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Archive for June, 2012

Han Il Kwan restaurant review, Doraville



As an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article pointed out a couple of weeks ago, kimchee has become insanely popular. Not only do chefs fancy the assertive flavor of this fermented cabbage, but diners no longer balk as they once did at its chile and garlic, its undercurrent of fish sauce, and its fizzy suggestion of spoilage.

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

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

Korean food has taken its first steps into mainstream acceptance, and that means Atlantans of every stripe have begun looking with newfound interest at the hundreds of Korean restaurants throughout our metro area.

This creates a real dilemma for me when readers ask where to go. I want to send everyone to Duluth to revel in the sudden profusion of grand, beautifully decorated Korean restaurants that have turned this Gwinnett suburb into a dining mecca. But people don’t want to go to Duluth unless they live nearby.

“Ten minutes from 285!” I protest to no avail.

“What …

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Gluten-free pizzas around town

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

Pizza. It’s one of the items people switching to a gluten-free diet seem to miss most. Yet, it doesn’t have to be. Not anymore.

A host of local pizzerias now serve pizzas prepared on gluten-free crusts. Just recently, Domino’s Pizza also added a gluten-free pizza option to its menu, the first large-scale pizza chain to do so. The availability of these products signals a recognition of the needs of the expanding gluten-free community, whether it be those with gluten intolerance (celiac disease), sensitivity or those avoiding it out of general health concerns.

Not all gluten-free pizzas are appropriate, however, for everyone avoiding gluten. Individuals with celiac disease or high levels of sensitivity can only eat the crusts prepared in an environment free of gluten. Some restaurants go to great lengths to avoid cross contamination and are appropriate for those with celiac disease while some are better suited for those with lower levels of gluten …

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Cake rings: the cupcake reinvented

Cake rings

Cake rings

Cupcakes have staying power. We’ve seen multiple cupcake shops open in the last few years. We’ve also seen cupcakes reinvented into cake pops, square cupcakes (Sweets on the Square in Lawrenceville), frosting shots and more. Now let’s try another twist: Cake rings.

Recently, I discovered cake rings made from miniature cupcakes at a friend’s birthday party. To make them, the hostess soaked the candy off of a slew of ring pops (remember those?), cut a slit in the bottom center of the cupcake liner and attached the ring with candy melts.

They were inspired by a version made by Karen Tack on the “Today Show.” Her book, “What’s New, Cupcake? Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every Occasion,” includes a recipe for “Ring Bling” cupcakes. This version, however, instructs you to insert the candy gem into the center of the cupcake. Sounds tricky to eat.

I ran a quick internet search to locate the ring inserts to save the time and waste of soaking off the …

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Grand Champion BBQ partners with Sweetwater for a good cause

imagesCAYRNTV5Roswell’s Grand Champion BBQ is teaming up with Sweetwater Brewery to throw the first annual Que & Brew on Tuesday, June 26th from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m.

The fundraiser will be held at the Sweetwater Brewery and will benefit Brandon Matos, a graduate from Pope High School in Roswell. Sadly, while on vacation and diving in the ocean, Brandon hit his head an a sandbar and suffered a C1 fracture and C6 rupture to his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the chest down. Matos is currently receiving daily treatment at the Shepard Center in Atlanta. $20 of every ticket will go to Matos and his family to help with his care.

Tickets are $30 to gain entry to the event, and will give guests access to some que care of Grand Champion, brews from Sweetwater, and live music from local bands. Food and beverage prices vary.

For more information, please contact Nicole Massey at

7 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday, June 26th. 195 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. $30

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

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New menu at Tomo


When Tomo Japanese Restaurant moved from Vinings to a much larger and fancier space on the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Buckhead late last year, chef Tomohiro Naito seemed like he was going for the golden ring. With the decampment of Soto Japanese Restaurant to New York (where it promptly earned two Michelin stars) and the closing of MF Buckhead, Tomo was poised to be become the city’s preeminent sushi bar.

In my review, I found the restaurant to be an exciting and ambitious addition to the city’s dining scene but also sensed that the kitchen wasn’t quite up to the performance of the sushi bar.

IMG_5408Now there’s a new direction in the kitchen. Naito has hired Nick Anderson, a former sous chef at Canoe, to help him rework the menu. It now has fewer small plates and more typical Japanese restaurant entrees. While the menu looks less ambitious than before, it feels more focused. Anderson is slowly getting his bearings here, and making some intriguing specials. At …

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Sister Louisa’s Church victim of possible hate crime

Credit: Frederick Noble

Credit: Frederick Noble

When Sister Louisa’s Church of Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium first opened a year and a half ago, the tongue-in-cheek bar/shrine to Owner Grant Henry’s brand of kitschy religious-themed folk art ruffled a few feathers in the neighborhood. But, aside from butting heads with some of the churchgoers in the neighborhood, Church has thrived. But this weekend, the bar in Edgewood got a taste of some less than Christian behavior.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning at 5:12 a.m., Henry received a call alerting him to the fact that the motion detectors in the first floor had gone off. By the time he made it over to the bar, the perpetrators had fled and the police had already arrived.

Henry arrived to find multiple windows on the front of the bar smashed out, most of the liquor bottles on display at “the altar” (the downstairs bar) smashed, and perhaps the most nefarious act of vandalism, the beer kegs left running in the hopes of draining them …

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Restaurant inspections, Three Dollar Cafe

Three Dollar Cafe in McDonough recently was cited for procedural violations that pushed its food safety score below satisfactory levels.

The restaurant, located at 1000 Regency Plaza, received a 56 (U), according to reports. The violations included using the vegetable preparation sink for other purposes, such as rinsing utensils. Each sink must have one use, inspectors regularly advise restaurants. Other citations included improper storage of knives and wiping cloths; substandard cleanliness of floors, walls and non-food contact surfaces; inaccurate placement of employees’ personal items; and inconsistent hand-washing of at least one employee.

Manager Bill Atherton said all of the violations have been corrected and retraining has been performed. He emphasized that temperature control violations stemmed from a cooler that was not holding the proper temperature. It was repaired the same day of the inspection, he said.

The inspector also noted “an unsealed opening at the base …

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An uninvited dinner guest

Sabal Palmetto (credit: Wikipedia)

Sabal Palmetto (credit: Wikipedia)

Well, here’s the oldest service problem in the book.

I was eating dinner recently on the patio of a restaurant when a palmetto tree — oops, I mean a palmetto bug — skittered across the table just as the server was delivering an appetizer.

There was a brief moment of stunned inaction, as we leapt back from our seats and the server called a manager over and asked how to handle the situation.

The manager was deeply apologetic, but she really didn’t do anything beyond saying, “Well, this is Atlanta in the summer. It can be so hard to keep them away.”

My friend, who had earlier said she only wanted to drink water that night, opted for a strong cocktail. And we went on to have a pretty good meal.

I think the manager should have at least offered to move us to another table, if not buy a round of drinks. But she did neither.

It can be such a difficult split-second decision on how to handle incidents like this. But when restaurants make an immediate …

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Confirmed: Justin’s Restaurant closed

Earlier this week we reported that  Sean “Diddy” Combs’ restaurant, Justin’s, was rumored to close today. The restaurant’s general manager, Solomon Fornie, denied the closure was permanent, instead indicating that the restaurant would undergo renovations for a short period before reopening.

Today, we received word from a spokesperson for Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group (BBWEG), founded by Combs, confirming rumors that the 14-year-old restaurant will not reopen.

According to the statement, BBWEG closed Justin’s Restaurant in order to pursue “other business ventures in music, television, fashion, fragrance and spirits.” The company, however, says it is “actively exploring business opportunities in Atlanta” and promises “to have a strong presence in the region.”

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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The weekend in booze: Brookhaven Beer Fest and Cypress Street block party

Cypress_Block_Party-5_29-LoResNothing says Summer like a slew of excuses to hang out in the sun and drink outdoor festivals. If that sounds like your perfect weekend, here are a few ways to pass the time over the next few days.

Brookhaven Beer FestSaturday, June 9th

The second annual Brookhaven Beer Fest has expanded. After drawing over 4,000 attendees in their inaugural year, the beer fest has now doubled their footprint, taking over the bulk of the area behind the Marta station parking lot and street stretching from Dresden Drive down to North Druid Hills Rd.

The $40 admission ($50 at the door) gets thirsty revelers the chance to sample over 150 beers at the outdoor event. In addition to the numerous food trucks and vendors expected, the festival will also feature the rock bands Boogie and the Patrick Scott Band, as well as a DJ set from E6 Energy.

Saturday, June 9th, 3 p.m.-8 p.m. $40 advance, $50 at the door. Brookhaven Marta Station on Dresden Drive.


Cypress Street …

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