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Archive for June, 2009

Fourth of July restaurant openings

More restaurants, in addition to Repast (posted yesterday), are open on the 4th of July this year:

Aria, the glittering Buckhead mainstay, will be open on the Fourth for the first time, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Facebook members will receive 50% off by mentioning Facebook when making reservations either through Opentable or by calling the restaurant.

Groovy new eco-friendly EVOS, at the Prada, will be open for lunch and dinner. Peachtree Road Race runners can receive a free organic milkshake by showing their t-shirt or bib number.

Chef Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill will be roasting a whole hog and offering a $35 prix fixe “all-American” menu from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. A $5 donation gets you all-you-can-drink Sweetwater beer, and the proceeds go to Save the Hooch.

Peasant Bistro, overlooking Centennial Park, will be open for lunch and dinner with $5 martinis and $3 beers.

Room at Twelve will have a build-your-own-burger-bash from 5 to 8 p.m., with $2 bottled beers and $8 …

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4th & Swift’s summer-y corn soup

Dropped into 4th & Swift this past Sunday night with my husband and parents — we had just returned from vacation and thought chef-owner Jay Swift’s new summer menu might be just the thing to thank my ‘rents for taking care of our pets while we were away.

This restaurant has never disappointed me, no matter what I order, from hearty pork loin with pepped up pork and beans to a Southern-style strawberry shortcake so good even my mother and I admitted that it was better than our own — and my mother makes excellent strawberry shortcake. There are dishes I like better than others, but I’m never disappointed to try anything on the menu, especially in the summertime.

And my tastebuds must know the seasons as well as my calendar, because I always seem to show up at this comely spot, inside the old Southern Dairies, when Swift’s corn soup — a puree of corn rife with freshness and studded with whole kernels and lump crab meat — is on the menu. It tastes like summer-y, buttery corn on …

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What are you planning for the 4th?

Joe Truex of Repast is letting folks know via Facebook that he’s open from 3 to 10 p.m. on the 4th of July, serving his famous foie gras hot dogs and house-ground burgers, along with $3 beer on the patio.

Sounds like a party.

Growing up, we always had a family reunion on the 4th, with BBQ, brunswick stew, fried chicken, potato salad and my great aunt Rosa’s coconut cake, along with gobs of other goodies.

What are you and your family planning for the 4th? Do you go out, or plan a party at home?

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5 things to eat in Atlanta before it’s too late

Jane and Michael Stern, the couple who brought us the acclaimed “Two for the Road” and Gourmet’s “Roadfood,” have a new book out, called “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late and the Very Best Places to Eat Them.”

It’s basically a grand look at dives, BBQ joints, clam shacks and meat-’n’-threes across America. I was happy that Champlin’s Seafood and Allie’s doughnut shop were included from Rhode Island, and that Atlanta’s Silver Skillet got a nod for its lemon ice box pie.

It made me think of the things I would want to have — one last time — when that time comes.


61 North Ave., Atlanta. 404-881-1706 (other locations in metro area and Athens)

I talked about the Varsity last week, too, but if I were really going to never be in Atlanta again, I’d have to have a meal here — a hot dog with chili and mustard, onion rings, a “big oange” and a fried peach pie. If I ever get to heaven, the fried peach pies from the Varsity will surely be there to greet me — only there, …

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Alon’s fresh strawberry preserves

I’m on vacation all this week, but will return to the blog on Monday, June 29.

In the meantime, head over to Alon’s and get a jar of the house-made strawberry preserves: plump, whole strawberries in rich syrup. Grab a loaf of pain de mie and a wheel of brie and you’ve got breakfast. Or a snack. Definitely a sugar rush. The provender makes preserves throughout the summer “whenever we get a lot of really good fruit in” so I’m looking forward to whatever else the summer brings.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Bacon in cocktails?

Atlanta’s finest bars have really set a pace for great cocktails in the last few years, but publicists from the DC area are touting a new trend I haven’t seen — or drank — here yet. Bacon cocktails.

One of the most popular ways to get the salty taste of pork belly into your drink is to infuse your favorite vodka. And I’m thinking a bloody Mary would be pretty tasty with just a nip o’ bacon. Kind of like a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. And think how much better a martini could be? Bacon milkshakes? Why not?

The only bacon I’ve seen in a glass in the Atlanta area is the Benton’s bacon served in a glass at Leon’s Full Service in Decatur as a fun appetizer. Let’s get those boys to pour some gin over those slices and get a party going!

Have you tried a bacon cocktail?

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Top five for Friday: My favorite fast foods

Last week, I put a call out on Table Talk and the homepage for readers to tell me what restaurants they’d like to see reviewed by me in the AJC.

Each month, I plan to put the same call out, and each month, I plan to review a suggested restaurant by a reader. Part of the deal also includes sharing some of the reader’s vitals, too.

This month, “Stan” (he didn’t give his last name), suggested I rate fast food fair and square. Fries and shake in hand, I found I was up to the challenge. Stan, a self-professed “avid home cook,” lives in Winder with his wife and two beagles. Thanks for the idea, Stan!

61 North Ave., Atlanta. 404-881-1706 (other locations in metro area and Athens)

If it’s good enough for former president Bill Clinton and former Georgia governor Zell Miller (pictured), then dang it — the Varsity is good enough for me. Of course, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love the largest drive-in in the world’s onion rings, hot dogs (I like …

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Give dad a free shake for Father’s Day

If that last-minute trip to the store doesn’t prove fruitful with a tie or book, you can always treat dad to a free milkshake this Saturday, June 20, at area Chick-fil-A locations.

In honor of Father’s Day, the 132 Chick-fil-A® restaurants in the greater Atlanta-area will reward dads with a free Chick-fil-A hand-spun milkshake from 10:30 a.m. until close (remember, the fast-food chain isn’t open on Sundays).  All fathers who visit the restaurant with their children will receive a free 14-ounce milkshake in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, cookies & cream or the new, limited-time only peach flavors!

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Mariel Hemingway headlines Go Green Expo

When I first got the press release revealing that actress and model Mariel Hemingway will be headlining the Go Green Expo with the conference’s keynote presentation next weekend at Cobb Gallery Centre, I almost choked on my Newman’s Own Honey Nut O’s.

Isn’t this the woman who starred in Star 80 with implants on display? This is the practically pre-teen girl Woody Allen laments over at the end of the film Manhattan, right? And, this is a woman who admitted to me in a phone interview last week that during some of the years she was modeling she went for at least two of them “without eating fat at all, fasting, and sometimes eating nothing but fat-free popcorn.”

Where’s the healthy, go-greenery in that?

Well, Hemingway has changed her view. “There’s such an initial vain aspect to modeling and acting, sure,” Hemingway told me. “But having children changed me (the 48-year old mom has two girls, 19 and 21). Food represents love — it’s a ritual with the intention of love. And how you …

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Mayor Shirley Franklin dons chef’s toque

This Sunday, Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin (left) will lose the big pink rose and don a chef’s toque — for a good cause. Franklin joins the list of “guest chefs” at Cafe 458 that have included some of the city’s best, among them Repast’s Joe Truex and Pura Vida’s Hector Santiago.

The mayor will headline Father’s Day by helming in the kitchen, serving brunch. Cafe 458 is part of Samaritan House of Atlanta, which relies on profits from the restaurant to support its effort in helping homeless men and women develop job and life skills, become employed, and obtain housing. Brunch includes items such as French toast, shrimp & grits, and Carolina pulled pork eggs benedict, and is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mayor Franklin will be on hand this Sunday, June 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Make a reservation by calling 404-525-3276 or via e-mail at

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