Friday, July 11, 2008

DailyCandy Lexicon Party

Last night Caryn and I celebrated the launch of The DailyCandy Lexicon: Words That Don't Exist but Should. The get-together was held at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur and as promised there were plenty of sweets and sips provided. Colorful cupcakes from Sweet Pockets lined the wall next to the bar. I had a RazTaz (chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling and raspberry buttercream frosting - yum!).

There was a great turn out for the launch and I love the concept of this book. You know when you get caught snooping through your boyfriend's things? You probably couldn't find a word for it, until now that is. You're snoopid. And what about the people at the gym who cannot help but check themselves out for hours in the mirror? Staremasters! The book is full of words that you will soon be using in your everyday vocabulary. Plus you get a behind-the-scenes look at what the editors are doing. Thanks to Atlanta Editor Tiffany Davis and all the people at Wordsmiths Books for having us!
You can purchase the book online at DailyCandy or Amazon.

A Cocktail Store - What More Could You Want?

I love Cocktail Hour. The store. (Well, I love cocktail hour the hour too.) It's right near my house, the owners Carl and Peter are soooooo nice, and their biz is all about cocktails - how fun is that? But they do a lot more - they like to help people host the perfect cocktail party. You know it can be a little scary. Cocktail Hour specializes in “The Art of the Cocktail” and has tips, ideas, foods and accessories to peel you off the rocks and stir you into smooth host mode for your own in-house cocktail parties, barbeques and come-over-for-dinner dates. Wall art to complete the look, stemware, picnic and travel gear, Grainware acrylics, gifts, books and recipes…it’s all here. They have classes too. Learn more and sign up for the newsletter. Open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday; closed Sundays and Mondays in July and August. In the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, 2385 Peachtree Road, NE; 404-846-4414.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Buy Local: Pick Summer Menus at Ecco and South City Kitchen

Summer’s longer days and garden pickings have grown into fresh new seasonal menus at Fifth Group Restaurants’® Ecco and South City Kitchen Midtown and Vinings. The harvest is bountiful, yet space is limited, so click on the links to view the entire menu of mouthwatering morsels at each restaurant.

European-inspired Ecco rules the neighborhood for share-ables, cheeses and desserts. Check out their summer spread here. Ecco: 40 70th Street in Midtown; 404-347-9555.

South City Kitchen Midtown plates up Deep South-gone-uptown specialties that show off the farm at weekday lunch and nightly dinner, courtesy of Executive Chef Dean Dupuis and Sous Chefs Chris Mullally and Blake Wagner. Check out their menu and make plans to visit soon! South City Kitchen Midtown: 1144 Crescent Avenue; 404-873-7358.

A few miles away at South City Kitchen Vinings, Executive Chef Chip Ulbrich and Sous Chef Adam Maddox roll out their summer menu to the neighborhood. Their new menu offers similar Southern favorites made with the freshest ingredients. South City Kitchen Vinings: 1675 Cumberland Parkway; 770-435-0700.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Appetite Stimulators Help You Squeeze the Most From Your Economic Stimulus Check

It was very nice of the government to throw a little extra dough our way. Now that we have it, what will we do with it? Fear not! The ladies of the Atlanta Dish have a wonderful idea: feast on fabulous food at some of Atlanta's hottest restaurants! Check out the great deals going on right now:

Cash in on three courses for $22 on Sundays and Mondays at Aqua Blue, where a special prix fixe menu balances fine dining and perfect portions for summer. Start with your choice of the Aqua Blue house salad with sweet herb vinaigrette or classic Caesar with shaved Parmesan. Move on to braised beef tenderloin with Madeira peppercorn sauce, served over root vegetables and Yukon Gold potatoes; roasted chicken cappellini served with a sun-dried tomato sauce; pecan-crusted trout served over sweet potato hash, sun corn, thin green beans with peach beurre blanc; or Atlantic salmon or yellowfin tuna served grilled, cast-iron blackened or bamboo-steamed with a choice of side dishes. Total it out with warm Mississippi mud pie topped with vanilla bean ice cream or classic crème brûlée. Tax and gratuity not included. 1564 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell; 770-643-8886.

Five restaurants. Three course menus. One price: $26.95. Through July 19, Fifth Group Restaurants'® "Summer of Love" specials cater to the penny-wise who love to dine out. Each restaurant has its own personality and three-course, prix-fixe menu. Try one every week night, and you'll still have money for the weekend.

Ecco was recently ranked for its wine list and as one of the best new restaurants in the world by the International Restaurant and Hotel Awards (IRHA). 40 7th Street, NE in Midtown; 404-347-9555.
Food Studio® is open for dining through July 19; then the King Plow Arts Center landmark joins the world of special event functions only! 887 W. Marietta Street in the King Plow Arts Center; 404-815-6677.
La Tavola® is your authentic Italian trattoria, complete with outside seating, and it's right around the corner in Virginia Highland: 992 Virginia Avenue; 404-873-5430.
South City Kitchen® serves up New South classics with smiles in two locations. In Midtown: 1144 Crescent Avenue; 404-873-7358. In Vinings: 1675 Cumberland Parkway; 770-435-0700.

Check out Jazz n Juice at the GLOBE on Friday and Saturday evenings. Guests will enjoy half price bottles of wine while taking in some sweet summer sounds of live jazz. Stretch your dollar further with Midtown Mondays, where mojitos, margaritas and martinis go for $5 each. 75 Fifth Street, NW; 404-541-1487.

Walk, drive or MARTA it to Morton's The Steakhouse in Buckhead for Power Hour at Bar 1221. Here, all Bar Bites are $5 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. Power up for REAL appetizers: three miniature crab cakes served with mustard mayonnaise; iceberg wedge bites served with tomato, egg, bacon and blue cheese; chicken goujonettes served fried with mustard mayonnaise; three prime cheeseburgers served on silver dollar rolls with lettuce, tomato and purple onions; jumbo lump crab, spinach and artichoke dip served with toasted French bread croutons; four petite filet mignon sandwiches served with mustard mayonnaise; and blue cheese French fries topped with melted blue cheese, red pepper flakes and chives. Served at the Buckhead location only: Peachtree Lenox Building, 3379 Peachtree Road, NE; 404-816-6535.

$99 for two buys the steak and seafood combo at Morton's The Steakhouse Downtown and Buckhead locations. Enjoy high-roller surf and turf at low-ball pricing: Each person enjoys a single-cut filet; choice of seafood options including Morton's jumbo lump crab cake, Shrimp Alexander or broiled sea scallops wrapped in bacon with apricot chutney; choice of Caesar or Morton's salad; a signature Morton's potato and vegetable to share; and a choice of Morton's legendary hot chocolate cake or Key lime pie for dessert. Reservations required. Buckhead: Peachtree Lenox Building at 3379 Peachtree Road, NE; 404-816- 6535. Downtown: SunTrust Plaza Building at 303 Peachtree Center Avenue; 404-577-4366.

VITA wakes up quiet Tuesday nights with lively Tuesday Tastings from 6 to 8 p.m. $15 per person includes a tasting of 5-6 wines and complimentary appetizers. Mama mia! Such a deal! 2110 Peachtree Road and Bennett Street; 404-367-8482.

Pack a shopping bag and cruise the aisles on a Whole Foods Market "Way to Shop Value Tour!" A Whole Foods Market "Value Guru" guide will show you how to find the real deals in every department, proving it is possible to stretch your food budget without giving up organic and natural foods! Tours are offered weekly and registration is required as tours are limited to 12 "tourists" each; check out your local store's schedule at
Seven locations: Buckhead: 77 West Paces Ferry Road, NW; 404-324-4100Briarcliff: 2111 Briarcliff Road; 404-634-7800Duluth-Johns Creek: 5945 State Bridge Road; 678-514-2400Sandy Springs: 5930 Roswell Road; 404-236-0810Ponce: 650 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE; 404-853-1681Harry's Farmers Market in Alpharetta: 1180 Upper Hembree Road; 770-664-6300Harry's Farmers Market in Marietta: 70 Powers Ferry Road, SE; 770-578-4400

The glass is NOT half empty simply because the dream California wine country trek is out of the budget this summer. Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery has a full glass -- and even bottles -- waiting just a couple of gallons of gas away from Atlanta in Dahlonega's hill country. Head north on Sunday, July 13 for "A Tribute to California Cuisine and Jazz," featuring recipes from Napa Valley's renowned restaurants paired with Wolf Mountain's family of estate wines and live jazz. The event is $30 per person (excluding wine, tax and gratuity), and seating times are 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. All Wolf Mountain wines are priced separately and will be available by the glass or bottle. Advance reservations are a must; call 706-867-9862. 180 Wolf Mountain Trail in Dahlonega, Georgia.

Chef Tony Ballester of Morton's Makes The Million Dollar Burger

Last week, Chef Tony Ballester of Morton's The Steakhouse in Buckhead demonstrated how to make the restaurant's "Million Dollar Burger" on the set of WAGA-TV's "Good Day Atlanta." This is the hamburger that Klaus Fritsch made for Arnie Morton when they both worked for the Playboy Clubs in the early 1970s. From that day, they started the business partnership that has become Morton's The Steakhouse. Pictured above is Chef Tony teaching tricks of the trade to Good Day Atlanta Co-host Mark Hayes. The "Million Dollar Burger," which only costs $19.78 - the year that Morton's was founded, is available at both Atlanta locations of Morton's (Buckhead and Downtown) every Sunday in July, August and September. And the best part - $5 of each burger sold will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as part of Morton's 30th Anniversary partnership with the Foundation. For those of you brave enough to try and replicate the burger for yourself, here's the recipe:

Morton’s “Million Dollar” Hamburger
Ingredients (serves six):
4 pounds coarse-grind ground sirloin
4 large eggs
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large hamburger buns
3 tablespoons clarified butter
Six 1/2-inch-thick slices tomato
Six 1/4-inch-thick slices Spanish onion
6 large leaves iceberg lettuce
Ketchup or another topping, for serving

1. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil and position the rack as close to the heat source as possible.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sirloin, eggs, tomato juice, salt, and pepper. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Divide the meat into six equal portions and gently form them into patties. Transfer to the broiler pan, and using a small sharp knife, make a crosshatch mark on the top of each burger about 1/8 inch deep. (This lets the juices percolate through the burger, and we also like the way it looks.)

3. Brush the inside of each bun with butter. Toast the buns in the broiler for about 30 seconds on each side, or until lightly browned; be careful that the buns don’t get too browned. Remove the buns and cover to keep warm. Reposition the broiler tray so that it is about 6 inches from the heat.

4. Broil the burgers for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes on each side for rare, 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, and 4 1/2 to 5 minutes on each side for medium.

5.To serve, put the bottom half of each bun on a plate. Top with a burger and then a tomato slice, onion slice, and lettuce leaf. Add the top of the bun. Repeat to make five more burgers. Serve with ketchup, if desired.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dogwood Restaurant Stage 3

Dogwood is really beginning to take shape. The walls are up, the stairs are stable and the kitchen is almost ready for cooking. In this video, owners Shane Tuohy and Scott Black walk me through the restaurant like two proud parents showing off their pride and joy. Follow this link to their youtube channel to find stage one and two of the videos. It's amazing to see how far they have come.

Dogwood is set to open Monday, July 28. Be sure and drop by the ground floor of the Reynolds condominum building at 565 Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta to see the final product!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Le Burrito, S'il vous plaît

Not that I needed an excuse to eat at Chipotle Mexican Grill, (I eat there a few times a week anyway) but they have given me yet another one all the same. Introducing “Le Burrito” – made with naturally raised chicken, black beans, cilantro lime rice, mild tomato salsa and freshly made guacamole – available at any Chipotle from July 5-27! This limited-time offering will be wrapped to your order in honor of the American cycling team, Garmin-Chipotle Presented by H30, which will compete in the Tour de France race. Chipotle has sponsored team Garmin-Chipotle for the past three years because the team upholds its mission of integrity in everything it does. This professional biking team says “NO” to performance enhancing drugs just as Chipotle says “NO” to hormones, antibiotics or other drugs in the pork, beef and vegetarian-fed chicken in Chipotle’s burritos, tacos and bowls (burritos without the tortilla). Sounds like both the cyclists and the wrappers are into fast and healthy lifestyles!

Chipotle has led the pack in riding its vision of Food With Integrity -- using fresh ingredients that are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. Try a healthy Le Burrito at any of more than 730 Chipotle restaurants!
Team Garmin-Chipotle Presented by H30 is a professional American cycling team dedicated to promoting ethical sporting and developing the next generation of cycling champions. The team's 25 riders come from all over the world to achieve one common goal: ride clean and ride hard. In 2007, the team partnered with the Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) to create the most progressive anti-doping system in the professional sports world. Each rider will undergo combined voluntary testing at least 700 times throughout the 2008 season, 20 times the number of tests that most professional cyclists are subject to annually. The 2008 team is led by five national champions, two Tour de France Yellow Jersey wearers, a Tour de France polka-dot jersey wearer, one former World Champion, and a previous winner of Paris-Roubaix.