Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Southern Gentleman Tips Hat to New Menu from Executive Chef Matthew Ridgway

As Matthew Ridgway sees it, Southern food is simple, sophisticated, seasonal and definitely not stereotypical at The Southern Gentleman. Ridgway is right at home in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta gastropub, and he’s introducing a new menu that leans toward the modern South with roots firmly planted in local meats, produce and classic flavors. At lunch, twirl forks around new Dixie bacon carbonara with turnip greens and thick spaghetti with house-made bacon cured using blackstrap molasses, black pepper and brown sugar. Well-entrenched favorites such as the chicken-fried chicken salad sandwich meet delightful newcomers including crushed field peas with house-made farmer cheese on griddled benne seed toast; Italian burrata; and a country ham Reuben with Brussels sprout slaw. Pre-supper bites add roasted kabocha squash salad with petite arugula, Georgia pecans and onion vinaigrette; steak tartare with cottage-fried potatoes, frisée and black-eyed pea salad; and chicken-fried sweetbreads with Parmesan and house-made Parker rolls and hot sauce. Winter warmers on the supper menu include Creekstone Farm beef cheeks braised in red wine and spices, Creole mustard, bread dumplings and pickled Brussels sprout salad; Riverview pork cochon with baked Gold Rush apples and browned butter cabbage; and North Georgia trout wearing gunpowder cornmeal, pan-fried and served with Carolina long-grain dirty rice and chow-chow. Sides are worthy in their own right -- like roasted heirloom carrots with sorghum and sumac; charred okra with ginger, shallots and garlic; and salt-and-pepper corn fritters. Even in the New South, no one wants to surrender dessert, and blueberry upside-down cake, salted caramel pie, brown butter cake, strawberry financier, peach tarte tatin with preserved peaches, thyme caramel and brown butter ice cream, seasonal ice cream sandwiches and scoops of the day are sweet victories indeed. The Southern Gentleman serves lunch daily from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner hours are Sunday-Wednesday from 5-10 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 5-11 p.m. Make reservations onlineor call 404-939-9845. Valet parking is available. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Minimal Vine and Wine Intervention is Divine Intervention in Bellina Alimentari Wine Program

Alice Fabi believes the best wines reflect the natural beauty of the region, the cellar and the vintner. In this spirit of la vita e bonte (food as a way of life), Bellina Alimentari’s authenticity director has crafted the Kitchen and Bar wine menu using only minimal intervention wines from Italian vintners. Respecting tradition, land, fruit and those all-telling sips, these wines are made with limited or no use of chemicals in the vineyards, no ingredients added in the cellar, minimal or zero sulphur additions and an absence of unnecessary processes or treatments. The resulting wines read like a good book in a glass, telling a story about their distinct region of origin. It’s rare for Atlanta restaurants or shops to offer such wines by the bottle, glass or half-glass, but Bellina Alimentari is doing just that to help diners experience the natural appeal of minimal intervention. Try these sparkling, rosé, white, red and orange wines at prices ranging from $4 for a half glass of sparkling La Jara prosecco to $156 for a bottle of the orange wine Gravner Ribolla Gialla. Fabi confides that orange wines, which start with a white wine grape, have become her personal favorite. Become acquainted with these minimalists at Bellina Alimentari in Ponce City Market and look for chef David Berry’s Culinary Club tasting events and dinners to sip and fork your way through the Italian countryside without leaving Midtown. 

Chefs and Mixologists Map Out 2016 Hot Trends

We asked some of the South’s best chefs and mixologists to check their GPS readings (Gourmet Prediction Senses) and share directions on where they see food and cocktail trends heading in 2016. Microscopic portions? Kale kudos? Recalculating.
  • Spice spikes -- Southern Gentleman and Gypsy Kitchen chef Matthew Ridgway plans to add depth with principal players from eastern lands: black garlic, black lime, black cardamom, white cardamom, Aleppo pepper and wolfberries (a.k.a. goji berries).
  • New cuts, grain gains -- Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails chef Tom Gray in Jacksonville, Florida looks for novel meats such as chicken livers, pig ears and flank steak to land on plates. Another kernel of insight points to alternative grains, emphasizing whole and ancient varieties.
  • Origins -- Atlanta’s Ray’s Restaurants consultant Chad Crete predicts a vegetable takeover as diners pursue healthier eating habits. Lineage is equally important. Customers want to know where their food originates and are seeking out local produce, sustainable fish and free-range and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. Moxie’s Gray dittos Crete, noting diners want the backstory on ingredients, enthusiastically supporting smaller carbon footprints generated by locally made products and urban farming businesses. Ridgway unpacks further, suggesting the deepening affection for Southern cooking will lead to greater dependence on local farmers for heirloom varieties of produce, beans and grains. Bellina Alimentari creative director Alice Fabi sees land sustainability as a critical 2016 food path priority as menus seek the essence of food and prime ingredients.
  • Oysters -- Doug Turbush of Seed Kitchen & BarStem Wine Bar and soon-to-open Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar offers pearls of wisdom, foreseeing a bright future for briny oysters as devotee interest increases in oyster slurping rituals and the nuances of oysters from various regions, terroir and growing methods. Flavor-masking cocktail sauces and horseradish will be tossed overboard.
  • Prized portions -- Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy chef Lance Gummere cries “fowl” on high-priced, minuscule portions garnished with dabs of purée and micro greens. Enough already. Folks want to share their food when dining out, Gummere believes, which necessitates restaurants filling plates with identifiable food.
  • Healthy and hop to it -- Chef, restaurant owner, speaker and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie of Red Beard Restaurants sees an uptick in consumer demand for faster, healthier options. Not salad bars but lighter cuisine served at fast-food speed. Crete of Ray’s Restaurants affirms, millennials, soon to be the nation’s largest demographic group, want local ingredients in chef-driven dishes served fast and affordably.
  • Kitchen cocktails -- Johnny’s Hideaway bartender Shawn McCoy sees bartenders shaking up the kitchen for cocktail perks such as freshly squeezed juices, herbs, spices and ingredients like chipotle and balsamic vinegar. Ice age? McCoy picks away at standard issue cubes as mixologists seek quality ice for drinks.
  • Be sensitive -- Food sensitivities are here to stay and gluten-free demands will keep rising, according to Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails and The Big Ketch Roswellchef Derek Dollar.
  • Tiki talk -- Amid the predictions, Kevin Gillespie would like to see one flashback to retro Tiki bars like Trader Vic’s!  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Atlanta Restaurants Cater Holiday Feast-ivities

What, no kitchen elves on your shelves? Smart phones and Wi-Fi work just as well in relaying your holiday wish list to Atlanta restaurants for holiday party or house-full-of-family hosting needs. Deliciously done. Like that. Magic.

Chef Shaun Doty caters farm-to-plate-style comforts such as fried chicken and sides like macaroni and cheese, Brussels sprouts and collard greens at 
Bantam + Biddy (Avalon, Lenox Square, Crescent Ave., Ansley Mall). Pick up or have chow delivered. To order, email or call 404-725-5059. Sister restaurant Chick-a-Biddy offers a similar selection at Atlantic Station.

Bellina Alimentari at Ponce City Market caters off-site and in-house, offering antipasti bars, panini platters and primi, secondi and dolci courses. Place orders at least 48 hours in advance; allow a week leeway for parties of 30+. Seeking unique? Book Bellina’s private event space for memorable family style meals, cocktail events and guided tastings of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine. Info and or call 404-330-9933.

FLIP burger boutique plans remarkable holiday events -- in homes, offices or at one of its locations -- with sliders, burgers, chips, vegetables, custom menus and milkshake bars. Info: email or call 901-355-9323.

Ho, ho, ho, land at 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown for pretzels with warm beer and cheese dip, wings and more substantial meals to share. Full catering menu jollies all, your place or theirs. More info: 404-968-2288.

Everyone loves barbecue, and Kevin Gillespie's 
Terminus City provides a Southern-style feast of smoked wonderment
sure to warm even the North Pole crew. Whole-hog
barbecue, country-fried steak and homemade sides like
fried okra, Brunswick stew and creamed corn will propel
you to top host for years to come. Place orders by emailing or calling 404-380-1886.

Tin Lizzy's Cantina delivers a spicy holiday fiesta of fajita fixings, grilled chicken, pulled pork, cantina salads and margarita mix (sorry, tequila not included). Deliveries require a $100 minimum order; $25 delivery fee within 10 miles. Prices exclude taxes and gratuity, and 24-hour notice is appreciated. Book your $500 or more holiday party now and receive a $100 Tin Lizzy's gift card to use for future purchases. More info: email cculbreth@tinlizzyscantina.comor call 404-668-8757.

Twin Smokers BBQ’s catering menu for smoked brisket, pork ribs, chicken, sausage and pulled meat by the pound or half pound and sides like "Burnt Ends" chili, collards and potato salad. Several pricing options; drop-off catering is available with 48-hour notice for parties of 25 or more. Info and ordering: 404-698-4707.

Willy's Mexicana Grill provides cheese dip, guacamole, salsa, chips, burritos and crowd-pleasing catering menu options like build-your-own taco, fajita or nacho bars. Ten-person catering order minimum; order online or call 404-422-7107.

Der Biergarten Nikolaustag Outshines Griswolds with Decorations, Drafts and Toy Drive for CHOA December 6. Stein Clubbers Take Half Off Tabs

Bedecked with 9,984 ornaments, 72 nutcrackers, 48 stockings and 26 Christmas trees, the sixth-annual Nikolaustag Holiday Celebration at Der Biergarten jingle jangles a fast track to festive spirits on Sunday, December 6 from 5-9 p.m. Cheer flows through $8 liters of draft Spaten Marzen and König Dunkelweiss, and $5 mugs of warm glühwein set faces aglow. Stein Club members shave 50 percent off individual tabs. With music, entertainment, games, giveaways and a Santa sighting, Der Biergarten rocks like St. Nick shimmying down the chimney. What to bring: yourself, friends and an unwrapped toy donation for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta toy drive (see toy guidelines here.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Southern Gentleman Buckles First Year Under Belt with Anniversary Party and ACFB Canned Food Drive December 6

Generally in polite Southern circles, mentioning age is a sin. In this instance, it’s party time. Grab your ‘stache and dash to The Southern Gentleman gastropub birthday bash on Sunday, December 6. The dashing gent in fashionable The Shops Buckhead Atlanta pops open the party at 4:30 p.m., providing complimentary snacks and bourbon-spiked punch from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Drivetrain Bluegrass Trio picks and grins from 5:30-8:30 p.m. At this uncanny party with a purpose, receive a complimentary bourbon-spiked punch for every two cans of food donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank food drive. 

Taking a Shine to Sipping Rights on Prohibition Day, December 5

Shot glass-size synopsis on Prohibition Day: In 1919, Congress dryly passed the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, outlawing the manufacture, sale or transport of liquors. Ultimately, bottling up the clandestine flow proved fruitless. On December 5, 1933, congressional ratification of the 21st Amendment repealed #18, spirits soared and December 5 became affectionately known as “Prohibition Day,” which just happens to fall on a Saturday this year. Toast the occasion, because you can, at these spirited establishments.

Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar first opened its doors in 1912, making the Virginia-Highland restaurant and watering hole Atlanta’s oldest, continuously licensed tavern.

It’s no secret that 
The Blind Pig Parlour Bar, hidden away at Smokebelly BBQ, is Buckhead’s premier speakeasy.

Find out if the pirate's life is the life for you with the Jack Sparrow cocktail at 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown.

Unlike those 1920s hideaways, there’s no password needed to enter 
Johnny’s Hideaway in Buckhead for a roaring good time sipping spirits and tripping the light fantastic on the dance floor.

Bootleggers beware, 
Ormsby’s on Atlanta’s Westside can shake up more mixers than you can imagine and pour some mighty fine beers, too.

The 4.B4.5 Happy Hour at 
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails in Jacksonville, Florida, will have you celebrating the happiest of hours a little earlier than usual. Choose from craft beers, select wines by the glass and classic cocktails for $4 from 3-5 p.m., but the bar menu’s regular happy hour pricing resumes from 5-7 p.m. each night. On Friday and Saturday, regular happy hour pricing is in effect from 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. closing time. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ho, ho, ho and Merry…Beardsmas!

Skip the long lines at the mall—Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Red Beard Restaurants offers up one-stop shopping for every food lover on your gift list! The 12 Days of Beardsmas allows you to bundle up great savings on 12 of the most unique gifts and one-of-a-kind experiences. What’s on the menu? Private cooking classes with Chef Kevin, Gunshow and Revival swag, season tickets to next year’s "Hired Guns" series and stocking stuffers galore. Log onto to grab these limited-time gifts while supplies last! And stay tuned toInstagramTwitter and Facebook for #Beardsmas deal-of-the-day videos.

Spread even more holiday cheer at the checkout by donating to 
Quality Care for Children, a Georgia resource for information, assistance and support in securing high-quality early learning experiences for infants and young children.

FIGO West Midtown Forgoes Birthday Cake, Gives Out Free Tiramisu December 1

You only turn one once. Complimentary tiramisu is the proverbial icing on the birthday cake when FIGO Pasta West Midtown celebrates its first birthday on Tuesday, December 1. Stop by the newest location of Atlanta’s popular pasta restaurant at 907 Marietta Street, NW between 11:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. and receive a tiramisu dessert on the house. (No purchase necessary; one small tiramisu per guest at the West Midtown location only.) Your tiramisu is just one of more than 600 selections on FIGO’s menu that includes a variety of fresh pasta and sauce options, salads, antipasti, panini, meatballs and other FIGO favorites! Decking the halls? FIGO caters, too. More scoop: 404-963-7950.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Black Friday, whirl through the shopping centers. Save Saturday for Georgia-centered shopping at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market. Bag some cool weather produce for a veggie plate dinner and find local loot such as products and handcrafted items that place Georgia on gift recipients’ minds this holiday season. Open Saturdays from 9 a.m.-12 noon through December 19. Remember to buy some Terminus City barbecue at the market this Saturday!