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Archive for February, 2012

The 2012 James Beard Foundation semifinalists announced

james_beardThe James Beard Foundation has announced the 2012 Restaurant and Chef semifinalists.

Selected from 57,000 online entries, the group of semifinalists has been placed in 20 Restaurant and Chef categories representing 10 different regions across the U.S.

Additionally for this year, the Foundation has added “Outstanding Bar Program” as a new award category for a restaurant or bar that has demonstrated excellence in its beverage program.

In mid-March, each award category will be narrowed down to five finalists, and then winners will be anounced at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception on Monday, May 7, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

Representing metro Atlanta:

Outstanding Bar Program

Holeman and Finch Public House

The Porter Beer Bar

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Aaron Russell, Restaurant Eugene

Cynthia Wong, Empire State South

Outstanding Restaurateur

Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria Del Sol

Outstanding Wine Program

Five and Ten, …

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Cultural Cuisines cooking classes at Buford Highway Farmers Market

(image courtesy of Buford Highway Farmers Market)

(image courtesy of Buford Highway Farmers Market)

For the next couple of weeks, the Buford Highway Farmers Market (BHFM) is offering “Cultural Cuisines” cooking classes starting this evening with Chef Joe Truex of Watershed restaurant. (Watershed shuttered its Decatur location last year, but will be reopening in a new Buckhead venue sometime this spring.)

Tonight, February 21 at 7 p.m., Truex will be demonstrating how to make dishes from his native Louisiana such as stuffed eggplant with smoked sausage and shrimp, and red snapper en papillote (in parchment).

This Cajun-inspired class is $45 per person and should be reserved by contacting Bill Schroeder at, or call 678-873-7447. The class fee includes the lesson, a $10 gift card for the farmers market and of course, samples prepared during the lesson.

Truex will also return to the market this Saturday, February 25, to demonstrate global culinary techniques with dishes like curried winter squash soup and a …

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Grant Central Pizza to customers: Take crying kids outside

Should we take the kids to McDonald's instead? PHIL SKINNNER/PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Should we take the kids to McDonald's instead? PHIL SKINNNER/PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Grant Central Pizza and Pasta, a neighborhood pizza joint in Atlanta, recently found itself in the national spotlight after adding an etiquette lesson for parents to its menu. News outlets such as Fox and reported this story — a story about children in restaurants, a topic which often sparks debate.

Here’s what started the “nationwide conversation,” as Grant Central Pizza referred to it on its Facebook page:

Dear all present and future patrons: GCP is proud of its reputation as a family restaurant, a title that we will work to keep. Unfortunately a number of our diners have posted unpleasant experiences because of crying and unsupervised children. To ensure that all diners have an enjoyable lunch or dinner with us we respectfully ask that parents tend to their crying tots outside.

Grant Central Pizza’s co-owner, Donnie Parmer, told, “We’re just trying to have general …

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Restaurant Inspections, Palomilla’s Cuban Grill House and Restaurant

Palomilla’s Cuban Grill House and Restaurant in Norcross deviated from its latest A-B level recently, scoring a 74 (C) on its food safety exam, according to the report.

For the location at 6470 Spalding Drive Suite B, the inspector noted violations relating to temperature controls, sanitizing solutions and food storage, the report showed. Information on the proper ways to cool food items was provided.

Palomilla’s also was also advised to repair a screen door – a violation that falls under the pest and animal control category.

The “screen door had large holes in the screen,” the inspector noted. “Fix the screen door so no holes are in the screen, except the ones that were provided by the manufacturer.” The manager was unavailable for comment.

Dongnea Bangnea Korean Restaurant, 3042 Oakcliff Road, Suite 104, Doraville, scored a 94 (A) on its follow-up food safety inspection, according to the report.

On corrective action or training implemented to maintain the …

Continue reading Restaurant Inspections, Palomilla’s Cuban Grill House and Restaurant »

A meal at Noma

IMG_4821COPENHAGEN, Denmark — James Spreadbury, the affable Australian general manager at Noma, greets us at the door like one of those godsend folk you meet at a party where you don’t know anyone. The one who sees you hovering at the door and says the drinks are in the kitchen, and I’ll walk you there and, by the way, my name is James.

“If you’re jet-lagged and don’t feel like you can make a choice, then don’t worry, ” he laughs, seating us at a broad but simple wooden table set with two earthenware plates and a vase of scraggly wildflowers. “There are none.” The food, about 20 courses in all, will come at a rapid clip at first, he explains. A series of small, handheld bites will acclimate us to the kitchen’s ways before the meal settles into a slower pace of more substantial courses. “Let’s get started, ” he says, pushing the vase into better view. Nestled among the ferns, pine boughs and thistle are two malt flatbreads dusted with juniper disguised as …

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns in May

From last year's event: SweetWater Brewing Company pours beer inside the tasting tents (photos by Hyosub Shin)

From last year's event: SweetWater Brewing Company pours beer inside the tasting tents (photos by Hyosub Shin)

Food lovers, get ready. Come May, Atlanta will once again serve as Grand Central Station for a network of Southern food and beverage professionals and enthusiasts from Texas to Maryland. Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will return on May 10-13 with a little something for everyone.

Last year’s inaugural event brought nearly six thousand people from 34 states and seven countries to Midtown. More are expected at this year’s festival with new programming focused on the themes of sourcing, Southern heritage, seafood, cocktails and “farm fresh.”

This event is more than just another food-sampling soiree. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival grants you access to talent from 14 Southern states (plus Washington D.C.) to showcase Southern — not just Atlantan — food and beverage traditions.

The program offers over 80 cooking and cocktail seminars, technique labs and panel …

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Your weekend in food, 2/17-2/19

SWB_15th_Invite_120116_03CTEven though it looks like we may get a little rain this weekend, there are some foodie events around town worth breaking out your galoshes and parkas. If you time everything right, with a little dedication, hitting all three is possible and would make for a nice little rainy Saturday. All three events are either partially indoors or will include tents to keep everyone dry. Check ‘em out…

Parish’s 4th annual Mardi Gras Celebration


Saturday, February 18th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


PARISH: Foods & Goods

240 N. Highland Avenue

Atlanta, 30307

This all you can eat and drink Mardi Gras celebration at Inman Park’s Parish is always a good time, featuring a slew of Cajun food like crawfish, New Orleans Sandwiches, oysters, red beans and rice, house made king cake, and a whole roasted hog. Wash it all down at the Abita beer truck while listening to a live band. Tickets are $40 at the door.

Liberty Park Chili Society 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off


Saturday, February …

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Latitude Food and Drink restaurant review, Buckhead



Micah Willix isn’t the kind of chef who splays his personality all over a menu. He’s not a Richard Blais or a Kevin Rathbun, and I doubt he could summon forth the foodie razzamatazz that judges look for on TV’s “Top Chef.”

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

Rather, Willix seems hyperaware of mood and tone — a quality that made him greatly effective as the opening chef at Midtown’s Ecco. That big, caramel-lit restaurant with its smooth jazz sensibility felt fully formed from the get-go. Customers fell for Ecco’s suave small plates and lusty pastas — the rounds of fried goat cheese with honey and cracked pepper, the chili-braised pork with fresh pappardelle — as they fell for the restaurant. The food fit the space perfectly, hand in glove.

Now Willix is working in a very different environment. Late last year, he left Ecco to open Latitude Food and Drink in Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza with three business partners.

Herb-roasted chicken breast (all photos by Becky Stein)

Herb-roasted chicken breast (all photos by Becky …

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Kozmo Gastro Pub restaurant review, Alpharetta



Hang a right at the International Market and you’ll find Kozmo Gastro Pub tucked in an out-of-the-way strip mall, next to the tattoo parlor and the head shop.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

Not exactly the directions you’d expect for a night out in Johns Creek, huh?

Owner Oswald Morgan isn’t new to the Atlanta dining scene. Many know him as one of the partners from the oft-lamented Globe in Midtown. After closing in late 2008, Morgan set his sights on the Alpharetta-Johns Creek area.

The space has a clean, modern feel, with industrial lighting and oversized chalkboard menus scrawled with weekly specials on the walls. Kozmo has built a loyal crowd that’s looking for a hip, upscale feel without leaving the suburbs.

Is this the best burger in Alpharetta? (photos by Becky Stein)

Is this the best burger in Alpharetta? (photos by Becky Stein)

Morgan certainly took a few liberties when adding “Gastro Pub” to the restaurant’s name when it opened n early 2009. The menu has its share of small plates, though no more than any other …

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Top Chef Texas recap: Technical Difficulties

Bad news y’all.

Due to a probably preventable issue, my cable decided to take the night off.

Not that it was an important episode though. I mean, it was only the final four amid a frozen tundra. Padma and the cheftestants wandering around the artic, facing temperature related challenges that would terrify any lesser chef? Why not?

I hate to do it guys, but, what happened? Who deserves to go home? Who WENT home?

Continue reading Top Chef Texas recap: Technical Difficulties »