Saturday, June 18, 2016

Appetizing Aperture: Johnny's Hideaway's Stress Shot

A little shot of “Stress” is sweet, according to Johnny’s Hideaway bar manager and longtime employee Nancy Tardo. “Stress” is Tardo’s signature shot, a little something she first tasted back in 1992 at a Buckhead bar called Grand Stands. Flash forward. Now, many Johnny’s regulars only drink “Stress” ($9). All of the bartenders at the Buckhead nightspot know how to blend this mix of vodka and coconut rum with cranberry and pineapple splashes, to pour in a shot glass or over ice, when guests want a little something sweet.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What’s New on Pinterest: Father's Day Inspiration

This week’s board -- Dear Ol’ Dad -- has some Father’s Day tricks up its sleeve, like the “shirt” bottle giftwrap idea (he’ll never guess), a secret “stache” of cookies in a nifty-gifty bag and a generous helping of DIY crafts kids can make for dad. Pointers on grilling pizza, steaks, Coca-Cola or Sriracha BBQ ribs and Jameson whiskey blue cheese burgers with Guinness cheese sauce aid those mustering courage to take command of the grill on Sunday, June 19. Dainty desserts? Forget about it. Hone in on manly maple and bacon cupcakes, whiskey bacon brownies, beer brownies and more to follow that plate of chicken fried steak with Comeback sauce. Dad, you’re so blessed.

Bellina Alimentari Welcomes New Executive Chef Gizzy Barton

Atlanta-native Gizzy Barton grew up shopping with her dad at Your DeKalb Farmers Market in Decatur, and now she’s executive chef at Bellina Alimentari in Ponce City Market (PCM), a few miles away in Midtown. The Italian dining sensation at PCM welcomes Barton to its all-female team, a fierce foursome of females that includes owner Tal Baum, creative director Alice Noel Fabi and general manager Bethany Thompson. The talented chef honed her culinary skills under Atlanta chef Kevin Rathbun in roles as sous chef at Rathbun’s and by helping open Italian-infused KR SteakBar. Backtracking further, Barton gained rich sous and line chef experience at Restaurant Eugene and South City Kitchen and while attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta. The Atlanta native’s philosophy of food as a way of life, seasonal inspiration and bringing in summer produce from local farmers is right on track with the Bellina way. Stop in next time you’re at PCM and try some of Barton’s favorite menu items such as pappardelle with Bolognese and charcuterie and cheese from the Market.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Go Kart Go! Atkins Park Mario Kart Tournament Crosses Finish Line June 20 and 27

Rev your retro engines for June’s Mario Kart Mondays at Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland. Co-pilot with Yoshi, Luigi, Rosalina and crew while competing in head-to-head rounds on Mondays, June 20 and 27. Ensuring they’re well fueled for the virtual course, entrants must down a Wild Heaven Emergency Drinking Beer before their race ends. Racers score points with each advancement, and spectators can earn points by ordering a Drunken Toad, Browser’s Revenge, Stolen Peach or some of the other racy cocktails on the specialty drink menu. House cash goes to the weekly winner, and June’s top scorer wins two four-day passes to DragonCon. Registration begins at 9 p.m. for 10 p.m. race start time.

Catch Kevin Gillespie at Peachtree Road Farmers Market Chef Demo June 18

Look for a fiery red beard among the ruby red heirloom tomatoes, bright red strawberries, juicy red watermelon chunks and shiny red peppers at this Saturday’s Peachtree Road Farmers Market (PRFM). Could only be one person: Chef Kevin Gillespie of GunshowRevivalCommunion and Terminus City. You may see Gillespie cruising the stalls to gather locally grown produce (so local it was in the ground Friday) before putting down roots for the 10 a.m. chef demo. Stop by and gather tips and recipe ideas from this champion of pork, Southern food heritage and seasonal eating. Several recipes of his are already in the PRFM online recipe box, including tomato, melon, cucumber and herb summer salad and warm squash salad with goat feta, apples and peppers. Market hours are 8:30 a.m. until noon. Rise with the roosters for the best selection.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Listen Up for Live Music at Ray’s at Killer Creek Thursdays-Saturdays

Big outdoor concerts and music fests are certainly part of the summer scene. For outstanding live music, fantastic food and quality beverages in an air-conditioned, intimate setting (i.e. forgoing heat, humidity, parking issues and crowds), Ray’s at Killer Creek is the place to go. The Alpharetta restaurant lines up top talent in the bar and lounge area Thursday nights from 6-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights from 7-10 p.m. in June. Take a gander at the calendar to see who’s commanding the mic and when. Marty Manous plays June 16;Brandon Crocker performs June 17, 23, 24 and 30; Lauren Jordan holds down June 18; and Lee Gamble entertains June 25. Great tunes, no cover, no sweat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gypsy Kitchen Offers Round of Sangria on the House to Groups through June 30

Gypsy Kitchen pours on a sangria special made for summer socializing. Monday through Thursdays, The Shops Buckhead Atlanta restaurant is offering the first round of red or white sangria free for groups of 15-30 people with the purchase of food. Plan an office happy hour, ladies night out, dinner event or be creative and host a summer solstice social on the patio to take advantage of this very sangria-ble opportunity through June 30. Secure seating or space with a credit card, but no deposit is needed. Questions? Call 404-964-9243.

Turn the Tables on Dad -- Take Him Out to Eat on Father’s Day, June 19

Grill Dad on his Father’s Day wishes and odds are he will mention hungering to spend time with those he loves. Atlanta restaurants come through with dad-friendly food and drink specials and brunch buffets to fill love tanks of all ages and sizes. And since he’s the special guest this time, reservations and the tab are on you!

Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland for hearty Sunday brunch offerings such as deep-fried bacon, the fried chicken pancake sandwich and sirloin steak and eggs. Dinner specials with craft beer pairings also hit the spot. Call 404-876-7249.

Bring dear ol’ Dad to 
Communion, the backyard beer garden at Revival, for a beer and brat combo that’s too good to pass up. Two tokens ($10) snag a juicy brat and a cold brew to wash it down (tax and gratuity included). Hang back and challenge Pops to a few rounds of darts, cornhole, cards and horseshoes. A piece of advice: life will be better if you let him win.

Bypass TSA and fly Dad to Spain via 
Gypsy Kitchen in Buckhead. The full GK Experience serves six to eight with a five-course family style dinner flavored with accents from Galicia to Catalonia. Lead him to GK’s open-air patio where he can Basque in the Sun and enjoy Sunday specials including half off select bottles of wine, $5 glasses of rosé, $4 tinto de verano, paella, a flamenco guitarist and more. Reservations: 404-939-9840.

Give Dad his 10,000 Fitbit steps by way of a Piedmont Park stroll then stop at 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern for Father’s Day brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Other Sunday specials include half-price wings (from 4-10 p.m.), $17 bottomless mimosas and live music from 1-4 p.m. Children under 12 eat for free with the purchase of an adult entrée. For reservations, call 404-968-2288.

If your dad loves barbecue (and what dad doesn’t?), he’ll devour the Father’s Day special at 
Smokebelly BBQ -- smoked prime rib served with asparagus amandine and creamed potatoes with Asiago cheese. The $3 draft specials and Smokebelly’s usual selection of gourmet, chef-crafted staples and sides seal the deal. Call 404-848-9100.

Dad’s a bourbon connoisseur? Buckhead gastropub 
The Southern Gentleman offers chef specials with hand-picked bourbon pairings in addition to the regular Sunday brunch menu of simple-yet-sophisticated favorites like ricotta and cornmeal pancakes, Dixie bacon carbonara and New Orleans shrimp and grits. Sample bourbons with dad at a whiskey education and tasting area from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Make reservations by calling 404-939-9845.

Steak’s the word at 
Aqua blue in Roswell. Treat your meat-loving Dad to a special three-course menu featuring seafood gumbo, grilled 12-ounce ribeye served over whipped sweet potatoes, asparagus with bordelaise and your choice of dessert. Regular menu also available. $32 per person. Call 770-643-8886 for reservations.

Cotton Calf Kitchen in Braselton is hosting a “Father’s Day Endless BBQ” from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. with mouthwatering meats, savory sides, delectable dipping sauces and delicious desserts. Reservations are highly recommended: 706-684-0410. Cost is $42 per adult, $15 for children 12 and under.

In beautiful Crabapple, 
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails promises a special prix fixe Father’s Day brunch offering dishes such as duck and andouille sausage gumbo, Southern-fried chicken breast, blackened Atlantic salmon, basil-marinated filet mignon and chocolate peanut butter trifle, all for $32 per person ($16 for kids 12 and under). That evening, enjoy Cajun-smoked prime rib and a Big City Swine cocktail (with bacon-infused bourbon) for $28 or choose options from the regular dinner menu. Call 770-817-0161 for reservations.

Multiple Locations
Most likely there’s a dad-friendly 
Marlow’s Tavern location nearby ready to please the patriarch with a broad menu of classic sandwiches, salads, burgers and entrées, patio seating and lots of flat-screen TVs.

If his “daddy-isms” involve the fish that got away, reel him into 
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, Atlanta’s local beach house. Both locations open at 11 a.m. so Dad can catch plenty of fresh seafood specials and favorites from the regular menu including Southern-fried catfish, sea scallops and Creole shrimp and grits (prices vary between brunch and dinner). Live music graces both locales from 5-9 p.m. 404-474-9508 (Buckhead), 770-993-5749 (Canton Street).

Ray’s Restaurants has pleasing dads down to a science. At Ray’s on the River (770-955-1187), enjoy magnificent views of the Chattahoochee along with a stellar brunch buffet ($42.95 for adults, $21.95 for kids ages 5 to 10) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Ray’s at Killer Creek in Alpharetta (770-649-0064) presents its signature brunch buffet ($32.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids 5 to 10) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. In the heart of downtown Atlanta, Ray’s in the City (404-524-9224) welcomes families to savor a generous brunch buffet ($32.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids 5 to 10) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Each restaurant offers its own dinner menu from 5-9 p.m.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Appetizing Aperture: Gypsy Kitchen Gintonic

Back in the day, tonic water contained more quinine than it does now. Ingesting the bitter liquid kept mosquitoes at bay and warded off malaria. British colonials in India found adding gin to their tonic made their daily dose much more palatable, and a new cocktail was born. A Gypsy Kitchen Gintonic blends Tanqueray gin with custom tonic syrup featuring notes of ginger, yuzu, rose petal, hibiscus flower and a squeeze of lime ($9). By Jove, that fragrant, spicy tonic doesn’t have a bitter bent to tame, but let’s keep the gin. Shall we? 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What’s New on Pinterest

Brie Our Guest, Brie our guest, put our cheese to the test. Beauty and the Beast? No. Beautiful, drool-worthy ways to use Brie. Try a very versatile and simple berry Brie pizza for brunch, supper or dessert. Handheld ham and cheese pies are picnic, pool or outdoor concert ready. Mini steak sandwiches with Brie, caramelized onions and fig jam; blueberry, Brie and lemon curd grilled cheeses; and turkey apple Brie panini all ooze goodness. Classic strawberry or blueberry baked Brie, baked Brie topped with wine-soaked blackberries, grilled Brie-stuffed figs with honey or roasted garlic and Brie pull-apart bread are fast entertainers. Winning our vote for the Brie-siest, easiest summer dish ever –- spaghetti with Brie, tomato and basil.

Peachy! Derek Dollar and Doug Turbush Serve Tastes of Southern Hospitality at James Beard House Georgia Grown Dinner June 18

The boys from the Peach State travel to the Big Apple for dinner next week. Chefs Derek Dollar and Doug Turbush are two of the Atlanta-area chefs commencing to fix a Georgia Grown dinner at the famed James Beard House in New York City on Saturday, June 18. Sure, we’ll brag on our state. Fruits, vegetables, seafood, fish, meat, poultry and game on the menu will have been grown, raised or caught in Georgia. Likewise for the beer, distilled spirits and wines complementing reception hors d’oeuvre and the six-course tasting dinner menu. Dollar, of Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails in Crabapple and The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill – Roswell, contributes hors d’oeuvre of bourbon-braised pork belly tacos with green tomato chowchow and radishes for the opening reception. When guests progress to dinner, they’ll enjoy Milton’s Acre produce in Dollar’s summer squash casserole with wood-grilled plantation quail, lipstick pepper Romesco, charred scallion oil and chorizo bread crumbs -- just like the folks dining back home at Milton’s. Turbush, of Marietta restaurants Drift Fish House & Oyster BarSeed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar, adds his own Georgia Grown specialties to the menu -- pickled Georgia shrimp with lemon mayonnaise on heirloom rye toasts and Georgia mountain trout with field pea succotash, roasted lemon vinaigrette and mushroom confit. No seats remain for this night of Southern hospitality. No worries, we can savor the creations of these fine chefs right here, without even crossing state lines.