Friday, January 30, 2009

I Love The Wine Opener Event!

Last night my friend Annie and I "sipped and savored" our way around The Atlanta Wine Opener at the Mason Muer Fine Art Gallery. The annual event benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The gallery is unassuming from the exterior but inside the gallery is a wonderful space. Inspiring art, delicious food, fine wine filled the gallery. Chef Ben McPherson of Eclipse Di Luna introduced the crowd to shrimp ceviche with spicy popcorn. I ate a piquello pepper stuffed with mushrooms at Ecco's table before dunking strawberries and graham crackers in the chocolate fountain. Oh and we did drink wonderful wine!

It's Amore...

When home is where the heart is, make Whole Foods Market a stop on your homeward bound route. What better way to surprise your mate than with a homemade meal - straight from the heart. Don't forget about those other important elements of a romantic evening... flowers, wine, gourmet cheeses and chocolates. It's all good, and it's all under one eco- friendly roof... in seven locations around town.

Woodfire Grill is the perfect place for lovers during Valentine's week. Modern Romeos and Juliets will want to partake in the "Fools for Love" wine dinner benefiting the Georgia Shakespeare Theatre on Monday, February 9. The savory sonnet woos hearts with an hors d'oeuvre reception, three-course dinner with wine and cabaret entertainment for $100 per person. Date night on Friday, February 13, brings a choice of the full dining room menu or a special $65 per person, four-course Valentine's menu that includes a complimentary glass of cava. Woodfire Grill keeps it simple for starry-eyed couples on Saturday, February 14 by setting forth only the $65 four-course prix fixe menu, with several options for each course, along with a complimentary glass of cava and a take-home box of truffles. There's a place in their heart and on the menu for vegetarians, too. For reservations, call 404-347-9055. Woodfire Grill: 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Give Your Man the Treat of Meat for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is getting closer by the minute and I have some great suggestions for women who are looking to put a huge smile on their man’s face. Red meat and wine are sure-fire ways to a man’s heart, so this year Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, Morton’s the Steakhouse and Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery are at the top of my list for V-Day destinations with my hubby.

Valentine’s Day isn’t usually considered a man’s favorite holiday, but this year, Fogo de Chão’s 15 savory cuts of meat are giving men a new reason to look forward to the heart shaped boxes of chocolates and the inevitable red roses. The restaurant will be offering special Valentine’s Day hours, serving dinner from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 14. Fogo de Chão: 3101 Piedmont Road; 404-266-9988.

Morton’s the Steakhouse joins together its signature steak and seafood dishes in a heavenly match that’s just $99.99 for two. Each person will savor a single-cut filet; their choice of seafood options including Morton’s jumbo lump crab cake, Shrimp Alexander or broiled sea scallops; choice of Caesar or Morton’s salad; and a choice of Morton’s legendary hot chocolate cake or Key lime pie for dessert. Call ahead for reservations. Morton’s The Steakhouse-Buckhead: Peachtree Lenox Building, 3379 Peachtree Road, NE; 404-816-6535. Morton’s The Steakhouse-Downtown: SunTrust Plaza Building, 303 Peachtree Center Avenue; 404-577-4366.

And, if escaping the city is part of your quest for the ultimate love potion, venture to Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery in Dahlonega for the winery’s third annual Valentine Gourmet Dinner on Saturday, February 14 at 7 p.m. The six-course dinner with wine pairings costs $80 per person. Sunday, February 15 brings another option, Wolf Mountain’s Valentine Brunch for $30 per person at either the 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. seating. Reservations are a must for these events; call 706-867-9862. Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery: 180 Wolf Mountain Trail in Dahlonega.

Ahhh, Moving!

Tell people you're moving and you'll get one of three responses: "I hate moving." "You poor thing - good luck." "I have a bad back."

So, yes, we are moving. Going through many years of memories and sending them to that big recycling heaven in the sky. Anyone remember The Martini Club? Filibuster's? Insignia? Fishbone? The MLA team has now been given a history lesson on the Atlanta restaurant scene!

We are leaving Buckhead and heading to the Westside. Our new office at Lumberyard Lofts should be ready in March. But, wait, what about February?

Since MLA is already a green office with most everyone tele-working, we're pretty much set up for a month of office-less-ness. And Fifth Group is letting us hang out there once a week just so we can see each other in person. Otherwise, I expect you'll find us at Octane or West Egg.
Our new address is 1425 Ellsworth Industrial Dr./30318. Our phones stay the same 404-816-3068. March will be here before we know it! We're looking forward to having Bone Garden Cantina as our office cafeteria. Come by for a margarita once we've moved in.

Oh, and there's still time to come over and help out if you don't have a bad back and you like moving!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Baking Contest - Do I Dare?

Share Our Strength is hosting their annual Great American Baking Contest on Thursday, March 5 at The Cook's Warehouse in Midtown. This is the second year of the contest and I kinda want to participate this year. The contest has categories for professionals, amateurs and children and each category has some nice prizes ($250 for 1st place in the amateur category!).Last year, I focused on getting clients involved in the professional competition, but this year I'm half considering entering as an amateur. The only thing holding me back is that I don't really think I'm that great of a baker. I love to cook and if it was entering an entree, appetizer or something along those lines I wouldn't hesitate, but baking is tricky. Heck, I destroyed some meringues last week, and the last time I bragged about my brownies they came out so underdone that you had to eat them with a spoon. But, I have had some successes too and there is nothing like a challenge to get me motivated... I have until February 12 to get my entry in so I guess I'd better decide pretty fast if I'm actually going to do this. I'll keep you posted if I do!

Contest entry fees are $25 for amateurs and children, $95 for professionals. Click here to download the entry forms, pay the contest entry fees or buy tickets to the event. Entries must be received no later than February 12, 2009.

Fun and Casual Valentine's Day Dining Ideas

If you're looking out for your wallet or looking for something more casual than the traditional Valentine's Day options, Eclipse di Luna's Miami Circle location, all Marlow's Tavern locations and Uncle Julio's Casa Grande provide fun alternatives that won't break the bank:

Eclipse di Luna offers specialty drinks like a strawberry and ginger mojito, berry love martini and a heart-fluttering Red Bull drink on Valentine's Day. Dessert devotees will enjoy chocolate mousse with ganache, red wine and raspberry sauce and olive oil tuile. Around 10:30 p.m., the party starts as D.J. Mike Smith spins the place into the “Miami Love Lounge,” and the affair continues until 2:30 a.m. No cover. For reservations, call 404-846-0449. Eclipse di Luna in Buckhead: 764 Miami Circle.

All six metro-Atlanta Marlow’s Tavern locations have a huggable deal: a three-course Valentine’s Day menu for $29.99 per person. Marlow’s Tavern: Alpharetta at 3719 Old Alabama Road, 770-475-1800; Kennesaw at 745 Chastain Road, NW, 770-425-8777; Midtown at 950 West Peachtree Street, 404-815-0323; Vinings at 2355 Cumberland Parkway, 770-432-2526; Northlake at 4156 LaVista Road, 678-987-1197; and Duluth at 1950 Satellite Boulevard, 770-622-2033.

“Plato de Amor” sounds so romantic -- and tastes even more so when polished off with that special someone at Uncle Julio’s Casa Grande Monday, February 9 through Sunday, February 15. This spot is great for new couples, and the platter includes cold water lobster tail, shrimp brochette, chicken and beef fajitas, as well as guacamole, pico de gallo, rice and beans. Stay sweet by finishing with Uncle Julio’s famous coconut flan or cinnamon sugar-covered churros. Uncle Julio’s Casa Grande: 1860 Peachtree Road, NW; 404-350-6767.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scoop Alert: Dinner with Paula

I just got off the phone with the organizers of Atlanta's second Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show (coming up April 18 - 19), and I got some fabulous scoop. They have just put tickets on sale for a special VIP book signing and supper with Paula Deen on Sunday, April 19 at 4:15 p.m.

This year's luncheon with Paula sold out in a matter of minutes so adding a second event is huge for Paula lovers. The event is limited to 160 people and tickets are $100 per person.
This year's event (and dinner with Paula) will take place at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

If you aren't a huge Paula fan, several other Food Network stars will be at this year's event. Tyler Florence will be doing a limited book signing on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Stay tuned for more scoop as we hear it!

Valentine's Day Dinner?

It's time to start making plans for Valentine's Day. The great thing about this year's lovely day is that it stretches out over the whole weekend! Throughout the week we'll be sharing with you all the best places around the city to make reservations for two.

For an intimate dining experiene outside of the perimeter, visit Aqua blue in Roswell. From Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15, the restaurant will offer a special prix-fixe, three-course Valentine’s menu for $55 per person (add $22 per person for wine pairings). The à la carte and sushi menus are also available. Add a bubbly champagne toast a long-stemmed red rose for $15. Enjoy live music beginnign at 8 p.m. with the sounds of Motown with Michael King on Friday and the music of Doug Easterly on Saturday. For reservations, call 770-643-8886. Aqua blue: 1564 Holcomb Bridge Road.

If you are staying in the city this Valentine's Day, Executive Chef Shane Touhy at Dogwood is whipping up something new. The special menu items include a jumbo shrimp cocktail with charred green tomato cocktail sauce; Charleston she-crab soup laced with golden sherry; a pastry wrapped filet of beef stuffed with Boursin cheese; and a red velvet Napoleon layered with mocha buttercream and topped with Cabernet macerated strawberries. If you are the sharing kind, Dogwood is offering an entrée for two that includes two baked and stuffed lobsters served with creamy grits and béarnaise sauce. For reservations, call 404-835-1410. Dogwood is located at 565 Peachtree Street.

Stay tuned for more specials around the city!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Atlanta's Sweet Super Bowl Specials

This year, some of Atlanta’s restaurants and stores are making Super Bowl party planning really simple. From watching the game at the bar to taking a pizza pie to go, there are tons of options for all of Atlanta’s football fans.

Marlow’s Tavern is turning the game on at all six Atlanta area locations on Super Bowl Sunday. Guests can enjoy tasty tavern fare while watching their favorite football heroes fight for the title on one of the eight or more televisions. Marlow’s menu items range in price from $3.99 to $17.99. The restaurant also offers takeout and kid’s menus. Marlow's Tavern in Vinings is located at 2355 Cumberland Parkway, Ste.10; 770-432-2526. Marlow's Tavern in Alpharetta is located at 3719 Old Alabama Road, Bldg. 200, Suite H-I; 770-475-1800. Marlow’s Tavern in Midtown is located at 950 West Peachtree Street; 404-815-0323. Marlow’s Tavern in Kennesaw is located at 745 Chastain Road NW, Suite 1160; 770-425-8777. Marlow’s Tavern in Tucker is located at 4156 LaVista Road; 678-987-1197. Marlow’s Tavern in Duluth is located at 1950 Satellite Boulevard; 770-622-2033.

Pizza Fusion is offering some great Super Bowl specials for those watching the game in a group. On Super Bowl Sunday, if customers buy three specialty pizzas, they get one cheese pizza for free! This is the perfect deal for football fans with many mouths to feed. Some of their savory specialty pizzas include the shrimp and pesto pizza, BBQ chicken pizza and the fresh veggie medley pizza. Pizza Fusion is also offering a salad special on Super Bowl Sunday for those sticking to their healthy New Year’s resolution: buy one Fusion side salad and get one free! In addition to these specials, this earth-friendly pizzeria conveniently offers several gluten-free menu options for their customers who have food allergies, selective diets and digestive intolerances. Pizza Fusion is located at 2233 Peachtree Road. For more information, call 404-351-9334.

For those looking for to bring fresh football fare to their Super Bowl celebration, Whole Foods Market offers a variety of snacks, beverages and platters for a fantastic football feast. Some of their Atlanta area stores are offering samples of their football-friendly snacks that are perfect for any Super Bowl shindig. Place your party food order online or at in-store catering desks. Click here for Atlanta-area locations.