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Archive for June, 2012

Anthony Bourdain: Chef, TV host, and….comic book writer?

Credit: Vertigo

Credit: Vertigo

 Anthony Bourdain, the outspoken author and host of No Reservations, is breaking into a new form of media with the release of his first graphic novel.

Get Jiro!, published by DC’s Vertigo comics and co-written by Bourdain and Joel Rose (Kill Kill Faster Faster, The Blackest Bird), chronicles the tale of Jiro, a vigilante sushi chef in the dystopian future where master chefs are crime lords and their foodie gangs violently battle it out in the kitchens and streets of L.A. The hardcover graphic novel was released in comic book stores on June 27th and will be available online and in bookstores on July 3rd.

Ultimately, the book is a send-up of the foodie culture and a dark vision of how it may evolve. Picture a world where foodies literally kill each other to get an elusive reservation, and ordering a California roll is sufficient justification for a beheading at the hands of the chef. Jiro finds himself and his knife skills as the object of desire for the two …

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Colbeh Persian Kitchen, Decatur

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If you like Persian food in this city, you know the Persian restaurant drill. There is no mixing and matching of kebabs. The dips and salads served as appetizers do not come in any combination plate as they might in a Greek restaurant. If you want to try one of the incredible rice pilafs, you must order it à la carte. But every entree comes with a pillowy hill of plain basmati rice large enough to cushion a fall. You will eat at most a third of it.

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

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

Enter Colbeh Persian Kitchen — a new Decatur restaurant that makes a clean break with the cast-in-stone orthodoxy of Persian restaurant menus. Everything from the dips to the stews come in tasting portions, including half skewers. The bar pours a fine selection of craft beers (both tap and bottle) as well as house cocktails perfumed with the likes of saffron and cardamom. There’s even a smart wine list.

“We thought this was an opportunity to …

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Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe restaurant review, Roswell

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When I was a child, I didn’t eat bread. Hated it.

I peeled the bun off of a McDonald’s Big Mac, ate the patty and scooped up the special sauce with french fries. No sandwiches for me. And definitely no pizza.

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

At some point, as I started eating in nicer restaurants, I discovered the almighty bread basket. When I went off to college in New York, I discovered pizza. For better or for worse (decidedly worse for my figure), I became a bread addict (pastries included). And while there are many places where I can satisfy my bread tooth, few do it quite as well as Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe in Roswell.

Given the variety of breads and pastries sold at Artisan Foods, I suspected one of the owners must have studied baking and pastry. To the contrary, owners Hoyt Williams and his wife, Sayuri, (front-of-the-house manager) both pursued the general culinary track at The Art Institute of Atlanta, where they met.

Hoyt Williams does, however, have a science …

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Local bakers win ‘Cupcake Wars’ and share recipe

DownloadedFileTwo local bakers recently made Atlanta proud by winning “Cupcake Wars,” a competitive baking show on Food Network.

Candi Pittman and Lorre Jacobs-Daniel met while working together at Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, located in southwest Fulton county’s Serenbe community. Neither have formal training, both come from a line of home bakers and both say they try to recreate heirloom or vintage recipes.

Once these bakers saw a casting call for “Cupcake Wars” on a baking blog, they decided to go for it. They received permission from the Blue Eyed Daisy’s owners to apply and produced an audition tape (see below). Once selected, Pittman and Jacobs-Daniel paid their own travel expenses and headed to California to compete.

Due to confidentiality agreements designed to protect the “magic” of the show, neither could provide much of a behind-the-scenes perspective. I hoped to find out if contestants know the theme prior to their arrival on the set. If you watch the show, you’ll …

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One kid’s summer project: ‘Portion Size Me’

Alex and Marshall Reid on the "Portion Size Me" summer tour.

Alex and Marshall Reid on the "Portion Size Me" summer tour.

No one wants to be the fat kid. Not you, not me, not 12-year-old Marshall Reid.

At the age of ten, Marshall proposed a summer family project: to get healthy. He told his mom that he wanted to try “the opposite of Super Size Me,” a documentary about eating McDonald’s each day for a month.

As an obese child, Marshall had become the object of classmates’ ridicule and felt like he couldn’t keep up in sports. He says, “I always pulled on my clothes to keep them from creeping up on my stomach… I just felt like something had to change because I was getting really unhappy.”

Marshall’s mom consented to the month-long project to improve the family’s eating habits. Marshall kept a journal and recorded video clips throughout the process, which were used to create the book “Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family.”

This workbook-style publication contains accounts of his experience along …

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Popeye’s debuts Zatarain’s Butterfly Shrimp

popeyes1So last week I got myself a big, fat invite to the Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen headquarters to get an advance look at a new menu item called Zatarain’s Butterfly Shrimp. The product debuted yesterday and will be offered for a limited time only.

What do we have here? Eight shrimp in a thick cornmeal batter flavored with custom Zatarain’s  seasonings. You also get french fries, a biscuit and a little tub of lemon-garlic sauce that tasted to me like the bastard child of Italian and ranch dressings. It costs $4.99.

popeyes2The shrimp themselves are 51-60 count pond-raised specimens from South America, China and the West Coast. Like much shellfish, they have been lightly treated with sodium tripolyphosphate to increase their size and alter their texture. They come peeled and deveined (unlike Popeye’s butterfly shrimp), with the tail still attached. Scrape away the batter, and you won’t mind what you see.

I personally found these shrimp nicely spicy and way too salty, much like I find …

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Feel The Love Elise benefit this Friday

facebook_promo_ticketsMembers of the Atlanta restaurant and public relations community are coming together this Friday to help raise money for a good cause.

Elise Tedeschi, the 43 year-old regional marketing manager for the Hard Rock Café and mother of two, received the harrowing diagnosis in January of stage three pancreatic cancer. She just completed her twelfth round of chemo, which everyone hopes will be her last, and her aggressive treatment has left the family facing extensive costs that go beyond insurance benefits and deductibles.

During her career in restaurant PR, Tedeschi earned the reputation of one of the most respected experts in the city, representing the likes of Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Pura Vida Tapas, Canoe, Murphy’s, Richard Blais, and Anne Quatrano. Now, friends and peers in the industry are throwing the Feel The Love Elise benefit this Friday to help raise money for the Tedeschi family to put towards her treatment.

The doors open this Friday, June 29th at 7 p.m. at the …

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Restaurant inspections, Dunwoody Bistro

Dunwoody Bistro, which has scored in the A-B-C range over the last three years, recently fell below satisfactory food safety levels. The restaurant, located at 2482 Jett Ferry Road, Suite 650, received a 44 (U), according to inspection reports.

Although a number of the violations were corrected at the time of the inspection, a host of them were not, including some that were related to inaccurate storage of cleaning products, serving plates and food items, the report showed.

“Chemical spray bottle in bar area stored with clean plates. Spray bottle moved. Chemicals in rear of kitchen were stored with Bisquick. Food items and chemicals were separated,” the inspector wrote, advising that chemicals must be stored away from food and contact surfaces to prevent contamination.

Dunwoody Bistro was also cited for a list of procedural items, such as not washing hands after eating and touching trash. The employee was advised that hands must be washed after doing anything and before …

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Drink rosé!

Credit: Gil Kulers for the AJC

Credit: Gil Kulers for the AJC

You know when a felicitous wine-and-food pairing just sneaks up on you? You’re eating something mindlessly, then you take a swig of whatever’s in your glass, you stop dead in your tracks. Wow. Food wine both suddenly taste so much better thanks to the presence of the other.

This happens to me all the time when I’m drinking rosé.

I remember being in a tapas bar eating Spanish ham with my fingers and polishing off a bottle of rosé with a friend, and thinking it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

I also remember having a nicoise salad with briny black olives, a too-generous glug of olive oil over the tuna and red, red summer tomatoes. That glass of rosé on the side? Etched in my brain as the ideal mate.

And then the other week, I was eating hot chicken at One Eared Stag — chef Robert Phalen’s answer to the great specialty of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville. It was a fried thigh caked in cayenne that gave its crispy skin the …

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Hamachi Kama at home

Partially decimated Hamachi Kama at Tomo

Partially decimated Hamachi Kama at Tomo

We all have those dishes that, no matter how many hundreds of times we have had them, you simply can’t resist ordering. I’ve got quite a few, which can be a hindrance for someone that both loves to and is professionally obligated to try new things when eating out. But I’m also a creature of weak will when it comes to my stomach.

And when I’m ponied up to a sushi bar, I can’t bring myself to ignore an order of Hamachi Kama. This is the collar cut – the area right behind the head/gills of the fish – of yellowtail.

At first sight, the collar doesn’t look like much more than scraps, especially when raw. But those in the know see the sexiest, fattiest, most succulent cut of fish around, and drool accordingly. Typically served grilled, with little more than salt and a side of ponzu, the collar – or the cheek, as some menus semi-accurately call it – is to fish what the “oyster” is to chicken: A treat most chefs would …

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