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Archive for September, 2009

Havana to open “soon”

Havana's new home/credit: Rachel Toibin Ramos/AJC

Havana's new home/credit: Rachel Tobin Ramos/AJC

Havana Sandwich Shop owner Debbie Benedit says that — barring any further delays (and there have plenty) — the new Havana will open “within the next two weeks.”

This is great news for fans of the Cuban restaurant, who were saddened last year when the long-favored Buford Highway eatery suffered total loss from fire.

“People have been joking with me to get the place opened on October 6, you know, sort of a ‘risen from the ashes’ thing,” Benedit said, “but I said no way.”

October 6, 2008, was the date of the fire.

The new spot is in a squeaky clean shopping strip mall just two miles north of the old spot on Buford, inside Crossroads Shopping Center at the intersection of Clairmont and Buford Highway.

“All my girls will be with me,” said Benedit, “and the menu is exactly the same. The only thing different is the location.” The new location is at 3979 Buford …

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Taste of Atlanta 2009

Image courtesy of Taste of Atlanta

Image courtesy of Taste of Atlanta

Taste of Atlanta is scheduled to roll into town this October 10 and 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year, the foodie event has moved its locale from Atlantic Station to Tech Square in Midtown, a good change since Atlantic Station has been such a troubled venue.

“Farm to table” and “sustainable”  are words we foodies throw around a lot, and this year the festival is capitalizing on consumer interest by offering a “Farm-to-Festival Village” as part of the festivities.  The “village” highlights the fresh-from-the-farm food movement and  is part of the 8-block event, with an interactive cooking stage, fresh farmers market and displays offering resources and information also on the bill of fare.

The “Farm-To-Festival” cooking stage will offer demos from local chefs Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene, Jay Swift of 4th & Swift, Antonio Abizanda of La Grotta, Nick Melvin of Parish, Paul Agnelli of Cellar 56 and  David Larkworthy of 5 Seasons …

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Help aid Georgia’s flooded farms

Better days: Joe Reynolds picks lettuce at Love is Love Farm/ credit: AJC

Better days: Joe Reynolds picks lettuce at Love is Love Farm/ credit: AJC

Georgia’s farms have taken a toll from the floods. Many, like Love is Love Farm in Douglasville, have had their fall and winter crops wiped out. The farm’s irrigation system was destroyed and two-thirds of the land was submerged, leaving the fall harvest deep under water. Huge trees were downed, equipment was destroyed and most of the farm’s precious top soil was washed away. The farm is looking at repair costs of $8,000.

Woodfire Grill chef and co-owner  Kevin Gillespie (yes, that’s Kevin on “Top Chef”) is hosting a save-the-farm dinner on October 11. The event will feature a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by a seated dinner at 6:30 p.m. that includes a four-course menu with wine pairings for $100 per person.   All proceeds from the event will benefit Love is Love Farm and reservations for the fundraiser are required. Call 404-347-9055 to reserve a spot.

Judith Winfrey, leader of Slow Food …

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Bacon mania

Crunchy or chewy?/credit: AJC

Crunchy or chewy?/credit: AJC

As a small child my niece once made a Christmas list asking Santa for “a pound of bacon, cooked chewy.” Santa complied, but I think my niece had help eating Santa’s loot Christmas morning. When I was a vegetarian for a few years, the only meat I missed was bacon.

Chewy, crunchy — some people even like it a little burned; there’s something about these fatty, smoky, salty slivers of pork belly that well, make most people happy. I’d venture that bacon is the second-most craved food, giving the number one spot to chocolate (Vosges actually carries a bacon-and-chocolate bar in its line of upscale chocolates, called “Mo’s Bacon Bar”).

There’s bacon-infused bourbon. Leon’s Full Service serves Benton’s bacon slices in a glass, with a side of peanut butter.

I was sent several pounds of bacon (yes! there is a God!) a month or so ago from a smokehouse called Burgers’ Smokehouse, from California, Missouri. Burger’s is a family business that has been smoking …

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That’s not caramel! It’s cajeta! Send me your recipes!

Creamy cajeta/Credit: Shane Harrison

Creamy cajeta/Credit: Shane Harrison

Have you been wanting to tackle a recipe for  awhile, but just didn’t have the time? Maybe it’s time for you to finally try to make those gyoza, stretch that strudel, or whip up a warm batch of gulab jamun. Or maybe you’d just like to try your hand at your mom’s pot roast.

If you’ve won over a recipe you’ve been meaning to conquer, it’s time to share it with me — be a guest blogger on Table Talk, and share your recipe with other AJC readers.  Send your story (brief is better!), your recipe and a photo to me at, with a return email and phone number where I can reach you. I’ll try to share a recipe at least once a month, depending on the response.

So, without further shinanigans, here’s my first guest blogger: Shane Harrison. One of my dearest friends and colleagues, Shane also happens to be a fine cook; the recipe he’d been wanting to make for a while was of cajeta (pronounced cah-HEY-tah). Cajeta is a dazzlingly smooth …

Continue reading That’s not caramel! It’s cajeta! Send me your recipes! »

Rosa Mexicano hosts month-long chocolate festival

Got chocolate?/credit: AJC

Got chocolate?/credit: AJC

Rosa Mexicano, the upscale Mexican restaurant at Atlantic Station, is holding a month-long chocolate festival (well, almost a month — 26 days) from September 30 through October 25.

Sweet and savory specials highlighting the Mexican use of chocolate will be on the menu each day, plus you can learn to cook with chocolate at a demonstration and luncheon on Saturday, October 10. There will be  a chocolate -inspired four-course feast with beverage and cocktail pairings on Wednesday, October 14. The first 15 people to sign up for the luncheon will receive a $25 gift certificate for the restaurant.

The demonstration and luncheon is Saturday, October 10, demo at 10:00, with the luncheon beginning at 11:30. $35 Per Person, including tax and gratuity.

The tasting dinner is Wednesday, October 14, 6:30 pm cocktails, 7:30 pm dinner with beverage and cocktail pairings. $55 Per Person, including tax and gratuity.

Reservations for both are ONLINE only.  Rosa …

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Another pig roast! Fall in the 4th Neighborhood Festival

Is it me, or are we having an inordinate amount of pig roasts around town? Who cares! More for everyone! Just received this from chef-owner Jay Swift at 4th & Swift: Old Fourth Ward restaurants, including 4th & Swift, Repast, Serpas True Food, Corner Tavern, P’cheen, Dynamic Dish, Highland Bakery, Rolling Bones and CRU Urban Lounge will all celebrate Autumn with a festival in the Southern Dairies parking lot:4thShort notice: it’s tomorrow, from noon until 7 p.m.  Swift said he will be roasting a whole pig from Gum Creek Farm, as well as wood-grilled salmon. There’s live music from local bands, food, games for the kids and cocktails for the adults. Food+music+festival= fun.

Continue reading Another pig roast! Fall in the 4th Neighborhood Festival »

Friday’s dining review: Atlanta pizza wars

This week’s dining review: Atlanta’s pizza wars are heating up: wood-burning and coal ovens are hot to be number one. At Max’s Coal Oven pizzeria, the slices are better than average, but the end-of-summer insalata Caprese rocks. Read it all, and don’t forget to check out my take on why the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is closing with Scott Slade of  Atlanta’s Morning News on News/Talk 750 WSB, this Sunday morning at 8 a.m!

Max's insalata Caprese: perfect/credit: Becky Stein

Max's insalata Caprese: perfect/credit: Becky Stein

Continue reading Friday’s dining review: Atlanta pizza wars »

Top five for Friday: My favorite affordable wine lists

Some of the wines at Eno by Zaza/credit: AJC

Some of the wines at Eno by Zaza/credit: AJC

I used to cringe at the use of “alternative” on Atlanta’s wine lists – a term once reserved for anything that wasn’t pinot noir or Chardonnay. These days, it’s different. Now the city boasts lists of affordable wines, ripe for sipping. Here are five of my favorites.

Krog Bar ***

112 Krog St., 404-524-1618, Atlanta

The folks who own Rathbun’s have packed a lot of punch (and wine) into 750 square feet – Krog Bar’s space may be tiny, but its wine list flows, with more than 50 selections by the glass and a true tapas menu to go with it. I just wish there were more places to sit. Ahh … who cares when you’re nibbling prosciutto and sipping Tempranillo?

Eno by Zaza **

800 Peachtree St., 404-685-3191, Atlanta

Yes, the new name, prompted by the recent sale from owner Doug Strickland to Hawks player Zaza Pachulia, sounds more like a new designer’s clothing line at Target than a restaurant, but Pachulia has been wise …

Continue reading Top five for Friday: My favorite affordable wine lists »

More pig roasts! Krog Bar turns four with a birthday bash

Image Courtesy of Krog Bar

Image Courtesy of Krog Bar

Birthdays are so much fun. Especially for a four-year old. And it’s even better when you get to invite everyone.

Krog Bar will be celebrating its fourth birthday on Saturday, October 10, from 6 to 11 p.m. with a “Pig & Paella” cookout, and owner Kevin Rathbun will be roasting a whole pig and serving up paella made with chorizo, shrimp, mussels and smoked chicken.

$20 gets you pig, paella and a glass of wine — tax and gratuity included. (You can always buy more if you want.) For advance tickets, you can order online, then just bring your printed receipt and ID with you at the door. Or you can pay at the door. Whatever works. Krog Bar is located at 112 Krog Street, Atlanta. Call 404-524-1618 for more information.

Krog Bar's birthday paella/Image courtesy of Krog Bar

Krog Bar's birthday paella/Image courtesy of Krog Bar

Continue reading More pig roasts! Krog Bar turns four with a birthday bash »