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Archive for February, 2013

Restaurant inspections, Kirin House

Three containers of cooked rice that were not cooled properly brought down the health score of a Gwinnett County Japanese hibachi steak and sushi bar.

A manager at the Kirin House, 1064 Old Peachtree Road, Lawrenceville, said the health inspector found the rice temperatures too high, even after being cooled for six hours, and the food had to be thrown away. The restaurant was given a routine inspection score of 58/U.

The rice had been prepared the day before, put in covered containers and placed on the lowest shelf of the walk-in cooler overnight. The inspector said the cooling method was ineffective. The containers should have been left uncovered and placed in the coldest section of the cooler. Employees must monitor the cooling process to make sure food temperatures drop within an acceptable amount of time to prevent bacteria growth, the inspector said.

The inspector found other code violations, too. Raw chicken and raw beef were cut on the same cutting board, and handled …

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Georgia House proposes retail sales for brewpubs

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Imagine for a moment that you are a local craft beer lover.

And it just so happens that your favorite brew is 5 Seasons Brewery’s Hopgasm IPA. Whenever you stretch out on your couch at the end of a long day, all you want to help you relax is a mouthful of your favorite, local, hoppy brew. You saunter to the fridge, smacking your lips, swing open the door and…realize that under current Georgia law, you aren’t allowed to keep any Hopgasm at your home. Because they aren’t allowed to let you leave their building with it. If you want a pint, you have to drive to the brewpub and consume it on premises.

Well, last week Georgia House Representatives Tom Taylor and Ron Stephens introduced HB 314 which may change that bummer of a situation.

For those that aren’t familiar with the term, since the end of Prohibition the majority of U.S. states – including Georgia – elected to enact a three-tier system of alcohol distribution. It separates producers, distributors, and …

Continue reading Georgia House proposes retail sales for brewpubs »

Restaurant inspections, Nanoom Togo and Yuka Roll and Pho

Two Gwinnett County restaurants had their food permits suspended after failing routine inspections on the same day conducted by the same health inspector.

A morning inspection at Nanoom Togo, 3312 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Duluth, resulted in a 49/U, the restaurant’s second failing score since September.

The afternoon inspection was in nearby Suwanee at Yuka Roll and Pho, 1197 Old Peachtree Road. The sushi bar and restaurant scored a 41/U, its second failing score since December.

At Nanoom Togo, the inspector found food encrusted on clean utensils, fryer baskets, a colander and a mixing bowl. There were food storage violations in the walk-in cooler and the freezer. Unwashed produce was directly above ready-to-eat foods in the cooler, and raw meats were not properly separated from other foods in the freezer.

Also, there was no food thermometer in the facility, and the walls and cooking equipment were dirty with grease.

At Yuka Roll and Pho, the inspector noted shrimp …

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Carver’s Country Kitchen Closing?

Say it isn’t so.

Robert and Sharon Carver (Robert Berry/AJC)

Robert and Sharon Carver (Robert Berry/AJC)

At noon today, Sharon Carver’s voice on the answering machine announced today’s menu, including Brunswick stew, chicken pot pie, and Coca-Cola baked ham.

But Creative Loafing is reporting that according to a sign posted at Carver’s Country Kitchen the beloved Atlanta meat-and-two is closing on March 30.

Sharon Carver and her husband Robert Carver ran Carver’s together until Robert passed away in March 2012.

Here’s a ‘Neighborhood Nosh’ I wrote about Carver’s, AKA Carver’s Grocery, back in 2009:

On a recent visit to Carver’s Grocery on West Marietta Street, the man across the table smiled and remarked, “I’m going to need a nap after this.” He was tying into a thick hunk of ketchup-covered meatloaf, along with some heapin’ helpings of creamy mac-n-cheese and baked broccoli-rice casserole. And like many of the other folks crowded into the old corner store made over into a country cooking mecca, he had the faraway look …

Continue reading Carver’s Country Kitchen Closing? »

Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft breaks the Thai restaurant mold

Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft (all photos by Becky Stein)

Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft (all photos by Becky Stein)

There is much to love about Thai food, and much to hate about Thai restaurants.

To love: Those jagged flavors like none other. Those enticing mounds of salad, fresh and bright, sharped to a near lethal edge with hot chilies, red onion and needles of ginger. And then those bowls of rich coconut curry — wellsprings of woodsy galangal and floral lemongrass jumping from a warming base of shallot and spice.

To hate: Those recipes that are prepared competently but without any heart. That glitzily elegant decor that soothes and stupefies like easy listening music. Those elaborate, carved carrot garnishes that you suspect will be washed off and reused. That nagging feeling that every Thai restaurant in the country serves the same recipes, follows the same manual and runs on autopilot.

I always suspect that Thai restaurants, as they exist in the United States, are a convenient fiction, much like the Japanese steakhouse or Mongolian …

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SeaBass Kitchen review, Sandy Springs



He approaches the table and quietly puts the fish knife to work filleting the whole bronzini with a practiced hand. Using a soft voice he details each step and leans in to reveal the choice strip above the head. In a careful and assured manner, he skillfully removes the spine.

My tableside fish filleter is Laurend Abraham, managing partner at the new SeaBass Kitchen. The restaurant occupies the former Rumi’s Kitchen space on Roswell Road.

SeaBass Kitchen, under the direction of chef Sam Brunola, serves a range of seafood with a few nonwater-dwelling alternatives. Brunola,Jenny-Turknett-Reviewwhose experience includes stints at Van Gogh’s (now Bistro VG) and Horseradish Grill, says his cooking highlights the flavors of the ingredients without masking them with heavy sauces.

Brunola’s food at SeaBass Kitchen reflects his philosophy, with simple preparations featuring Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. He uses a handful of key ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, lemon, red wine …

Continue reading SeaBass Kitchen review, Sandy Springs »

Top Chef Seattle recap, Episode 16: Bad day for a bad day

Credit: Bravo

Credit: Bravo

This week, in part one of the first of 4 installments of the almost-finale, we start out with the final two chefs, Brooke and Sheldon. That is, until the final two once again becomes the final three a few minutes into the episode.

Look, I get the appeal of Last Chance Kitchen. I really do. Sometimes the right chef is sent home for the wrong reasons, and this gives them a shot at redemption. But in its second season on the show, LCK is feeling more and more like an opportunity to stretch the show out as far as possible.

Brooke and Sheldon relish the feeling of being in the top 2, complete with “we made it to the finals” dances, despite knowing full well that they are still stuck in the top 3 until the LCK winner joins them. And just like that, we time travel 6 months into the present where we get a nice little recap of what our finalists have been up to during the break. Sheldon’s Star Noodle seems to have gotten the inevitable post Top Chef boost, and Brooke …

Continue reading Top Chef Seattle recap, Episode 16: Bad day for a bad day »

What’s New?

Victory in Decatur

Paul Calvert at Victory Bar

Paul Calvert at Victory Bar

Victory Sandwich Bar and Emporium near Decatur Square tried an under-the-radar “soft opening” last week. But that didn’t keep crowds from showing up from Day One to check out the second outpost of the popular Inman Park place known for bargain-priced sandwiches, canned beer and spiked slushies. “We’ve been slammed all week,” said Paul Calvert, who is in charge of the bar program, and will soon be running a second bar/restaurant concept called Paper Plane in the same Church Street building. 340 Church St. N.E., Decatur. 404-377-9300,

Roswell Mill

Chef Marc Taft of Marietta’s Chicken and the Egg and brothers Scott and Randy McCray of McCray’s Tavern teamed up to launch the Mill Kitchen and Bar in Roswell. After several delays, the “Southern neighborhood restaurant” opened for dinner last night, and is set to open for lunch Feb. 25 and brunch March 3. Look for entrees ($17-$27), such as Georgia shrimp and grits …

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2013 James Beard Award Semifinalists announced

james_beardThe James Beard Foundation has announced the semifinalists for its 2013 Chef and Restaurant Awards. The finalists will be announced on Mar. 18 and the winners at the awards gala on May 6.

Best new restaurant:

  • Cardamom Hill

Outstanding bar program:

  • Holeman & Finch Public House
  • The Porter Beer Bar

Outstanding chef:

  • Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia

Outstanding pastry chef:

  • Aaron Russell, Restaurant Eugene

Outstanding restaurateur:

  • Ford Fry
  • Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol

Outstanding service:

  • Bacchanalia

Outstanding wine program:

  • Five & Ten, Athens

Best Chef Southeast:

  • Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale
  • Todd Richards, The Shed at Glenwood
  • Steven Satterfield, Miller Union

Congratulations to these Georgia restaurants, chefs and restaurateurs for making the list! (See the full list here)

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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Turnip mac & cheese

A few years back, chef Linton Hopkins shared a turnip gratin recipe with a cooking class that changed the way I thought about turnips. Thinly sliced turnips stood in for the potatoes amid bubbling cream and cheese. That inspired me to use turnips as a substitute for pasta in this grown-up macaroni and cheese. But make no mistake, this is pure comfort food like any good mac & cheese, so no calorie counting here.

I confess that when I tested the recipe, I was so eager to burn the roof of my mouth tasting the concoction as soon as it came out of the oven that I neglected to grab a snapshot. Just use your imagination to conjure images of a dish topped with a bubbling, golden brown, cheesy top crust. And then, make it yourself!

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 cups turnip, cleaned and grated on a cheese grater
  • 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan, grated
  • 2 cups Gruyere …

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