Saturday, November 19, 2016

Appetizing Aperture: Willy's Pimentodilla

Southerners love their pimento cheese sandwiches – heck, we love pimento cheese slathered on anything, from grits to simple sammies at the Masters golf tournament. The Pimentodilla at Willy’s Mexicana Grill straddles Southern and Southwestern borders. The grilled quesadilla holds sinaloa chicken and Willy’s own pimento cheese and comes with sides of homemade roasted red pepper jelly and sour cream ($6.95 regular/$7.95 grande).

Basque Sundays at Gypsy Kitchen Shine Light on Half-Off Bottled Wine, $6 Cocktails, Menu Specials

Sunny Spain shines brightly into the evening hours, even considering the earlier sunsets, at Gypsy Kitchen Basque Sundays. Guests are all aglow, radiant from cardio toe tapping to flamenco guitar music chased by $6 cocktail quenchers and sharing bottles of wine from the expansive half-priced selection. A rotating selection of yummy pinchos and montaditos from executive chef and chief culinary travel director Matthew Ridgway enlighten each week’s Basque Sunday menu. Samba in for drink specials starting at 5 p.m.; flamenco music kicks in something fierce from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gobble Up Restaurant Gift Card Bonus Deals

Atlanta restaurants simplify holiday gifting, garnishing their gift cards with bonus cards, discounts and even bottles of sparkling brut. Buy a batch to give and keep one for the little elf in yourself to enjoy during the hectic holiday season.

Marlow’s Tavern gift cards come with a bubbly holiday bonus. Purchase $50 in Marlow’s Tavern gift cards and receive a complimentary bottle of Michelle Brut Sparkling Wine. Up it to a $100 gift card purchase and take away the bottle and a complimentary $20 Marlow’s gift card. Thanks, Marlow’s, for the $20 incentive to slip into one of your comfy booths and relax over heartwarming food and spirits after a day of frenetic holiday shopping. Online gift card shoppers will receive a voucher to redeem for their bottle of Michelle Brut at the Marlow’s Tavern location of their choice. Take advantage of this gift with gift card purchase Nov. 25 through Dec. 31 – it’s one of the “toast-iest” gift ideas in town!

Receive a $15 bonus gift card for yourself with every $50 gift card purchase at any Southern Proper Hospitality Restaurant:
Gypsy KitchenThe Southern GentlemanMilton’s Cuisine & CocktailsThe Big Ketch Saltwater Grill or Smokebelly BBQ. Bulk buy and spend $1000 or more on gift cards to receive 20 percent off. Email for bulk orders. Offers cannot be combined. Redeem gift cards at any restaurant location; bonus cards must be redeemed at restaurant where purchased.

Scoop up bonus cards for 
Ray’s Restaurants gift card purchases through Jan. 31 (good to know in case Santa inadvertently leaves someone off the list). Ray’s gift cards are available in any denomination. Receive a 20 percent bonus, on a separate card, with all gift card purchases of $25-$975 or a 25 percent bonus on gift card purchases of $1000 or more. Unsure which location – Ray’s in the City,Ray’s on the RiverRay’s at Killer Creek or Ray’s Rio Bravo -- is someone’s favorite? No problem. Ray’s gift cards are sold and accepted at all four locations.  Shop online and see usage details at

Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar in Alpharetta throws in an extra $20 gift card with the purchase of any $100 gift card. Walk away with two separate cards. Give one as a much appreciated gift and enjoy a little Secreto gift for yourself.

Seed Kitchen & BarStem Wine Bar and Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar are all in on giving holiday gift card shoppers a 20 percent bonus on gift card purchases of $50 or more through Dec. 30. Cards never expire and are reloadable in store at any time. Useable for food and beverage only, not gratuities. In-store offer, not available online.

Tin Lizzy’s Cantina “tacos” 20 percent off any gift card purchase over $25 during November and December. How about buying a bunch for the office staff to use at their favorite lunchtime or end-of-day cantina watering hole? A whole lot easier than trying to fit Tin Lizzy’s skillets or taco baskets in their stockings.

5Church Atlanta in Midtown throws in a $10 bonus when you buy a $50 gift card. Available to use immediately.

Buy a $100 gift card to LDV Atlanta’s American Cut, Dolce Italian, Corso Coffee or The Regent Cocktail Club and receive a $20 gift card to keep or present to someone else. Offer valid Nov. 15, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017.

Give Thanks for Chefs in the Kitchen Fixing Dine-Out and Homeward Bound Thanksgiving Feasts

When the priorities are connecting with family and sitting down to count blessings ‘round the table, let someone else handle the stress of preparing the turkey, ham, sides and desserts.

Head Out for Bountiful Buffets 

From 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 
5Church Atlanta offers a special three-course menu; $35 per adult and $17 for children 13 and under. Call 404-400-3669 for reservations.

Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland is going all out, serving a Big Green Egg-smoked turkey breast with caramelized apple and sage stuffing and cider gravy; braised pork shoulder with roasted root vegetables and a bourbon glaze; green bean casserole with crispy onions and roasted mushrooms; roasted garlic mashed potatoes; cranberry Grand Marnier compote; sweet potato biscuits; and for dessert, Southern pecan pie and pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. $28 for adults, $18 for young adults and $10 for kids under 10. Doors open at 4 p.m.; reservations strongly recommended by calling 404-876-7249.

Chicken and the Egg will serve a Southern Thanksgiving feast prepared with responsibly sourced ingredients from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Choose from a smoked turkey breast or a sorghum and mustard-glazed ham with a choice of three sides (cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese, creamed corn and green bean casserole). For dessert, choose from apple cobbler, pecan or pumpkin pie, all for $27.50 for adults and $12.50 for children 6-12. Order to-go dinners to feed parties of six to eight ($90) or 10-12 ($125). Call the restaurant at 678-388-8813 to order by Nov. 21.

Ray’s Restaurants is known for its Thanksgiving buffets serving Thanksgiving favorites and Ray’s signature offerings from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. At Ray’s on the River, enjoy commanding views of the Chattahoochee alongside roasted turkey and herb-roasted prime rib for $45.95 per adult and $22.95 per child (ages 5-10). Help yourself to a Cajun-fried whole Bell and Evans turkey or a Big Green Egg peppered barbecue brisket at Ray’s at Killer Creek for $39.95 per adult and $19.95 per child. Dig into a carved suckling pig or steamship of beef at Ray’s in the City, also priced at $39.95 per adult and $19.95 per child. For full menus, visit

Bypass the Grocery for Thanksgiving to Go…and Keep Moving by Dancing All Night

Be the host with the most delicious bird around by treating guests to a 12- to 14-pound apple-brined and smoked turkey from 
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails -- decked out with Madeira gravy and sage-corn spoonbread to comfortably feed six to eight guests for only $85. Sides available upon request. Order online by Nov. 18 for pick up Nov. 22-23.

Eyes are on the pies that 
The Southern Gentleman pastry chef Kelly Lovett is preparing -- fresh pumpkin, apple crisp and Georgia pecan pies. Regular-sized 10-inch pies are $35; mini-pies serving one to two are $7. Place orders by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, and pick up Wednesday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For ordering information, visit

Nap? Not! Cap a day of caloric excess by dancing the night away at 
Johnny’s Hideaway.  Buckhead’s long-running nightlife landmark will be open from 7 p.m.-3 a.m.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lunch in Italy, Take Italian Dinner Home with One Visit to Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante in Buckhead

Remember childhood stories of Strega Nona and her magic pasta pot? Plentiful and pleasing. Same magic happens at Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante. Lunch guests visit the full-service restaurant and bar for a quick yet satisfying midday meal. Drawn to the surrounding Italian market, they browse around and pick up prepared foods and Italian imported goods for take-home dinner or some awe-inspiring entertaining on the fly. The menu ($7-$22) includes meat and cheese boards, antipasti, antipasti fritti, pasta, insalata and panini. Arancini (filled-rice fritters); Callipo tuna; mixed greens with Roman cipollini, artichoke, almond and honey saba vinaigrette; classic lasagna alla Bolognese; pi fasacc brown butter sage with Taleggio, ricotta cheese, spinach and Grana Padano filling; and prosciutto panini with 16-month prosciutto, grilled zucchini and Robiola cheese are just a few of the current temptations backed by even more imported goods, fresh pastas, five kinds of lasagna, grilled veggies and an array of salads. We see a Storico menu-planning habit forming. Totally Italy. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. For additional updates, follow the restaurant on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Atkins Park Va-Hi New Dishes Satisfy Frisky Fall Appetites

Cooler weather has us craving the new fall dishes at Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland. Lunchtime calls for crisp salads with chicken and apple or steak with grilled portabella mushrooms, fried onion, tomato and bleu cheese dressing ($11) or perhaps creature comforts like fried fish tacos and chicken and dumplings ($10-$11). Early darkness primes us for dinners that open with small plates of pork belly seared scallops, Georgia Johnny cakes with smoked pork and jalapeño-corn slaw or pan-fried crab cakes with arugula salad and whole grained mustard cream ($9-$14) before settling in on the 12-ounce ribeye steak with Parmesan potato gratin and creamed spinach, sweet potato gnocchi with roasted cauliflower and toasted walnuts or smoked salmon carbonara ($15-$25). Cornbread-crusted Georgia trout with mashed potatoes, green beans and bourbon brown butter apples or the seasonal local vegetable plate bearing butternut squash, wilted Swiss chard, fried Brussels sprouts, grilled wild mushroom, Parmesan potato gratin and cornbread are new midday and evening hits ($12-$19). Stick-with-you weekend brunch fare adds sizzling skillets full of chorizo, Cajun shrimp and andouille sausage, Southwestern grilled chicken with black beans, Philly steak or vegetarian with spinach, tomato and feta cheese, each served with crispy potatoes and topped with two sunny-side eggs ($9-$12). Other brunch specialties include avocado toast, fried chicken pancake sandwich and crab cake or country fried steak Benedict ($10-$12). Spinach and smoked Gouda sauce top house-made focaccia, which debuts as an appetizer at all three meals. It’s comforting to know those faithful “always available” favorites are still options (even after midnight) -- grilled chicken panini, smoked prime rib French dip sandwich and Atkins Park Totchos really hit the spot, whatever the season. Open Monday-Friday 11:30-3 a.m., Saturday 11-3 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-midnight.

Fun with the Big Green Egg Promises Green Eggs and Hamming Around on Nov. 19

Local chefs, brewers, food producers and farmers ham it up over their true loves -- talking about cooking and actually cooking, sharing tall tales and showing off Big Green Egg “eggs-pertise” at Fun with the Big Green Egg on Saturday, Nov. 19. Ormsby’s and Revival are two restaurants sending chef-showmen to the Pine Street Market “BGE-stravaganza,” which cracks open at 10 a.m. sharp. Plenty of brews and chews to be enjoyed. A limited number of tickets are available, priced at $80 each (plus 99-cent service fee).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Eat, Drink and Send Kids to Walt Disney World by Visiting Tin Lizzy’s Cantina during Bert’s Big Adventure Restaurant Week through Nov. 19

Happy taco munching, margarita sipping faces at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina translate into ecstatic smiles and wide eyes on children having a ball at the Magic Kingdom during the second annual Bert’s Big Adventure Restaurant Week. Through Saturday, Nov. 19, all of the fun-loving FlexMex cantina locations will donate 10 percent of all sales to Bert’s Big Adventure. This Atlanta-based nonprofit organization provides a magical, all-expenses paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. To qualify for Bert’s Big Adventure, children must be between the ages of 5 and 12, live in “The Bert Show” radio listening area, prove financial need and have never been to Walt Disney World. Jiminy Cricket! Could there be a better excuse to slide out of the office and into the nearest Tin Lizzy’s for a tray of Stuffed Pig tacos (the taco of the month) and a pitcher of that magical tequila and lime nectar?  

Boutique Wines are Bountiful at Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar Wine Dinner Nov. 17

Small wineries boasting big bouquets fill glasses for guests joining Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar executive chef Boyd A. Rose at the Alpharetta restaurant’s first wine dinner of the season on Thursday, Nov. 17. Crafted Brands managing partner Bayard Crawley will be on hand to pour on the details about these small producer wines paired with Rose’s five-course menu. $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations required; call 770-752-0922. Menu and more details on our blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Big Ketch Canton Street Hosts “The Essential Oyster” Book Signing Nov. 15

Trolling the net looking for a Tuesday night activity worth its salt? On Nov. 15, coast into The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill Canton Street where a book launch party for “The Essential Oyster” opens a realm of briny possibilities. Half-price happy hour extends from 6:30 p.m. until closing during tonight’s party at historic Roswell’s favorite local beach. Slurp the magnificent mollusks and peruse the new book by James Beard Award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen. Available to buy for $26.95 at the party, the book features tasting notes and backstories on top oysters, recipes from America’s top oyster chefs and a guide to the best oyster bars. Signed copies make pearly gifts for those oyster aficionados on your holiday shopping list.

The Federal Now Open. Shaun Doty’s Restaurant Graces Midtown as New Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Destination

Acclaimed chef Shaun Doty returns to his roots with the opening of The Federal, his new restaurant at 1050 Crescent Avenue in Midtown. Those roots tap into his travels, growth as a chef and connecting with guests to develop lasting rapport. Doty’s appetizing “souvenirs of life” influence the traditional menu -- steak frites alluding to years in Belgium and chopped liver reminiscent of Katz’s Delicatessen, a favorite NYC haunt. Dinner service begins tonight at The Federal. Additionally, the coffee crowd can now grab weekday jolts of java and such at the coffee bar from 7:30-11 a.m. Breakfast and lunch are on the agenda – stay tuned for start dates. What’s in a name? The Federal takes its name from the nearby, architecturally grand Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Lance Gummere joins Doty in the new venture. The chef duo share roots, having worked side-by-side at Mumbo Jumbo and founding Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy together.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What’s New on Pinterest: Praise for Pecans

Praise for Pecans! The nutty heroes infiltrating many a holiday dish nab another claim to fame this month as November is National Georgia Pecan Month. Get crackin’ (or buy them shelled) and turn out pumpkin pecan cobbler, classic caramel pecan rolls, coffee pecan pound cake and chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes with butter pecan frosting. Provide “just a bite” of something sweet by offering chocolate-dipped pecans, slices of caramel pecan logs or easy salted caramel pecan dip on the holiday buffet. Pecans peek into breakfast menus in pumpkin caramel pecan baked French toast and star at lunch and dinner in mouthfuls of autumn crunch pasta salad and apple pecan rosemary Greek yogurt chicken salad (hmmm, seeing potential leftover Thanksgiving turkey switcheroo here).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#Foodgram: Samantha Lee

Is Samantha Lee a food fairy? Appears so because as she admits, “I cook. Kids eat.” Her magic? Samantha makes food tell a story, say, “camping under a starry sky” food art for National Sandwich Day. Halloween, she warned of the spooky dangers lurking around the corner…Yikes! Vegetables gone batty.