Friday, September 26, 2008

Introducing Sara in the City...

Our friend Sara C. will be writing about her culinary escapades around Atlanta on a regular basis. You may remember her guest post last week about her experience at Viking Cooking School. Enjoy the read!

I am blessed to live with an inventive and unique cook. My roommate, Stephanie, can whip up chocolate mole chicken or an orzo frittata with white truffle oil at the drop of a dime. But gourmet plates aren't her only specialty. This weekend, she'll participate in the annual Miller Lite Chili Cookoff. The cookoff, featuring categories for chili, Brunswick stew and cornbread, takes over Stone Mountain Park at the beginning of fall every year. Entrants develop homemade recipes throughout the year, and will begin booth set up this afternoon. Booths and chilis are themed, including such memorable entries as Caveman Chili, Pirate Chili, Redneck Chili and Top Gun Chili. The cooks dress up according to chosen theme, drink a few Miller Lites and get to cookin’!

Stephanie cookin it up for the Disco Chili Team

What’s in store for the roomie this year? After a finish in the top 10% of the Brunswick stew category with the Disco Chili team last year, Stephanie is looking forward to placing higher and feeding more hungry guests with the Electric Chili team. (Motto – Slide over to electrifying tastes!) While she can’t disclose her stew secrets, she did reveal that all her ingredients are organic and the meat is rubbed with a secret spice mixture (maybe with a dash of bacon salt?) and smoked for two days. I’m lucky to be a secret stew tester, and the stew is a little bit spicy, a tad sweet and all the way delish!

Booth at Miller Lite Chili Cookoff 2007

The gates open to chili eaters/spectators at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 27. Be there early - judging begins at 11:00 a.m. and the chili doesn’t stay in the pot for long! Stephanie suggests bringing your appetite, a bottle of Tums and a vote for Electric Chili and Brunswick Stew!

Disco Chili dancing queen

For more info, visit and be sure to visit the Electric Chili booth, located near the main stage.

Nicecream Sundae Sunday at Jake's Ice Cream at Irwin Street Market

Nicecream is the new, non-dairy frozen coconut cream treat whipped up from all organic ingredients for Jake’s Ice Cream by Dr. Leon Lashner. Come spoon into a complimentary Nicecream sundae on Sunday, September 28 from 4-7 p.m. at Jake’s Ice Cream at Irwin Street Market. There’ll be live music, prizes and more. While you’re there, how about making a $5 donation per person to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank? Check out DailyCandy for more info on this frozen treat!

Jake’s Ice Cream at Irwin Street Market is located at 660 Irwin Street in Inman Park; 404-586-0920.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bluegrass Brunch and A Glass of Wine

I know you've heard it a dozen times already, but I'll say it again - can you believe this gorgeous weather? It is almost impossible to sit inside right now, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy this all too rare weather is relaxing on the stone terrace at Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery.
For the month of October, Wolf Mountain is featuring a fun Bluegrass Brunch on Sundays featuring the music of The Dappled Grays and The Packway Handle Band, a delicious buffet and wines by the glass or bottle.

This month's buffet menu includes salads; egg, sausage and cheddar cheese casserole with tarragon cream; creamed spinach; fried truffled mac 'n' cheese; chicken and dumplings; a carving station with Smithfield ham and roasted turkey breast. For dessert, my pick is the hot apple crisp, but other offerings include chocolate covered strawberries, mini Key lime tarts and cheesecakes.

Wolf Mountain will hold its popular “End of Harvest Celebration and Bluegrass Brunch” on Sunday, October 5, 12, 19 and 26. $30 per person (excluding wine, tax and gratuity); seating times are 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 706-867-9862.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grand Stay Opening at Woodfire Grill

Last night I attended the "Grand Stay Opening" at Woodfire Grill. The new owners, Nicolas Quinones and Bernard Moussa, invited all of their friends and family in to celebrate their new place! Complimentary glasses of wine were flowing all night in the cafe area, and the new owners were sprawling the restaurant -- making new friends, and mingling with the old ones. Not much has changed since Michael Tuohy, which is certainlya good thing. Great wine list, wonderful food, and a great staff. I'm certain the new ownership will do just as well as the last one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

3-$30-3 Three by Three at the Dogwood (Tree)

I can't tell you how excited I am about Dogwood's new three-course, three-day-weekly, $30 menu! I was bummed when I missed out on the deal at Midtown Restaurant Week, so this is perfect! Three delicious courses for $30? This is too good to be true! The autumnal prix fixe menu, available Monday through Wednesday, rakes in a bushel of fall's flavors and colors. Go for either a "Southern Caesar" of romaine hearts, cornbread croutons and tomato-bacon Caesar dressing or roasted tomato bisque topped with fried Split Creek Farm goat cheese and micro basil as your first course. Savor a second course of buttermilk fried Springer Mountain chicken breast, baked mac and cheese and braised greens or braised beef short ribs joined by smashed rutabagas, fried sage and blackberry demi-sauce. On third - choose any of Dogwood's dessert selections. One price, $30, covers all three courses - a boon when you're watching those other leaves of green in your wallet.
Dogwood: 565 Peachtree Street; 404-835-1410.

DailyCandy Definition

Some drinks go down in infamy not due to their luscious lip, but more for the powerful kick that sends you into a rosier state of mind. Such is the martyrini, this week's potent potable from The DailyCandy Lexicon. Martyrini - n. a drink ordered after a particularly bad day.

Suggested usage: Having survived the Spanish Inquisition of all meetings, Joan knew that only a martyrini would slake the burning-at-the-stake heat she had experienced in the boardroom.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Eat Like You Work at Fifth Group Restaurants

What if you could savor the employee benefits without chopping the onions? Sure, we'd cry for joy, too! "Eat Like You Work Here" night falls on Tuesday, September 23 at participating Fifth Group Restaurants®... it's their way of serving up a helping of gratitude to customers by sharing the employees' 25 percent discount. Sit down to dinner at one of those fabulous Fifth Group Restaurants you've had hunger pangs to visit: La Tavola Trattoria, and South City Kitchen® Midtown or South City Kitchen® Vinings. The wait-staff will take 25 percent off your dinner check, so go ahead and order dessert while you're at it.

La Tavola Trattoria: 992 Virginia Avenue, NE; 404-873-5430.
South City Kitchen Midtown: 1144 Crescent Avenue; 404-873-7358.
South City Kitchen Vinings: 1675 Cumberland Parkway; 770-435-0700.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Live Music at Vita

After dinner Saturday night I popped by Vita to check out the new entertainment. Totally fun! When I got there (around 9:30 p.m.) a great warm-up band was playing. They had a sax and a bass and were playing some smooth tunes. The crowd was already building and lots of people looked like they had been there for dinner and were ready for some music.

We took a seat at the bar but could see the band perfectly. They were in that middle part of the restaurant that is lower than the rest. It really is the perfect spot for a small stage and band.
The main attraction, Kingsized, started around 10:30. He was the best! Not only is the music good - think Sinatra and other retro musicians - but Mike really works the crowd. Everyone was having a great time.

Tony LaRocco was working the room like only a dedicated owner can. He makes sure that everyone is happy, that's for sure. The entertainment is Wednesday - Saturday night and features local bands. Starts at 9 p.m.
The restaurant is open for dinner til 1 a.m. and the bar is open til 2 a.m. Go check it out. We need more options like this in Atlanta.