What's cooking this week? 

BUY TICKETS TO THE ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATO FESTIVAL NOW!  YOU'LL SHELL OUT MORE GREEN WHEN PRICES GO UP FRIDAY, JULY 1


JCTKeep your bean counter happy.  Save some green by purchasing your tickets now to take part in the third annual JCT. Kitchen Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival coming up on Sunday, July 17 from 1 - 5 p.m.  Thursday, June 30 is the last day to purchase tickets at the price of $60 per person or $55 for Georgia Organics members.  Procrastinators, prepare to pay $70 per person after Friday.  Click here to purchase tickets.  Ford Fry, owner and executive chef of JCT. Kitchen & Bar, is spearheading the benefit for
Georgia Organics, opening up the indoors, outdoor courtyard and upstairs bar area of the restaurant to the onslaught of top Southern chefs, local farmers and talented mixologists. This year's festival has been expanded to host up to 1,400 tomato devotees as they fan outward onto the Westside Provisions District bridge where more dishes and drinks will be waiting to surrender to forks and glasses.  What a happy scene for lycopene lovers!  For more information, visit the festival's Facebook page.

JCT. Kitchen & Bar:  In Atlanta's Westside Urban Market at 1198 Howell Mill Road, Suite 18; 404-355-2252.

DON'T LET TAILAPALOOZA SLIP THROUGH YOUR BUTTERED FINGERS!  LOAD UP ON LOBSTER AT AQUA BLUE BEFORE JULY 3


TailapaloozaUnless you're planning to swim with the Maine lobsters (and we hear it's really cold where they hang out), you'd better claw your way to Aqua blue this week.  Tailapalooza, the Roswell restaurant's annual lobster-catch celebration, ends Sunday, July 3.  Feast on roast lobster bisque ($6), Maine lobster roll ($10), butter-poached lobster salad ($15), house-made lobster mac 'n cheese ($8) and a succulent lineup of lobster tail combos ($26-$39).  Tailapalooza wine specials include Benziger, Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros 2008 ($8.50/$32) and Folie à Deux "Ménage à Trois," California 2009 ($8/$32).

 

Aqua blue:  1564 Holcomb Bridge Road; 770-643-8886. 

STAY ON TOP OF THE HEAT WITH BOOZY POPS AT ROOFTOOP 866 

 

Boozy PopsContrary to what they say about heat rising, when you want to lick the heat, go up on the roof.  Rooftop 866 at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel is serving Boozy Pops, adult-only popsicles that combine the most intoxicating elements of cocktails and desserts.  Flavors include basil peach margarita, mojito, pineapple mango rum, Bloody Mary and blueberry limoncello.  At $3 each, the push pops are a bargain with a bonus -- Midtown skyline views from the outdoor lounge atop Briza. The rooftop bar and lounge is open daily from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., weather permitting.

 

Rooftop 866:  866 West Peachtree Street, NW; 678-412-2402.

THAT FROZEN CONCOCTION THAT HELPS US HANG ON IS A NEW SUMMER SIP AT RA SUSHI


Summer SipsWe'll take the reality of sipping an Orange Dreamsicle, Coconut Mojito or Key Lime Martini at RA Sushi over heat-induced fantasies of zooming away on the ice cream truck to the Florida Keys.  That's one long, hot drive compared to zipping into RA Sushi in Midtown.   

 

The new tropical Summer Sips, available July 1 - August 15, are a mere $8 each.  In terms of gas money, that might get you to Macon. 


RA Sushi:
  1080 Peachtree Street at 1010 Midtown; 404-267-0114.

SPICE MARKET $5 MENU CELEBRATES THE FIVE WEEKENDS OF JULY


Spice MarketIt's a rare month that contains five full weekends, and July 2011 is one of them!  Make the most of the extra time by visiting Spice Market, located inside the W Atlanta-Midtown, from 5 - 6 p.m. any Friday, Saturday or Sunday in July and taking advantage of the special $5 menu in the bar area.  Drinks and dishes offered for $5 each include: Whiskey Passion Fizz, Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, MacMurray Pinot Noir, Crios Malbec, Charles de Fère sparkling wine, Vietnamese spring roll, fragrant mushroom egg rolls with a galangal emulsion, crispy calamari with basil salt and a citrus-sriracha emulsion, chicken skewer with a lime dipping sauce, and charred chili-rubbed beef skewer with a Thai basil dipping sauce.

 

Spice Market:  In the W Atlanta-Midtown, 188 14th Street, NE; 404-724-2550.

HO! HO! HO!  LET RAY'S RESTAURANTS ADD 20 PERCENT TO YOUR SUMMER GIFT CARD PURCHASE

 

Ray's RestaurantsChristmas has come early to Ray's Restaurants.  Now through August 31, Ray's Restaurants (Ray's on the River, Ray's in the City and Ray's at Killer Creek) is showing loyal guests their appreciation by adding a 20 percent bonus to all gift card purchases.   

 

The gift card cannot be used the same day as purchased.   So stop in for a gift card and come back at a later date for a memorable dining experience to enjoy Ray's delicious seafood selections, prime cut steaks and fine wines.

 

Ray's on the River:  6700 Powers Ferry Road; 770-955-1187. 
Ray's at Killer Creek:  1700 Mansell Road, Alpharetta; 770-649-0064.

Ray's in the City:  240 Peachtree Street, NW; 404-524-9224.

SUMMERTIME REDS, WHITES, BLUES AND BREWS LIGHT UP INDEPENDENCE DAY


4th of JulyThe Fourth of July falls on a Monday this year, opening up the weekend to a huge display of that favorite American pastime -- eating and drinking with family and friends.  Whether you choose to grill on the deck and entertain at home or head out, Atlanta restaurants cover you in a star-spangled way.

 

Atkins Park Tavern in Virginia Highland will be hosting its fourth annual pig roast on July 4.  Chef Andrew Smith will roast a whole Riverview Farms Berkshire pig and will offer smoked all-natural chicken.  Order off the $15 "meat and three" menu brimming with grilled corn on the cob, potato salad, braised pole beans, vine-ripe tomato salad, Texas toast, three house-made sauces and a choice of Southern banana pudding or caramelized peach ice cream for dessert.  Atkins Park Tavern will be open late on Sunday, July 3 for the holiday weekend, too. (794 North Highland; 404 -876-7249)

 

The "Red, White & Brew" menu at Marlow's Tavern continues to help Atlantans celebrate "life, liberty and the pursuit of happy hour" through July 25.  Perfect for the patriotic holiday, the menu is all about summertime in America. While you're chillin' on Independence Day, enter the Second Annual Marlow's Tavern Grilling Recipe Contest -- maybe you'll win the Big Green Egg! Find out more and find a Marlow's Tavern location near you on their website.

 

New York Butcher Shoppe locations have meaty plans for your Fourth of July cookout and an especially big day planned at their Dunwoody location, which marks the starting point for the Dunwoody Fourth of July parade.  The Dunwoody store will open at 7 a.m. on July 4; early parade goers can purchase breakfast tacos, coffee, iced coffee and mimosas.  Throughout the weekend, folks in Dunwoody can stop by to enjoy specials on BBQ sandwiches and wings.  All three locations  -- Alpharetta, Buckhead and Dunwoody -- will offer the new "Grill Master" ($19.99 to $44.99) and "Weekend Getaway" ($64.99 to $94.99) packages.  Choose your favorite meat combo package to grill or pick up a meat and side dish package for quick meal planning. 

 

Rooftop 866 is hosting an Independence Day cookout from noon until 5 p.m.  It will be easy to heap your plate high from the $10 buffet full of classic cookout fare -- hotdogs, hamburgers, pasta salad, sides and plenty of desserts.  The rooftop bar and lounge also is offering buy-one-get-one-free Boozy Pops ($3), $3 draft beer and cocktail specials.  (866 West Peachtree Street, NW; 678-412-2402) 

 

Spice Market decorates for the Fourth of July with a delightful trio of red, white and blue sorbets for $5.  These are the real thing:  sour cherry purée is the main ingredient in the sour cherry sorbet, lemon juice and lemon zest star in the lemon sorbet and blueberry purée powers up the blueberry sorbet.  (In the W Atlanta-Midtown, 188 14th Street, NE; 404-724-2550)

 

Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican Food in Buckhead invites Peachtree Road Race contestants to bring their race bib into the restaurant on July 4 to receive $10 off their meal (race bib offer excludes gratuity; not valid on gift cards or merchandise; no cash value or cash back).  (Buckhead location: 1860 Peachtree Road, NW; 404-350-6767)

 

A star-spangled cookout begins with burgers made from White Oak Pastures grass-fed ground beef. Talk about American heritage -- Will Harris and his fifth-generation family farm raise some of the finest sustainable, Certified Organic grass-fed beef in the country!  Read more and place an order online or call 229-641-2081.  Atlantans also can purchase White Oak Pastures products at the New York Butcher Shoppe.  And while we're on the subject of burgers, why not top that delicious grass-fed patty with a thick slice of sweet Vidalia onion!

 

Woodfire Grill keeps Georgia on your mind over the Fourth of July weekend by serving the finest local and sustainable fare at its annual "BBQ & Beer" bash on Saturday, July 2.  The three-course, all-American dinner will be served from 5:30 - 11 p.m. and costs $38 per person (plus tax and gratuity).  The menu includes an appetizer course; an entrée course consisting of a BBQ plate made with Gillespie's Terminus City BBQ sauce, Brunswick stew and two traditional sides; and fruit cobbler for dessert.  There will also be freshly baked cornbread and Southern-style white bread on every table.  The bar will serve SweetWater draft specials all night long with proceeds from beer sales going to "Save the Hooch," a campaign started by Atlanta's SweetWater Brewing Company in 2005 to advocate and secure the protection and stewardship of the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed, in order to restore and preserve their ecological health for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on the river system.  Limited seating means reservations are required; call 404-347-9055.  (1782 Cheshire Bridge Road; 404-347-9055).

A LITTLE WORM TOLD US...JULY IS NATIONAL TEQUILA MONTH AND UNCLE JULIO'S IS READY TO POUR

TequilaWith 15 types of tequila backing the bar and a wide range of tequila-based drinks, Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican Food is the place to make the most of National Tequila Month.  Raise your glass -- first making sure it's filled with one of the Uncle's signature tequila drinks such as the new Patrón classic margarita made with Patrón Silver Tequila, Patrón Citronge Orange Liqueur and fresh-squeezed lime juice; the Swirl (a frosty blend of frozen margarita layered with frozen sangria); the classic frozen margarita, frozen strawberry margarita or Chambord margarita; or the Baja Gold
(a frozen margarita mixed with Corona).  

Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican Food:  In Buckhead at 1860 Peachtree Road, NW; 404-350-6767.  To-go line:  404-974-2991.  In Sandy Springs at 1140 Hammond Drive, NE; 678-736-8260. To-go line: 678-736-8261.

FLEMING'S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR HOLDS "SUMMER OF GIVING" SERIES TO HELP OUT LOCAL CHARITIES  


Fleming'sCharity budgets have taken a bite over the past few years with demand up and donations down.  Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is eager to help out and is hosting a series of fundraisers during their "Summer of Giving" series benefiting local charitable organizations.  Each event will feature wine and hors d'oeuvre pairings in the restaurant's private dining room.  Fleming's will donate 20 percent of each night's proceeds to the particular charity being recognized.  The "Summer of Giving" begins Friday, July 8, when the restaurant welcomes The Learning Tea, followed by Kate's Club (July 15), Atlanta Children's Shelter (July 22) and Camp Twin Lakes (August 5).  All events are from 6 - 8 p.m. and are $25 per person.  Call Fleming's at 770-698-8112 to purchase tickets. Fleming's also is giving a $25 gift card to "Summer of Giving" attendees to use at their next visit.

 

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar:  4501 Olde Perimeter Way in Perimeter Place Village; 770-698-8112. 

GIVING NEVER TASTED SO GOOD WHEN YOU GO OUT FOR "DINNER & A CAUSE"


Children of ConservationPurchase a "Dinner & A Cause" card for $50 and save 20 percent at quite a number of metro Atlanta's popular restaurants through the month of July.  Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant, JCT. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246
, Double Zero, Iberian Pig and Sugo are a few of the restaurants where you'll be able to save some dough with your card. 

All proceeds support Children of Conservation -- a Stumpe Foundation project that provides an otherwise unavailable education to children of wildlife sanctuary workers in Africa.  Purchase cards online or at retailers listed on the website.

JCT.'S FORD FRY BRINGS FARM-TO-TABLE TO ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN WELL-SEASONED CHEF SERIES ON JULY 12


Botanical GardensTo eat more local, you'd have to set your table in the garden.  Come to think of it, that's about what happens during the Atlanta Botanical Garden Well-Seasoned Chef Series.  Ford Fry, owner and executive chef of JCT. Kitchen & Bar and partner of soon-to-open No. 246 in Decatur, is the guest chef at the Tuesday, July 12 dine-and-vine event in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  He'll prepare a four-part tasting menu in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen using ingredients freshly harvested from the Edible Garden along with other locally grown items. The timing is perfect -- from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. -- not too hot and summer daylight lingers later.  The price for the evening's event is $115 per person; register by phone at 404-876-5859, ext. 2558.

WHO MAKES THE BEST HANGAR ONE VODKA COCKTAIL IN THE U.S.A.?  VOTE FOR WOODFIRE GRILL BARTENDER BLAKE EVERETT   


Hangar One Vodka - Landing Cocktail: Atlanta -  
Hangar One Vodka - Landing Cocktail: Atlanta - "The Farmer's Daughter"
As the 2011 Hangar One Vodka Blimp Tour lands in cities across America, bartenders are vying to own the greatest Hangar One cocktail in the U.S.A.  Watch Woodfire Grill mixologist Blake Everett shake up his own cocktail, "The Farmer's Daughter," and vote for him by hitting "like" at this link:  http://www.hangarone.com/blimp-tour/entry/13.

YELPER POUNCES ON DECKARD'S ON PONCE  


YelperSometimes, you have to just go with the flow, carpe diem and look a gift horse in the mouth.  Like when you're driving along looking for that place to eat and come across a spot you've wanted to try so you stop and it's a rewarding experience.  Yelper Erin M. shares this very experience at Deckard's American Tavern on Ponce de Leon.  She's going back.

 

YEA!  Finally, a non-pretentious bar who cares about what I want to eat.  After a round robin of failed ideas, C & I were driving along Ponce and I saw Deckard's.  I've been meaning to come here now for months.  So we decided that we'd check it out.

I was all set to have a burger until the server told us they had a rib special that night.  $14 for a full rack of ribs and a side - umm, yes please.  So we happily shared that, picked smashed spuds as a side and added a side of zucchini.  Though the spuds weren't as good as mine (what can I say, I'm a good cook!) they were still pretty good and the zucchini was cooked perfectly.

As far as beer lists go, I was happy with it.  And I honestly didn't think the prices were bad.  I had the seasonal New Belgium, a Scottish ale, for 4.75 and C's coke was 2.50.  Yea, umm... what happened to soda prices spiraling out of control?  Sorry, tangent.

The menu looked just a step above bar food, and by the taste of the ribs I'll definitely say that the guys in the kitchen know what they're doing.  I'm very interested in the Vegetable Kettle, the Shrimp & Vegetable Kettle, & even the Shrimp and Grits Kettle (even since my grits 'incident').  

The beer tap looks delish.  I had a lot to pick from, but I'm a big beer drinker (gluten allergy be damned) so I had tried most of them.  I really enjoyed the New Belgium that I had.  I'll be interested to go back and see what's on tap next.

All in all, the food was good, and the space is amazing.  I never had any idea that there was such a giant space up in this plaza.  It seemed like the dining room was huge.  Nice layout, good mix of tables and booths, and a nice big bar.  Honestly, I can't wait to go back.

Oh and PS... it seems like every table has a tv.  This is like the sports mans wet dream.  I watched the Mets game from my table and could reach out and smack Reyes when he made 2 errors in a row, on the same play.

Deckard's American Tavern:  650 Ponce de Leon Avenue; 404-941-3520. 

EAT IT AND TWEEP:  VIKING CONQUERS AUGUSTA KITCHEN


Tweep of the WeekDoes she sleep in her kitchen? And what does her husband think about her housing Vikings in the kitchen?  Betting he loves it.  Karin Calloway's day jobs -- cook, editor, journalist, wife and mother of two teens -- are made easier by having a totally Viking-outfitted kitchen in her Augusta, Ga. home.   

 

Follow her on Twitter (@KarinCalloway) and find tried-and-true recipes and mouthwatering photography on her blog.

 

Sample Tweet:  My summer sandwiches from your slow cooker: http://t.co/GxwH6vm

Looking for the latest restaurant opening, weekly wine tastings and drink specials, or other culinary happenings? Whatever makes your mouth water, Melissa Libby & Associates will point you in the right direction. Our monthly calendar, blog, flickr, Facebook page and Twitter feed will keep you up-to-date on new and ongoing restaurant events around Atlanta.
 
Melissa Libby & Associates is an Atlanta-based public relations firm specializing in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries.
 
For information about these and other great Atlanta restaurants, go to www.melissalibbypr.com, check out our Facebook fanpage, follow AtlantaDish on Twitter, or call 404-816-3068.
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