Saturday, January 9, 2016

Appetizing Aperture: Fiore di Puglia - Taralli al Peperoncino

If you’re looking for a hot topic at your next aperitivo, set a bowl of Fiore di Puglia - Taralli al Peperoncino on the aperitivo board. Red chili pepper flakes spike the crispy, curly cross between a cracker and a pretzel. Highly addictive. Luckily, there’s a local source for these Italian crunchers from the Apulia region -- The Market at Bellina Alimentari. Drop some in your shopping basket at the Ponce City Market shop or the online Mercato di Bellina, $3.50 per 8.8 ounce package. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

National Cassoulet Day Dishes at Gypsy Kitchen, The Southern Gentleman and Revival, January 9-15

Oh say, do you cassoulet? This French meal in a bowl, resplendent with rich meats, pork skin and white beans all slow-cooked in earthenware “cassole” bowls, has climbed the social ladder from peasant to haute status. It’s so revered that American restaurants now celebrate National Cassoulet Day on January 9. Three Atlanta restaurants are moving cassoulets to the front burner on their menus for the entire week of January 9-15. The Southern Gentleman pleases hearty appetites with a tender cassoulet of Heritage Berkshire pigs head with braised Southern collards, benne seed and garlic bread crumbs that satisfies two guests for $40. Gypsy Kitchen simmers a Catalan-style chorizo and rabbit cassoulet with a garlic migas topping. Sweethearts, don’t worry about the garlic as this cassoulet is couple-perfect, feeding the two of you for $40. Revival’s executive sous chef Rémi Granger channels his Blois, France roots with his Southern cassoulet with confit duck legs and lamb shank finished in hot coals for $22. Hold on to the bread basket for sopping up every drop of the cassoulet’s luscious liquids. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Resolve to Eat Mindfully for a Healthier New Year

Holiday excesses propel desires for new year successes. Perhaps that involves de-cluttering closets and desktops, hitting the gym, unrolling the yoga mat -- and cleaning up your plate. Atlanta restaurant menus prove mindful eating doesn’t mean monastic. Break from those push-ups and take a look at these healthier choices.

An invigorating stroll through Virginia-Highland leads to a savory square meal at 
Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar. Focus on every tender morsel of the herb-roasted Springer Mountain Farms chicken, dried cranberry and Brussels leaf salad, and creamed corn mashed potatoes ($16).

In Poncey-Highland, 
Café Highlands does a makeover on that faithful friend, falafel on warm pita. Their recipe uses black-eyed peas instead of garbanzos and adds a fried green tomato, cucumber and za'atar-yogurt dressing. Served with fries; we won’t tell if you sneak a few ($9).

Ormsby’s on Atlanta’s Westside plates an heirloom beet salad guaranteed to reboot your resolve to eat more veggies with its vibrant palette of arugula, Brussels sprouts, hearts of palm and tangy citrus vinaigrette ($9).

FLIP burger boutique in Buckhead and West Midtown (as well as Birmingham and Nashville) simply request lettuce wrapping a favorite burger to “leaf” the bun carbs behind. More power packers: the turkey burger with Monterey Jack cheese, crushed avocado, pomegranate ketchup, tomato and alfalfa sprouts ($8); raw tuna tartare patty with Asian pear, pine nuts, compressed veggies, mango sphere and avocado purée ($14); and the seared chicken-topped, veggie-loaded FLIP salad with pickled cukes, cauliflower and red onion ($10).

Pasta has its place on Italian tables, equally so, the fresh, crisp insalata di bietola at 
Bellina Alimentari in Midtown’s Ponce City Market. The colorful salad of roasted beets, escarole hearts and ricotta salata is punctuated by red wine vinegar dressing ($8).

Follow a power walk through Piedmont Park with the Mother Nature Salad at 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown. Grains and veggie gains are yours in this mix of quinoa, cucumber, edamame, avocado, garbanzos, tomatoes, pickled onions, cranberries, candied pecans and HOBNOB basil vinaigrette ($11.50).

Tipping toward tapas in Midtown? 
10th & Piedmont’s coconut scallop ceviche kicks blah days to the curb and jazzes taste buds with coconut, cilantro, spicy pepper, avocado and tortilla chips ($7.50).

Pulling up to Guy Wong’s 
Le Fat in West Midtown for a Vietnamese fix won’t weigh you down. Opt for Goi Cuon/summer rolls ($6), Goi Du Du/papaya salad ($10), Cai Xoan/kale salad with mango chickpea dressing ($7) or Bún/chilled vermicelli bowl with herb salad, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, crushed peanut and crispy spring roll and choice of sliced pork, chicken, shrimp or lemongrass beef ($16).

At Midtown’s 
Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar, choose a healthy Moroccan couscous with Israeli pearls and squash in harissa broth ($14) -- or achieve that goal of trying more locally sourced charcuterie meats and cheeses.

Check off the salad and seafood boxes on the “eat more” list at 
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead and Roswell. The Mediterranean quinoa bowl with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and the tropical salad with toasted macadamia nuts, tropical fruit salsa and Key lime mango dressing are consummate salad choices, and guests can opt in on healthier blackened or grilled cooking methods for salmon, mahi-mahi, grouper and ahi tuna.

Lighter side tapas at 
Smokebelly BBQ in Buckhead won’t derail your diet plans. Try piquillo pepper hummus with carrots, celery and house-made crackers ($6.50), gluten-free and vegan jalapeño-cornbread cakes ($7.50) or chilled farro and green bean salad ($4.95). Smokebelly’s “skinny fixin’s” menu has even more options.

In The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 
Gypsy Kitchen power plays tapas and snacks to eat solo or share including pickled beets ($6), marinated octopus salad with citrus and fennel ($8), roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad ($6) and grilled Spanish octopus ($15). Neighbor The Southern Gentleman knows there’s no sleeping on the job. Stay alert with lunch choices such as Boston bibb lettuce salad with pickled shrimp ($12) and roasted kabocha squash salad with Georgia pecans and onion vinaigrette ($10).

Jogging by one of the 27 
Willy’s Mexicana Grill locations in Atlanta (or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)? The Southwest chicken salad recharges the weary with crisp greens, chargrilled chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, Jack cheese, homemade guacamole and tortilla strips ($7.75).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

White Oak Pastures Adds Westside CSA Pick-Up Location

The farm just moved a little closer to the house for those on Atlanta’s Westside, thanks to White Oak Pastures. The USDA Certified Organic farm in Bluffton, Georgia is adding Doguroo as a second metro-area pick-up location for weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries and online farm store orders. Now CSA shareholders can gather their goods on Thursdays at Doguroo, located at 1456 Northside Drive, NW, from 1-7:30 p.m. and at East Atlanta Village Farmers Market from 4-8 p.m. White Oak Pastures adds freedom from shipping charges to its produce, meat and product freebie list of freedoms from GMOs, hormones, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides when shoppers specify delivery to these two locations. A limited number of CSA program memberships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up online to secure your spot.
What’s the Doguroo-White Oak Pastures connection? The West Midtown full-service dog care destination sells White Oak Pastures dehydrated duck and chicken gizzards and lamb and beef liver treats in its store, every day.

Use your Noodle at Bellina Alimentari Classes Covering Kids, Pasta, Bread and Wine

Ingest useful and delicious new culinary skills this month by participating in one or more Culinary Club cooking or wine classes at Bellina Alimentari in Ponce City Market. 
  • Pack kids’ lunch boxes, Italian-style, after absorbing easy and fun children’s meal ideas for balanced lunches from Bellina owner and mom Tal Baum during a 10 a.m.-noon class on Thursday, January 14 ($45 per person).
  • Youngsters and tweens will have a ball mixing and shaping pasta with mom or dad and chef David Berry during an interactive Kids Kitchen class on Tuesday, January 19 from 4-5 p.m. ($45 for child age 8-12 and adult).
  • Find out what makes natural wines so appealing -- and why Bellina loves their honesty. A guided wine tasting traverses Italy’s regions and offers guests five samples accompanied by Italian nibbles, all on Wednesday, January 20 from 6-7 p.m. ($45 per person).
  • Rise up and start making your own bread, inspired by chef Berry’s hands-on bread-making class and an accompanying breads and spreads tasting on Tuesday, January 26 from 6-7 p.m. ($45 per person).  
  • At “Aperitivo Time,” learn how to host your own aperitivo, or Italian happy hour, when people come together for a drink and simple bites before dinner. Learn how to make a Spritz Campari and aperitivo board, eat what you’ve made and receive 10 percent off any market purchase right after class ($45 per person).

Register and pay for classes online (8 percent sales tax will be added) or call 404-330-9933. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Veg Out on FLIP’s Burger of the Month

FLIP burger boutique is keen, or make that quinoa, on piling on the veggies in the new year. The Shrubber, January’s Burger of the Month, nixes a bread bun in favor of Parmesan-fried eggplant slices. A quinoa patty hunkers down in between, capped by cucumber threads, pickled yellow beets, orange gremolata mayo and crispy shallots ($10.) Wait, there’s more on the plate -- zucchini fries underscore the veggie theme. Consider it a beverage or dessert but do consider tangoing with a mango and vanilla ice cream milkshake topped with pine nut crumble, cherry foam and candied jalapeños ($5). Mangos make the shake count as a fruit, right?

Monday, January 4, 2016

What’s New on Pinterest

Watch out for flying corks, it’s New Year’s Eve! Time to Break out the Bubbly. Set aside a bottle for traditionalists and entice the rest with sparkling cocktails such as Bubbles & Smoke, The Countdown and Champagne mojitos. Elderflower, cranberry and pear-ginger-sage flirt with healthy-sounding botanicals while a cotton candy sparkler exudes frivolity.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016


J. Kenji López-Alt is a handy man to have around the house and kitchen. The busy guy, who cooks at, has a new cookbook out – “The Food Lab:  Better Home Cooking Through Science” -- and he finds time to dabble in another kind of carving, carpentry, on the home front.