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Archive for December, 2011

French American Brasserie closes

courtesy French American Brasserie

courtesy French American Brasserie

Over the past few months, rumors have been swirling about downtown’s French American Brasserie. The rumor mill suggested that it was closing in order to open a new restaurant in Buckhead. And, indeed, owners Fabrice Vergez and Cindy Brown will open a new restaurant concept called F&B at the Ritz-Carlton Residences.

At the time of the F&B announcement, however, F.A.B. representatives insisted that it would remain open and that the new restaurant would not be a replacement. However, as What Now Atlanta reported, yesterday F.A.B. posted a notice of closure on its Facebook page and today the phones remain unanswered. The Facebook post reads:

We want all of our loyal fans and patrons to be the first to know that as of last night, we have closed our doors downtown. Thank you to our incredible staff and all of those who have supported us over the years. With the current economic climate, we felt it best to focus all of our attention and efforts …

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Paula Wolfert releases update to classic Moroccan cookbook

Wolfert (credit: Sara Remington)

Wolfert (credit: Sara Remington)

“Has it been 10 years?”

Paula Wolfert and I say this almost simultaneously when we spot each other in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel. We’ve both lost weight since we last spent an afternoon in San Francisco, near where she lives, walking around the city and eating Crab Louis Salad at the Swan Oyster Depot. So we had that to crow about. Paula’s trick: She prepares and eats her big meal at lunch with her husband, novelist William Bayer. Come dinner time, she has a glass of wine and a handful of trail mix. Whatever she’s doing, it’s working. She looks a decade younger than her 73 years.

I first met Wolfert as a fanboy, pure and simple. I introduced myself after seeing her prepare a Tunisian-style couscous with tomato paste and carrot fronds at a food show in Denver. Like many of her fans, I came of age as a cook through some of her early cookbooks, such as “Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco” and “The Cooking of …

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Visions of gingerbread: Dining Team favorites and drawing winner

by Donna Shepard Varn

by Donna Shepard Varn

After two weeks of starts and stops due to the holiday bustle, I have yet to finish my gingerbread masterpiece. But, you have. Have you seen all of the gingerbread houses posted by readers on our Facebook page? Atlanta’s got talent.

What a fun week I’ve had enlarging the photos and studying each detail, stealing ideas to finish my own gingerbread house! Thanks to each of you who shared your artistry with us.

Those of us on the Dining Team put our heads together to choose a few favorites to share with you. We unanimously chose to share this church by Donna Shepard Varn. Donna told us this about the piece:

Our family has been baking gingerbread houses for about 30 years. This year’s creation was inspired by a charming church I took a photo of while traveling in Nova Scotia several summers ago. We draw up our own plans, cut out the pattern, mix the dough, bake, assemble and decorate it. Our children would smash and eat it on Epiphany, a German custom my …

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Restaurant Inspections, Rice Wok

Rice Wok, located at 335 Upper Riverdale Road in Jonesboro, experienced a streak of failing scores on its food safety inspection exams.

It recently rebounded to a B, a level that it had not achieved since April 2010.

After a complaint was filed, according to a May 10 report, Rice Wok underwent an inspection and received a 57 (U). On the follow-up exam May 24, it failed with a 59 (U).

At the time, Rice Wok was cited for sanitary issues, including soiled floors, lint-filled vents and improper storage of wiping cloths, the May 24 report showed. The inspector also noted live roaches crawling on various surfaces, an infraction that was also cited during Rice Wok’s two latest exams.

In May, a pest control appointment was scheduled, according to the report, and this month the inspector wrote:

“I observed 3 [three] Raid cans in [the] restaurant. I explained to the owner that she can’t do her own pest control. There is a pest control company that services [the] restaurant every …

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Golden House restaurant review, Duluth



Different cultures seem to idealize different qualities in the restaurant experience. The most memorable Japanese restaurants I’ve known have been small and cozy — little nooks where the chef makes one kind of dish extremely well. French dining for me hits its stride in bistros that evince the special bustle and energy of their neighborhoods.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

But my favorite Chinese restaurants have always been palatial spaces, filled with a sea of tables and boasting the talents of a chef who can stage a true feast. When Chinese restaurants feel like a celebration, they stay long in your mind.

Such has been my experience at Golden House — a new Duluth spot from one of the metro area’s best-loved Cantonese chefs. Danny Ting, a native of Hong Kong, earned the love of Atlanta’s Chinese food fanatics during his successive stints at two modest Buford Highway spots, Wan Lai and Bo Bo Garden. Fans helped Ting compile an ever-increasing list of signature dishes, …

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Sapori di Napoli restaurant review, Decatur



Neapolitan pizza is a tricky thing.

With little more than a few fresh ingredients and sparse toppings, the style leaves very little room for error. Perhaps the biggest misconception here in the states is the implications of the dreaded wet or soggy crust. It’s not uncommon for true Neapolitan pies to be so wet in the center that a fork and knife are a necessity, nor is that considered a failure.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

For whatever reason, this doesn’t play well with our American palates and many pizzaiolos adjust their recipes to avoid it. A matter of seconds can make the difference between a soft, charred crust with a slight chew and the soupy mess that irks many diners.

Metro Atlanta’s newest restaurant touting authentic Neapolitan pizza, Sapori di Napoli in Decatur, comes to us from the team of Naples-born brothers Daniele and Ambrogio Florio. The Florios serve traditional Neapolitan pies in a fast-casual atmosphere. Diners order at the counter and take a number to …

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Top Chef Texas recap, Episode 7: Time to pay the fiddler

credit: Bravo

credit: Bravo

If you don’t know there are SPOILERS in here, I feel no pity for you.


So we finally have our first villain. After this week’s episode, there is no doubt in my mind that Heather’s abrasive persona isn’t a result of creative editing. You can’t fake that kind of awful.


The chefs enter the kitchen to find Padma and this week’s guest judge Tim Love, a Top Chef Master and chef/owner of The Lonesome Dove in Ft. Worth. And a whole bunch of hooch.

The chefs taste and pick a Don Julio tequila to build a dish around it. Ty-Lor is pumped, both because he is getting sick of being on the bottom and because he freakin’ loves tequila. In fact, it seems all of the chefs love tequila.

I think we all cheered a little inside – or, as in my case, so loud it scared the dog – when Chef Love puts Heather in the bottom, saying that her rock-shrimp dish “felt like a new special at a new chain restaurant.” Chris J. rushes his chicken and overcooks the …

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The 16 step guide for Korean samgyeopsal dining


You may have already dined at Korean restaurants that specialize in samgyeopsal (pork belly) cooked tableside. There are quite a few establishments — stretching from Buford Highway to Duluth — offering the sizzling piggy that diners can order a la carte, or as an all-you-can-eat format.

This Korean pork belly smorgasbord can be confusing to the uninitiated, so allow me to relay a general guideline for your samgyeopsal adventure.

1. Pick a spot. Honey Pig, Iron Age, Sun and Moon Cafe, Star Daepo are some options in Duluth. Dongnae Bangnae off Oakcliff Road and Buford Highway is a closer option for intown residents. (Addresses and contact information provided at the end.)

2. If you plan to go with a big party or even during prime time (7-9 p.m.), I highly recommend you make a reservation especially on and around the weekend. Some of those places I mentioned take them like the popular Honey Pig and Iron Age.

3. Find a designated driver or responsible mode of transportation if …

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Linguini pork brodo “ramen” at La Pietra Cucina

Going.. Going.. Gone.

Going.. Going.. Gone.

Last week I had lunch at La Pietra Cucina and had a wonderful pasta special that my server relayed as the restaurant’s interpretation of ramen.

The kitchen takes some house-made linguini noodles topped with some earthy onion bulbs, diced scallions, slivers of peppery Italian sausage, a poached egg perched on top and finished with a warm pork broth elixir.

I really loved this nod to ramen. It’s not a large dish, and clocks in at $12, which isn’t a cheap lunch I know. But it’s handled with care and contains house-made sausage and pasta steeping in a lovely, thin-but-profoundly-flavorful broth.

I would unabashedly pay $12 for another order of this.

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Leftover gingerbread dough? Make gingerbread s’mores

gingerbread smoreDid you make a gingerbread house this year? From scratch? If so, chances are you have leftover dough in the fridge. Instead of making gingerbread men, try something a little different: gingerbread s’mores with layers of gooey cinnamon marshmallows and pumpkin butter.

To make the s’mores, roll out gingerbread dough and cut into rectangles. Bake them as you would gingerbread house pieces, but remove the pan from the oven sooner before the pieces are completely dried out.

You can also make your own pumpkin butter and cinnamon marshmallows for the gingerbread s’mores.  Follow any homemade marshmallow recipe, such as these, and add cinnamon as your flavoring. I’ve included a recipe for pumpkin butter below.

And, if you’ve made a gingerbread house (from scratch or not), be sure to post it on the AJC Food and More Facebook page by the end of today. On Friday, we’ll share our favorites here on the Food and More blog and announce the winner from a drawing of those who …

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