.

Read Ruggieri’s report, and if you have any great tips on where to eat for the next Thrashers Hawks game, let us know below.

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Two new sweet spots open

Courtesy of Morelli's

Courtesy of Morelli's

Pie Shop – Buckhead

Owner Mims Bledsoe began working out of a commercial kitchen in Decatur slinging from-scratch pies online. Well, those pies seem to have paid off, because Bledsoe just opened her own brick-and-mortar shop in the heart of Buckhead this week. While the most exciting part of this may seem like it would be that the masses can pop in to pick up a Caramel Banana Tassies w/ Pecan shortbread crust, Georgia Peach Pie, or Watermelon Chiffon Pie whenever they want, it gets better: Bledsoe plans to stay open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.

Drunken blueberry rhubarb pie? Yes please.

3210 Roswell Rd. Ste. E (around back), Buckhead. 404-841-4512, www.the-pie-shop.com.

Morelli’s opens new location in Edgewood

As Jenny reported a few weeks back, Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream & Desserts, whose original Moreland Ave. location is little more than an ice cream stand with a walk-up window, has had a second location th in the Edgewood shopping district in the …

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Fritti revisit: Pizza problems?

photo-82The missus and I popped into Fritti recently to sample the Neapolitan-style pizzas now that they’re made in a fancy-schmantzy new oven hand built by an Italian pizza oven god.

Compared to the pizzas I’ve enjoyed before at Fritti, I found the crusts from this oven more charred around the edges and on the bottom, and less prone to the gooey centers that are not uncommon in Neapolitan pizza. The crusts were also, alas, distinctly softer and more pliable. We kept looking in vain for a crisp edge somewhere to give the pizza its all-important texture contrast, but couldn’t find it.

A return visit a week later revealed the same situation. Great salads, great fried mushrooms, good wine and the always-welcome finish of chocolate soup for desserts. But the pizza crusts were indistinguishable in texture from gyro wraps.

I called owner Riccardo Ullio, who said that he personally eats the pizzas four or five times a week and has never had a problem with soft crust. But he did suggest that …

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Restaurant Inspections, Bay Breeze Seafood

Ron Cochran, general manager of Bay Breeze Seafood in Mableton, was surprised to learn that Cobb County still has his restaurant listed with an inspection score of 87.

They did earn the B, but that was way back in November. In April, Bay Breeze asked Cobb and Douglas Public Health to re-inspect the facility at 1140 Veterans Memorial Parkway, and they were given a grade of 100, Cochran said.

Because the updated score is not posted on the department’s website at www.CobbandDouglasPublicHealth.org, potential customers won’t know the restaurant now has a perfect health score.

“It’s a shame because we worked real hard to get our score up to 100,” Cochran said.

Cobb is about six months behind in posting current inspection scores, but officials said this week a new system is on its way to fix that problem.

“We know our system is a little antiquated,” said Communications Director Nadine Walley, of Cobb and Douglas Public Health. “We’re working on updating our website so we can post …

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Grindhouse Killer Burgers restaurant review, Atlanta

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As the Atlanta burger craze picked up steam, a small counter in the corner of the Sweet Auburn Curb Market opened in the fall of 2009 to nearly universal fanfare. Owner Alex Brounstein’s Grindhouse Killer Burgers immediately hooked aficionados with their no-nonsense burgers and shakes.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

So, when Brounstein took over an old car wash on Piedmont Avenue to construct a full-service location, fans rejoiced. Unfortunately, months of construction delays pushed the opening back to April, and from the looks of the packed patio and long lines, the opening couldn’t have come soon enough.

Grindhouse’s kitschy aesthetic, complete with retro sci-fi toy robots and a rotating selection of ’70s cult flicks projected onto the wall that would keep Quentin Tarantino glued to his seat, remains intact. And while most of the menu remains the same, some changes have been made.

Of the new additions, the boozy milkshakes ($8.50) take top prize. Their soft-serve shakes get a …

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Favorite road trip food finds

IMG_1119This past weekend I had a family obligation that prompted me to hop in the car for a day trip, driving over 5 hours each way to and from Florence, Alabama. While I had a pretty full schedule once I arrived, I knew there was one detour that I had to make: Bunyan’s BBQ.

Having been in business for over 50 years, the menu at Bunyan’s is pretty standard BBQ fare, and generally nothing so special that it would merit a side-trip. However, there is one dish at Bunyan’s whose equal I have yet to find: their spicy slaw.

Steeped in a vinegary hot sauce, this bright-orange slaw is beyond addicting. I hate the overused food-as-a-drug simile, but this stuff really is like crack. It goes well on absolutely everything, but I’ve been known to just fill a bowl with it and take it to the face by itself. While I waited in line to order my 1.5 gallons that I carted home, I overheard the guy in front of me explain that he was from Maine and had driven 2 hours out of his way just to get some of …

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Gu’s Bistro dim sum experience

Weekend dim sum selection (photos by Becky Stein)

Weekend dim sum selection (photos by Becky Stein)

I recently reviewed Gu’s Bistro, a delightful Sichuanese restaurant located in a shopping center off Buford Highway. In my review I mentioned the menu is extensive and that it would take many visits to scratch the surface of what this restaurant offers. The restaurant’s dim sum experience is an example.

I mentioned in the review that Gu’s dim sum format is different from the “push cart” style common in Cantonese restaurants. It is prix fixe ($15) and dishes come out one by one.

Here are the descriptions of the dishes in the order they appear in the slideshow above:

Chile tofu marinated in soy – The first small item went down like a palate cleanser. The chewy sweet sticks of tofu are intensely flavored in soy sauce and pack a little heat from red chile oil.

Laba rice porridge – One of my dining companions complained that this warm rice porridge tasted like “nothing.” But I grew up eating Korean juk, which has a similar thick …

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