City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for November, 2013

Atlanta revisit: Sun Dial restaurant review

credit: Becky Stein

credit: Becky Stein

In today’s AJC I have a review of the Sun Dial, Atlanta’s revolving restaurant topping the Westin Peachtree Plaza.

The Sun Dial has long been a favored choice for tourists and special occasion diners. Now it hopes to broaden its market and attract Atlanta’s foodie crowd to take a ride up those glass elevators. With new digs after an extensive four-month renovation and chef Jason Starnes sourcing from regional farms and local food artisans, the Sun Dial is attempting to make the shift from a hotel restaurant to a restaurant located in a hotel.

What you have is a kind of upscale dinner-and-a-movie-style theater. The view showcasing our city’s glory both day and night becomes the feature. But that view costs a premium, with the restaurant’s pricing in the top tier for Atlanta restaurants. And as with most theater fare, you’ll likely decide the appeal of the stellar show outweighs the annoyance of paying elevated venue pricing for a less-than-stellar meal.

Chef …

Continue reading Atlanta revisit: Sun Dial restaurant review »

Pick Five: Where To Eat Near Atlanta’s Malls

All hail the craziest shopping day of the year! Some of you have already snagged your deals and are settling in for a mid-morning nap. Others are gearing up their wallets with credit cards and sales flyers. Either way, you’ll need some fuel for your shopping endeavors. We’ve rounded up five local eateries near each of Atlanta’s busiest malls.

Photo Credit: Roya Restaurant

Photo Credit: Roya Restaurant

1. Mall of Georgia: Roya Restaurant
Mall of Georgia Blvd Buford, GA 30519

The regionally-inspired Mediterranean cuisine includes flatbreads, hummus, eggplant parmigiana and lamb gyros. Word on the street is Yelp! is doing a $30 for $45 worth of food deal. If you’re too tired from shopping Friday, make a point to stop by Saturday nights for belly dancing performances.

2. Stonecrest Mall: Rice Thai Authentic Thai Restaurant
8075 Mall Parkway #110 Lithonia, GA 30038

Good Thai food outside-the-perimeter has been found! The …

Continue reading Pick Five: Where To Eat Near Atlanta’s Malls »

Jim Stacy Toasts Ria Pell on Leno and Memorial details


Last night during his “Try It and Fry It” segment on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Pallookaville’s Jim Stacy raised a jar of Angelica’s Apple Pie Moonshine with Leno and Quentin Tarantino and offered a toast, “This is for my friend Ria Pell.”

Here’s the clip:

Similar tributes and outpourings are popping up all over social media. And this morning, there was more news about Pell’s passing on the Ria’s Bluebird Facebook page, along with details about memorial services and restaurant hours.

On Sunday, November 24th our beloved friend and leader Ria Pell unexpectedly passed away. She was found in her Grant Park home Sunday afternoon. She died suddenly from an undetected enlarged heart. She will be missed by all.

Services will be held Saturday, the 30th of November at 12:00 pm
Westview Cemetery

On December 3rd Ria’s Bluebird will reopen with the same integrity you’ve come to know and respect. As always… No substitutions.

— By Bob Townsend, the for …

Continue reading Jim Stacy Toasts Ria Pell on Leno and Memorial details »

Still looking for a turkey recipe?

Andrew Scrivani

Andrew Scrivani

I know this is the year when everyone is saying just stick the darn thing in the oven. But this is the technique I go back to time and again. Gobble.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

John Kessler’s Upside-Down Turkey

Makes 18 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3-3 1/2 hours
Standing time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, divided

  • 1 (18-pound) turkey, fresh or thawed
  • 3 or 4 branches fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Position oven rack in lowest position and preheat to 325 degrees. Remove the turkey from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Reserve turkey neck and giblets to use in gravy or stock. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat turkey skin dry. Place thyme, garlic and onion in turkey cavity and season well with salt and pepper. Turn turkey on its breast. Fold wings behind back or tie to body with …

Continue reading Still looking for a turkey recipe? »

Recipe: Homemade Craisins

(Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona, AJC)

(Photo Credit: Alexa Lampasona, AJC)

While cranberry sauce is a staple on Thanksgiving, sometimes we often find ourselves with an excess of the tart berries and no use for them. Why not add cranberries to the table in a new way by drying them out? We’ve got a homemade version with less sugar than Craisins but still has that chewy, tart taste you love. As long as you’re hanging around the house, you just leave the oven on to do the work.


  • 1 12 ounce bag of cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. This is a slow process, but requires less than five minutes of hands-on work.

photo credit: Alexa Lampasona, AJC

photo credit: Alexa Lampasona, AJC

2. Toss cranberries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar.

3. Lay across a foiled, ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. You will see the progression of the berries as they wrinkle when they lose moisture. Then, increase the …

Continue reading Recipe: Homemade Craisins »

Waitress’ Claims that Family Denied her a Tip May Be a Hoax

Sometimes calling someone by the wrong name can really put you on their bad side.

Remember the story about the Boston waitress who said a family did not tip her and left a hateful note on the receipt because of her gay lifestyle? It may have been a hoax.

After Dayna Morales, a waitress at Gallop Asian Bistro, posted claims on Facebook that a family she served called her Dan and refused to tip her, she received $10,000 in donations from around world and press went viral. An ex-Marine, she said she planned to donate the money to Wounded Warriors Project.

Photo credit: NBC 4 News

Photo credit: NBC 4 News

The family in question recently found out the receipt was theirs- and brought forward their copy. The side-by-side comparison shows that they tipped $18.00 and left no message. The husband claims Morales wrote it up.

So the question is- what was she after? Didn’t she see the bad press coming from the pastor tipping story months earlier? Who do you believe?

-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More Blog

Continue reading Waitress’ Claims that Family Denied her a Tip May Be a Hoax »

Trial Versus Tradition on Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: AJC file photo

Photo Credit: AJC file photo

Growing up, the only part of Thanksgiving I participated in was peeling the green beans for my mom. Okay, it actually involved me peeling about ten beans, then getting bored and going outside to play while my mom finished the task. Cooking has changed for me over the past five years as my skills have developed and now I find myself assigning my mom the grunt work of peeling.

My family has always stuck to tradition; turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and cornbread. I feel torn between sticking to our traditional menu and wanting to try new recipes. A suggestion of a quinoa, kale and walnut stuffed in a pumpkin was shot down. They did not want to try a salted caramel pecan pie. The family finally agreed to let me put rainbow carrots on the table this year instead of their orange counterparts.

Yes, Thanksgiving is just one meal out the year, but it is still a special meal, and with it comes with the …

Continue reading Trial Versus Tradition on Thanksgiving »

Chef Jean Banchet dies

Jean Banchet in 1996 at Riviera Restaurant (AJC Staff)

Jean Banchet in 1996 at Riviera Restaurant (AJC Staff)

Jean Banchet, a chef whose meticulous French cooking deepened the Atlanta dining scene in the mid 1990s, has died at the age of 72. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

Banchet was best known nationally as the chef and owner of Le Français in Wheeling, IL — considered one of the nation’s top French restaurants. But in 1992 he and a young protege, Tom Coohill, opened a bistro called Ciboulette in a retail strip near Ansley Mall. In 1996 he opened Riviera in Buckhead, where he briefly but memorably served as chef. Here he is pictured with noisettes of venison. Look closely at the picture and you’ll note that the little red wine he cracked to go alongside is a Chateau Latour.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel wrote a great appreciation.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

Continue reading Chef Jean Banchet dies »

Jim Stacy Cooks Thanksgiving For Jay Leno Tonight


This news flash from Jim Stacy via the Pallookaville Facebook page:

Jim will be cooking a Thanksgiving Dinner for Jay and Quentin Tarantino on Tuesday, November 26th. We mailed Pine Street Market bacon, Steen’s Cane Syrup and Apple Pie Moonshine out to the Left Coast.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Stacy recently opened Pallookaville Fine Foods in Avondale Estates — a brick-and-mortar soda fountain and deli spin-off of his carnival food truck.

Not long before that, Stacy made his debut on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” using a drill fitted with a drywall mud mixer to stir up a bucket of funnel cake batter spiked with Jameson. Through the magic of TV, it became deep-fried bananas with bacon whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Later, Leno and actor Jason Sudeikis delighted in deep-fried pickles, washed down with multiple swigs straight from the whiskey bottle. “Not bad,” Leno quipped, and clutched his chest to feign a heart attack.

It will be fun to see what Mr. …

Continue reading Jim Stacy Cooks Thanksgiving For Jay Leno Tonight »

An appreciation of Ria Pell

Morning in Grant Park. Ria Pell flashes her sunshine smile in 2007 (Bita Honarvar)

Morning in Grant Park. Ria Pell flashes her sunshine smile in 2007 (Bita Honarvar)

A vibrant pocket of city life stretches along the southern edge of Oakland Cemetery. Here, people hang out to drink beer and coffee, eat tacos and pastries, and sun themselves on rooftops decks, happy to be a part of life along Memorial Drive.

This area’s vital force seems to emanate from inside Ria’s Bluebird, a pioneering cafe that jumpstarted this pocket of urban revitalization. Through the welcoming permeability of Ria’s open plate windows, past the swoop of its counter and the tug of fragrant brewed coffee lies its dining room. There, a mosaic of a bluebird in an orange tree welcomes a sunny new day. That’s where this neighborhood was born.

Ria Pell – who died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 45 — will be remembered as many things: A familiar figure in the Little Five Points punk music demimonde, a skilled line cook who improved the many kitchens she worked in, an active member of Atlanta’s …

Continue reading An appreciation of Ria Pell »