Atlanta Restaurant Scene with John Kessler 

Atlanta restaurant reviews and food news with John and the AJC's dining team
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First Look: Asian comfort food at Makan

  • 3:58 pm Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by John Kessler
photo by Becky Stein

In tomorrow’s paper I’ll take a first look at Makan, the new restaurant in downtown Decatur that serves new-style Asian comfort food. Chef/owner George Yu says he was inspired by Asian-American chefs such as Roy Choi, David Chang and Danny Bowien who have redefined Asian comfort food for a new generation. Yu, who was born in Taiwan, serves up a variety of Chinese and Korean influenced appetizers, noodle soups and rice plates.

You can read my initial reaction to the restaurant here. 

Ron Eyester Talks “Top Chef” Season 12

  • 11:39 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Bob Townsend
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Yesterday, the Boston Globe got the reveal on the 12th season of “Top Chef,” which premieres on Bravo on Oct. 15, and was filmed around Boston during May and June.

The big news for Atlanta is that Ron Eyester will be on the show. Eyester is the chef/owner of Rosebud, the Family Dog and Timone’s in Morningside, and Diner, which is set to open at Atlantic Station in September.

Of course, host Padma Lakshmi will be back. And as it turns out, sometimes Atlanta chef and “Top Chef All Stars” winner, Richard Blais, will [More]

ZAGAT releases Atlanta’s 30 under 30

  • 12:43 pm Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Alexa Lampasona
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ZAGAT has released Atlanta’s inaugural “30 Under 30″ list,which highlights the up and coming gems in the food and beverage industry. Some faces may look familiar, like Julia Goglia of Pinewood Tippling Room, while others are faces you’ll want to remember from now on, like Victor Shell of Little Ice Cream Dude. These fresh young industry stars were nominated by co-workers, employers and ZAGAT readers.

Adam Berlin & Juan Calle | Founders/Managing Partners at The Cairns Hill Group
Giorgia Caporuscio | Pizzaiola at Don Antonio by Starita
Cora Cotrim | Founder/Creative Director of Queen of Cream
Matthew Crawford | Assistant General Manager/Sommelier at St. Cecilia
Kathryn [More]

What can you do with Thai basil flowers?

  • 9:08 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Alexa Lampasona
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I love the smell of Thai basil. A member of the mint family, it is more aromatic, giving off the scent of cinnamon, anise and mint. My Thai basil has been abundantly producing purple blossoms all summer, and I’ve been at a loss on how to use them. Then the idea of infused vinegar came to mind. It’s a simple, two-step process, and the most difficult part is waiting around for a few days to get a concentrated flavor.

First, pick your basil flowers and put them in a jar with pure white vinegar. Then store it in a cool, dark [More]

Craft Izakaya grand opening tonight and more news

  • 3:31 pm Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Bob Townsend
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Craft Izakaya opening at Krog Street

Craft Izakaya, which softly opened over the weekend at Krog Street Market with friends and family events, will open to the public tonight. The lively Japanese-style bar and restaurant is a spin-off of Sushi Huku in Sandy Springs. Look for a full sushi bar and a yakitori menu with skewered meats, seafood and veggies cooked on a charcoal grill imported from Japan. Bar manager Nate Shuman, recently of Proof & Provision, created the beverage program featuring sake, shochu, craft beer and cocktails. 99 Krog St., Suite X, Atlanta. 470-355-9556.

Ah-Ma’s Taiwanese Kitchen open

Apparently, business [More]

Chick-fil-A serves new breakfast offerings in Middle Georgia

  • 12:13 pm Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Alexa Lampasona
photo credit: Chick Fil A

Now for a limited time, Chick-fil-A has expanded their breakfast menu beyond chicken biscuits to serve maple waffles, greek yogurt and multigrain oatmeal.

New to the breakfast list: 

Maple waffles “baked with real maple syrup inside and a caramelized sugar crunch.”  (300 calories)

Multigrain oatmeal with fresh fruit “steel cut oatmeal is slow-cooked and has flax, whole wheat and buckwheat.” (140 calories)

Cinnamon swirls cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. (310 calories)

Egg white chicken grill “toasted whole wheat English muffin with grilled chicken, egg whites and American cheese” (300 calories)

Greek yogurt parfait with “honey-flavored greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and your choice of Harvest Nut granola or chocolate [More]

Foods to watch for: Sea buckthorn, roselle

  • 10:50 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by John Kessler
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Over the past few years I’ve traveled a lot in northern Europe, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Everywhere I went I noticed that people were crazy for sea buckthorn — those little orange/yellow berries that grow on shrubs  in sandy soil along the shore. I ate them at Noma, the influential Copenhagen restaurant, and I ate them in Russian coffee shops, where they flavored tea and soda.

How to describe the flavor? It’s weird, like apricot mixed with papaya, guava and lavender. Herbalists and aestheticians alike love the stuff for its antioxidant and moisturizing properties. It is also considered a natural lubricant. [More]

Behind the Scenes: Anthony Audino of Blue Ridge Grill

  • 9:18 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Alexa Lampasona
Anthony Audino

As a server, charisma and charm go hand in hand if you want to make an impression to an otherwise hungry table of diners. Anthony Audino comes from a background in acting, and uses his casual, laid back manner to appeal to his guests at Blue Ridge Grill. Here, the aspiring actor shares with us his balancing act of casting calls and classic American cuisine. 

How did you get your start at Blue Ridge Grill?

I’ve spent several years as a server in casual restaurants, and then working in banquets. Here, the big difference is I don’t deal with volume, it’s [More]

Steak night with a vegetarian

  • 12:08 pm Monday, August 18th, 2014 by John Kessler
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Salt. Pepper. A little oil rubbed on the surface. The highest heat you can muster. Then a few minutes to rest before cutting in. That’s my recipe for a good steak.

This lovely ribeye cost $33 at Whole Foods Market and weighed in at about 20 ounces. My wife and I managed to polish off slightly more than half of it, while our daughter ate a box of fried tofu and curried vegetables from the market’s hot bar.

I gnawed on the leftover steak over the next couple of days before relinquishing the bone to our dog. It has been picked clean [More]

Chef Adam Hayes of Barnsley Resort Wins Superhero Cutthroat Kitchen

  • 9:28 am Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Bob Townsend
Hayes chef-photo

Check out the highlights as Alton Brown sits down with Cutthroat Kitchen judges on his Web-exclusive After-Show to fill them in on the “high-priced bidding and evilicious sabotages that led to the chefs’ finished dishes”.

As chef Hayes promised last week, before the winner was finally revealed during last night’s episode, it is hilarious. And the “Superhero Sabotage” came down to a banana split.

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