Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Olympics Make Me Hungry

Given that yesterday was 8-8-08, the luckiest day of the century in China and the opening day of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a group of us decided it was only fitting to head to Frank Ma's South, the latest setting for Atlanta's favorite Chinese food guru. (2088 Briarcliff Rd NE) It's only been open a couple of weeks but the word is out. Don't be turned off by the "Wingnuts" sign outside. It's just left over from the last tenant. Frank doesn't seem to care much about aesthetics - but he cares a LOT about food. We had the Wife & Husband which I'm told is lung. It was delicious! We also had some scallion pancakes, dumplings, pork with squid, fish in hot oil (my favorite), bean sprouts, and I must mention the eggplant with basil I had last week too - yum! You can bring your own wine here which is a plus. And if you forget, Rocky's liquor store is conveniently located right next door. Frank gets a gold medal for this performance.

A couple of local restaurants are celebrating the games too. Newly opened Dogwood is pouring a “Red, White and You” wine flight in honor of our Olympians. $20 buys you two flights of white and two flights of red every Friday night during the Olympic games. Come weekly and odds are you won’t be blue! Try Schramsberg (Calistoga) blanc de blancs sparkling Chardonnay has bubbled on our nation’s tables since 1965. Chappellet (Napa) Chardonnay is summer in a glass, thanks to Napa’s cool marine breezes, Dijon varietal grapes and French oak barrel aging. Kenneth Volk (Paso Robles) Pinot Noir puts a red on the table from the family- owned Santa Barbara winery that owner Kenneth Volk notes as being “smaller, better and slower.” In this case, slower wins the race! Northstar (Walla Walla) Merlot, blended from Columbia Valley-grown grapes, wins praises as Seattle’s favorite. Dogwood is located in the Reynolds condominium building at 565 Peachtree Street; 404-835-1410.

VITA owner Tony LaRocco invites Olympic followers to dive in to a tall, wet drink named after local Olympic swimmer Kathleen Hersey. Literally the girl next door, Hersey lives in LaRocco’s neighborhood! Her namesake drink is a spirited medley of peach vodka, peach schnapps and orange juice ($8). This hometown girl swims faster than you can toss one back. Check out the YouTube video and see her dominate the 100-yard butterfly at the Olympic time trials.
VITA: 2110 Peachtree Road; 404-367-8482.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's Not Just Merlot; Take Any Wine To Go!

Georgia Senate Bill 55 has passed. Perhaps you know it by its street name: the Merlot to Go law. The new law means that you can go ahead and order that bottle of wine, even if you don’t intend to finish it with your dinner, because now you can take it with you! If you have purchased a bottle of wine with your meal and consumed a portion of the wine with your meal, you may ask the restaurant staff to reseal the wine bottle and securely repackage it with the receipt “to go.”
The tamper-evident package must then be stored in your locked glove box, trunk or behind the very last seat in your car for a hands-off ride home. We know of several Atlanta restaurants that are ready to help you cork up and re-package your “Merlot to Go” in resealable bags: All Fifth Group Restaurants®, Aria, Aqua Blue, Dogwood and VITA. Thanks to the passage of S.B. 55 and the packaging skills of these restaurants, you can go ahead and order that bottle of wine without feeling as if you must consume it all in one sitting before driving home. Have a glass with dinner and by all means, take it with you to enjoy later at home!

Cheers to You Rowdy

Today we mourn the loss of For almost a week I wondered why the site was not working. I simply blamed my wireless internet connection and went on my way. I finally wrote Matt himself who assured me it was not my browser but that in fact the site was down. How could this be? I wondered, but Mr. Rowdy gave no details.

Today, Hardy at DirtySouthWine reports that is gone but Mr.Rowdy has forwarded the url to his blog. So if you type in and end up reading about wine, don't fret. Stay and read about Hardy's adventures in grapes and be on the look out for posts about the birdies that hang out on his porch. Mr. Rowdy, your food quests will be missed. Cheers to you!

As one goes away, two more are added. We have recently updated the Delicious Atlanta Sites blogroll to include two great blogs, Adventurous Tastes and Disposable Income. Please be sure and check them out (often!). I love finding new blogs on the Atlanta scene. Keep 'em comin'!

Photo courtesy of RowdyFood on flickr.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reflections from Alisha Bess on the Eat Local Challenge

As you may remember reading, our office took the Eat Local Challenge two weeks ago. We each planned a dinner that used all local ingredients and shared with you (and our flickr friends) the outcome. Well, now we have a guest writer sharing her experience. Alisha Bess is from Whole Foods Market Buckhead and is responsible for organizing the second annual Eat Local Challenge. Below she shares why this challenge was important to her and her overall thoughts on Atlantans eating local...

"It all started last year when I read an article about how writers from a local newspaper decided to eat nothing but local foods for 1 week. After reading about their experiences I was inspired to take the challenge myself. As I started talking to my fellow Whole Foods Market Team Members, we not only decided to do it ourselves, but challenge customers to eat local as well. And thus the Eat Local Challenge was born. This was our 2nd year of the Eat Local Challenge and it was bigger and better. There were so many highlights to this year’s challenge that it’s hard to stay focused on just a few. First, of course, there’s the food. The number and variety of delicious food treasures across Georgia could keep the most advanced culinary mind tantalized for days. It was a pleasure for my team and I to compile recipes to help people along the challenge. Our own writings, in addition to recipes generously contributed from local chef/writer Virginia Willis and various local producers gave us more recipes than we could include!

"In addition to the amazing recipes, this year’s challenge showed me a community more engaged in the local food movement. The awareness of gas prices on food prices has really impacted pockets and awakened consumers’ minds about where food comes from. Not to mention the recent food recalls and the abundance of information about the down right scary things that occur in some food production has no longer made words like “irradiation,” “pesticides” or “animal byproduct” a mystery. Never before have I heard more people say “I already eat as much local as possible. Between Whole Foods and the farmer’s markets, this is where I do all my shopping.”
"Whole Foods Market has always been a big proponent of eating local and supporting the farmers and producers who put their hearts into making the most delicious foods around. And now it is starting to make sense to others. And by others, I mean the tons of other retailers who have jumped on the local bandwagon. Local is the new organic. And as we know, trends sell.

"So although we may not have had tons of people sign up for the challenge, we were able to engage and continue the conversation about the ease and importance of eating local. So to the Georgia newcomer, who has never been blessed with fresh pasta from Via Elisa, mouthwatering beef from Harris Family Heritage Beef, creamy chevre from Sweet Grass Dairy, sipped one of Georgia’s award-winning wines, or had peaches, tomatoes, squash or any other amazing Georgia foods-wake up and embrace what it really means to be Georgia-grown."

Celebrate Back-to-School With the Quintessential Summer Cocktail From Vajra Stratigos

It is hot! And with the kids out for the summer, life is even more hectic. What better way to cool yourself off and celebrate back-to-school time, then a cool cocktail? Whip up the ideal summer drink with the help of Vajra Stratigos of Fifth Group Restaurants®. Vajra is Atlanta's gold medal Olympian in the sommelier world, and he's always up for sharing his libation expertise. "The Summer Cocktail - Il Fiore" is one of his quick how-to videos to watch once you put the kids on the bus or during an Olympic commercial break. Vajra shakes up a botanical gin blend and tops it with lime and fresh mint. Does this pool 'n patio pick-me-up count as an energy drink?

Morton's The Steakhouse - Buckhead Takes You Over The Hump With Wine Down Wednesday On August 6

The week’s half over and it’s time to celebrate! There's nothing like unwinding with wine, and, on the first Wednesday of each month, Wine Down Wednesday at Morton's The Steakhouse - Buckhead is the ideal place to mark crossing the work week's midline. Today's 5:30 - 7 p.m. tasting features wines of the Pacific Northwest, including Chateau Ste. Michelle Late Harvest Chenin Blanc, Eroica Riesling and Col Solare. $12 per person includes wine tasting and bites of Morton's famed appetizers, and make sure to try the sliders.

Morton's The Steakhouse Buckhead location only: Peachtree Lenox Building, 3379 Peachtree Road, NE; 404-816-6535.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Turning Trash Into Organic Treasure

Whole Foods Market is doing its part to keep things local. Watch this slideshow and listen to how Mike Hardy from the South Region Distribution Center is helping to make Farmer D Organics' compost possible.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Varsity's 80th Birthday

"What'll ya have, what'll ya have?" That's the first thing you hear when you first step foot in this Atlanta landmark.

This past Saturday, the Varsity celebrated 80 years in business, and was it packed! The parking lot and drive-thru were completely full of cars from all over the state of Georgia (and probably beyond). Just for the celebration, there were tons of things going on -- a NASCAR simulator car was there for folks that wanted to take a "test drive", live music by local bands, and let's not forget free birthday cake and ice cream.
Being a fellow Atlantan, I couldn't bring myself to visit the Varsity and not order an F.O. and heavy weight with cheese. In case you're not up-to-date on the lingo, "F.O." means a Frosted Orange and "heavy weight with cheese" means a hot dog with extra chili and cheese. The Frosted Orange is some type of yummy orange/ice cream smoothie-drink. I'm not quite sure what all is in it, but it's certainly good!
I'll have to remember to bring out-of-town guests down to taste one of the many flavors of Atlanta or experience the huge drive-in. After all, the Varsity has been named, "the World's largest drive-in restaurant."

Eat Like You Work At Ecco and South City Kichen Midtown and Vinings

Even if you aren't the celebrity chef, star waiter or brilliant busser you can still eat like you work at Fifth Group Restaurants’® Ecco, South City Kitchen® Midtown and South City Kitchen® Vinings on Tuesday, August 5. Take them up on this popular dining opportunity and receive the standard 25 percent off employee discount on your meal. Why do they do it? Fifth Group’s restaurants consistently earn top ratings as great places to work, and the teams want to share the benefits! Ecco takes a European bistro route while Southern hospitality and regional cuisine meet metropolitan hustle-bustle at South City Kitchen Midtown and Vinings.

Ecco: 40 7th Street, NE in Midtown; 404-347-9555. South City Kitchen Midtown: 1144 Crescent Avenue; 404-873-7358. South City Kitchen Vinings: 1675 Cumberland Parkway; 770-435-0700.