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Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Dining Options

It is hard to believe Christmas is less than a week away! You’ve got your shopping done? Check. Presents wrapped? Check. What about dinner? Not to worry, several Atlanta restaurants will be open for Christmas Eve and Christmas day dining and are serving up special menus. After all the running around you’ve done, take a break from the kitchen and head out to one of these restaurants.

Park 75
75 14th Street NW, Atlanta
Enjoy a Christmas brunch while listening to holiday classics by pianist Alex Reddick. The restaurant serves from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the price is $88 for adults and $35 for children.

Southern Art's ham bar

Southern Art's ham bar

Southern Art
3315 Peachtree Road, Atlanta
A Southern Christmas brunch featuring Chef Art’s seasonal dishes such as carving stations, artisanal ham and charcuterie and a seafood selection will be served from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Reservations for adults are …

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1910 Public House restaurant review, Lilburn

Fried chicken livers with peanut butter grits, apples and cole slaw (credit: Becky Stein)

Fried chicken livers with peanut butter grits, apples and cole slaw (credit: Becky Stein)

In tomorrow’s AJC I have a review of 1910 Public House, Lilburn’s new chef-driven bistro. I gave it a grade of 2 stars.

At 1910 Public House chef Robert Elliott puts his own stamp on Southern comfort classics. He has a tendency to tinker, sometimes delivering, sometimes not. Furthermore, the seniors and young children filling the tables may not appreciate his playful attempts, like putting peanut butter in the grits. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great bites to be had, Elliott just needs to tone it down and play more to his audience.

If you ride out the highs and lows, you’ll find a comfortable middle ground. You’ll come to appreciate the simple dishes like the aggressively seasoned, cider-poached chicken ($17). The deep golden sear belies the moisture contained within. Paired with a gooey pimento-cheese potato gratin, you have the makings of a mainstay.

Try the fancy-named corn …

Continue reading 1910 Public House restaurant review, Lilburn »

Hector Santiago Bringing Super Pan Team To Big Sky

Super Pan Pork Buns

Super Pan Pork Buns

EATER Atlanta is reporting that Abattoir chef  Hector Santiago and the team from his former Latin sandwich shop, Super Pan, will be creating the menu and manning the kitchen at Big Sky Buckhead, opening in early 2014.

Santiago, who came to fame as a Top Chef contestant, landed at Abattoir after making the decision to close his main Poncey-Highland tapas restaurant, Pura Vida, last year.  Santiago also closed the adjacent Super Pan lunch spot, which was famous for the likes of pork buns and media noche Cuban sandwiches.

Big Sky, from the Cains Hill Group will open for lunch, dinner and brunch in Cains Hill Place in the heart of the Buckhead Village nightlife district.

Several other restaurants  are set to open nearby in 2014 — including St. Cecilia from Ford Fry and Smokebelly, the Southern Gentleman, and Gypsy Kitchen, from the team behind Tin Lizzy’s, the Big Ketch. and Milton’s.

Could this be the beginning of a renaissance of the Buckhead dining …

Continue reading Hector Santiago Bringing Super Pan Team To Big Sky »

Cooking Tips: The Cookie Size Infographic

Tis’ the season for holiday baking! People bake more treats in December than they do in any other month. And why not? It’s a great gifting idea and satisfies our sweet tooth.

Baking cookies is quick and easy, yet why do some people often end up with different results? Sometime you find yourself opening the oven to a burned batch while other times you’re pacing by the oven as you add minutes to the timer because the cookies aren’t done.

It may all come down to the size you form your dough before it goes into the oven. Most recipes are specific on dough size and have based the baking time on that measurement. Take a look at our helpful infographic. Nadia of the Yum Yum Cupcake food truck shares the results of her sugar cookies: the same cookie recipe, same baking time, but different sizes.


Next time you bake cookies, pay attention to dough size and you’ll end up with perfect cookies in the right amount of baking time!

Classic Sugar Cookies Recipe

(from Yum Yum Cupcake & …

Continue reading Cooking Tips: The Cookie Size Infographic »

Behind the Scenes: Line Cook Bethany Colvin

Meet Bethany Colvin. This two-timing lady is a line cook at Watershed on Peachtree for lunch and One Midtown Kitchen for dinner. She’s hopped down from the ranks of sous chef at Cibo e Beve and Wahoo! Grill. Colvin dishes her double duties on the line.

12_17BethanyColvinWhy did you transition from sous chef back to a line cook?
The responsibilities are much different. I wanted to get out of management because I wanted to hone my skills, try different styles of cuisines and learn new techniques.

You previously worked at One Eared Stag, what about their methods did you find inspiring?
They do snout-to-tail and root-to-stalk cooking, making it a zero waste kitchen. They get in whole animals and produce and use every last piece. I learned about pickling, fermenting, and making your own bitters.

Pickles and bitters Colvin introduced at Watershed:

  • apple pie and grapefruit bitters for drinks
  • pickled beet stems on the ham plate
  • house-made pickles for burgers
  • pickled green beans for Bloody Mary’s

How …

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Monday musings: Weird flavor booster addition


I’ve been hearing a lot about shio koji — an ingredient that has become a hot commodity in Japan among home cooks who want to give their food an umami boost without resorting to MSG. When I saw a bottle in an Asian market recently I snapped it up.

If you’re a student of booze, you’ll know that koji is rice that has been inoculated with the mold Aspergillus oryzae, which is used to ferment sake, shochu and Korean maekgeolli.

But here it is combined with salt (shio) to make a kind of lumpy, off-white seasoning paste. I used it as a marinade for a side of coho salmon that I bought from those nice Alaskans who’ve been showing up at local farmers market. (Sorry, folks, lost the card.)

I added a few slivered shallots and some lemon juice and ran the salmon under the broiler. Pretty delish.

Japanese cooks use shio koji in any number of recipes, including quick pickles and marinades.

The Los Angeles Times has a great story from its excellent food explorer, Betty Hallock. According to …

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Hot or Cold?

We are finally getting a taste of winter in Atlanta, accompanied with rain. And wind. And more rain. The wet, windy weather doesn’t compare to summer’s warm beckoning to sip cocktails on a restaurant’s patio while basking in the sunshine. Okay, maybe summer wasn’t that elegant, but why leave the house when you can cozy up on your couch and sip on a warm cup of tea?

King+Duke outdoor patio (Photo Credit: Tuan Huynh)

King+Duke outdoor patio (Photo Credit: Tuan Huynh)

Restaurants heat their lamps and surround their patios with curtain enclosures to entice you to dine outdoors in the chilly temperatures. It makes me think of Barcelona Wine Bar’s outdoor fireplace, which always seems to have a wait regardless of the time of year. When you dine out, do you sit indoors despite restaurants’ attempts to lure you to the patio?

Then there are the special holiday cocktail menus that roll out this time of year, donning festive names. Hot toddies, Kahlua hot

Salted Caramel Eggnog from Chops Lobster Bar

Salted Caramel Eggnog from Chops Lobster Bar

chocolate and mulled wine pop up to …

Continue reading Hot or Cold? »

Yum Bunz closed until 2014


Yum Bunz, the quick serve Chinese concept from Mike Blum, founder of the Real Chow Baby, and Guy Wong, chef/owner of Miso Izakaya, finally opened in July after a long series of delays. But on Dec. 11 the “Dim Sum Fast” spot on Atlanta’s Westside announced via Facebook that it will be closed “for the rest of the year.”

Of course, it begs the question: Are bad reviews of its signature steamed bao (buns) to blame?

There was a buzz when it was discovered that the buns were being made in an off site factory, shipped frozen, and reheated in the restaurant. Maybe the timeout is to get Yum Bunz retooled to be more yummy?

Have you tried Yum Bunz? What did you think?

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

Continue reading Yum Bunz closed until 2014 »

A Riot For Ria Tonight


Music, food and fun were things Ria Pell loved. And all those things will celebrated tonight at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, when Pell’s friends and family pay tribute to the chef and owner of Ria’s Blubird Cafe, who passed away suddenly last month at the age of 45.

For a glimpse of Pell’s life, spirit and legacy, flip back to John Kessler’s appreciation here:

Among the Atlanta bands on the bill tonight are Pell favorites, Caroline and the Ramblers, Slim Chance and the Convicts, the El Caminos and Clash tribute, Clashinista, plus DJs spinning between sets.

There will also be a silent auction, and along with tickets sales and donations, all proceeds will help with family and business expenses and local causes close to Pell’s heart.

It’s A Ria Riot!, $20, tickets at the door. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta, 404-524-7354,

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

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Pick 9: Gearing Up for New Year’s Eve

enjoy cocktails fireside at King and Duke (photo credit: Tuan Huynh)

enjoy cocktails fireside at King and Duke (photo credit: Tuan Huynh)

We know there’s still a few more weeks left in 2013, but we’re just so excited about all the dining events going on in Atlanta, we had to share them with you now. Plus, reservations go fast. Book the babysitter and get ready to pop bottles and tickle your tastebuds with these happenings on New Year’s Eve. Call the restaurants or go online for reservations.

1. King + Duke, 3060 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta 30305

This place has been getting a lot of buzz, due to its trendy vibe (like the 24 foot open hearth) and the fire-kissed cuisine. The four-course prix fixe dinner is $70 per person and will give you one more dinner to remember this year. Complimentary champagne is passed around at midnight.

The Mill Kitchen & Bar (Photo Credit: Jason Fuchs)

The Mill Kitchen & Bar (Photo Credit: Jason Fuchs)

2. The Mill Kitchen & Bar, 590 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, 30075

Want to be closer to the ball drop but …

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