Taste of Atlanta Recap

October 28, 2010

I used 22 tickets. On myself. I saw Kevin Gillespie. He was amazing. I look forward to next year, as usual, and this year was much better than the last.

Pizzelle from Varasano’s Pizza: olives, capicola, arugula (I think it was like a fried baby calzone of their Nucci pizza maybe?) I need to eat pizza there already. Even though this little baby calzone was totally hot as hell when I got it, I ate it so fast because it was that fantastic.
Spicy Tuna Roll from Genki: alright. Not too fond of the sauce they use, but for two tickets, it took care of the sushi craving I had.
Butternut Squash Soup from Empire State South: It was good, but it was kind of odd that they didn’t provide any sort of spoon for it. It was hard to get the red pepper paste on top combined with the soup.
Parmesan & Truffle Popcorn from 4th & Swift: Good, but when you get the same flavor combination on another food…it’s hard to find the positives of popcorn compared to fries…
Parmesan & Truffle Pommes Frites from JCT Kitchen: One obviously can never get enough of parmesan and truffle. These fries were incredible.
Chocolate and Red Velvet mini cupcakes from Highland Bakery: Not bad. I don’t really think minis are a good way for bakeries to showcase their cakes at all, but the red velvet was good.
Salted Caramel ice cream from Morelli’s: This stuff is not right. They were actually all out of ice cream, but were cool enough to bring some more in even after 4pm. We were told half an hour but not even 20 minutes later, they had some again, with a few different flavors than before from what the people in front of us complained about. I didn’t notice because I’ve wanted that ice cream forever. There is a reason we are not close to each other, Morelli’s. That was heaven.
Chicken Tikka Masala from Bhojanic: I repeated, which is probably pathetic, but I could smell it and I could not resist it. However the pink color was rather frightening.
Grindhouse style slider from Grindhouse Killer Burgers: I’ve had one before but I could not resist. It was deliciously greasy.
Red Velvet Pancakes from West Egg Cafe: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT THIS ON YOUR MENU or else I am going to have to make my own and that is bad news for everybody.

I wanted to get this posted already, since the party was over a couple days ago. I’ll be adding pictures that are, once again, provided by my friend Emma because I had no idea where my memory card ended up. Boo.


More Food Events!: Cooking for a Cause

October 22, 2010

I have information on yet another great event coming up!
Next Thursday, October 28, Star 94 is sponsoring a super, cheftastic evening at the Foundry at Puritan Mill. Cooking for a Cause will feature Chefs Richard Blais of FLIP and Top Chef fame, Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene, and Henry Chandler of Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth. The event will benefit two charities: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Kate’s Club.

Obviously when you have three well regarded chefs of the Atlanta area at your event, there can only be plenty of cooking demos! There will also be a silent auction and of course, food to taste, and much more…I see there will be some Lincolns present for checking out. (Can I just say I love this trend of car companies sponsoring charitable food events?)

If you are interested in attending, tickets start at only $35 per person, and the $75 VIP ticket gets you a meet and greet with all the chefs plus a bag of goodies. Headed out to Taste of Atlanta this weekend? You can purchase tickets from the Star 94 tent there!

The event begins at 6 with the silent auction and the chef demonstrations will begin at 6:45. If you are free that day, I highly recommend you get tickets! (I sadly have to make my way up to Chattanooga for the annual car emissions test time and a good family visit, otherwise I would be there in an instant.)

For more information and to purchase tickets online, check out the official page for the event.


Taste of Atlanta: This Weekend!

October 20, 2010

Just in case you’ve been under a rock, Taste of Atlanta is finally this weekend. You have until Friday to get $25 tickets (and if you’re in the know there are plenty of $5 off coupons…consult with Scoutmob, for example..hint hint.) You want to be there.

There are TONS of restaurants, and I’m sad I got Saturday tickets – a lot of good spots are Sunday only. While it’s no Taste of Chicago, it’s a decent food festival for Atlanta, and at least it’s two days and not some silly four hour, one day event. There may not be fireworks, but there are bunches of chef demos to watch on 3 stages…you can bet I’ll be at the main stage to see Kevin Gillespie on Saturday.
Additionally there are smaller sized sessions that cost $25 and are limited to just 50. H&F’s famous cheeseburger is the topic of one of those on Sunday.
There is a family zone, where a 10 year old with a food blog will be making pasta salad. I am slightly jealous.

Here is my post from last year. I am looking forward to new stuff to try out this year.

The list of all restaurants that are participating can be found here, and you can also find out whatever else you want from there. It seems the hover is not currently working to tell you who will be serving what…so let me just tell you…West Egg Cafe = red velvet pancakes. Yes please.

The weather shall be awesome all weekend, so hope you make it out there!


FLiP Burger Boutique: Buckhead

October 19, 2010

FLIP’s brand new Buckhead location opens today: located at 3655 Roswell Road, in what used to be a Blockbuster. If you’ve been to the Howell Mill location, don’t expect a repeat of the menu. There’s some new stuff on here, from potato skins to carnitas burgers.

Yesterday, I thought I was being an awful student, missing a class to come to a blogger event to taste a ton of stuff from the menu…I about died when I checked to see what I missed and saw an email that said class had been cancelled. Can you imagine if I had chose wanting to take notes on bank regulaton over this end result?

I have no idea where to begin. It still pains my stomach to look at these pictures…actually because I want more of it.

Richard Blais told us all about the place, it’s set up a bit differently from the first location, with its own style (while still slightly similar), and that all locations of FLiP will be different somehow. Like I said, the menu is different from the West Midtown one. They are “farm to nitrogen tank to table,” so don’t forget that. We apparently did not laugh enough. I was totally psyched to meet him because my grandma LOVES Top Chef way too much. He is one of her favorites, even though she calls him Henry. I called them yesterday afternoon and told them about this, and she wanted to call him Simon now (she was somehow confused I was talking about Michael Symon from the Food Network), and my grandpa is telling her “the guy with the pinhead hair!” (obviously not Symon now right?) Somehow…this helped her remember his actual name, and she went on to tell me about how she likes that they bring him back on occasion, and that he made ice cream on some show.
He was super cool, and remembered my friend and I coming up with 1am nicknames on Twitter for him based around Henry…I once received a reply for “SIR HENRY RICHARD BLAIS OF LIQUID NITROGENCHESTER.” So, yeah…he remembered that.

Can we talk about the food now? Oh yes. All 4308975928 plates of it. That is not an exact number. That is just how it felt.
The first picture up top shows 3 burgers: we were given one called the belly melt, which is a different take on a bacon cheeseburger. Instead of bacon, there’s pork belly. If you think bacon is like pork belly, you are wrong. I am not much of a pork belly fan because its far too chewy for my liking, but I could get behind this.
There was also the Kbq burger, a Korean BBQ style burger of short rib, plus kimchee, Korean ketchup, and garlic. This was probably my favorite.
And last on that plate was the V-9 burger, composed of grains and beans and topped with tomato and pickled cauliflower. Not a bad option for a veggie burger at all.

This was the steak tartare burger presented in a much easier to handle form, considering how many burgers were brought out after it. I’d actually never had steak tartare before, so I was all over this. And it was awesome. And then my adventurous side ended.

blurry venison burgers: could not bring myself to do it. Tablemates said it was good, and not too gamey tasting at all.

Carnitas burgers up front, Ossobuco burgers out back. I may have tried the carnitas one if my stomach wasn’t already full. They also brought out a chorizo burger, but at that point it was too late. It was already coma time. (But I may have finished one of the little glasses of a Thai Chai shake after that. So what.)

Now some of the sides and salads: we were brought a good number of them, from beet salad to the ever amazing fries.

My favorite was probably the potato skins: the skins of the potatoes used for the fries fried like potato chips and topped with their own homemade cheese “wizard” (since they can’t use whiz, they go with wizard) and bacon marmalade. These are awesome.

If you think you don’t like beets, you should eat this anyway. They are like candy. And that is not mold, that’s foam. Come on. This is 2010.

Fried pickles and vodka battered onion rings. The pickles dipped in the sriracha buttermilk…I am trying to prevent myself from going out the door and driving back there, and the thought of them does not help. So. Good.

They are only like crack because they are cooked in a mixture of duck fat, peanut oil, and some other fat I forgot because I stopped listening and started putting them into my mouth.

And you may be thinking, who would get a salad? But this was good. I could not save the Caesar one from being taken away because everybody else thought it would be a waste of space, but this one has bacon. It must be protected. And I must have some of it.

No trip to FLiP is complete without shakes.

We tried the Krispy Kreme, Nutella and burnt marshmallow, Nut’n Honey, and Thai Chai shakes. (If you’ve already had the first two, it’s still trying again. Right?) My favorite had to be the Thai Chai. It’s in the back in that picture, and the name makes you think it might be like actual Chai tea. It is actually a bit orange in color, just like Thai iced tea, and that’s precisely what it tastes like. Now, when I said earlier I had to finish it even though I was full, you understand. Nut’n Honey is also a new shake, it’s their take on Honey Nut Cheerios as a shake. It wasn’t too bad, but with these other options, no. There is also an Apple Pie one on the menu.

Some people think FLiP is overpriced for what you get, and those people are liars and you should not listen to them. If you are still hungry after a burger, a shake, and share a side, you need help. (Hell if you can still eat a full side and bitch about being hungry, GET HELP.)
This place is halfway between my apartment and my boyfriend’s condo. I am going to accidentally only be able to get 2 1/2 miles away quite often now.
The traffic is going to suck though. They turned on the light at Powers Ferry today. If you are trying to get back to Piedmont Road from here and you have a low car with a stiff suspension, don’t turn around in that shopping center across the street unless you hate your life. Take it from me, however there are cupcakes over there, but not on Mondays, so it might be worth the horrific noises other days of the week. Also learned it is then way easier to go down to Habersham and turn left then right onto Piedmont. Suckers.

FLiP chef & kitchen: you rule. A lot.

For shots of the interior, and omg me and Richard Blais (I think thanks to his “sleeked back on a bike” hair, my bangs that rebelled against everything I tried look less noticable, right?), plus everything in large form: all pictures can be found here!

By the way: be on the lookout for an announcement on a new concept from the team over in the Virginia-Highland area!

FLIP Burger Boutique Buckhead on Urbanspoon


Pandas and Cupcakes: The Facebook Page

October 16, 2010

The blog now has a facebook page, just click on the facebook box under Follow me! Like it to keep up with the latest updates and more information! See you there!


Great American Bake Sale: Caketails for a Cause

October 14, 2010

On November 11, Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale will be holding a totally awesome event at Bloomingdale’s in Lenox Square. From 6 to 8pm, there will be caketails from Buckhead Life mixologists, hors d’oeuvres, a bake sale, a raffle, and 10% of your purchases at Bloomingdale’s will be donated. Tickets are $25 and include the open caketail bar and the hors d’oeurves; buying goodies from the likes of Chocolate Pink, Alon’s, and Bake Shop are entirely separate. For more information and to purchase tickets, head over to the website. I just bought my ticket, because I cannot pass up anything called a caketail, especially for a good cause, so hope to see you there!

Earlier this year, Atlanta food bloggers held a bake sale for the Great American Bake Sale, and anyone can hold their own anytime! All you have to do is sign up on their website, and get baking to help fight childhood hunger! If you plan to hold one, send me an email, I’d love to help in any way I can.


Homemade Hard Cider

October 9, 2010

I’ve been wanting to make my own cider since last year…and finally the sight of Mercier Orchards’ cider in Whole Foods told me it was time.
Right now it’s in the second stage of its fermentation – it’s currently day 13 of a 3 week period before it is once again siphoned, and eventually bottled with sugar added to make it sparkling. I hope for it to be ready to drink by late December or early January.

It’s a ridiculously simple process, and for the supplies I highly recommend you check out Wine Craft of Atlanta on Roswell Road (in the shopping center with Chipotle, Bishoku, and Chef Rob’s Caribbean Cafe, but towards the back) to get everything you need in one go. For $41, you can get an entire 1 gallon winemaking kit, which is exactly what you need for the cider. It comes with a book to make all sorts of wines, along with the cider itself. Everything you need is included: bucket, airlock, siphon, carboy, cleaning supplies, yeast, etc. The only thing you may want to pick up is another carboy, and bottling supplies. My method is going to be reusing old beer bottles and just picking up some new caps and a hand capper. The kit also has a straining bag in case you are using some sort of fruit that needs to be squeezed out like berries.
The owners of the shop are extremely knowledgeable and can answer any questions you have.

The best part about the recipe in the booklet with the kit is that it prefers a cold method for the yeast. The first step was simply to clean out the bucket, add the cider, sugar, and a crushed campden tablet, and wait one day before adding in the yeast. No heating of the cider required.

If you choose to make cider, beware what you choose – do not just pick up a gallon of pasteurized cider. After researching, I found it would be okay to use Mercier’s flash pasteurized cider without ill effect, so that is an option, and you can pick up a gallon right now in local Whole Foods stores for $5 without having to visit the orchard itself. You can also pick up cider from a farmers market or any other orchard, be sure to check if it is pasteurized. The best choice would be unpasteurized but as long as a cider has not been heated in a traditional pasteurization, you’re good to go.