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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for April, 2012

New crop of chef cookbooks looks promising

Chef cookbooks used to be vehicles to display virtuosity. Intended for the coffee table rather than the kitchen, they were oversized tomes filled with spectacular photos of plated food. Recipes would begin with “Step 1: Roast the veal bones for demiglace” — a 36-hour process. And they would end with “Step 16: Deep-fry the carrot frizzles for garnish.” The chef, dressed in impeccable kitchen whites, would pose smiling with the finished dish, his teeth as sparkling as the china.

Today’s chefs aim to present themselves as enthusiastic cooks who want to share their notions about flavor combination and teach their readers cool techniques to apply to their home kitchens. Like us civilians, they putter around on Sundays but have to get quick meals on the table during the week. They try to source the best ingredients, but realize most of us rely on neighborhood supermarkets rather than butchers and fishmongers. They think about their health and that of their kids. They know good …

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Restaurant inspections, Catalina Restaurante y Taqueria

Catalina Restaurante y Taqueria in Hapeville has been caught in a cycle of unsatisfactory scores for two years, most recently receiving two failing marks, according to food safety inspection reports.

The substandard results for the eatery at 4110 Old Dixie Highway, which serves traditional Mexican food, stem from a host of new and repeated violations, including improper handling of cooked foods, inadequate hand-washing procedures, unsatisfactory temperatures controls and an absence of date-marking of ready-to-eat foods.

These type of infractions led to a 44 (U) on the April 10 routine exam and a 60 (U) for the follow-up inspection performed Wednesday, the reports showed. Repeated calls to the restaurant yielded no answer about corrective actions or training. In the meantime, the inspector advised the restaurant April 10 that legal action could be taken if a certified food safety manager is not available within 30 days, the inspection report showed. The violation has been …

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Cinco de Mayo celebrations

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Every year on the 5th of May, in honor of the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, revelers flood the streets of America in droves in search of cheap margaritas and bottles of lime-stuffed beer. And, fortunately for most of us, this year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday, leaving us with plenty of celebrations to choose from. Here is a roundup of some of Atlanta’s best Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Fiesta Atlanta

Fiesta Atlanta, the largest Cinco de Mayo party in the Southeast, will celebrate Hispanic heritage with an all day festival at Centennial Olympic Park. The festival regularly draws over 45,000 attendees. The festivities begin at 10 A.M. on Sunday, May 6th and will feature two stages of live musical performances by international and local artists, Mexican folk dancing, a ¿5 Qué? (5K) Race, mariachi music, and plenty of authentic Hispanic foods.

10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, May 6th. Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta. …

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Restaurant inspections, Super Hong Kong Buffet

Super Hong Kong Buffet in Atlanta recently dropped below food safety satisfactory levels twice since January, according to food safety inspection reports.

One of the failing scores came during a follow-up inspection March 20, the other one in Jan. 27. It later corrected all of the infractions, receiving a 99 (A) on Monday, facing two minor new violations.

Super Hong Kong, located at 131 Cone St., suffered a major drop in its scores because of violations related to unclean surfaces, improper date-marking of food items, and a substandard process for washing, rinsing and sanitizing in the three-compartment sink, the reports show.

The inspector also noted the buffet restaurant was also advised that it must “post current permit and last inspections at front entrance” – an infraction that a patron email The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about.

Super Hong Kong’s scores fell from last May’s 96 to a 64 (U) on Jan. 27, a 76 (C) on Feb. 8, a 60 (U) on March 20 and its current 99. As …

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Harold’s Barbecue to close next week

Brunswick Stew at Harold's Barbecue top pick in Atlanta. (AJC Staff Photo/Joey Ivansco)

Brunswick Stew at Harold's Barbecue top pick in Atlanta. (AJC Staff Photo/Joey Ivansco)

Next Thursday, May 3 will mark the 65th year of business for Harold’s Barbecue and the day it will close its doors forever.

This original location at 171 McDonough Boulevard on the Southside of Atlanta survived the opening and closing of two other Harold’s locations and the passing of owner Harold Hembree, Jr. in 2008. Current owner Billy Branyon explains why the original Harold’s is closing now, “The economy has gotten us. We are a lunch business… people are carpooling and are not going to lunch as much. It’s the economy.”

Back in February, both the AJC readers and Dining Team member Jon Watson picked Harold’s Barbecue as the top spot for getting brunswick stew in a Best of the Big A vote. Watson said, “Harold’s has been one of Atlanta’s favorite old-school barbecue spots for decades, and their Brunswick stew wins some of their highest praises. The traditional  emulsified-style stew makes …

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Restaurants near the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park

How about some celebration cake in Buca di Beppo's Pope Room before a show? (photos by Becky Stein)

How about some celebration cake in Buca di Beppo's Pope Room before a show? (photos by Becky Stein)

If you go to a show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, you’re a stone’s throw from all kinds of destination dining: handcrafted pastas at Taverna Fiorentina, grilled chicken skewers at Yakitori Jinbei and Korean smoked pork sandwiches at Heirloom Market BBQ.

John Kessler is the chief dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

John Kessler is the chief dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Near the Gwinnett Arena, the choices are fewer but equally quirky. From yogurt-splashed scallion dumplings at Shami Kabab Afghan Restaurant to pork green chile tamales at Taqueria Los Hermanos, you’ve got lots of offbeat places to explore.

So what’s for dinner before a show at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta?

You are basically on the outskirts of North Point Mall, itself surrounded by satellite shopping centers filled with sturdy, well-performing, multi-unit restaurants. Places like California Pizza Kitchen, …

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Roundup of Asian Dumplings

My little dumpling! Choices abound at Chef Liu (photos by Becky Stein)

My little dumpling! Choices abound at Chef Liu (photos by Becky Stein)

By Jennifer Zyman for the AJC

It always happens on a Sunday. I wake up wanting dim sum, but quickly come face-to face with the reality that, however varied and wonderful our Chinese restaurant scene is, dim sum spots are unfortunately inconsistent. Visit an esteemed place one weekend and it is indeed spectacular. Return a month later and it is just okay. Fear not, my fellow dumpling fiends. Excellence and consistency abounds if you know where to go — be it a shack or a top sushi palace. Follow me to dumpling Shangri-La.

Xiao long bao: the famous Shanghai soup buns

Xiao long bao: the famous Shanghai soup buns

Chef Liu

Back in 2005, a tiny shack, smack dab in the middle of the Pine Tree Plaza parking lot on Buford Highway, emerged as a must-eat place mainly for its xiao long bao or Shanghai soup buns. What makes xiao long bao worth seeking out is the surprise inside. The skin is gathered like a hobo’s satchel and secured at the top with tidy little …

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Food Blogger Bake Sale Saturday

2012FoodBlooger_Final_BWOB_2_taglineIf you need a fix for your sweet tooth this weekend, check out the third annual Food Blogger Bake Sale.

The event, part of Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, is one of nearly 500 such sales across the country. The money raised will support Share Our Strength’s programs to end childhood hunger. Last year’s Atlanta Food Blogger Bake Sale was the most successful one in the U.S., raising over $4000. Food stylist and blogger Tami Hardeman (@runwithtweezers), who is leading the charge once more, says, “I’m determined to match… or BEAT… that number. We need your help…”

The local bake fest will be held in front of The Cook’s Warehouse at Ansley Mall in Midtown from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. this Saturday, Apr. 28. More than 20 bakers will offer up their best for the sale. In addition to goods from local bloggers, look for treats from Bear Maker Bakery, Red Queen Tarts and Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse. Early reports on Twitter (#ATLBakeSale) suggest you’ll also find …

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Atlanta’s culinary ‘Rising Stars’ announced

StarChefs.com 2012 Atlanta Rising Stars

Back row: Peter Dale, Seth Roskind, Miles Macquarrie, Todd Immel, Chrysta Poulos, Aaron Russell, Anthony Gray, Andy Carson Front row: Robert Phalen, Ryan Smith, Whitney Otawka, Brian Lewis, Shane Devereux, Adam Evans, Tyler Williams, Taria Camerino, Terry Koval (Not pictured: Guy Wong, Richard Blais)

It’s awards season — that time of year when chef and restaurants are recognized for their achievements. The James Beard winners will be announced next month and StarChefs.com has announced its 2012 Atlanta Rising Stars.

Each year StarChefs.com chooses four cities around the country for which they name Rising Stars, the future leaders of the culinary scene. This year, the group conducted interviews and personal tastings with 80 of Atlanta’s culinary professionals before selecting award winners. In a press release, StarChefs.com editor-in-chief Antoinette Bruno said, “We’ve found a creative, eclectic and burgeoning culinary landscape in Atlanta. It’s the heart of farm-to-table, …

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Popular Atlanta restaurants plan expansions

community3-224x300A few weeks ago, Jenny reported on the expansion plans of the popular Indian restaurant Bhojanic into Buckhead. Well, they aren’t the only local restaurants eyeballing new locations. Here are a few successful Atlanta favorites that will be cropping up across town, and beyond…

Community Q heads to the Westside

The popular Decatur barbecue spot will soon take over the old Burger Joe’s location on Marietta St. in West Midtown. Owner Dave Roberts has confirmed that the new location is currently slated to open in late June. Diners can expect the same ‘que (and almost more importantly, the same mac and cheese) that made the Decatur shop so popular to appear at the new location.

West Egg Café heads to the Eastside

The perpetually crowded West Egg Café, the popular brunch/breakfast spot in West Midtown, announced plans to open new location later this Fall near Emory University. The new location is being opened by West Egg owners Ben and Jennifer Johnson, but the pair doesn’t plan to …

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