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Archive for March, 2014

La Tagliatella Midtown Closed and other news bits

Tomorrow's News Today

Tomorrow's News Today

Tomorrow’s News Today reports that La Tagliatella has closed its Midtown location on Peachtree Street.

The Italian-style pasta and pizza concept with over 130 restaurants in Europe chose Midtown Atlanta for its first American outpost, opening in mid-December 2012 at the Shops at Metropolis.

A second location soon followed, and remains open at Emory Point on Clifton Road.

In a May 2013 review of the Emory Point location, the AJC critic Jon Watson wrote “America does not have a monopoly on exporting mass-marketed mediocrity” and gave the restaurant a zero star rating.

1540 Avenue Place Suite B-280, Atlanta, 678-608-4210,

Bishops Coffee and Tea open

Caffeine lovers alert: Bishops Coffee and Tea, a coffee roasting and cafe company based in Northwest Florida, has opened a new outpost on Monroe Drive across from Ansley Mall. Owner and coffee roaster Tionna Bishop offers three types of espresso, coffee and tea drinks, muffins, pastries, and …

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Chef’s Favorite Dishes from a Few of Atlanta’s Finest

Floataway Cafe's orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage

Floataway Cafe's orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage

Chefs spend hours in the kitchen – one minute they are peering over the shoulder of a line cook to ensure quarter-inch cuts for each carrot, the next they are garnishing a plate of grass-fed ribeye with a pinch of microgreens. It’s understanding that chefs don’t spend a lot of time dining out when they are surrounded by meals that many people only eat on rare occasions. But at the end of the night when the white apron is tossed aside for cleaning and the knife blade is wiped cleaned, a chef’s stomach grumbles for the satisfaction of someone else’s cooking. We asked five of Atlanta’s prominent chefs what dishes they seek out when they have a chance to dine out. What do you think of their picks?

“F & B chef Phillipe Haddad’s serves an incredible braised lamb shank served over wild mushroom risotto. Not only does it taste great but I like the way Haddad finishes the risotto with parsnip puree instead of heavy cream …

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New Wave Indian restaurants: Chai Pani, Tabla, Cardamom Hill

Corn bhel at Chai Pani

Corn bhel at Chai Pani

Don’t call it fusion.

Such is the plea from Cardamom Hill owner Asha Gomez to people who try and describe her restaurant, where she has prepared roasted duck, beef croquettes and fried chicken that she claims are very much in keeping with the fare in Kerala, the far-southern Indian state where she grew up.

I recently came back from a short trip to India to visit my daughter, who is spending the year there. Indeed, the one Keralite restaurant we visited reminded me in every way of Cardamom Hill — from the dining room layout (lots of snug spaces between carved wooden dividers), to the presentations (colorful compositions on porcelain plates) to the wide variety of meat and fish (including the only beef we encountered in India).

We visited so many different kinds of restaurants — some elegant and modern, some hip and boisterous, some experimental, and some flat-out grand. They all expanded my image of what an Indian restaurant can be.

Cardamom Hill is just …

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Big News for Giving Kitchen and Sweetwater

Last week, Jen Hidinger and chef Ryan Smith led a tour of the soon to be renovated Staplehouse restaurant and Giving Kitchen space on Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward.

The happy occasion was the presentation of a check  to The Giving Kitchen for over $38,000 from Sweetwater Brewing and United Distributors, the amount of the proceeds from the sales of Second Helping IPA.

“I really can’t believe it,” Hidinger said when the check was unveiled. “This is so much more than I expected.”

Smith echoed her surprise in a word: “Flabbergasted.”

The bittersweet back story of Staplehouse began when Jen and her late husband, chef Ryan Hidinger, dreamed of opening a restaurant. When Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV gall bladder cancer, the restaurant community rallied with support and the Giving Kitchen was born as a nonprofit initiative to help other restaurant workers in need.

Ryan Hidinger passed away in January, but in late 2013 he helped create Second Helping with Sweetwater head …

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Pick 5: Sunday Suppers

There has been a debate centered around Sundays. Is it the beginning of the week or the end of the weekend? No matter which side of the table you are on, Sunday Suppers are a gentle nod toward the gathering of family, whether blood-related or not. We picked out a few spots with family-style feastings for the table to enjoy.

Cakes & Ale

Cakes & Ale duck breast

Cakes & Ale duck breast

155 Sycamore Road, Decatur
Chef Billy Allin tries to utilize ingredients from the Cakes & Ale garden to inspire the menu each week.  This time of year, expect to find mushrooms and sunchokes on the plate. Allin always does a good job of serving seafood that you wouldn’t normally find at the fish counter, such as tilefish or triggerfish.

JCT Kitchen
1198 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta
Pass around a basket of steaming biscuits and slop on that apple butter because this is the South. Chef Ford Fry’s meat and three dinner draws on comfort foods, like …

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Smoke Ring restaurant review, Castleberry Hill

credit: Becky Stein

credit: Becky Stein

In tomorrow’s AJC I have a review of Smoke Ring, the new downtown barbecue joint by 101 Concepts.

The restaurant occupies a lofty, highly styled and carefully rustic space designed to showcase a new side of barbecue. This is a spot where you can pull up a stool to the long wrap-around bar for a domestic craft beer or a creative cocktail made with Whistlepig rye whiskey or any number of brown spirits. It’s not your homey brisket barn. While you can get that paper-lined quarter sheet pan piled with some satisfying pulled pork and spare ribs, you can also fancy it up with pork belly sliders and brisket burritos. This is the place where the oft-neglected barbecue sides become the most interesting part of the meal. Welcome to gastro’cue.

I gave it a grade of 2 stars. Subscribers can read the full review on

–Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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Taco Bell Unveils Breakfast Menu on March 27

Yo quiero Taco Bell for lunch, dinner, “fourth meal” and now… Breakfast? Today the company has rolled out one of the largest menu expansions yet. Those who crave flour tortillas, egg burritos and hash browns can now enjoy breakfast from Taco Bell.beginning at 7 a.m. (or earlier) until 11 a.m.


The menu includes “classic breakfast items with a Taco Bell twist,” including:

Waffle Taco – “a warm waffle wrapped around a hearty sausage patty or flavorful bacon, with scrambled eggs and cheese, served with a side of sweet syrup”

A.M. Crunchwrap –“ a combination of scrambled eggs, hash brown, melted cheese and bacon, sausage patty or thick cut steak wrapped in a warm tortilla”

Cinnabon Delights – “warm, golden bite-sized pastries filled with Cinnabon frosting and covered with Makara cinnamon sugar”

A.M. Grilled Taco –  “fluffy scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese and flavorful sausage or bacon folded in a tortilla and griddled for portability”

We assume including “A.M.” in front of …

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Atlanta Food Trucks and Woodstock Restaurant Week


Atlanta Food Truck Park Turns Two

The Atlanta Food Truck Park & Event Center celebrates its second anniversary on Thursday with “A Moveable Feast,” a VIP tasting event and an exclusive preview of new food trucks.

Tickets include five samples and an option to buy full entrees and cocktails. The Band Benefield brings the music.

Participating food trucks include Crepe Suzette, Bento Bus, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Masala Fresh, Mighty Meatballs, Liska, Pho Sho, Dogs on Wheels, WOW, Linkz Express, One Love, Genki Sushi, Primo Italian Ice, Heavenly Dolce Cupcakes and King of Pops.

5-10 p.m. Thursday. $32 tickets at the Scoutmob website. 1850 Howell Mill Road,


Downtown Woodstock Restaurant Week, March 23-30

Downtown Woodstock kicked off its first restaurant week with special prix fixe menus priced at $10, $15, $20 or $25 through March 30.

Participating destinations include Pure Taqueria, Fire Stone Wood Fired Pizza & Grill, Canyons Burger Company, ICE Martini Bar, Ipp’s Pastaria & …

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Recipe: Wasabi and Sesame Broiled Verlasso Salmon

This week’s recipe continues with our seafood kick, since we know this time of year warrants an increase in seafood consumption, specifically on Fridays.

Today’s spotlight is Verlasso salmon, a species raised in the oceans of Patagonia. While there is a lot of skepticism with farmed salmon, Verlasso salmon was ranked yellow as a “good alternative” and it is the only ocean-raised farmed salmon recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The salmon are raised at half the pen density than traditional farmed salmon, and consumers wary of the source can scan a QR-code to find more about t3_26_Verlassohe farmer who raised the fish. You can find Verlasso salmon at The Fresh Market, although any species of salmon will do for this recipe.

Wasabi and Sesame Broiled Verlasso Salmon (Serves 6)


  • 1 cup dry white wine (try Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, …

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Behind the Scenes: Matt Valdez of Park 75


Matt Valdez will never cook on a gas grill again. Not after roasting on a wood-burning grill, the method that he uses as sous chef of Park 75 restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. He gets his inspiration for the restaurant’s tasting menu from the kitchen’s rooftop garden. Valdez is a hands-on kind of chef and enjoys butchering a nice cut of meat. Read on to learn more behind the scenes of a hotel kitchen.

How does working in a hotel differ from a traditional restaurant?
The biggest learning curve is the multiple outlets off of one line. I’ll look at my reservations board and it may say 32 reservations but that is only for the main dining room. It doesn’t account for room service or our bar and lounge area.

It seems as if there is a fair bit of mental math involved.
Definitely. I am constantly gathering data from the front desk to see how many people are in the hotel. I check on events happening in the city because if there’s a sporting event or concert it has a …

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