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 April, 2014

Al Clayton, photographer of both hunger and plenty, passes

Al Clayton with daughter Jennie Nedza and a pot of his famous greens in 2001

Al Clayton with daughter Jennie Nedza and a pot of his famous greens in 2001

Al Clayton, a renowned Southern photographer whose work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, passed away over the weekend. He was best known for a series of photographs he took in the 1960s that chronicled hunger and poverty in the rural South. Clayton also famously collaborated with Southern civil rights and food historian John Egerton, providing images for his seminal book “Southern Food.”

I mostly knew him as the husband and sometimes collaborator of Mary Ann Clayton, the great food stylist with whom I sometimes worked in the late 1990s. He was the kind of person who could turn a minute-long phone conversation into a memorable moment.

Here’s a great NPR interview with Al.

And here’s a wonderful 2001 story from our archives that Mary Ann wrote about Al’s New Year’s Day greens and beans:

The other night, at a friend’s 60th birthday party, my husband, Al, and I met up with a couple we …

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Bloody Marys and Chilled Seafood Salad Recipe for Mom

Mother’s Day is a week and a half away, but it isn’t too early to start thinking about what to make. In this weekend’s paper, we’ll have a feature on chef’s tips for cooking with your kids. One of the chefs, MG Farris, invited me into his kitchen to see what he and his 9 year-old son Julian will be cooking for mom.

Chef MG Farris and his son Julian share their Mother's Day breakfast in bed

Chef MG Farris and his son Julian share their Mother's Day breakfast in bed

On the menu:

  • Bloody Mary
  • Chilled Shellfish and Fennel Salad with Rosemary Lemon Dressing
  • Julian’s Sweetened Fruit Salad
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

You know when a kid has a chef for a parent when they have already mastered “the claw,” a knife skills term for curling your fingers into a claw to grasp whatever you are cutting. Farris hummed around his kitchen, frequently peering over Julian’s shoulder to monitor his work- slicing strawberries for the fruit salad. It was easy for Farris to do the hard prep work, like measuring out exact quantities for the shellfish and fennel salad, and …

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Lusca Opens For Dinner Tonight


Lusca will open for dinner service tonight at 5:30 p.m. The highly anticipated new restaurant from chefs Angus Brown and Nhan Le of Octopus Bar takes over the Brookwood Hills space once occupied by Bluefin.

“It’s pretty much the dream restaurant for Nhan and me,” Brown said recently. And earlier today Brown confirmed that Lusca would be “all the way open tonight” with full bar service.

CL has a preview of the menu, which includes a raw bar with oysters, live scallops and sea urchin, cured meats and other treats from butcher Jonathan Sellitto, and entrees such as lamb neck and quail. Look for lunch and brunch hours soon.

1829 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta.

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More.

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Behind the Scenes: Carla Hall on Her New Cookbook

“My fear wasn’t going to Paris at 23 and having one telephone number. My fear wasn’t going to London and not knowing anyone. My fear wasn’t traveling around to these places without knowing the language. My fear was hating my job at 40. I knew that if I said yes to these experiences there is an adventure after the yes.”

4_29carlahallThat was Carla Hall’s mindset that took her from attorney to fashion model in Europe to culinary school in Maryland. A Top Chef alumni, co-host on ABC’s “The Chew” and cookbook author, she shared her inspiration behind her latest cookbook “Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes Around the World.”

When most people think of comfort foods, they tend to think of heavy, Southern fare. But you go with a different approach in this cookbook.

Our view of comfort food is very narrow. I grew up in Nashville, and comfort meant mac n’ cheese and smothered pork chops. So I wanted explore how each culture approaches their own idea of comfort food.

You have quite the itinerary …

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Buckhead Restaurant Week 2014 and more news bits


Buckhead Restaurant Week 2014

More than 30 restaurants will offer reservations for Buckhead Restaurant Week, May 17-25. Chefs will create prix-fixe menus for brunch, lunch and dinner priced at $15, $25 or $35 per person, excluding alcohol, tax and gratuity. Among them, 10 Degrees South, Aria, Atlanta Fish Market,  Bistro Niko, Cook Hall, Del Frisco’s Grille, F&B, FLIP Buckhead, KR SteakBar, Kyma, Ocean Prime, Paul’s, Portofino, Pricci, Saltyard, Southern Art, and Watershed. Menus and info:

Egg Harbor opens in South Buckhead

Egg Harbor Café has opened its newest location on the ground floor of the Brookwood of Atlanta on Peachtree Road. With 18 spots in Illinois, Wisconsin and Georgia, including Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, the casual restaurant specializes in breakfast and lunch fare, with egg specialties, skillets, frittatas, pancakes, sandwiches, soups and salads, plus a children’s menu, daily specials, and gluten free offerings.

Second Church to open …

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Bittermilk cocktail mixers: Craft cocktails at home

Bittermilk mixers

Bittermilk mixers

The folks behind The Gin Joint, a well loved Charleston cocktail bar, have come up with a great idea: cocktail mixers for grownups. And not just any grownups, but people who go to craft cocktail bars and think nothing of spending $12 on a bespoke concoction that contains a half dozen ingredients that no one outside of mixology circles has ever heard of.

Their Bittermilk cocktail mixer compounds combine everything except for the booze. Each one contains a distinctive “bittering agent” to counterbalance its sweetness. You add your spirit of choice, stir, shake or clink about with ice cubes, and you end up with something that tastes like it was made by a tincture-weilding hipster dude in a porkpie hat.

I very much liked “No. 3″ — a whiskey sour compound made with lemon juice, bourbon barrel smoked honey and oleo-saccharum, a bittersweet syrup made with rubbed orange zest. You shake up equal parts with bourbon or rye and end up with a frothy, well-balanced sour …

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Wine Dinners Around Town

Wahoo Grill's bar space (photo credit Michael Pannone)

Wahoo Grill's bar space (photo credit Michael Pannone)

The best way to start the week? Wining and dining of course! There is an art to pairing food with wine. A steak pairs perfectly with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll want to try a tangy goat cheese with a high acid Sauvignon Blanc. Warm spring weather, salty oysters and the acidic minerality of a Rose flow seamlessly together. Wine dinners are the perfect opportunity to learn the harmony of food and wine, providing an educational (and tasty) experience.

Taverna Fiorentina
3324 Cobb Pkwy SE, Atlanta
A four-course meal catered by Italian-born chef Paolo Tondo with wine pairings by certified sommelier Jasmin Reyes Scott is well worth the reasonable $65 price.  Each dinner is the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. You are guided through each wine’s tasting notes by both Reyes Scott and local sommeliers, giving you a truly educational experience.

4199 Paces Ferry Road, …

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Wine Tastings Around Town

Wine tastings, a rite of passage for oenophiles. Some prefer to exercise their tolerance for tannins, pushing their glass through crowded tastings in an eager attempt to get a heavy pour. Others prefer to taste deliberately, sticking their nose deep into the glass to sniff out hints of oak on the nose, leather on the palate. However you approach a tasting, there is a sense of comfort and elegance in grasping the stem of a wine glass. The good news? You can find a wine tasting on almost any day of the week. Here are a few picks.


Campagnola Restaurant + Bar
980 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta
A stone’s throw from Piedmont Park, this Italian eatery just began doing wine tastings the third Monday of each month. They bring in local wine experts to give an informative tasting.


516 Grayson Parkway, Grayson
Don’t let the quaint appearance fool you. The first Tuesday of every month is a wine chat …

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St. Cecilia restaurant review, Buckhead

swordfish at St. Cecilia (credit: Becky Stein)

swordfish at St. Cecilia (credit: Becky Stein)

In tomorrow’s AJC I have a review of St. Cecilia, the newest in Ford Fry’s string of restaurants. I gave it a grade of 3 stars.

At St. Cecilia, the bright and breezy two-story space mimics the delicate flavors of the light, coastal European fare. Simple fish dishes like herb-scented swordfish and fresh pastas like the spring green nettles ravioli come from this kitchen. The fare is still a work in progress as the kitchen strives to identify its most successful dishes and keep up with the demands of an ambitious 160-seat dining room. But that doesn’t stop the Buckhead business lunchers and evening trendsetters from snagging every available perch. St. Cecilia is where you’ll find Atlanta.

The restaurant’s signature dish is fast becoming its hearth-roasted octopus, its meaty interior juxtaposed with crispy charred tentacles. The new spring menu brings another competitor for top spot: the spring ravioli. Green nettle-infused pasta …

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Atlanta Chefs Show at Taste of Avalon

"Puffy" Tacos

"Puffy" Tacos

On Wednesday afternoon, “Taste of Avalon” gave VIP guests and a few journalists and bloggers a sneak preview of the culinary aspirations of the upscale $600 million mixed use Avalon development, now under construction on 86 acres at Ga. 400 and Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta.

Guided hard hat walking tours revealed the concrete bones of chef-driven Atlanta-to-Avalon restaurant destinations, including Ford Fry’s new Tex-Mex concept, The El Felix, another outpost of Shaun Doty’s Bantam + Biddy pastured chicken eatery, and Giovanni Di Palma’s Antico pizza and Caffè Gio transplants.

Among the samples on offer, Fry and Kevin Maxey plated a crispy “puffy” chicken taco with guacamole and salsa. Executive chef/partner Jeremiah Bacon of Charleston-to-Avalon Oak Steakhouse served slices of dry-aged strip steak with bone marrow bread pudding. Bocado owner Brian Lewis, who will open a new concept called Bocado Burger Bar, went in a different direction with a black rice, …

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