City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for March, 2013

Restaurant inspections, I Love Pho

The food permit of a Vietnamese noodle shop in Gwinnett County was suspended after a health inspector spotted several live roaches on a dirty meat slicer.

I Love Pho, 4650 Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross, was given a 51/U, its second failing score in the past six months.

The meat slicer had heavy food debris on the blades and inside the unit, according to the routine inspection report. The ice machine was also dirty with a thick, mold-like substance inside.

The inspector had employees clean the slicer and ice machine, and told management to bring in a professional exterminator for pest control.

Also, three containers of beef soup were discarded because the soup had not been cooled properly. The soup was left to cool at room temperature, then the deep containers were placed in the freezer to speed up the process. After almost two hours the soup was still too hot.

It was the third time the restaurant had used an improper cooling process for potentially hazardous food, the …

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Happy Passover! Who’s cooking?

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

I’m assuming you’ve got tonight’s Seder dinner all planned. But in case you’re a last-minute type or need some inspiration for a second Seder tomorrow, here are a couple of recipes to whet your afikomen.

1. Foolproof matzo balls, from a story a wrote a few years ago.

2. Brisket, à la my mother.

Here’s how you make it:

  • 4-5 pound slab of brisket, fat still attached
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed but left whole
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of pickling spice (or a bit more if you like)
  • About a quart of tomato juice

Yes, this a vague recipe. But it’s an easy one. Place the brisket in a too-large roasting pan with the fat side up. Arrange the carrots around it. Sprinkle the pickling spice on top. Add enough tomato juice to nearly submerge the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cook at 275 for about 5-6 hours until the meat is tender. Remove the meat and scrape any spices into the sauce. Puree the sauce in a blender and season with salt.

Slice the meat and pour …

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Hawktoberfest, Saturday beer, and Sunday wine


hawksThe Atlanta Hawks are hosting a craft beer night with eight Atlanta-area craft breweries at the March 30 game vs. the Orlando Magic. A dedicated “festival-like” space inside Philips Arena will feature beer, German food and a live band.

Atlanta craft brewers, including reps from Monday Night, Jailhouse, Red Brick, Blue Tarp, Terrapin, Sweetwater, O’Dempsey’s and Wild Heaven, will mix and mingle with guests at half-time at Taco Mac.

To gain access to Hawktoberfest, purchase a ticket to the game @, and go to the arena to grab a Hawktoberfest passport for $16, which includes tastings and a Hawks-branded stein.

Saturday Beer

On Saturday, March 23, LivingSocial’s Hoppin’ BeerFest  is back in Atlanta for the second year, with craft breweries, wineries, local food trucks and live music. College basketball fans can catch March Madness in a lounge fitted with five flat screen TVs. Tickets:

Sunday wine

On Sunday, March 24, …

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Space STILL available on Top Chef: The Cruise

Credit: Bravo

Credit: Bravo

There is still time to get your tickets to what may be Bravo’s crowning achievement of cross-promotional shark-jumping, Top Chef: The Cruise.

That’s right…coming up in only a few weeks, hardcore Top Chef fans will have the chance to spend four days and three nights aboard the Celebrity Constellation on a roundtrip from Miami to Cozumel with some of the Top Chef alum. The trip is from April 11th-15th, and will feature appearances by most of the usual suspects, from Gail and Tom C. to Richard Blais, Angelo Sosa, Fabio, Chris Crary, and even a few guys from Top Chef Desserts who I won’t even bother naming because, seriously, who watched Top Chef Desserts?

When I first heard about this cruise back in August, I assumed it had to be an ingenious form of satire, but no…this is actually happening. Either that, or Bravos is really sticking to the joke, because this week we saw another press release on the event announcing the inclusion of Season 10 winner Kristen …

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Restaurant inspections, The Real Chow Baby

The Real Chow Baby at Ponce began the week Monday morning with an opportunity to pull up a recent failing health score.

Last week, the Asian fusion restaurant at 782 Ponce De Leon Avenue received a 59/U, and the inspector said management needed retraining on controlling food safety risks.

For example, hand sanitizer was used to wipe down a food thermometer, an improper method of disinfecting kitchen equipment, the inspector said.

A spring roll in the cooler was wrapped in a kitchen towel instead of disposable packaging or placed in a covered container.

An employee was seen handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands instead of using a utensil or wearing gloves. And an employee’s open beverage container was on the food prep table near clean equipment and utensils.

In other violations, some food temperatures in the walk-in cooler were too high. Fish was being held at 54 degrees, and raw chicken was at 46 degrees. Juices in the bar coolers were past their expiration dates. They …

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Kevin Rathbun expands his realm

The dining room at KR SteakBar (all photos by Becky Stein)

The dining room at KR SteakBar (all photos by Becky Stein)

Kevin Rathbun is not the chef whose name routinely appears on restaurant awards ballots. You will likely never see him on “Chopped,” scurrying to finish a dish that contains squid, Hershey’s Kisses and creamed corn before the bell goes off. Nor is he apt to grace a multi-paged spread in a glossy magazine, entertaining friends on his patio with champagne and canapes.

But he is, perhaps, the chef who enjoys the best kind of celebrity in Atlanta. His fans here don’t admire him so much as love him. His restaurants have a special quality — that thing that your favorite spot in New Orleans or Rome has, that generous personality, that shaggy ease.

Mushroom salad with charred lettuce sauce

Mushroom salad with charred lettuce sauce

His food can sometimes be too rich and salty for my taste, and his Johnston Studio-designed warehouse dining rooms too noisy. But there’s such vitality afoot that I always have a blast. I always find the dishes to love, the …

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Atlanta revisit: Ray’s on the Creek restaurant review, Alpharetta



Almost exactly two years ago, a gang of six former “Top Chef” contestants gathered in Atlanta to host a multicourse benefit dinner. Fans of the show will remember chef’testants like Kenny Gilbert, Tiffany Derry, Arnold Myint and Atlanta’s own Tracey Bloom. They were among the chefs putting their talents on show at Ray’s at Killer Creek in Alpharetta.

After an amuse bouche bite from each of the chefs, the dinner progressed through six additional courses. I remember only two Jenny-Turknett-Reviewdishes from that meal two years ago. One I disliked. The other was far and away the best course of the evening: sous-vide Kurobuta pork belly with a surprisingly smoky blueberry compote, an onion agrodolce and marcona almonds for light texture.

Although no actual competition took place that night, the elimination challenge winner would have been Bloom, representing Atlanta in fine form with the pork belly.

Over the course of her career, Bloom, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, …

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Well-Seasoned Chef Series returns to Atlanta Botanical Garden

courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Well-Seasoned Chef Series returns to the Atlanta Botanical Garden this May. These cooking demonstrations feature local chefs who highlight the season’s bounty using produce harvested right from the Edible Garden.

The small classes, held in the outdoor kitchen, include a four-part tasting menu with wine pairings. There are three series available, each with a different lineup of chefs. Register for one class ($115) or an entire series ($650).

Registration opens today for Circle Members ($2500+ donor level, see website for specifics) and on Apr. 17 for general admission. Call 404-876-5859 ext. 2559. to reserve your spot.

Prompt registration is suggested as these classes typically reach capacity.

The Well-Seasoned Chef Series

Dates:              First, Second OR Third Tuesdays, May – Oct.

Time:               6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Series One (First Tuesdays)

  • May 7 – Asha Gomez, Cardamom Hill
  • June 4 – Jay …

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What’s New(s)?: One Eared, Bhojanic, Calle Latina

One Eared Beer and Wine

One Eared

One Eared

Tomorrow night, One Eared Stag chef Robert Phalen will create a five-course meal of original pairings to go with four Terrapin beers and three Northstar wines.

Rabbit terrine with watermelon rind chutney, fried quail with pistachio puree, and spinalis with cornbread sauce and chorizo, will be among Phalen’s offerings.

Terrapin brewmaster Brian “Spike” Bukowski and Northstar winemaker David Merfeld will be on hand to talk about their beverages and answer questions.

Reservations required. $70 per person. One Eared Stag, 1029 Edgewood Ave. N.E., Atlanta, 404-525-4479,

Bhojanic in Buckhead

The new Buckhead location of Bhojanic opened last week near Crate & Barrel in the Shops Around Lenox. The popular Decatur-based restaurant, market and catering company specializes in street food, fusion and home-style Indian cuisine. 3400 Around Lenox Drive, 404-841-8472,

Highland at Tech

Highland Bakery has opened its …

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Carnivores’ worst nightmare: Ticks linked to rare meat allergy

IMG_0101-300x200As someone whose spouse has a food allergy, I’ve learned to become more aware of what is in our food so that I don’t have to repeat any past emergencies, or rush my wife off to the hospital. And it is no secret that food allergies are on the rise, particularly in children, where there was an 18 percent increase between 1997 and 2007 (though, some may argue that awareness accounts for a significant percentage of this increase as opposed to prevalence.)

But, what about all of us allergy-free adults? We are home free, right? Well, if you are a meat lover and enjoy the outdoors, you need to pay attention.

Since 2008, doctors have noticed an increase in an allergy to meat – particularly mammalian meat such as pork, beef, and lamb – and the reactions can be severe. Victims can produce a hive-like rash, and in the more severe cases, anaphylactic shock.

While research is still in its infancy on the allergy known as alpha-gal, doctors have identified a strong correlation with …

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