Friday, April 4, 2008

Turn the Titanic Around and Park it at Ecco for the April 6 Sunday Share Dinner

History repeats itself at Ecco’s April “Sunday Share” dinner as the Fifth Group Restaurants’® bistro salutes the passengers of the Titanic with the theme “Women & Children First.” Lest you get teary-eyed, the point is to feast on the wonderful dishes offered aboard the Titanic before it went down on that icy night of April 14, 1912. And, while Leonardo and Kate were not on the original Titanic – and therefore, won’t be joining you for dinner – you will meet many other intriguing conversationalists as you serve each other family style around the communal table that makes Sunday Share such a friendly experience. Ecco hosts the “Sunday Share” communal table at 6:30 p.m. on one Sunday each month. Historic events, exotic places . . . the theme varies monthly, yet the hearty conversations with friends and family are always a given. $25 per person; drink specials are available at an additional cost. Reservations are required as there are only so many seats at the table! Reserve your seat by calling 404-347-9555. 40 7th Street at Cypress in Midtown.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dogwood to Bloom on Peachtree, Turns Town to Sophisticated Southern Style

Prune away any notions of simple southern fried chicken and biscuits. Dogwood, opening in May, branches out to bring all of the sophistication and intricacies of southeastern regional cooking back home to Peachtree Street. Beyond the plate, each diner will feel like they are the special guest in an elegant and gracious Southern home when owners Scott Black and Shane Touhy open the doors to their new restaurant. Dogwood will be housed on the ground floor of the Reynolds condominium building at 565 Peachtree Street. We’ll feed you a bit more on the menu in upcoming issues. For now, a sneak preview of what’s to come:

For more information, call 404-835-1410.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring Makes Dining Inside, Out

Sunshine and Sunsets Lure Patio Patrons Outdoors

Nutritionists say that after hunkering down inside all winter we could use a bit more Vitamin D – which can be accomplished by spending some time outdoors. We have the perfect solution! Without getting too scientific about RDAs, we suggest you satisfy your need for a little extra “D” for dining by sliding into a chair on the primo patios of these area restaurants.

Aqua Blue shows that yes, you can find, and relax on, a patio in the ‘burbs and enjoy out-of-the-ordinary drinks and food, too. 1564 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell; 770-643-8886. Aqua Blue

Slide on those chic sunglasses for discreet people watching and pull up an artsy chair on Aria’s side-by-sidewalk patio. Same sexy feel, attentive service and rave-about dishes and desserts! 490 E. Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead; 404-233-7673.

See-worthy sunsets and fresh, wood-grilled seafood pair up on the patio at Bonefish Grill in Johns Creek. Alpharetta: 11705 C Jones Bridge Road; 770-475-6668.

To get a better Chattahoochee River view, you’d have to capsize your canoe. Better stay dry and dine on fresh American cuisine while relaxing on Canoe’s patio and garden dining areas. Thinking group thoughts? Go for a private, riverside chef’s table or the lawn area for outdoor events. 4199 Paces Ferry Road, NW; 770-432-2663.

Hip patios are a wrap at Chipotle, home of those fresh, made-to-order, gourmet burritos and tacos you always hear people raving about. With 11 Atlanta locations, they’re as close as your backyard. If an outdoor picnic or concert is in the plan, they’ll bag it to go!

Europeans love to enjoy their drinks and meals in sidewalk cafes. You can experience the same charm on the casual patio at European-inspired Ecco, the latest Fifth Group Restaurants® hotspot in Midtown. 40 7th Street at the corner of 7th and Cypress; 404-347-9555.

One of the closest dining patios to downtown can be found at The Food Studio®, situated in the historic King Plow Arts Center. The courtyard patio charms; the menu entices and delivers with seasonal specialties. 887 W. Marietta Street on the Westside; 404-815-6677.

Last week, we mentioned the primo-viewing of the ING Marathon from the GLOBE’s patio, and there’s plenty to watch Mondays through Saturdays throughout the year from this Technology Square perch. 75 Fifth Street, NW; 404-541-1487.

Friends, antipasti and a bottle of wine are meant to be cherished outside on a beautiful spring evening . . . keep a good thing going on La Tavola Trattoria’s covered balcony by staying on for conversation and contemporary Italian dishes. In neighborly Virginia-Highlands at 992 Virginia Avenue, NE; 404-873-5430.

Marlow’s Tavern provides proof that the days of Dickens’ dark taverns are long gone. Revel in the camaraderie of friendly faces, hearty food and refreshing libations out on the spacious patios at all Marlow’s Tavern locations. Alpharetta: 3719 Old Alabama Road; 770- 475-1800. Vinings: 2355 Cumberland Parkway; 770-432-2526. Kennesaw: 745 Chastain Road, NW; 770-425-8777.

South City Kitchen® has planned ahead to provide the same, much loved urban-South fare on two different patio environments. In Midtown, it’s a hustle and bustle sidewalk view, while Vinings invites neighbors to stroll on over and take a seat on the spacious, outdoor patio. Midtown: 1144 Crescent Avenue; 404-873-7358. Vinings: 1675 Cumberland Parkway; 770-435-0700.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chef Craig Richards of La Tavola Trattoria Wakes Up the City on Good Day Atlanta

Last Tuesday Atlantans making their way toward coffee, cereal and remotes turned on Good Day Atlanta to find Chef Craig Richards of La Tavola Trattoria waking them up with mouthwatering pear and squash bruschetta. If you slept in or didn’t grab a pen and paper in time, you can still get the recipe for Chef Richard’s savory fruit, veggie and ricotta dish here.
The Pear Bureau Northwest recently awarded Chef Richards a “best original recipe” award for his pearl of a pear creation, which is one of several award-winning recipes given on the web site.

La Tavola Trattoria, Fifth Group Restaurants’® friendly, Southern Italian-style eatery, is open for dinner nightly and Sunday brunch at 992 Virginia Avenue, NE in Virginia-Highland; 404-873-5430.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Night the Lights Went Out in Atlanta

I have never really considered myself a tree-hugging environmentalist, but, lately, it’s been very hard to ignore the signs that something is wrong with Mother Nature. From the devastating drought that our state is enduring, to the atypical tornado that struck Downtown Atlanta in the early part of March, the warning signs are everywhere and getting less and less subtle. Something that really opened my eyes to what was going on in the world OTP is the mini-series Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel. I found myself glued to the screen each time a new installment was released and realized that inside me, there may just be a “green” girl in waiting trying to escape.

This past weekend, Atlanta, along with several major cities across the globe, took a stand against global warming by turning out the lights for one hour during Earth Hour 2008, the brainchild of the World Wildlife Fund. According to Georgia Power, that one hour added up to a 4% savings in power! The 7.05 megawatt-hours saved is enough to power over 1,700 homes. Just one hour. It’s so easy to say that one person can’t make a difference, but what if we worked together? What if we did this once a month? Could we each do our part to contribute to the greater good?

I attended the Earth Hour reception, held at the Wachovia building, which was themed “green.” No kidding; green carpet, green drinks (the 360 Martini was deelish), even the cupcakes were green! (Pictured below) The guest list was a who’s who of media, business leaders and politician. WXIA broadcasted live throughout the evening, Mayor Shirley Franklin spoke and American Idol finalist Alexandrea Lushington graced us all with a few songs. I even met the WWF Panda! (Pictured bottom right) Several companies participated in the event in unique ways. Whole Foods Market, for example, hosted "green" cooking demonstrations, Chipotle Mexican Grill turned out the lights in all of their Atlanta area locations and Marlow's Tavern had an "In the Dark" party.
The dark city was amazing. There was only one building in the entire skyline which did not participate :-( . It was fun whatching watching each building go dark and trying to guess which one would go next. Over 400 buildings went dark within 10 seconds.

When you think about it, this is the only planet we have; once we destroy this one, we won’t get another. We each need to do our part to protect the environment and ensure that the Earth our children inherit will not be fatally flawed. The most recent step toward finding a solution to the challenges the Earth faces was Earth Hour, simply powerful. When the lights went off in Atlanta, a light came on inside of me. There’s got to be more we can do?