Friday, August 1, 2008

Now, Everyone Say "CHEESE"!!

For those of us who truly love cheese, the question is not “Who moved my cheese?” but to where did they move it? If the cheese is artisanal cheese handcrafted at Southeastern artisan dairies, then it’s most likely made its way to Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery just north of Dahlonega (one of my favorite brunch spots). The winery is celebrating its sixth annual “Artisan Cheese Month” beginning August 3 with a special Sunday vineyard luncheon buffet. Summer Sundays are a wonderful time to enjoy brunch and good times among the vines in the North Georgia Mountains. And let’s not forget the Boegner family’s wonderful, award-winning estate wines crafted in the European style at their winery on the Dahlonega Plateau. Sunday brunch is $30 per person (excluding wine, tax and gratuity), and seating times are at 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 required; call 706-867-9862. 180 Wolf Mountain Trail in Dahlonega, Georgia.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ecco's Sunday Share Is Going To The Heart of Veneto on August 3

Venice is in the heart of Italy’s most loved and visited region. We feel the same way about Ecco - one of Atlanta's most loved and visited restaurants! While it could be the gondolas, canals and cafés that make Venice so welcoming, Ecco knows that enticing Italian food plays a big part in the comfort level at the Venetian dinner table! Sharing platters of food, laughing, toasting, maybe some hugging – it’s all part of the communal table setting at The Sunday Share on August 3. Ecco’s Sunday Share takes place on the first Sunday of each month. Reserve your seat by calling 404-347-9555 and be a part of the family-style meal that begins at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per person; drink specials are an additional charge. Ecco is a Fifth Group Restaurant located at 40 7th Street in Midtown. Ciao bella!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So You Want Something for Peanuts? Chipotle's Bean Counters Have a Free Burrito for You Over Georgia's Tax-Free Weekend

What's better than tax-free? How bout' just plain FREE? Chipotle Mexican Grill knows what people really want, and it's not just the discount! Stop by Chipotle for a burrito . . . and a free burrito (that makes it tax free as well) during Georgia's tax-free holiday! The strategy is especially nice if you've been shopping for tax-free items instead of planning lunch or dinner. Buy a burrito, burrito bowl, an order of tacos or a salad on Wednesday, July 30 through Thursday, July 31. Save your receipt and bring it back on Saturday, August 2 or Sunday, August 3, to redeem for a FREE burrito, burrito bowl, order of tacos or a salad. This is so much better than tax free - this is EAT free! "Tax free" echoes Chipotle's determination to keep their foods additive free (or tax free, you might say), void of food additives such as hormones. Chipotle is committed to using fresh ingredients raised in a socially responsible, sustainable, and easy-on-the-animal and land manner. Watch the staff prepare your food right in front of you using naturally raised chicken, pork or beef, cilantro-lime rice, whole black or pinto beans, freshly grilled vegetables, house-made guacamole and a choice of fresh salsas. Celebrate additive-free, better-than-tax-free, dining at one of Chipotle's 12 Atlanta-area locations this week! Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Find your nearest Chipotle location here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dogwood Restaurant Opening Party

Last Friday evening, I attended one of the grand opening parties for Dogwood restaurant. Bea-u-tiful space!
When I first arrived, there was a little bit of a wait, so I decided to sit at the stunning bar that had caught my eye when I first walked in. Very chic, yet very cozy. The bartenders were all very knowledgeable and friendly -- they didn't seem to be stressed at all that this was the first night they were open.
The hostess seated me in the mezzanine level, the top level, that has a glass railing overlooking the restaurant. Very cool spot!
I ordered the smoked trout cake for an appetizer, and the beef tenderloin with cabernet sauvignon reduction for my entree. After seeing the amount of people flooding the restaurant, I was a little worried that I wouldn't be eating until much later! But, to my surprise, the kitchen ran very smoothly and my meal was wonderful.
The owners describe this restaurant as "Southern hospitality and sophisticated cuisine". I certainly agree. I will be back soon -- especially if there is a performance at The Fox Theatre.

The Time is Ripe for Tomatoes

As I wrote yesterday, I recently prepared a dinner celebrating the tomato. This week a couple of Atlanta restaurants will be hosting their annual dinners honoring the apple of love as well.

Chef Michael Tuohy will feature a rich variety of some of the state's best tomatoes for Woodfire Grill's 6th Annual Tomato Dinner on Wednesday, July 30. The four-course tomato menu, complete with wine pairings, runs $65 per person excluding tax and gratuity. Come join Chef Tuohy at his last tomato dinner in Atlanta. He's California-bound in August, moving west to open Grange in the Citizen Hotel, a boutique hotel near the state capitol in Sacramento. Tomato Dinner spaces are limited so call now to reserve your spot: 404-347- 9055. Woodfire Grill is located at 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road.

La Tavola Trattoria's Tomatofest runs from July 30 through August 9 with a special menu put together by Executive Chef Craig Richards with heirloom tomatoes from Dillwood Farms in Loganville. The Tomatofest menu is available à la carte ($6 - $21) or for the prix fixe cost of $39 per person. Drool over the menu offerings online. The video below features Richards making the heirloom tomato, peach and fennel salad from the menu. Enjoy Tomatofest dishes nightly at La Tavola Trattoria, 992 Virginia Avenue, NE; 404-873-5430.

Photos from La Tavola Heirloom Tasting 2008 by Alli Royce

Monday, July 28, 2008

Local Tomatoes Make For A Sweet Ending

To end the week of eating local, my roommate and I decided on a menu with a theme of tomatoes. First let me say that the reason I had breakfast for dinner at the beginning of the challenge was because my roommate was out of town. She is the cook in the apartment and I am helpless without her (thanks, Sara!). We hit up the neighborhood Whole Foods Market after a long Sunday at the pool. Since the sun had drained most of our energy, we decided on something simple.

Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Via Elisa ricotta & spinach ravioli with tomato sauce.

The dinner table (aka our coffee table) spread includes fresh sundried tomato and basil bread from Whole Foods Market.

Vanilla Gelato Mio for our dessert!

Whole Foods Market angel food cake with vanilla Gelato Mio and fresh strawberries - yum!

For more photos of our team taking the Eat Local Challenge, visit our flickr page.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Marissa Eats Local

It was my day to take the Eat Local Challenge. After many hours of pondering what local product I wanted to use, I decided to swing by my favorite pasta shop -- Via Elisa Pasta. I always love to stop into this place because you can actually see them making the pasta so you know you're getting the freshest available, and because of the many yummy samples of Italian food out to taste. I've found myself on many occassions purchasing more than just pasta. They have tasty cookies, cheeses and olive oil.

I hardly ever can decide what to get because they have a great selection, and everything is tasty.

I decided to go with one of my all-time favorites -- Passionately Perfect Tomato Sauce and three-cheese ravioli. Simple, yet, very flavorful!

I rushed home to make a fabulous lunch for myself. And, here is the finished product -- 15 minutes in boiling water for the pasta, and only about 10 in a saucepan for the sauce.