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Archive for January, 2014

P’cheen Closing Feb. 9


Here’s what owners Alex Friedman, Keiran Neely and Mike LaSage posted on the P’cheen Facebook page today:

While it’s with heavy hearts that we share the news P’cheen will be closing its doors, we are excited that a new concept will open in its place – our home for eight wonderful years in the Old Fourth Ward – by a longtime friend and patron of the restaurant.  We cannot thank our neighbors, the community, the City of Atlanta, our loyal patrons, and our friends and family enough for their ongoing support and encouragement over the years. We will be focusing our efforts the Edgewood Speakeasy, Pizzeria Vesuvius, and Bone Lick BBQ along with exploring new ventures.  In the meantime, we will be hosting a number of closing events at P’cheen through Sunday, February 9th as our way to thank all of you.  Please feel free to stop by the restaurant, ask questions, and simply hangout for one last time. Thank you again for believing in us and in the Old Fourth Ward. We look …

Continue reading P’cheen Closing Feb. 9 »

The crowd-pleasing power of punch

Jerry Slater peels lemons to make oleo-saccharum, the basis for his good Cadet punch.

Jerry Slater peels lemons to make oleo-saccharum, the basis for his good Cadet punch.

Back in December I wrote a holiday story about punch for the AJC Sunday section. I talked with Jerry Slater, a whiskey expert and the owner of the Reynoldstown bar and restaurant, H. Harper Station, who offered some fascinating perspectives on the crowd-pleasing power of punch, along with a couple of recipes.

In case you missed it, you can read it free today here. And you can check out some really cool photos Phil Skinner took of Slater mixing up his rye whiskey-powered Cadet Punch — a simplified version of the historic Chatham Artillery Punch that he makes by muddling lemon peels and sugar together to create oleo-saccharum, an ambrosial essence that’s the basis for many other classic punch recipes.

I’m thinking a bowl of Cadet Punch would be a convivial antidote for all the bad weather and bad feelings hovering around Atlanta, lately. Slater says the flavor is like a really good old …

Continue reading The crowd-pleasing power of punch »

Super Bowl Catering and Gameday Watch Parties

1_31_superbowlSuper Bowl Sunday is upon us and despite what the Atlanta snowstorm has done to us, we will press on. We will host our Superbowl parties and fill bowls with chips, eat platters of chicken wings, and even make our own Frito Pies and Palomas. But if the snow threw you off and you aren’t feeling like cooking for a crowd, these restaurants will do it for you. Below is a list of restaurants that offer catering, but be sure to place your orders by the end of today. We’ve also included some spots hosting Game day parties in case you want to leave the house. We’re sure you’ve seen enough of it the past few days anyway.


931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta
They will be offering two choices for pick-up. Order four quarts or more of Mitchili prepared with ground turkey, four kinds of beans and special ingredients for $10 each quart. Or a full tray of sandwiches (serves up to 16) for $65.

Table & Main
1028 Canton Street, …

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Kimball House restaurant review, Decatur

Shaved Brussels sprouts with pimento-pecan puree. BECKY STEIN/SPECIAL

Shaved Brussels sprouts with pimento-pecan puree. BECKY STEIN/SPECIAL

In tomorrow’s AJC I have a review of Kimball House, the most recent of a string of restaurants to occupy the old Decatur train depot. I gave it a grade of 3 stars.

At Kimball House we find an inspired revival of the once-dying cocktail culture and a raw bar with a brilliant oyster selection unparalleled in Atlanta, the restaurant’s two main draws. We also find an impressive restaurant garden and co-executive chefs Philip Meeker and Jeffrey Wall taking inspiration from early Kimball House hotel menus as they develop new and mostly successful combinations with scores of ingredients, many pickled, cured or fermented in-house. All of these pieces have come together in something of a time capsule for Atlanta dining in 2014.

If you can save room after gorging on oysters, try the sweet and salty fun of the luxuriant pork belly ($12) dotted with crisp fennel slices and brightly sweet orange segments. Be sure to …

Continue reading Kimball House restaurant review, Decatur »

A Taste of Don Antonio by Starita in Buckhead


At a get-together last week at their new Don Antonio by Starita in Buckhead, renowned Neapolitan pizza maestros Roberto Caporuscio and Antonio Starita were busy serving up wood-fired and fried bites for friends and media, including samples of their signature Montanara Starita — a flash-fried dough delicacy that’s topped with secret Starita tomato sauce and smoked Buffalo mozzarella before it’s quick-fired.

The la dolce vita scene was loud and festive, but the hardworking duo mainly stuck by the kitchen, occasionally emerging to deliver a pie or offer a greeting heavily accented in Italian.

How Caporuscio and his Neapolitan mentor Starita decided to land a spin-off of their New York City hot spot in the former STG Trattoria space on West Paces Ferry Road had much to do with Bocado and STG owner Brian Lewis, who now owns a part of the Don Antonio Buckhead operation.

Before Lewis opened STG in April 2012, he traveled to New York to learn how to make Neapolitan-style pizzas …

Continue reading A Taste of Don Antonio by Starita in Buckhead »

Superbowl Recipe: Frito Pie & Paloma

Superbowl Sunday is upon us, but this Sunday’s gameday means more than just football rivalry and clever commercials. Americans spend more than $50 million on food for the big game.

The solution? Fox Bro’s Bar-B-Q Frito Pie and Victory Sandwich Bar’s Paloma to wash it down. Chili is a cost-friendly recipe and easy to feed a crowd, and by eating out of Frito’s bags, there’s no clean-up required. Assuming you have the staples on-hand, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need at the store.

Frito Pie:

  • 1 pound brisket1_29_fritos
  • 2 onions
  • 3 jalepenos
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste (you won’t use it all)
  • 1 can chipoltes in adobe sauce (you won’t use it all)
  • 1 small bag of corn flour (in the ethnic food aisle)
  • 16 6 ounce bags of Fritos (buy a multipack)


  • 16 bottles of grapefruit soda (we used Izze)
  • 1 bottle reposada tequila
  • 20 fresh limes

Settle in to watch the game while holding your Frito Pie in one hand and a bottle of spiked soda in the other. …

Continue reading Superbowl Recipe: Frito Pie & Paloma »

Snow Day: Who’s open?

(AJC file photo)

(AJC file photo)

As restaurants were deciding whether to close or remain open last night, a pattern emerged. Bar, pubs and taverns that serve food were, by and large, the places that stayed open. The Highlander, Cypress Street, Tavern at Phipps, Diesel, Brick Store Pub — these were the rooms playing to relieved neighbors.

Today’s another story. Here’s a first pass at restaurants that have announced they’re open:

  • Fox Bros. BBQ — open all day as of now, normal hours
  • Big Tex Decatur – open at 3 p.m.
  • Buttermilk Kitchen – open serving pancakes & biscuits only
  • Meehan’s Public House (Vinings, Sandy Springs, Downtown, Atlantic Station) – open normal hours
  • Farm Burger – pending after last night’s sleepover (!)
  • Empire State South – open for lunch
  • Atkins Park — Vinings, Virginia-Highland
  • Article 14 — open all day
  • Max’s Coal Oven Pizza — open all day
  • Stats — will open for dinner
  • Rays on the Creek — will open for dinner
  • Table & Main – open for dinner
  • Chai Pani – open
  • Zocalo – …

Continue reading Snow Day: Who’s open? »

Restaurant closings [updated]


Well, I’ve just emerged from a charming 2-hour drive from Dunwoody to Decatur. Though I haven’t had the time to do any reporting, the good people over at Eater Atlanta have are compiling a list of restaurants that will stay open and others that will close.

Here’s what they have for closed so far. If you know of any others, please add them in the comments section below. Thanks.

  • Muss & Turner’s
  • Pine Street Market
  • Big Chow Grill
  • Gu’s Bistro
  • The General Muir and West Egg (closing at 3:30)
  • Alons Virginia Highland
  • P’cheen
  • Miso Izakaya
  • Bhojanic
  • Moxie Burger
  • Saltyard
  • Sobban
  • Heirloom Market BBQ
  • Ink & Elm
  • Villains
  • Ammazza
  • H. Harper Station
  • No. 246
  • The Optimist
  • St. Cecilia
  • JCT. Kitchen
  • Cucina Asselina
  • Yeah Burger
  • Genki
  • STK
  • Vesuvius Pizzeria
  • Flip Burger
  • The Spence
  • Gunshow
  • 7 Hens

Continue reading Restaurant closings [updated] »

On the road again: Asian dining in Brooklyn

Ramen from Ganso in Brooklyn

Ramen from Ganso in Brooklyn

I was in New York last week for a meeting and decided to stay in Brooklyn to be closer to family there. Still feeling kind of “reoriented” from my trip to Japan, I found myself gravitating toward Asian restaurants.

Ganso is the borough’s best-loved ramen spot, and as it was right around the corner from my hotel, I hightailed it over there as soon as I arrived and found out my room wasn’t ready.

I thought the house shoyu (soy sauce) ramen with pork belly, memma (marinated bamboo shoots) and greens was pretty good.

IMG_9463The gyoza, though, were fantastic.

As you might be able to see in the picture at right, they have hane, or “wings” made from an extremely thin batter that the cook adds toward the end of the cooking time. It turns into a sheer patina of crunchtasticness.

Are there any restaurants in Atlanta that serve gyoza with hane? I’d drive a mile (many miles) for these dumpling wings.

Laap Pet Isaan (duck salad) at Pok Pok NY

Laap Pet Isaan (duck salad) at Pok Pok NY

The next day I visited a …

Continue reading On the road again: Asian dining in Brooklyn »

Behind the Scenes: Food Stylist Susan Spungen

This Friday, the movie Labor Day, featuring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin is released into theaters and critics are buzzing about the sensual pie-making scene. Frank (Brolin) teaches Adele (Winslet) and her son Henry, how to make a peach pie, and it becomes a turning point for the romantic relationship that flourishes during the film. Frank’s meaty hands guide Adele as she delicately rolls out the crust. Golden filling oozes from the trios hands as they dip them into a bowl of over-ripe peaches. Did you know that hundreds of pies were baked for that one scene? Just about any movie with on-camera baking involves a food stylist. Susan Spungen, the stylist for the film, shares the details of the sexy pie scene.

Susan Spungen on-set with Josh Brolin

Susan Spungen on-set with Josh Brolin

My assistant Christine and I were the only people baking behind the scenes. We made all the dough, peeled the peaches and baked the completed pies. There were cases and cases of peaches, a lot of leftover dough and hundreds of …

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Food Stylist Susan Spungen »