Saturday, January 30, 2016

Appetizing Aperture: Smokebelly's BBQ Quinoa Bowl

BBQ bowling in Buckhead? Refusing to confine their chef-crafted ‘cue to buns and plates, Smokebelly BBQ calls on quinoa, that powerful chameleon of grains, to make a strong foundation for their mouthwatering smoked meats. The quinoa bowl begins with chilled quinoa salad packing julienne carrots, crisp celery, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, fresh cilantro, mint and honey citrus vinaigrette ($7.50). For a few more bucks, add sliced smoked turkey (+$5), chopped pulled pork (+$5), thick-chopped beef brisket (+$6), chilled smoked salmon filet (+$7.50) or sweet corn-edamame succotash (+$1.50). Right up our alley.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bellina Alimentari Shows How to “Share Love Through Food” During February

In an Italian expression nutshell, food is life is love. With this in mind, Tal Baum, owner of Bellina Alimentari, is ramping up the romance during February with ways to “Show Love Through Food.” From February 12-14, couples can enjoy an intimate dinner for two at Bellina’s Wine Bar with prosecco toasts, artisanal cheeses and meats, two signature pasta dishes for fork twirling and chocolate bread pudding for $38 per person; add wine pairings for $30 per person. For those whose love language is creating and learning together, Bellina Alimentari’s Culinary Club offers special classes including a Cacao Chocolate Workshop on Tuesday, February 9 from 6-7 p.m. ($30 per person); a Valentine’s Dinner for Two lesson with pasta tasting on Wednesday, February 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. ($48 per person); and Pasta Date Night, leading to romantic pastabilities, on Thursday, February 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. ($80 per couple). Take your sweet time finding just the right Valentine’s gift in Bellina Alimentari’s Market where shelves show off fine Italian chocolates, balsamic vinegars, biscotti and more. Shop in-store and online for thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts such as a Date Night Box with all the ingredients needed to prepare an easy dinner for two ($32), a Truffle Dinner Date ($58) or the Dolce Vita with a choice of Italian treats ($75) so sweet that conversation hearts do not even belong in the conversation. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Proses and Roses are Fine, But Dinner, Chocolates and Wine Make Valentine’s Day Divine

Hearts afire! Valentine’s Day is heading this way faster than a heart-pumping, foot-stompin’ spin on the dance floor. Trust us, an indulgent Valentine’s meal at one of Atlanta’s sweetest restaurants is one of the tastiest aphrodisiacs in town. Many restaurants offer specials over the entire weekend, Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 14. Show you really care -- call restaurants early for reservations to ensure you’ll have seats. Please note, prices listed are not inclusive of tax and gratuity.

Valentine’s Weekend Specials

In Roswell, 
Aqua blue spreads the love over Valentine’s weekend with a special three-course prix fixe dinner menu featuring New York strip and coconut shrimp or seafood-stuffed grouper with lobster, shrimp and scallops for $55 per person from February 12-14. Regular dinner menu is also available. Reservations: 770-643-8886.

Article 14, Midtown’s stylish American bistro, duets a special Valentine’s menu as well as a limited regular menu over the February 12-14 weekend. Divine dishes include citrus risotto with diver scallops and roasted beef tenderloin with red wine sauce. Lucky for you, they’ll be open later than usual Sunday hours. Call 404-443-8432 for reservations.

From February 12-14, 
Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland will feature a woo-worthy chef’s menu boasting crab cakes, lobster tail, filet mignon and delicious chocolate crème brûlée. Call 404-876-7249.

A romantic date at Ponce City Market includes embracing the special Valentine’s menu at 
Bellina Alimentari, available February 12-14 at the Wine Bar. Enjoy a glass of prosecco, local and Italian artisanal cheeses and cured meats, tastes of two signature pasta dishes and decadent chocolate bread pudding for $38 per person. Wine and cocktail pairings are available for an additional $30 per person. Culinary Clubclasses and gifts in the Market also stir up some amore. Make reservations by calling 404-330-9933.

Glenn's Kitchen will put a little love in your heart and stomach with its Valentine's weekend specials. Indulge in lobster chowder ($8), a duo of filet mignon and jumbo sea scallop ($48) and homemade sticky toffee pudding ($8). Reservations: 404-469-0700.

Newly opened 
JP Atlanta captivates with a sophisticated “Taste of Wild Flowers” menu served February 12-14 in lieu of the regular menu. Selections include Kumamoto oysters, seared diver scallops, lavender-crusted lamb loin and unique desserts like sweet potato doughnuts with brown butter ice cream. $65 per person. Call 404-523-4004 for reservations.

Executive chef Derek Dollar and his kitchen cupids are cooking a feast to set sweethearts swooning at 
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails in historic Crabapple. Available February 13-14 in addition to the regular menu, the prix fixe dinner menu is $65 per person and includes choice options such as beef tartare bruschetta, lobster and shrimp pappardelle and delectable desserts. Make reservations by calling 770-817-0161.

Ray's on the River (770-995-1187), Ray's at Killer Creek (770-649-0064) and Ray's in the City (404-524-9224) showcase prix fixe menus on February 13 from 4-11 p.m. alongside a limited regular dinner menu. Dinner on February 14 is served from 5-10 p.m. and features the prix fixe menus only. Coursed menus are $60 and $75 per person and boast treats such as braised short rib ravioli, horseradish-encrusted black grouper and twin lobster tails. On Sunday, a Valentine's brunch buffet from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. fills love tanks.

Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar in Midtown features a prix fixe dinner menu February 12- 14 along with the regular à la carte dinner menu. With three courses and a dessert, the menu includes choices such as braised duck tortellini and a six-ounce char-grilled filet for $55 per person. The Loews Atlanta Hotel sweetens the pot with a “Love Story Getaway”Valentine’s Day bundle featuring a beautiful in-room rose petal service, complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries with Champagne, breakfast in bed, a $50 food and beverage credit and valet parking. The deal is offered February 1-21, and reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advanceonline. Make reservations for Saltwood by calling 404-745-5000.

Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar celebrate with $49-per-person prix fixe menus on Friday and Saturday. Sunday captures hearts with brunch specials and a prix fixe dinner menu for $75 with optional wine pairings for $30 (both priced per person). The regular dinner menu will not be offered on Sunday. Reservations: 678-214-6888.

Love your local beach house for Valentine’s specials. Over February 13-14, 
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Roswell tempts with a $49-per-person three-course Valentine’s menu with dishes such as crispy ahi tuna rolls, almond-crusted red grouper and chocolate bread pudding. Call 770-993-5749.

Valentine’s Day Dining

Aria, in the heart of Buckhead, will open Sunday, February 14, to serve a special four-course Valentine’s menu from 5-9 p.m. Enjoy chef/owner Gerry Klaskala’s avant-garde take on fine American cuisine for $95 per person. Belated Valentine’s wishes won’t work -- Aria will be closed on Monday, February 15. Reservations: 404-233-7673.

Chef/owner Stephen McGuffin invites lovebirds to nest at
Café Highlands in Poncey-Highland for his four-course menu of progressive American cuisine that includes a pre-entrée sorbet and Champagne for only $35 per person. Call 404-698-3509.

A Valentine’s dinner at 
Gunshow can be a romantic adventure when sweethearts choose “food for sharing” from roving carts filled by executive chef Joey Ward and the team of chefs at Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park restaurant. Make reservations by calling 404-380-1886.

Whether attached or flying solo, an easy-going Valentine's Day awaits at Midtown’s 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern. Enjoy brunch and bottomless mimosas from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with live music from 1-4 p.m. From 4-10 p.m., get comfy with two pizzas or burgers and a bottle of wine or a bucket of four beers plus dessert for $49. Make reservations onlineor call 404-968-2288.

If your last Valentine’s party was in grade school, change your tune and join the lively dance party at 
Johnny's Hideaway, an Atlanta tradition since 1979. Rock the night away with drinks and dancing to live music from Band X, and no cover charge for ladies before 10 p.m.

Tell your Valentine to "meet me at Marlow's." Each 
Marlow's Tavern location will feature a special three-course prix fixe menu for $35 per person as well as the regular menu of American tavern fare served in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Valentine’s Getaways

Want a huge hug? Whisk away to NYC for a romantic, chocolate-filled weekend. 
James Beard Foundation Award-winning author and Atlantan Keith Schroeder of High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet joins craft chocolatiers Matthew Silverman and Matthew Piekarski for “Bewitched! A Valentine's Eve Dinner” at The Beard House in New York City. Taking place February 13 at 7 p.m., the evening’s new-fangled classics include the Hexx barrel-aged chocolate Manhattan and food options like braised beef brisket empanadas. $130 for JBF members; $170 for general public. Call 212-627-2308.

Closer to home, you can still sneak in a romantic getaway to
White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. On February 13, chef Reid Harrison’s four-course dinner for two includes an appetizer, salad, choice of entrée (grass-fed beef filet, herb-crusted rack of lamb or garlic-and-herb-marinated chicken breast) and dessert with a complimentary glass of Champagne. $85 per couple; $45 for singles (excludes Champagne). Dinner guests receive 10 percent off lodging for the night. Call 229-641-2081 for reservations.

Sweet Treat

Stop by 
Sublime Doughnuts in West Midtown February 12-14 for a neat treat for your sweetie. Chef/owner Kamal Grant is whipping up a batch of limited-edition heart-shaped doughnuts meant for sharing. Opens at 6 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's New on Pinterest: Blueberry Pancakes Galore!

Flip over this flapjack news: January 28 is National Blueberry Pancake Day, and we’re pinning Blueberry Pancakes Galoreespecially for the occasion. There’s no turning back to a plain golden stack after peeking at blueberry-full “Pancake Puppies,” a crepe cake, a Dutch baby pancake, mini-muffin pancake bites, protein pancakes, pancake ice cream, homemade syrup, grain- or dairy-free pancakes and lots more. We’re berry good sports, so we said yes when French toast wanted to jump on board. 

Huevos Hello to Ray’s Rio Bravo Sunday Brunch, Back by Popular Demand January 31

Rise and shine to the good news that the Sunday brunch buffet is back on board at Ray’s Rio Bravo. Starting January 31, everyone, from wee amigos on up to Texas cowhand-size appetites, can prep for Sunday relaxin’ or action with “Rio Fresh” favorites such as huevos rancheros, slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked chicken chilaquiles, Rio’s seven-layer dip, chop-chop salad, Texas spoonbread, Rio-spiced home-style fries, Spanish rice and charro beans. Traditionalists, count on seeing your mandatories -- brioche French toast with berry compote, mini Belgian waffles with maple syrup, buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy, Applewood-smoked bacon plus decadent pastries and desserts. Brunch bell rings from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $16.95 adults, $8.95 children (ages 5-10). Come empty. Leave fulfilled.
As if one needs a reason to eat and drink Tex-Mex! The same day Ray’s Rio Bravo launches brunch service, they’re also donating 20 percent of the day’s sales to the Sandy Springs Education Force (SSEF). The 11 a.m.-9 p.m. “Eat, Drink and Tex-Mex for SSEF” Dining for a Cause day will assist SSEF in providing free supplemental programs to engage, encourage and support economically disadvantaged public school students to finish high school and continue on to a vocation or college. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Get to Know Some Rogues and Experience Reformation over Dinner and Spirits at The Southern Gentleman

Add Providence, Cadence, Declaration and Stark to your local-brew friend list after meeting these Reformation Brewery beers over a four-course dinner with pairings at The Southern Gentleman on Thursday, January 28. Beginning at 7 p.m., executive chef Matthew Ridgway teams the Old World-style beers from Woodstock, Georgia, with dishes like smoked trout rillettes, frisée with Scotch egg and bacon lardons, and braised beef cheeks with dumplings, shaved Brussels sprouts and apple salad. Dessert? Count on it. $55 per person.
Return to The Shops Buckhead Atlanta gastropub for a mix of distilled spirits and brews from the “Rogue Nation” of Rogue Ales & Spirits at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3. Contrast Fresh Roast Ale and Marionberry Braggot (using Rogue Farms’ own Marionberries and Hopyard Honey) with Oregon Rye Whiskey and Hazelnut Spice Rum while dining on four courses. Listen up as Newport, Oregon, Rogue reps chat about the spirited journey from ground to grain to glass. $55 per person. Call for reservations: 404-939-9845. Prices exclude tax and gratuity. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

What’s New on Pinterest

Crank Up the Heat without fiddling with the thermostat. Sriracha and spices send temperatures soaring in bowls of “Gumbo-laya” and spicy Sriracha ramen noodles. Watch eyes light up over firecracker chicken tenders and bang bang copycat chicken. We’ve found enough Buffalo to blanket tastes buds with hot stuff in baked Buffalo cauliflower, Buffalo chicken egg rolls and homemade Buffalo chicken pizza or tacos.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


“I don’t trust folks who don’t crave soup dumplings.” Good cold weather judgment call from Andrew Knowlton, deputy editor at Bon Appétit. This guy spent 24 hours in the new Chick-fil-A in NYC but refuses to share secrets. No fair.