Friday, April 23, 2010

South Carolina Extravaganza!

Frogmore Stew.

In March I was invited to a neat event showcasing the culinary highlights of South Carolina. The chefs were there in full force, with all sorts of tasty nibbles and more substantial fare. Alas, I did not win one of the door prizes but it was fun talking with representatives from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism as well as a real live SC park ranger! There are definitely a lot of good eats to be found in this state to our north.

Delicious shrimp and grits.

Chef James Clark from the Marina Inn's Waterscapes Restaurant in Myrtle Beach.

Perfectly shucked oyster. We learned that the best time for oysters in the south is January and February. Technique: make sure there is a clean break!

Tasty desserts included pecan tarts, pralines, divinity and red velvet mini-cupcakes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Important Event

I usually do not write about events, at least in advance of my attendance. However, I want to bring the following to your attention as it is an important fundraiser for a vital organization, the March of Dimes. Their mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Here is how you can dine out to help - perhaps you could organize a group dinner!

The 26th Annual March of Dimes Dining Out is on Friday, May 14, 2010 starting at 7 pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to have an incredible meal with close friends at one of Atlanta’s finest restaurants while helping raise money for a worthy cause. Tables are $1,000 or $1,500 for a table of ten depending on the restaurant and the dinner includes a three-course meal with numerous wine pairings at one of 60 of Atlanta’s best restaurants, including ONE. Midtown Kitchen, BLT Steak, Craft, Sun Dial and The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.

Following the Dining Out dinner is the Stepping Out After-party (tickets included with purchase of table) at the newly renovated and re-opened Buckhead Theatre, formerly known as The Roxy. It starts at 9 p.m. and will include cocktails, desserts, live music and dancing! For a full list of restaurants, check out For more information on hosting a table or purchasing after party tickets, visit the web site or contact Margaux Espy at 404.720.5308.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Eating Local - Small Farms CSA

Earlier this year we made a commitment to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables and buy local, humanely raised meat. If you want to know why, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Although this change can be difficult at first, there are quite a few sources for these products including farmer's markets and CSA's (community supported agriculture) groups.

We subscribe to a CSA and really love it. At the beginning of the season you pay for a "share" and become a co-producer. Essentially, you are helping the farms with operating costs in exchange for receiving a share of what is produced on the participating farms. This includes lots vegetables, some fruits and sometimes goat cheese, fresh eggs, grits, cornmeal, honey and other products. Everything is in season and fresh. Every two weeks we receive our meat share (an optional extra cost). They are just about to start their spring season so I wanted to share some information from the farmers, Joe and Judith that I just received in case any readers are interested.

"After a long, wet winter, we are thrilled to be back outside, working the earth. The spring crops are growing. We've got beautiful lettuces and cooking greens, endive. The summer seedlings are ready to go in. And, of course, the chickens are still laying those amazing eggs.

After the floods of last September, many things changed for us. We moved out of the camper on the farm, and back into our house in Grant Park. The crisis also forced us to re-evaluate our business and marketing plans. Judith took part time work in the city as Assistant Maitre d' at Restaurant Eugene, and as manager of the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market. Joe has stayed focused on rebuilding the farm and growing the best food he can possibly grow. We're also moving our produce around differently, so we wanted to give you an update on where you can find us this season.

Love is Love Farm CSA We are operating our CSA (community supported agriculture) again this year, and we are looking for new members. You can find us every week from May to August delivering CSA shares on Thursdays and Sundays. The CSA is a great way to support the farm, and be a part of the Love is Love community in a steady, consistent way. In addition to a weekly delivery of the freshest and finest of what we have growing, you explore and learn about cooking and eating with the seasons. Member of our CSA also are invited to participate in exclusive member gatherings on farm. The CSA is the mainstay of our business this year. We hope you will consider joining us.

For more information on our delivery locations, cost, and joining our CSA, visit

Love is Love Farm at Market
There are two opportunities to shop with us at market this year:
The Local Farmstand. Since 2007, we have operated this store in cooperation with Crystal Organic Farm. It is a convenient way to access the best of the season's offering. The Local Farmstand is open Thursday through Saturday and always carries our produce.In addition to our produce, we carry grits, honey, sorghum, mushrooms and other seasonal goodies from our farm friends.

The East Atlanta Village Farmers Market
Since Judith has taken the position of market manager at the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, and since it's our neighborhood market, we decided to sell and have a CSA drop at the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market. This is a fun, funky little neighborhood market that operates every Thursday night from May to November. Opening day is May 6th. We hope to see you there. We are looking for 25 CSA susbscribers to pick-up there on Thursday nights. If you're interested, or know someone who might be interested. Please forward our information to them."

You can also learn more about Small Farms CSA on their Facebook page, here. I plan to do more cooking posts and including items received from our CSA after the season begins on May 2.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Foskoskie's on Shamrock in Charlotte

Apple Butterscotch Cake.

On a recent trip to Charlotte my dad and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at Foskoskies on Shamrock, a family owned neighborhood cafe with roots dating back to 1947. This place reminded me of Cheers and it was clear that many patrons are frequent customers. The food was spot on, too. I had a nice, basic spinach salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and dried cranberries. My dad went for the fish and chips, a worthy rendition. For dessert we could not help trying the above cake, which was delicious. Even if you don't live in the neighborhood, it's worth making a trek over to try this place.

Foskoskies on Shamrock on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 05, 2010

Urban Pl8 - Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

Double-patty Banh Mi Burger - a delicious concept, adding pickled veggies and jalepenos to a very good burger. There is also a lamb burger on the menu.

I'm intrigued with the (fairly) new Westside spot Urban Pl8, where I have dined for brunch (no photos), lunch and dinner. The restaurant recently expanded their dinner service to Wednesday through Saturday. Interestingly, their lunch and dinner menu is identical, although it changes quite often (even daily, sometimes). The look here is garage/warehouse turned restaurant and the whole place is really one big room with a nice, long bar and the kitchen visible from the dining area. I like this concept, although I think it may be difficult for them to control the temperature (especially during colder months). There is also a patio, which I hope is in full use now that spring has sprung and we are heading for HOTlanta's warmest months.

Hummus appetizer. Good, fairly standard hummus.

Lamb Pizza appetizer: the flavors did not mesh as well together as I'd hoped. This is not on the current menu.

Sweet potato gnocchi - winter item now off the current menu. This was so tasty! I am not usually a gnocchi fan but through I'd give it a try since this was a sweet potato version. Paired with duck confit and braised kale, it was delicious! I hope they bring it back next winter.

Stir-fry Brown Rice and Vegetables. Calvin ordered this and liked it but wasn't crazy about it.

Hangar steak - tasty; I think the new menu changes the base, but these white beans were delicious.

Veggie Burger.

Doughnut dessert.

Banana Toffee Cream Pie - tasty and fresh.

The above was from a family dinner. I also had lunch with a friend on a cold winter's day. Below are the photos from lunch.

Sweet potato soup - very creamy, sweet and delicious. This made my day!

Goat cheese salad with truffle oil. This salad was a bit underwhelming but fresh and tasty nevertheless.

Asian Beef Salad - tasty and crunchy.

Chocolate chip cookie sandwich with Mascarpone icing. Wow - a great finale to my first lunch at Urban Pl8.

Urban pL8 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Buttermilk Fried Springer Mountain Chicken.

I am very pleased with Rosebud's transformation since it changed from Food 101. While some of the same dishes remain, the menu is revamped and in my opinion, offers much more than before. I've been for brunch and lunch now, and both meals were pleasing. The folks in my office celebrated at Rosebud for lunch when I took these photos. I definitely plan on returning soon for another meal. I also like that they have floats and Mexican Coke - a real treat!

Blue Plate Special: Slow Roasted Chicken with green beans and mac and cheese with dried cranberries - sounds odd but was very tasty.

Soups, from left: New England Clam Chowder, Butternut Squash Soup and Sweet Potato Soup (actually not sure which is which, but both were delicious).

Fried Egg Sandwich with good Fries.

Seared Scallop and Local Arugula Salad - yum, and glad they are concentrating on the "local".

Drunken Cherry Bread Pudding - look at the cute milk pitcher!

Mexican Coca-Cola Cake - delicious.

Rosebud on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 02, 2010

OK Cafe

Mushroom, green pepper and onion omelet.

This Buckhead classic is a rush in the early morning with business meetings - I had no idea there would be a wait at 8 AM! OK Cafe's egg dishes and bacon were tasty, although the omelet lacked the flavor I was hoping for as the filling was not cooked well enough or with enough seasonings. I'm also not a fan of pancakes without real maple syrup. Enough said. Still, I liked the down-home atmosphere and we had a pleasant business meal. Service was also prompt once we were finally seated. A nice touch: they give you a small tootsie roll with your check!

Pancakes with bacon.

Basic breakfast: potatoes, eggs and bacon.

OK Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 01, 2010

No Mas Cantina - Castleberry Hill

Shrimp, chicken and steak fajita platter - love the jalepeno on top!

Castleberry Hill is an Atlanta neighborhood I've yet to fully explore. There are many art studios in this area as well as several restaurants worth checking out. I visited No Mas Cantina on another cold, rainy day. Just outside the entrance to the restaurant is the Adios Cafe at No Mas Hacienda and Cantina, which serves hot drinks, pastries and sweets and has a nice sitting area. Luckily for me I was able to order some of their Chocolate Azteca (hot chocolate made with dark chocolate, cinnamon, and chili de arbol) while dining in the restaurant. And I'm very glad I did as the chocolate flavor as well as the spices blended together in a very pleasing way.

For food we shared guacamole, a stellar rendition, as well as fajitas. The shrimp and steak stood out over the chicken, but the fresh tortillas are enough to cure most ills. I'd definitely like to return here to try some of their other dishes.

Guacamole with chips and salsa.

Inside the restaurant. There is also a store connected at the front selling items from Mexico.

No Mas! Cantina on Urbanspoon