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Archive for June, 2011

Whole Foods Parking Lot

Wow. Just wow.

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A visit down under in Marietta Square

01-AussieI recently paid a visit to the original 10 year old Australian Bakery and Cafe in Marietta Square, which heavily lays on the Australian shtick — inclusive with stuffed koala bears and other Australian-ish souvenirs for sale.

I used to have a thing for the curry chicken and variety of steak pies from the second location in East Atlanta Village. The meat pies are pre-made and are quickly reheated right after ordering, but due to lukewarm results I always ask to heat them longer. They are not a bad snack to get in a pinch, but the fillings tend to be more dry and gummy than I prefer.

aussie piesOn my lunch visit, my dining companion and I sampled a curry lamb pie, Burgundy beef pie and the bakery’s sausage rolls. Unfortunately these snacks tasted lackluster and stale. I also felt the Burgundy beef pie was too literal, as in all I can taste was bad vinegary red wine. As for the sausage rolls, they were bland and mealy and met a swift fate in the trash can.

This Aussie operation mass produces …

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New cooking school Hal’s Kitchen to open in Sandy Springs

Cyndi Sterne, Hal's Kitchen owner. courtesy of Hal's Kitchen

Cyndi Sterne, Hal's Kitchen owner. courtesy of Hal's Kitchen

This July, Hal’s Kitchen, a “state-of-the-art” cooking school, will open in Sandy Springs. Curious about the story behind the school, I chatted with Hal’s Kitchen owner Cyndi Sterne about her background, the decision to open Hal’s Kitchen and its location.

Though opening a cooking school wasn’t originally in her plan, Cyndi’s own cooking career began when she was 12. The summer of that year, her father worked from home while recovering from surgery. His business associates often came to the family’s home to conduct meetings while he was home-bound. Cyndi took it upon herself to prepare lunches for her father and his guests, relishing the positive feedback she earned.

Cyndi admits that she spent less time cooking during high school and college but honed her skills once she married. It was then that she discovered a secret: the more she cooked, the more of a break she got from other household duties. Sadly, Cyndi’s …

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Dogwood Restaurant closes

Scott Black, co-owner of Dogwood restaurant

Scott Black, co-owner of Dogwood restaurant

Dogwood Restaurant, the upscale Southern farm-to-table eatery across from Bank of America Plaza on Peachtree Street has closed, according to the restaurant’s publicist. Owners Shane Touhy and Scott Black (left) told the staff after service on Saturday night that the restaurant would not reopen.

Prior to opening Dogwood, Touhy was the chef at the Blue Ridge Grill in Buckhead. Here’s the official statement:

Dogwood Restaurant, located at 565 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Ga., is closed as of Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

While Dogwood has been overwhelmed by the support of loyal customers, the current economic environment and lower than anticipated sales have led ownership to make this unfortunate decision.

Dogwood is appreciative of the remarkable service and support offered by its team of employees and put forth by all of its partners and vendors. The team remains proud of the impression Dogwood made on the Atlanta dining scene.

No word …

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Restaurant Inspections, Burger Bar

When a new owner took over the former Buns & Shakes at 186 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, there was more to change than just the name and menu.

Ais Almahdi changed the name to Burger Bar, then set about to the clean the place up. “Boy, it was disgusting,” he said. “Everything was broken and dirty. They even had a problem with fruit flies.”

A Fulton County Health and Wellness inspector agreed and gave the facility a failing score of 44 out of 100, while instructing the staff on what improvements were needed.

According to the report, they were advised to remove the broken coolers that had been used for dry storage, repair the indoor garbage storage area, clean out the grease traps and have an exterminator treat the fruit flies.

Also, the entire facility needed cleaning, and some other equipment needed small repairs.

“We inherited a really bad situation,” Almahdi said. He said Buns & Shakes received a 42 on its last inspection.

However, some code violations can’t be blamed on the …

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Fruit crisps: Remember this

x2_65620e0Three tablespoons cornstarch and a half-cup of sugar.

The meat smokes on the grill, the salad bowl is heaped with all kinds of greenery and crunchy vegetables, the garden has offered up a few cucumbers to slice and dust with chili/lime salt for a pre-dinner snack.

Three tablespoons cornstarch and a half-cup of sugar.

Dinner should be ready in about an hour, so I go through the mental checklist once more. Wine and beer chill in the fridge. Iced tea steeps.

Table set? Table not set. I call upstairs to rustle up the teenage people to get to work. They glumly come downstairs and start calculating the path of least table-setting effort.

“Can we use the plastic plates?”

“Do we need spoons?”

“Should we put out water glasses?”

Three tablespoons cornstarch and a half-cup of sugar.

Guests will be arriving soon. Is there toilet paper in the bathroom? Are tumbleweeds of dog fur skittering across the floor? Can I spy with my naked eye any ants, spiders, cockroaches or wasps?

One …

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The Roswell Tap opens, restaurant news and upcoming events

Roswell will welcome several new restaurants over the next few months, but one of the first to open its doors is The Roswell Tap. This neighborhood bar aspires to be “the de facto ‘hangout’ in Roswell.” Serving 6-12 beers on tap and 24-30 bottled beers, The Roswell Tap pairs beverages with upscale comfort food including Chicago pizza and innovative sliders. This non-smoking watering hole welcomes children but will also offer adult-only events such as dance parties on the newly constructed top floor. 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. Sundays. 1090 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 678-294-3620, $-$$$.

In other news:

  • Rajbhog Cafe recently opened in Duluth. The cafe is an offshoot of the original Rajbhog Snacks and Sweets started in New York. The Rajbhog brand is known for serving authentic Indian sweets, snacks, savories, frozen foods, ice cream and beverages. This Gwinnett location also serves heartier fare including samosas, dals and chaats. …

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Celebrating Dad on Father’s Day

Ribs are just one of the items Dad will learn to grill at the South City Kitchen grilling class.

Ribs are just one of the items Dad will learn to grill at the South City Kitchen grilling class.

It’s time to think about Dad. How will you celebrate the Dads in your life?

In our house, we celebrate everything with food. But, here’s how Father’s Day works. I’ll ask my husband if he wants to go to brunch or dinner or if he would rather cook at home. He won’t know. I’ll ask several times with no luck. Next, I’ll make a reservation for brunch (because I like going to brunch) and have that in my back pocket when he fails to make a timely plan (which is exactly what will happen and yes, that reservation has already been made).

So, Moms, if you like to go to brunch and need to make the plan, here are a few options.

  • Try the Ritz Carlton’s Atlanta Grill, where the Father’s Day brunch menu was created with Dad in mind. Chefs will carve prime rib and accompaniments will be served family-style. Beer flights featuring Terrapin Beer Company will be available. Dads will also get an apron …

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Local blogger helps raise over $3K for charity

Bake-Sale-2011-300x250Those of you that follow many of the Atlanta foodies on Twitter probably caught some of the online buzz around the hashtag #ATLbakesale a few weeks back. On May 13th-15th, the Atlanta chapter of the Great American Bake Sale, spearheaded by our own Tami Hardeman of Running with Tweezers, raised over $3100 to benefit Share Our Strength, a non-profit that fights childhood hunger. Combined with a $10,000 donation from partner Duncan Hines, the project raised over $22,000 nationwide.

Gaby Dalkin from Whats Gaby Cooking founded the Great American Bake Sale last year in 2005 and tapped Hardeman last year to lead the Georgia team, one of over 25 cities that participated. Hardeman, her team of over 20 volunteer bakers, and the support of the Atlanta community raised roughly 35% more than the Los Angeles bake sale, which included over 50 bakers, celebrity chefs and pastry chefs.

Hardeman attributes the success of the Bake Sale to everyone that volunteered their time and food, saying …

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Thali opens in Patel Plaza

thaliCool news for Indian food fans:

Thali restaurant has opened in the Patel Plaza shopping center in Decatur. This vegetarian spot serves a fixed price lunch and dinner of what looks like a dozen or more items. I peeked in and talked to the owner (sorry, didn’t get his name). He told me that each customer gets a thali (a platter holding several curries, starches and pickles,  and comprising a full meal). But he also made it sound like the meal would be coursed out, with two entrees making their appearance, as well as some sweets.

There is also a snack counter with Indian sweets and savories.

The restaurant is inside the redeveloped shopping plaza, and it holds a number of cozy low tables on raised platforms with cushions scattered around. There is also table-and-chair seating.

The price for the meal is $14.99, lunch and dinner. I hope to check it out soon.

(1709 Church St., Decatur, 678-705-1290)

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