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Archive for November, 2013

Can Avondale Become a Food and Drink Destination?

Bishop

By all accounts, Pallookaville has been attracting big crowds to Avondale Village since Halloween, when corn dog king Jim Stacy opened his carnival food truck spin-off there.

Now comes word that another “neighborhood restaurant and bar” called the Bishop with open just a few doors away.

Tomorrow’s News Today reported that Luellen Marshall, an Avondale Estates resident who “has two decades of experience in the hospitality field”is the owner, and that the place is named after her son, Bishop.

With Pine Street Market already a favorite destination for great bacon and charcuterie, and Wild Heaven Craft Beers set to open its brewery early next year, can Avondale become a food and drink destination?

What do you think? What other places near Avondale do you like?

— Bob Townsend, for the AJC Food and More blog.

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A Toast to Belgian Beer and Family Brewers

dupont_family_largeRecently, I  spent some time traveling around Belgium with several other beers writers, visiting with members of the Belgian Family Brewers — a group dedicated to promoting historic, independent family owned breweries.

It was an amazing trip, with brewery tours, tastings and time spent with brewers who go back generations and represent the breadth of Belgian styles, from farmhouse and abbey ales to pilsners and spontaneously fermented sour beers.

But beyond their passion for beer, it was evident that brewing is woven into the fabric of their lives, and represents a cultural identity that goes much deeper than merely a craft or a business.

I toast the Belgian Brewers for the beer that is such a big part of their country. And it just so happens that people all over America are toasting them today, too.

Sponsored by Vanberg & DeWulf, the  first company dedicated to importing Belgian beers to the United States, the Coast to Coast Toast 3 is happening today at specialty …

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Cafe Lapin: stay for dessert

Window display at Cafe Lapin: scarier than Donnie Darko

Window display at Cafe Lapin: scarier than Donnie Darko

Usually I’m not a fan of restaurants with elaborate displays of stuffed bunnies in the window, but I’ll make an exception for Cafe Lapin. This restaurant in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center attracts a healthy crowd of women in large groups and well-dressed older couples for food like this:

IMG_8909We’re looking at pulled chicken salad (here jalapeño, but there’s also curry, tarragon and other flavors) served with banana bread and greens with a house balsamic dressing so sweet it makes the sweet tea taste un-. The plate also holds a pale, ridged orange orb.

Here’s a closer look:

IMG_8912It’s called “mandarin orange soufflé,” but is really one of the last congealed salads in town: Cream, sugar, gelatin and syrupy segmented goodness.

One bite and I felt like I was seven again, and the congealed salad was the only upside to the horror of lunch with my mother and her friends at the Lord & Taylor cafe.

It was strangely delicious in its …

Continue reading Cafe Lapin: stay for dessert »

Osteria Mattone Open in Roswell

Osteria

Owner and operator Ryan Pernice and executive chef Ted Lahey of Roswell’s Table & Main have opened Osteria Mattone, their second concept on Roswell’s bustling Canton Street.

Look for regional Italian cooking with a focus on Roman cuisine in a setting they describe as combining “the casual spirit of an osteria with the more formal dining of a trattoria.”

Here’s a lot more info from today’s press release:

“In gratitude towards our guests for their tremendous support of Table & Main, chef Ted and I wanted to fill the niche for a great Italian destination on Canton Street,” said owner and operator Ryan Pernice. “Osteria Mattone is influenced by our collective travels through great Italian restaurants from Roswell to Rome, New York to Naples.”

Located at 1095 Canton Street in Roswell, GA, the restaurant features the fresh pasta and classic Roman dishes that have delighted guests for centuries. Chef Ted Lahey, joined by sous chef Alex Chen, has composed a menu to present these …

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New Beltline Addition to Kevin Rathbun Steak

RathbunSteakpatio

Here’s the artist’s rendering (above) and the word on the new addition from Cliff Bramble, co-owner of Rathbun’s, Krog Bar, Kevin Rathbun Steak and KR SteakBar:

Work starts this week on the new addition to Kevin Rathbun Steak.  The Beltline Patio (which is within feet of the Atlanta Beltline) received City approval to cover their 926 square foot outdoor space.  Watch for a structure of steel beams with radiant heaters, a twelve foot high wood-burning brick fireplace, (Beltline facing) along with dimly lit interior.  There will also be several stand up tables for enjoying a cocktail. The construction should be completed by the end of the year.

What do you think? Is the Rathbun Steak patio cover another good addition to the Beltline building boom?

— Bob Townsend,  for the AJC Food and More blog.

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Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner

Sobban's dining room (all photos by Becky Stein)

Sobban's dining room (all photos by Becky Stein)

See a gallery of photos from Sobban here.

There are fewer than 40 seats inside Sobban, the Korean-Southern diner set under the horseshoe-bowed roof and soaring plate windows of a vintage Arby’s. That hasn’t stopped the crowds that (mostly) wait patiently to try this exciting new restaurant — one whose time most definitely has come.

You could argue that Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s (if not the world’s) great towns for Korean food, and many of the area’s best chefs find inspiration from the restaurants and markets throughout the Northern suburbs. We’re ripe for a Western-style restaurant like this, which assumes a certain level of familiarity and comfort with Korean flavors on the part of the customer, both in terms of its chile heat and its twangy funk of fermented vegetables.

This restaurant also has some budding star power behind it: Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBQ. This project seems more like …

Continue reading Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner »

Restaurant Inspections: Landmark Diner

Employees at an East Point 24-hour diner were required to have additional food safety training after the facility scored a 46/U on a recent routine health inspection.

The Fulton County health official said Landmark Diner, 3231 Camp Creek Parkway, did not have a certified food safety manager on staff, as required, and employees weren’t following regulations for sanitizing food contact surfaces.

Equipment and utensils were not sanitized when washed in the sink, and wet wiping cloths were not stored in sanitizing solution between uses, according to the inspection report. There was no chemical test kit to measure sanitizer levels of water used in the sink or dishwasher.

Serving utensils were left in standing water between uses, but the water was not hot enough to kill bacteria. Cleaned and sanitized linens were compromised by being stored under the hand sink and next to a garbage can.

Also, the inspector noted the cook did not wash hands when switching from preparing raw foods to …

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Oh boy, more cupcakes! Sprinkles set to open

Salted caramel

Salted caramel

Do we really need more cupcakes in our lives? We’ll find out when one of the biggest players in the biz opens in Lenox Square. Set by the newly reconfigured main entrance to the mall, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream Atlanta will offer cupcakes, brownies, cookies and ice cream at its new location. The targeted opening is mid-December. Started in 2005 in Beverly Hills, Calif., this bakery offers a decidedly sophisticated take on the lunchbox treat. It now operates in Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and several other locations. It also operates a cupcake ATM at its flagship that is an object of adoration. Get your credit cards out. 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, 888-220-2210, sprinkles.com.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

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Are bread spreads coming back?

IMG_8872We had dinner the other night at One Midtown Kitchenthe restaurant that kickstarted the Concentric Hospitality group (Tap, Parish, Two Urban Licks, among others). I’ll write more about the meal later, but for now: check this. Slices of warm semolina bread sided by large spoonful of cardamom carrot puree. A couple of months ago The Spence served coconut spread with its bread.

Could this late-1990’s trend of serving butter substitutes be making a comeback? Has anyone seen something similar elsewhere?

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

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Fried chicken Fridays at the General Muir

IMG_8788

You perhaps know the drill by now. The fried chicken is only available on one night of the week. It sells out early, so you should aim for a 6:30 dinner. The waiter relays the countdown by way of greeting: “Welcome! Would you like a drink, and how many of the XX remaining orders of chicken should I reserve for the table?”

Ever since Scott Peacock changed the very meaning of the word “Tuesday” in Atlanta with his fried chicken at Watershed, this little chicken dance has been a mainstay of destination dining.

What do we look for in fried chicken? That Anton Ego moment of innocent childhood rapture at mama’s table? An antidote to the guilty pleasure of Popeye’s? A flavor missive from the collective unconscious? Or maybe we just want to know if it’s possible for chicken to taste like more than that blandly agreeable bird we know so well.

The buzzy fried chicken in town now roosts at The General Muir, that deli-inspired restaurant where chef Todd Ginsberg does so much so right. …

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