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Archive for July, 2011

Can Rachael Ray’s ‘30 Minute Meals’ be made in 30 minutes?

courtesy of The Food Network

courtesy of The Food Network

It all started with a friend’s Facebook post:

“I’m pretty sure the 30 minute meal Rachael Ray is making would take me two hours (minimum).”

And the comments on the post:

“What’s she making?”

“Some meatball pesto creation with spaghetti noodles mixed in – and then some other dippers and dipping sauce…”

“Her pork-fried rice takes WAY longer than 30 minutes if you don’t have everything chopped & ready to go.”

“I hear ya!”

“You have to be on speed.”

“She doesn’t have 2 kids asking her questions every 2 minutes!!”

“I totally agree!”

“It’s only 30 minutes if you have a crew of assistants prepping everything for you.”

I then looked at the 30 Minute Meals website. Here’s what it says about the show:

From comfort food to sophisticated fare for entertaining, Rachael promises that her dazzling dishes will never take more than 30 minutes to make, from start to finish.

Wow. Rachael promises? Surely these recipes …

Continue reading Can Rachael Ray’s ‘30 Minute Meals’ be made in 30 minutes? »

Restaurant inspections, quick-serve Asian restaurants

Three quick serve Asian restaurants in Clayton County saw their inspection scores drop into the 50s because supervisors did not demonstrate proper knowledge and awareness of health code policies.

This could put the facilities at risk of food-borne illness, according to Clayton Health Department inspectors.

Hong Diep Fast Food, a Vietnamese restaurant at 1626 Lake Harbin Road, Morrow, posted a failing score of 56 out of 100, and two Chinese take-out restaurants on Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro also posted failing scores.

No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, 7887 Tara Blvd., saw its perfect score of 100 fall to a 54, and New China Wok,10393 Tara Blvd., had its score drop from 93 to 52.

Manager Mike Lin of No. 1 Chinese said he wasn’t present during the July 19 inspection and is working with his staff to find out what happened and make corrections.

New China Wok Manager Ting Ting Dong said her staff has worked hard to correct all the violations in anticipation of a follow-up inspection …

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Fifth Group’s new restaurant Alma Cocina

Alma rendering courtesy of Fifth Group Restaurants

Alma rendering courtesy of Fifth Group Restaurants

Fifth Group Restaurants released details today about its new restaurant, Alma Cocina. The restaurant, slated to open around November 1, will be located in One Ninety One Peachtree Tower and will serve contemporary Mexican fare. Here are more details from the press release:

“We originally thought we would do authentic Tex-Mex and Mexican-inspired dishes,” said Robby Kukler [of Fifth Group Restaurants]. “But after our travels and discussions with the creative leadership within Fifth Group Restaurants as well as with those who would be our regular guests, we decided to focus more on contemporary Mexican cuisine infused with the many flavors of Latin America. Then we found Chef Chad Clevenger and knew for sure this was the right direction.”

Clevenger has 14 impressive years of culinary experience that include work with famed chefs Rene Ortiz, Jesse Perez, Rick Bayless and Tim Love. He was executive chef at Coyote …

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Bakery tales and flour trails

Sadly, the photo doesn't capture the magic and charm of the scene.

After a recent dinner at Holeman & Finch, my husband and I took an after-dinner stroll down Peachtree Road. Just up the block we stumbled upon a sight that made my heart sing.

As we approached the H & F Bread Co., we saw traces of white dust on the pavement. Closer to the shop, the dust formed tracks, clearly footprints. The powdery trails led in every direction, whispers of the bakery’s tale.

As we passed the entrance, the hum of the half-dozen employees inside accomplishing their tasks floated from the open doorway. A collection of rolls and breads of every sort rested on speed racks. An employee stepped outside, the cuffs of his black pants also liberally dusted with flour.

For some reason, the entire scene set against a pink-tinged sunset nearly brought tears to my eyes. The age-old imagery of a warm cozy bakery filled with the yeasty smells of freshly baked bread flooded my thoughts.

Maybe it was the baker in me. Maybe it was the cocktail from dinner. Whatever it was, …

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Morelli’s scores a vote at Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

Morelli's

Were you one of the 821 people that attended the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival last weekend?

During this packed event, hosted by JCT.Kitchen, festival-goers were treated to tomato-centric dishes and cocktails. The event raised almost $40,000 for Georgia Organics.

Atlanta chefs including Ford Fry, Linton Hopkins, Carvel Grant Gould, Steven Satterfield (and many more) were paired with local farms to supply ingredients — tomatoes — for their dishes. Then, they faced the daunting task of preparing close to 900 portions of their tomato creation in two hours. (The festival lasted four hours but most of the food was depleted in two.)

There were six or seven dishes among my top choices, but the one that I’ll remember most (and seek out) is the olive oil and basil ice cream with tomato compote made by Morelli’s Ice Cream. Think of a luxuriously buttery olive-oil ice cream topped with a sweetened-tomato jam evoking the flavors of a sweet bruschetta.

They won my vote for …

Continue reading Morelli’s scores a vote at Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival »

The proliferation of food truck parks

IMG_1291It seems that it was only a few months ago that food trucks in Atlanta was the hot new trend to hit our city. Exciting new food with a hint of political activism.

It all began when the first street food vendor to capture our hearts, The King of Pops, burst onto the scene in the spring of 2010. Soon thereafter, the Hankook Taqueria-powered Yumbii popped up and food trucks and all of the regulatory road blocks hindering this new segment of the Atlanta restaurant scene came into the public discourse. (The Atlanta Street Food Coalition began organizing supporters for the cause since the summer of ’09, I’m simply referring to when the average foodie actually started paying attention.)

Because food trucks can only set up shop on private property, leaders had to look for alternate venues to help raise awareness and give these new business somewhere to operate. Events like the Urban Picnic and Souper Jenny’s Food Truck Extravaganza provided a sanctioned place for food trucks to …

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Restaurant inspections, Grand Buffet

Inadequate hygiene practices and some unfinished building repairs cost Grand Buffet in Duluth a passing inspection score.

The Chinese restaurant at 1825 Liddell Lane was given a failing score of 41 out of 100 on a recent inspection.

Spokeswoman Irene Wok, who assists the restaurant manager, said Grand Buffet usually makes A’s or B’s, but an unfinished building project lowered the score this time.

“The kitchen is clean. Most of the problems are from a contract remodeling. The contractor is not finished and that cost us some points,” Wok said.

Points were taken off for a broken faucet, shelves that needed repairing or replacing and missing sneeze guards on portions of the buffet serving stations. Also, a back-splash was missing from a hand-sink, and multiple areas in the facility needed repairs.

However, Grand Buffet dropped most of its points for violations of good hygiene.

Employees were not washing their hands before beginning food prep, or between glove changes or …

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Jennifer Zyman aka The Blissful Glutton new Eater editor for Atlanta

(image used with permission from blissfulglutton.com)

(image used with permission from blissfulglutton.com)

This morning, critic Besha Rodell of the Creative Loafing announced that Jennifer Zyman, one of its regular food and drink writers, has been selected as the Atlanta editor for Eater – a national website that posts frequent daily updates on food and drink related news.

According to Besha’s post, Eater founder and president Lockhart Steele explained:

“We’re interested in breaking news,” Steele told me. “We’re not afraid to get gossipy. We’re interested in the experience of dining out.” There will be no recipes and no original restaurant criticism, although the site will round up what the city’s critics are saying. You can also expect previews of new places. “We want to cover the entire lifespan of a restaurant,” Steele says. “From the time it’s a glimmer in the mind of a chef to when it opens, through the reviews, to a year into its life and beyond.”

In full disclosure, Ms. Zyman is a friend of mine and I have also been a …

Continue reading Jennifer Zyman aka The Blissful Glutton new Eater editor for Atlanta »

One Eared Stag restaurant review, Atlanta

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During these heady days of new Southern cooking, the most interesting restaurants around town sing a song of farms, tables and delicious pig parts — a now-familiar theme that you could say is a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll. Some do so in a classic way that brings vintage Allman Brothers to mind; others have the modern soulfulness of Tim McGraw. And, yes, there are more than a few Donnie and Marie Osmonds out there.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

Now comes One Eared Stag, and if anything, it’s the garage band of the pack. This kitchen, still figuring itself out, seems rawer, edgier and somehow raunchier than the rest. Fried chicken livers? Forget that. How about fried chicken necks?

Set in the former Shaun’s in Inman Park, One Eared Stag opened quietly two months ago. Chef Robert Phalen and managing partners Robert McDonald and Zoë Cernut (the trio behind East Atlanta Village’s idiosyncratic Holy Taco) have stripped the space of its genteel veneer …

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Sri Krishna Vilas restaurant review, Alpharetta

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Sri Krishna Vilas feels like two restaurants. At lunchtime, the Indian restaurant is a chaotic and crowded buffet-only experience catering to mostly office workers. During the mellower evenings, the restaurant offers an expanded menu of appetizers, vegetables and meat dishes. Its dining space is split down the middle by the long buffet line, and during daylight hours the brightly lit and generically designed right side looks and feels like a cafeteria compared to the more exotic, windowless left side.

Review by Gene Lee

Review by Gene Lee

The trick to enjoying Sri Krishna Vilas’ lunch buffet ($9.95) is figuring out how to navigate it. The curry items are the best choices. They hold up better on the line as the various meats grow more tender in the warm gravy and soak in its spices. Kadai goat, small, bone-in pieces of fatty, tender goat in spicy tomato gravy, entices. Butter chicken, smothered in rich cream sauce, is fall-apart tender. Steamed basmati rice perfumed with cardamom and …

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