Saturday, December 26, 2015

Appetizing Aperture

Season’s eatings guide true Italian-style cooking. Same goes at Bellina Alimentari where what’s growing here and now takes precedence, even in classic pasta al pesto. Fresh lacinato kale, arugula, parsley and sage oust summer’s frost-shy basil in chef David Berry’s winter kale pesto. Berry’s Georgia spin pulls in heart-healthy toasted walnuts and olive oil and punches of Parmigiano Reggiano for a rich green coat that’s simply stunning on fresh pasta. Buon appetito! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

The (Bald) Eagles Have Landed at White Oak Pastures Workshop January 16

Sink your talons into an informative indoor/outdoor bald eagle workshop at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia on Saturday, January 16 that’s flying high under guidance from Jim Ozier and Brad Alexander. Ozier, a retired program manager for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, has monitored bald eagles in our fair state for almost three decades. Alexander is a wildlife biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Swoop in for a 10 a.m.-noon farm tour and view these protected birds in their natural habitat. Reptiles, small mammals, fish, chickens -- whatever is handy -- are “fare” game for the regal predators. Workshop guests, however, will alight in the Pavilion for a delicious lunch before settling into the afternoon’s workshop. $55 per person. Sign up online; please choose CSA pick up as the shipping method to sidestep a ghost shipping charge. As this eagle album shows, the 75+ eagles at White Oak Pastures certainly aren’t camera shy.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Café Highlands Now Open and Serving Georgia-Grown Cuisine in Poncey-Highlands

Chef Stephen McGuffin’s new restaurant Café Highlands is now open and well en route to becoming a neighborhood bar-and-grill staple in Poncey-Highlands and the surrounding area. That’s exactly what McGuffin envisioned. Along with chef de cuisine Brad Allen, McGuffin delivers a progressive American menu drawing upon local sources and global inspirations. In-towners can stroll over and sit down to simple, satisfying lunch, dinner and weekend brunch featuring items such as duck confit with sweet potato masa cake and salsa negra ($11); double patty smash burger with pimento cheese ($11); black-eyed pea falafel with cucumber, fried green tomato and za’atar yogurt dressing on warm pita ($9); or seared catfish with grit cake, rock shrimp and smoked tomato sauce ($17). Brunch blends sweets and savories -- huckleberry pancakes ($10), chocolate French toast with peanut butter and bananas ($10), ox tail hash with fried eggs and chimichurri ($15) and buttermilk fried chicken biscuits topped with scrambled eggs and tarragon mushroom gravy ($11). Irresistible desserts include peanut butter bread pudding with banana chips and caramel ($7), dark chocolate budino ($5) and white chocolate crème brûlée topped with fresh berries ($6). “Liquid chef” Nick Moody directs a full beverage program of classic cocktails, cask-aged libations on tap and nitro beers. Café Highlands, located at 640 North Highland Avenue, brings new life to its home (formerly housing Café 640), a 1927 structure revitalized with a polished, industrial theme and a covered patio. Open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m.-midnight. Weekend brunch services starts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the restaurant closing at midnight and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, with the restaurant closing at 10 p.m. Reservations are not required; self-parking available on the street or lot shared with the Highland Inn. Call 404-698-3509 for more information.

Quit Dashing. Relax Over a Weekend Lunch of Southern Faves at Revival

Need a weekend, midday reprieve from the usual scenery? Comfort food and joy? Revival time. Savor the weekend over a Southern-style lunch at Kevin Gillespie’s Decatur restaurant. Creamy tomato and dill soup or Granny’s soup beans with iron skillet cornbread warm the innards ($7). Salads pile on the sunshine with veggies and fruit -- heirloom farro with charred broccoli, beets, fennel, winter citrus and ginger dressing or local mixed greens with pickled squash, carrots, local goat cheese, pomegranate, and thyme vinaigrette ($10). Hold on to scintillating sandwiches like the “Closed on Sunday” chicken sandwich, griddled meatloaf and aged cheddar, herb roasted mushrooms and provolone melt or toasted deviled ham tea sandwiches ($8-$12). Blue Plate Specials hit home and feature mains of grass-fed beef and pork meatloaf wrapped in bacon, country fried steak with creamy pan gravy, cornmeal fried Carolina catfish and skillet roasted chicken, rounded out with two melt-in-your-mouth sides of your choosing (Revival mac ‘n cheese, roasted local turnips and apples, hickory-smoked greens, sweet young carrots with dill butter or Granny’s pole beans) for $15. Dessert? Awesome chocolate cake, lemon icebox pie and cinnamon baked apple with streusel and vanilla ice cream ($7-$8) garner an “Amen!” every time, even on Saturday. Revival serves lunch Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.        

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hook “Bar Bait” Appetizer Deals at The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead and Roswell

Longing for the beach but totally landlocked? The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead and Roswell is the next best thing to being there. Atlantans already flock to their favorite beach house after work for half-price half-shell oysters. Now, a new “bar bait” menu lands more easygoing, affordably priced eats such as hushpuppies, half ($1.95) or full basket ($2.95), served with rémoulade; sweet-n-spicy calamari with mango-sweet chili sauce ($3.95); fish bites with tartar sauce ($3.95); seared ahi tuna, served with cucumber salsa and a creamy soy ($5.95); and hummus with fresh veggies and pita chips ($3.95). Through February 29, net all of these nautical noshes Monday through Friday from 4-6:30 p.m. in Buckhead, 5-6 p.m. in Roswell.

Snap Aqua blue Discount and Photos for Instagram ATL Bucket List Contest

This bucket list holds a couple of Roswell-Atlanta must-dos. Show this post at Aqua blue in Roswell to receive 10 percent off your meal tab. Before pocketing your phone, capture a few mealtime pictures, post them on Instagram tagging #AquaBlueATL@aquablueatl and @atlbucketlist. In a snapshot, best picture wins a $100 Aqua blue gift card. Keep on snapping through December 31.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Eat, Drink and Be Merry When 2015 Turns into Sweet ’16

Those who’ve dropped the ball on planning where to ring in 2016 still have time to make reservations at Atlanta restaurants. Elegant dinners, Champagne toasts and traditional New Year’s Day dishes await, but hurry, the clock’s ticking.

New Year's Eve

10th & Piedmont welcomes guests with a complimentary glass of Champagne and a four-course menu including country ham and black-eyed pea soup; pan-seared crab cake on wild greens; a surf-and-turf “three way;” and salted caramel crème brûlée parfait. $45 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Call 404-602-5510.

Toast to midnight at Aqua blue where a special three-course prix fixe menu features lobster bisque or lobster and shrimp salad; seafood-stuffed Maine lobster tail or Angus beef rib-eye and tempura shrimp; and warm chocolate cake or chocolate mint crème brûlée. This $55 per person dinner menu is available December 26-31. Call 770-643-8886.

Celebrate an elegant New Year’s Eve at Aria in Buckhead with a four-course meal for $95 per person. Reservations: 404-233-7673.

Chef Kevin Gillespie’s celebrated Gunshow rolls through extended hours on New Year’s Eve, seating every half hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. through 10 p.m. Enjoy the Glenwood Park restaurant’s signature table-side rotation of chefs selections, at an elevated price point for the holiday. Guests also can enjoy premium wines and cocktails. Call 404-380-1886 for reservations.

Gypsy Kitchen plans a New Year’s Eve menu of family style pinchos (almonds, olives, chicken croquetas and pickled beets) plus a supplemental course of uni-stuffed eggs (add $10) and foie gras (add $15); a mixed-green salad and tortilla Espanola; and an entrée of cod pil-pil or braised beef chunks (add burgundy truffles for $15). $65 per person. Reservations: 404-939-9840.
Johnny’s Hideaway rings in the New Year with a special celebration for $40 per person, which includes seating and midnight party favors. Arrive by 9:30 p.m. or forfeit your seat. Reserve in person or by phone by calling 404-233-8026.
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern ushers in 2016 with all-you-can-drink SweetWater 420 and all-you-can-eat pizza specials from 10 p.m. to close, along with live music, DJ tunes from James Patrick Morgan and a midnight Champagne toast and balloon drop. The regular dinner menu also is available until 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door; limited to the first 100 guests. Call 404-968-2288 for reservations.
Le Fat is open from 5-10 p.m. for a Vietnamese fix of shaking beef and other favorites. Reservations: 404-439-9850.
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails is open until midnight to ring in the New Year and is serving a $65 prix fixe menu from 5-10 p.m. Live music begins at 8 p.m., hang on for party favors and a complimentary Champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight. Call 770-817-0161.
Ray’s on the RiverRay’s at Killer Creek and Ray’s in the Citywill serve a limited dinner menu alongside a $65 three-course prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve with selections such as a broiled seafood platter, filet mignon, Bay of Fundy salmon Oscar, pan-seared Chilean sea bass and rib-eye (selections subject to change). Reservations required. Lounges at all three locations remain open until 1 a.m.
Ray’s on the River unmasks 2016 at a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. in their riverside grand pavilion with dancing to tunes by a five-piece band, open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvre, a Champagne toast and midnight balloon drop. $130 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations required: 770-955-1187.
In Decatur, Revival offers both family style and à la carte menus of house favorites and traditional Southern dishes such as black-eyed peas, local greens, cornbread, pork, roasted prime beef with caramelized onion jus and fried chicken. The restaurant will pour cocktails, wine and beer, along with prosecco for celebratory toasts. Dinner seatings available from 5-10 p.m. Reservations: 470-225-6770.
Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar in Marietta are both offering a four-course prix fixe menu as well as an à la carte menu for New Year’s Eve. Seed’s menu is $69 per person plus $25 for wine pairings; Stem’s menu is $79 per person plus $29 for wine pairings. Call 678-214-6888 for reservations.
The Southern Gentleman gastropub in Buckhead is serving up a suitably sophisticated prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve for $65. Deviled egg with applewood-smoked trout caviar precede a first course of either salt-and-pepper corn fritters or confit pork belly; a second course of roasted kabocha squash salad, beef tartare or Belgian endive and apple salad; and an entrée of Gulf shrimp, skillet-roasted young chicken, braised Creekstone Farm beef cheeks or foraged mushroom risotto. Dessert calls for foie blonde (liquid graham cracker, vanilla bean ice cream and essence of foie gras) or the Southern Gentleman candy bar with chocolate crémeux, caramel and roasted peanuts in a butter crust. Reservations: 404-939-9845.
New Year's Day

10th & Piedmont is serving its regular weekend menu of brunch favorites and cocktails.  Call 404-602-5510 for reservations.
Visit Aqua blue for your first dinner of 2016. The Roswell restaurant is serving its regular dinner menu from 4-11 p.m. on New Year's Day. Reservations: 770-643-8886.
Chick-a-Biddy and all locations of Bantam + Biddy will be open normal hours on January 1 and serving regular brunch until 3 p.m. along with a special New Year’s Day offering of honey-glazed ham, stewed black-eyed peas, braised collard greens, cornbread and country gravy priced at $16. Toast 2016 with $5 bloody marys and mimosas.
Enjoy brunch at HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Choose the regular brunch menu or a special $12 New Year's Day dish of scrambled eggs, black-eyed peas and collard greens. Regular dinner service follows. Call 404-968-2288.

Not a believer in hoppin' John on New Year's Day? As with New Year’s Eve, Le Fat is open normal hours to satisfy cravings for Vietnamese banh mi and more. Call 404-439-9850 for reservations.

Brunch in the new year from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Ray’s on the River followed by regular dinner service from 5-10 p.m.Ray’s at Killer Creek and Ray’s in the City will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Ray’s at Killer Creek will offer its usual Friday “Wine” Down special of 50 percent off bottles of wine ($200 and under; excludes reserve).

Roast Beast Stuck in the Chimney? Last Push for Christmas Chow

‘Tis three nights before Christmas (that’s two before Christmas Eve)...If you’re still looking at hours of stirring and stirring between wrapping, cooking and last-minute details for feasting with family and friends, stop. Santa has a remedy: the Dish list of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and takeaway dining solutions. Click. Call. Order.  Reservations. Joy to the world, food is on the table.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Warm Up with a Cup o' Cheer

While summer is made for mojitos, winter’s bluster musters up recipes to Warm Up with a Cup o’ Cheer. Our Pinterest board steams with drinks to sip around the fireplace and Harry Potter cocktails, hot buttered rums and Jamies, German mulled wine, Crock-Pot cranberry cider and hot chocolate gussied up with amaretto, mint, pumpkin and more. Winter wedding? Create a hot chocolate bar for your guests!

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Sneak a peek into the life of Gail Simmons of Food & Wine magazine and Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame. Food, cooking techniques, friends, family and travel are all “fare” game here.