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Archive for January, 2013

Restaurant inspections, Singha Thai

A Thai restaurant in Dunwoody lost half a day’s business last week when it was forced to close because of a failing health inspection.

Singha Thai, 5554 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, was given a 62/U, its second failing routine inspection score in the past six months.

The restaurant was allowed to re-open the next day after scoring a 94/A on a follow-up inspection by DeKalb County Environmental Heath.

Singha Thai manager Gina Sapwibun said there were a few minor corrections that had to be made to get the score back up.

“There were no big things wrong,” she said. “It wasn’t like the food was bad or anything like that. There were just a few small things to correct.”

Food had to be rearranged in the coolers. Large containers of chili had been stored next to raw chicken. And raw eggs were placed above the chili, according to the inspector.

The restaurant also needed cleaning, and a weather strip added to the back door. The inspector said the floors and walls were unclean with food …

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Roast Chicken hits Atlanta: The bird is the word

Gio's Chicken Amalfitano (photos by Becky Stein unless otherwise noted)

Gio's Chicken Amalfitano (photos by Becky Stein unless otherwise noted)

My own roast chicken is precisely like the celebrated dish served at The NoMad restaurant in Manhattan in one way. It isn’t the ingenious stuffing (theirs, not mine) of brioche crumbs, black truffle and foie gras that separates the crisp and burnished skin from the supple and juicy breast. It isn’t the appearance of the chicken (theirs, not mine), which comes to the table with its clawed feet sticking in the air and a massive tuft of green thyme sticking from its cavity as if it were a confused Chia pet.

The similarity in the two chickens lies in the cooking method. Like me, chef Daniel Humm likes to roast his bird just to the point where the breast is at its peak but the legs are still pink at the bone and tough. He cuts the meat away and finishes it in a sauté pan to serve as a side dish to the breast. My technique is a bit more inadvertent. I carve into the chicken, realize the legs might send my family …

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LPC restaurant review, Midtown



Since opening in the fall of 2008, La Pietra Cucina in Midtown had its fair share of growing pains.

For nearly nine months, diners walked through the vast, unfinished space that once was MidCity cuisine to sit in the temporary dining room in the small back bar. But, despite the unorthodox layout, Chef Bruce Logue turned out his progressive Italian cuisine to nearly unanimous critical fanfare. Even after the full remodeled dining room opened in May of 2009, the restaurant faced an obvious cohesiveness problem, but remained buoyed by the strength of Logue’s dishes. But when Logue left in March of 2012, it was time for La Pietra Cucina to adapt.

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

Enter Concentrics Restaurants. Under managerial control of their consulting arm, Concentrics oversaw La Pietra Cucina’s total overhaul. Rebranded as LPC, it reopened last fall with remodeled interior, a new chef, and a revamped, more approachable and affordable menu.

One …

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Top Chef Seattle recap, Episode 12: Deep fried karma

credit: Bravo

credit: Bravo

Before talking about this week, let’s reflect for a moment about last week, as all of the chefs are doing as the episode opens.

Kristen was robbed, plain and simple, and the producers should be charged for cruel and unusual punishment for subjecting television audiences to Josie’s soul-piercing laugh for another week. Seriously, while “the man” was busy waterboarding terrorist suspects in Abu Gharib, Josie’s laugh track was probably blaring into their skulls on repeat.

Brooke is kicking herself for not speaking up when Kristen wouldn’t, Josie is racked with guilt over what she knows was a horrible decision by the judges, and Stefan is left eyeballing Lizzie and Brooke’s feet as the next on his sniff-list.

This week’s episode is all about simplicity.

For the Quickfire, Padma brings in Katsuya Uechi, Master sushi chef ninja out of L.A. His task for the remaining 6 chefs is straightforward: Make a simple, clean, not-too-fussy sushi dish in 30 minutes. Now that …

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Gourmet Valentine’s Day gifts

Bread memberships from H&F Bread Co.

Bread memberships from H&F Bread Co.

Looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your foodie? You’ve got three weeks. Let me share one of my all-time favorite gourmet gifts: cheese of the month club. It was a gift I experienced anew with each shipment and one I wouldn’t mind receiving again (*hint, hint, dear hubby*).

If you’re looking for a way to treat your Valentine, here are a few Atlanta-based food-of-the-month clubs to consider.


It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. Pie Shop is now offering one-year subscriptions. Each month, a new flavor exclusive to subscribers will be announced. Members can choose to receive that pie or one of the current menu selections. Subscribers also receive a significant discount on their pie each month, paying $20 per pie instead of the $30-35 retail cost. Yearly subscriptions cost $240.


Get a monthly bread box subscription to H&F Bread Co. Each month, you’ll receive one of the bakery’s traditional selections along with …

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It’s National Pie Day!

Pie! (At Three Blind Mice in Lilburn)

Pie! (At Three Blind Mice in Lilburn)

I don’t know who the  members of the American Pie Council are, or what they do at their meetings other than eat pie, or if they throw pies at each other instead of banging gavels, or if they elect a Miss Pie to ride in floats around the country and wave to her adoring masses.

But who cares?

These august individuals  on the Pie Council have chosen today — January 23 — as national pie day, and I consider it my patriotic duty to turn those three pints of blueberries in my fridge into a deep-dish pie.

If you’d like to look at some pie loveliness, please check out these links:

Gallery: Edwards Pie Factory

Story: Edwards Pie Factory

Gallery: Pies Around Atlanta

Where to get a fried pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Whoopie Pie

Easter Pie

Gascon Apple Pie

Apricot, Cranberry and Walnut Pie

Quiche, another kind of pie

Savory Tomato Pie

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

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Woodfire Grill hires new chef

Tyler Williams (credit: Becky Stein)

Tyler Williams (credit: Becky Stein)

Tyler Williams, who until recently has been the head chef at Abattoir, will take over the kitchen that Kevin Gillespie left to open his new restaurant, Gunshow, in Glenwood Park.

I was a fan of Williams’ cooking at Abattoir. He used a pretty expansive larder, incorporating Indian and Asian ingredients and techniques, and he seemed to be having fun in the kitchen.

“We’re pleased to welcome Tyler to the Woodfire Grill team,” said Woodfire owner Nicolas Quinones. “We’re looking forward to an exciting year with him as our executive chef. Tyler shares the restaurant’s commitment to sustainable practices and we have no doubt he will continue to provide guests the exceptional fine dining experience they’ve come to expect from us since we opened in 2002.”

There seems to be another round of chef shuffling afoot. Joshua Hopkins, another former Abattoir chef, has left his post at Buckhead’s  STG Trattoria to take over White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

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Grits Cafe to reopen after fire and more news

Grits Cafe had to be rebuilt from the ground up, but will reopen next month. Courtesy Grits Cafe

Grits Cafe had to be rebuilt from the ground up, but will reopen next month. Courtesy Grits Cafe

Grits Cafe, which was destroyed by fire last March, has set a reopening date of Feb 2.

The restaurant, serving what it calls “Southern food with flair,” is located in Forsyth’s town square. It opened in 1999 in a 125-year-old building, which was decimated in the fire.

After an outpouring of community support and “Friends to Rebuild Grtis Cafe” fundraising events, owners Wayne and Terri Wetendorf rebuilt the restaurant in its original 17 West Johnston St. location.

Grits Cafe received three starts on its review in Feb. 2011.

11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 17 West Johnston St., Forsyth. 478-994-8325. $$-$$$.

In other news:

Lure offers brunch

Fifth Group Restaurants’ newest restaurant Lure, will now be serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. In keeping with its concept, the restaurant will serve …

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Mason jars as barware: enough is enough?

The Angry Elk cocktail at the Family Dog (Becky Stein)

The Angry Elk cocktail at the Family Dog (Becky Stein)

One early evening, as my wife and I were settling into a cocktail at the Pinewood Tippling Room in Decatur, I realized a darling of the new Southern dining aesthetic, the Mason jar, was in the process of jumping the shark.

A waitress had her long fingers clenched around a tall Mason jar filled with ice water and was in the process of pouring it into shorter Mason jars to use as glasses. I could see an intent look on her face that said, “Lord, please don’t let me drop this.”

My own fingers are sort of stubby, so whenever I wanted water I had to raise the glass to my lips with two hands, like a sippy cup.

The Mason jar was patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason, a Philadelphia tinsmith who also invented the screw-top salt shaker. It consists of a jar with glass screw threads around the top lip, a metal band that fits on the thread, a stamped metal lid and a rubber gasket that fits between the lid and the jar, creating a …

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Restaurant inspections, China Queen

Fulton County health inspectors shut down a Chinese restaurant in Palmetto last week so management could correct multiple code violations and re-train their staff.

China Queen, 500 Ballard Place, was given failing scores on consecutive inspections: a 54/U last Monday, and and a 55/U on a follow-up inspection the next day.

The inspector found chicken wings stored on a counter, uncovered and subject to contamination. Frozen chicken breasts were being thawed improperly in a sink with warm water.

Prepared foods had no date markings. Food containers were not properly labeled. Raw meats were stored on top of sauces and other prepared foods in the cooler.

The restaurant was using food from dented cans. Food was stored in open dented cans in the cooler, and other dented cans were on shelves throughout the kitchen, the inspector said.

Employees kept personal water bottles in the food prep areas. And a sleeping area had been set up inside the kitchen near a storage rack.

Cardboard was …

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