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Archive for August, 2012

Police raid ‘Food Truck Wednesday’ in Virginia Highland

530134_376165089120623_769987742_nAtlanta Police arrived at this week’s Food Truck Wednesday in Virginia Highland and issued citations to five different trucks for the lack of proper permits.

Bettie Cagle, who organizes of the weekly food truck gathering, stepped away from the park for a few minutes, returning around 8:15 p.m. to find two police officers in the park checking permits for each of the vendors. The permits in question – the City of Atlanta business licenses that requires a vendor must have a license for each specific address they operate from – appear to be the same ones that led to the temporary closing of the Atlanta Food Truck Park this May.

“It is not a health or safety issue. These guys are fully permitted and follow all of the health regulation codes,” said Cagle, “but when you are at an event and the police come and shut it down, there is a lot of speculation, which makes me nervous for the trucks.”

The officers that arrived on the scene explained that they were responding to a complaint, …

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Restaurant inspections, La Hacienda

A Fayette County Mexican restaurant saw its health score drop after stored food items were left uncovered, including ice, salt and fruit used in margaritas and other bar drinks.

La Hacienda, 2755 Highway 54 W., Peachtree City, was given a failing score of 68, after previously scoring consecutive health ratings of 91/A.

During the routine inspection Aug. 17 the restaurant had a repeat violation of a code requiring food not actively in use to be kept covered to prevent bacteria contamination. In addition to the bar items, some salsa was uncovered in an under-counter cooler, and beans and raw chicken were uncovered in a walk-in cooler.

Points were also deducted because raw chicken was thawing improperly in a sink filled with water. Additional cleaning was needed on a few non-food surfaces, as well as for the ice maker and can opener. A few repairs in the restaurant were also needed, and some old lids, plates and spatulas were damaged and needed replacing, according to the …

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Hot Chicken Roundup

Hot chicken at One Eared Stag

Hot chicken at One Eared Stag (photos by Becky Stein)

By Jennifer Zyman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

If you’ve lived in the South for any respectable period of time and are a fried chicken fiend, you may have heard of Nashville hot chicken. More specifically, Prince’s Hot Chicken.

The origin story goes that Thornton Prince was a tomcat and his lady friend wanted to teach him a painful lesson for his indiscretions. So, she slathered his fried chicken in an incendiary cayenne-based hot sauce. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for the rest of us, he loved it and started serving it at his restaurant.

Prince’s Hot Chicken has inspired imitators throughout Nashville and is now making inroads in metro Atlanta.

“Hot Chicken has superhero powers,” said chef Linton Hopkins, who serves his “silly homage to Prince’s Hot Chicken” at Holeman & Finch Public House in Buckhead on Monday nights. Why did he add it to the menu? “What we do has to be more than just the restaurant …

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Proof and Provision restaurant review, Midtown

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Let’s get this out of the way now: Despite what you may have heard, Proof and Provision is not a “speakeasy.”

Simply being in a basement and emphasizing craft cocktails doesn’t a gimmick make. There is no secret entrance, no special code, and no feigned time-warp to the prohibition era.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

Instead, Executive Chef Zeb Stevenson transformed the old Basta space in the lower level of the Georgian Terrace into the basement lounge that every bartender wished they had. Slightly fogged windows set into the exposed brick walls look onto Ponce, lending an unexpected brightness to the otherwise darkened bar. Despite the concrete floors, the sound level stays in check, making this a surprisingly cozy spot for conversation, except during the most hectic post-Fox theater rush.

After developing his craft behind the stick at spots like P’Cheen and Top Flr, head bartender Nate Shuman joined the team at upstairs at The Livingston in the fall of 2011. A creative and …

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A taste of fall: acorn squash

acorn squashWhile I’m reluctant to let summer slip away, these cooler mornings creeping up on us have turned my thoughts to fall.

The acorn squash in my CSA box yesterday gave me my first taste of the approaching season. Its heady pumpkiny fragrance permeated the kitchen as I scooped the insides.

To accompany last night’s dinner, I simply roasted them with a sweet and tangy fig-balsamic vinegar, salt and fresh ginger. Once out of the oven, I topped them with a little sage from my garden and grated parmesan.

The leftover squash also made an appearance in today’s lunch. I added cubes of it to a quick arugula salad with toasted pine nuts, goat cheese and blackberries. I tossed the whole thing in a vinaigrette made from the same fig-balsamic-ginger mixture I brushed on the roasting squash. Pure fall. (Okay, except for maybe the blackberries).

Now I’m ready for pumpkin pie, apple cider and cranberry anything.

What are your favorite fall dishes?

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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Green chile season [UPDATED]

IMG_5665Since I wrote this post yesterday, the green chile hankering got fierce. So I stopped by the Decatur branch of Taqueria del Sol, where the kitchen was serving a crispy green chile relleno. Bejeebus, it was the flavor of all things good in this world. The house pork green chile stew also seemed to have a spicy, fresh kick. Afterwards I went home and roasted my three pounds of chiles. I think I’m going to play around and braise a pork picnic shoulder in chile.

When a colleague and I walked over to Chuy’s in Dunwoody yesterday to discuss some projects we were working on, we were greeted with a nice surprise.

It was the first day of the restaurant’s annual Green Chile Fest. This multi-unit Tex Mex restaurant owns chile farms in New Mexico, and for three weeks each year, it gets the spicy pods in fresh. This means a menu of specials (including a good green chile stew). This also means the restaurant will sell you chiles — fresh, roasted, roasted and seeded, or …

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Fast food breakfast at home

mcmuffinMy personal affection for fast food breakfast is well documented. I typically avoid the drive-thru, except in the mornings. Like many, the Chik-fil-a chicken biscuit is a favorite of mine, but coming in a close second is the McDonald’s McMuffin…specifically, the bacon or sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin. I can inhale those things.

Of course, this isn’t the healthiest way to start a day, something that my wife enjoys reminding me of on a regular basis. So, we have fallen into a tradition as of late that keeps me out of the drive-thru, at least on weekends, and in the kitchen making her breakfast.

As we wake for a leisurely Saturday or Sunday morning – a fringe benefit of being childless that we are milking as long as we can – rather than hoof it down the street for my McMuffin fix, I’ve gone back to cooking breakfast at home. But do I make an egg white and spinach frittata and a cup of seasonal fresh fruit?

Hell no. I make my own McMuffin.

Among the benefits of making your own …

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School lunch: no sandwiches

No more sandwiches.

No more sandwiches.

School’s in. Time to resurrect the routine of simultaneously making daily breakfasts and brown-bag lunches.

Feeding a picky child can be tricky, but preparing a daily lunch that doesn’t require reheating and can survive on an ice pack for five hours can be a substantial challenge. And then, said child throws a curve ball: no more peanut butter sandwiches. Oy.

At the start of each school year, I’m always a little panicky when scanning the parent handbook, bracing myself for a new nut-free policy. Thankfully for my oldest child, whose main protein source is natural peanut butter, no such policy has been instated. (The school has nut-free tables instead.)

But the no-sandwich policy instated by my daughter throws me for a loop. So far, we’ve packed yogurt mixed with peanut butter, peanut butter balls (peanut butter mixed with coconut oil and rolled in Rice Krispies) and faux peanut butter sushi rolls (banana slices rolled in peanut butter and coated in Rice …

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Restaurant inspections, Union City Cafe

A series of little mistakes cost a Union City café its stellar food service score.

Corner Café, 6810 Shannon Parkway, was given a failing score of 63 following a routine inspection Aug. 16 because a few health violations carried risk factors for food borne illness. The restaurant was instructed to make corrections before being re-inspected.

Among the findings, sliced celery and carrots were stored in water in an uncovered container under the prep table, and subject to contamination, according to the report. Other food-contact surfaces were not cleaned after being contaminated.

In addition, thermometers were missing from a reach-in cooler, temperatures were too low on some cooked rice and containers of leftovers weren’t properly marked with disposal dates.

Points were also taken off because employees had personal items in the food prep area, such as cell phones, keys and an open water bottle.

An employee with Corner Café said the restaurant would be re-inspected this week …

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Say cheese

blackdiamond-cheddar

My father-in-law really loved the sharp white cheddar of his Ontario homeland. And so for most family gatherings he would arrive with a bodacious block of Black Diamond cheddar, pale in its black wax coating. It had the size and heft of a brick and could likely knock an Olympian off a podium.

He apparently had good taste. At the American Cheese Society annual conference, which took place this month (August) in early August in Raleigh, Black Diamond took first prize among 12- to 24-month aged cheddars. This award category pitted many small artisan cheeses against larger commercial brands, such as Kraft and Black Diamond, so the prize was well earned.

I attended some of the conference, and while the sessions on veterinary medicine and retail strategies weren’t my thing, I reveled in the tastings.

Of particular interest was a breakout session on sensory and technical evaluation of taste led by Dr. MaryAnne(CQ) Drake, a firebrand food scientist from North Carolina State …

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