Friday, April 20, 2012

Watch Justin Balmes on Chopped All-Stars Sunday Night

The Dish

Justin Balmes and Jon Hamm already have a lot in common. They are both tall, dark and handsome. And this week they are both on TV Sunday night! Watch Atlanta's adventure-loving Chef Justin Balmes as he flexes his competitive muscles again on a special edition of "Chopped All-Stars" airing this Sunday, April 22 on the Food Network. He'll wield spoon and spatula against "Food Network Star" Season 7 finalists Penny Davidi, Vic "Vegas" Moea and Chris Nirschel as he vies for a prize for his charity, SafePath Child Advocacy Group. We don't know what happens but hopefully there are no mad men on this set!

Appetizing Aperture: A Picnic with Alon's

Alon's asks, "What's going into your basket on National Picnic Day, Monday, April 23?" Hint. Hint. With locations in Dunwoody and Virginia Highland, Alon's has it all, from prepared entrées, salads, sides and sandwiches on homemade breads to cheeses, chocolates, pastries, desserts, wines and beverages. Gelato while you decide? 

It's Follow Friday; Meet Our Tweep of the Week @sassyradish

The Sassy Radish is all over the board. This food writer and recipe lover is Russian expat Olga Massov who passed through New England as a child, went to college in Pittsburgh and ended up in Brooklyn. Somewhere along the way, she picked up a Southern penchant for pickles and bourbon. Fine dining, casual, mountain or beach, it's hard to pigeonhole this one, so best follow along on Twitter (@sassyradish). Lots of links, photos and reading on her Sassy Radish blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Share Your Favorite Maritime Memories with The Optimist

Swimming pigs (photo courtesy of Kimberly McCollum)
As thankful as I am to have such nice weather in Atlanta, a part of me can't help but long for a trip to the beach. Sunny skies, blue water and toes in the sand sound like paradise to me. Until my next vacation, I'll be submitting my favorite beach pictures to The Optimist. Chef Ford Fry's sustainable seafood restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-May and is looking for maritime memories to add to the coastal decor. You can submit pictures of you surfing, fishing, playing water sports, or building a sandcastle - whatever your idea of surfside fun is! Mail pictures to JCT. Kitchen & Bar (1198 Howell Mill Road, Suite 18, Atlanta GA 30318), attention Kimberly Powell or email them to Don't be a beach bum and miss out, the deadline to submit your photos is Monday, April 30.  

Be an Early Bird this Saturday for the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market

You won’t want to sleep in this Saturday, because on April 21 The Cathedral of St. Phillip in Buckhead will be hosting local farmers and purveyors for the always exciting Peachtree Road Farmers Market! The market lasts from 8:30 a.m. until noon, but make sure you catch Woodfire Grill Chef de Cuisine E. J. Hodgkinson at 10 a.m. as he cooks up spring recipes that will be sure to delight your taste buds! Want a sneak peek of Hodgkinson in action? You can check out his fall demo from the market archives. The early bird may normally get the worm, but this Saturday, it’s tasty springtime veggies and more!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Evening of Hops and Trivia at Ray’s on the River

Wild Card Question: “What’s happening at Ray’s on the River on April 20 at 6:30 p.m.?”
Answer: “They are hosting a Craft Beer Chef's Dinner along with a casual evening of trivia and fun prizes.”
Ray's on the River has hand-picked three craft brews from across the U.S. and one from Japan to pair up with four delicious courses.

First course: Arancini di roso with pimentón aioli
Beer pairing: Stone IPA from Escondido, Calif.

Second course: Tempura prawns with sweet chili glaze and Asian slaw
Beer pairing: Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan

Third course: Seared duck breast with Vidalia spring onions and raisin port reductio
Beer pairing:Dogfish Head, Raison D'Etre from Rehoboth Beach, Del.  

Fourth course: Coffee and chocolate-braised beef short rib with celery root purée and glazed baby carrots
Beer pairing: Duck-Rabbit Porter from Farmville, N.C.

Don’t miss out on this fun evening;it is sure to be anything but trivial. The cost is $30 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Menu subject to change based on availability. 
RSVP to Mandy Carlos at 770-955-1187 or

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'll Have a Glass of Wine, Please!

Starting this Thursday, April 19, Woodfire Grill is introducing a winning wine tasting series for spring and summer months. First up are cava, Dom Pérignon and six other champagnes and sparkling wines. These wines actually complement more foods than any other wine type, according to Woodfire Grill Wine Director Nicolas Quinones and Sommelier Catherine Hatch. The two wine experts hone in on a different type of wine at monthly tastings planned for the third Thursday of each month through August. At each tasting, eight carefully selected wines will be available to dining room guests from 6 - 8 p.m., concurrent with dinner service but not served as pairings. The tastings are $15 per person and are limited to 30 guests each month. Reservations are in order to guarantee a spot; call 404-347-9055 and specifically mention the wine tasting when booking.

For Chardonnay lovers, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is offering the elusive Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2010 for a limited time. Most is sold via the winery's private mailing list, and what does make it to restaurant wine cellars is seemingly sold for a king's ransom. Maeve Pesquera, director of wine at Fleming's, has an "in" on procuring this ultra-premium Chardonnay from one of California's most-sought-after producers. Leveraging a strong relationship with Kistler, Pesquera has obtained this king of the California Chardonnays, and Fleming's is able to offer it as an "Icon Wine" to guests at an exceptional price of $60 a bottle (excluding tax and gratuity) beginning April 18 and continuing while supplies last.

"Tax Day Tuesday" Specials Keep Tax Day From Being So Darn Taxing - And More - In This Week's Dish

The dreaded April 17 is here! Be sure to get those last minute taxes filed so you can kick back and read this week's Atlanta Dish! If you're not receiving the Dish every Tuesday morning in your inbox, you can sign up either here on our blog or on our Facebook page.

And the Golden Onion Goes To...

A dozen Georgia chefs will compete in the inaugural Golden Onion professional cooking competition preceding the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival April 26-29 in Vidalia, Ga. Our personal favorites in the April 22 recipe creation competition are Marc Taft, owner and executive chef of Chicken and the Egg in Marietta, and Chef Richard Wiggins, executive chef at Spice Market in the W Atlanta - Midtown. All eyes and cleavers will be on the star of the cutting board - the Vidalia onion, the prominent ingredient in every recipe. Chefs Taft and Wiggins both sing praises about Georgia's mild and gentle state vegetable. Taft appreciates that their "flavor profile makes them easy to blend into dishes because they complement other ingredients so well; they're also fantastic alone." Wiggins enjoys "the sweetness and ability to manipulate the flavor" of Vidalia onions. First-place winner takes home the Golden Onion trophy for one year plus $500. Second-place winner receives $250, and third place receives $100. Competition takes place in the Vidalia Community Center and opens to the public at 12:30 p.m. Purchase $5 tickets in advance at the Vidalia Onion Museum; $10 at the door. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sweet Relief for Tax Day at RA Sushi, Ray's in the City and Smashburger

With tax day right around the corner, we are all thinking of ways to save without having to give up dining out. Because let's face it, that's just not an option. RA Sushi is where we're headed first tomorrow; the Midtown restaurant is offering special pricing on food and beverages on Tuesday, April 17. The $2-$7 "Tax Day Tuesday" specials include more than 35 sushi, appetizer and tapas selections. You've done enough itemizing this month so we won't list out all the menu options, but let's just say the Kaisen ceviche (pictured right) has your name on it. And so does the Stawberry-Kiwi Saketini, obviously.

For those who find themselves in Alpharetta, Buckhead, Johns Creek, Kennesaw or Sandy Springs on Tuesday and are looking to grab a quick meal, Atlanta-area Smashburger locations are offering Text VIP and Smashclub members a $2 discount on orders of an entree, side and drink. This is a refund you don't have to wait by the mailbox to receive. Sign up to be a Smashclub member online, and become a Smashburger Text VIP member to get great deals and special announcements sent right to your phone. Text SmashburgerATL to 90210 to join.

For the downtown work crowd, Ray’s in the City is hosting a Tax Day Lounge Party from 3 – 7 p.m. on April 17. The downtown restaurant can’t pay your federal and state taxes, but they will pay the tax on small plates and cocktails for you. Go forth and save.