RAY'S ON THE RIVER AUGUST 4 WINE TASTING TRAVELS FROM NAPA TO AUSTRALIA
Paul Hobbs Vineyard
Imagine sitting alongside the Chattahoochee as the sun sets to the west. Even better, you're tasting wines from renowned Napa Valley winemakers from Paul Hobbs and Shafer, Food & Wine's 2009 winemaker of the year Charles Smith and one of Australia's most talented winemakers Ben Glaetzer. Live the dream at Ray's on the River from 7 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, and it's only $45 per person (including tax and gratuity). A selection of Ray's hors d'oeuvre completes the delicious picture. Stay for dinner and receive 20 percent off your bill. For reservations, call 770-955-1187.
Ray's on the River: 6700 Powers Ferry Road; 770-955-1187.
BEER WITH US, INTERNATIONAL BEER DAY IS FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
International Beer Day, Friday, August 5, is about to wipe out "Hotlanta" syndrome. Atkins Park Tavern in Virginia Highland and Vinings, Ormsby's, Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant and all eight Marlow's Tavern locations are well stocked with cures for this summer "ale-ment" served by super friendly and knowledgeable staff.
And it's not like these places each have one generic. No way! Short stouts, sweaty long necks, blonde pilsners, dark ales, domestic and international labels, and microbrews -- these destinations are well stocked with beers and related "remedies" from around the globe. You might even call their approach holistic, since their menus slake both thirst and hunger pangs. The food side of each restaurant's menu runs the gamut from cool and light to hearty and hot. Dining menus are posted on each restaurant's website for pre-visit browsing. Pick your destination and honor International Beer Day as intended, beer in hand.
Atkins Park Tavern - Virginia Highland: 794 North Highland; 404 -876-7249.
Atkins Park Tavern - Smyrna: Market Village,2840 Atlanta Road; 770-435-1887.
Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant: 273 Buckhead Avenue; 404-841-0066.
Marlow's Tavern: Alpharetta at 3719 Old Alabama Road, 770-475-1800; Kennesaw at 745 Chastain Road, NW, 770-425-8777; Midtown at 950 West Peachtree Street, 404-815-0323; Vinings at 2355 Cumberland Parkway, 770-432-2526; Northlake at 4156 LaVista Road, 678-987-1197; Duluth at 1950 Satellite Boulevard, 770-622-2033; East Cobb at 1311 Johnson Ferry Road (across from the movie theatre and next to Kohl's department store), 770-977-7747; and Cumming at 410 Peachtree Parkway, 770-886-3666.
Ormsby's: 1170 Howell Mill Road, NW; 404-968-2033.
NO. 246 STARTS MONDAY NIGHT TRADITION WITH WEEKLY SPAGHETTI SUPPER
Newly opened No. 246, the locally driven, Italian-inspired restaurant in Decatur, is serving up a weekly Spaghetti Supper every Monday night during dinner hours from 5 - 10 p.m. Priced at $24 per person, this week's four-course menu includes toast with two spreads -- wood oven-roasted eggplant with chilies and mint and cannellini beans with braised cavolo nero and Parmesan served family style. Next follows a salad of local greens with lemony garlic vinaigrette, breadcrumbs, blue cheese and radish served family style. The main course offers a choice among three spaghetti combinations: clams, garlic, parsley and lemon; No. 246 meatballs with Parmesan, San Marzano tomatoes and basil; or carbonara with bacon, crispy farm egg and soft herbs. Dessert brings a choice of gelato -- vanilla, espresso or mint.
No. 246: 129 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue; 678-399-8246.
SMASHBURGER CONTINUES TO SMASH INTO THE METRO BURGER SCENE, ARRIVES IN JOHNS CREEK ON AUGUST 10
Is any bun safe from Smashburger's signature smash, sizzle and savor? We hope not! Lucky Johns Creek -- the next "burg" to welcome hot Smashburger, a fast-casual, "better burger" restaurant. Smashburger will open at the corner of Medlock Bridge Road and State Bridge Road on Wednesday, August 10. Denver-based Smashburgers are spreading across the nation, tailoring menus that reflect each region. For us, that means Southern flavors including an Atlanta burger with peach BBQ sauce, Wicked® Pimena cheese, grilled jalapeños and Vidalia coleslaw on an egg bun and an Atlanta Dog with Wicked® Pimena cheese, grilled jalapeños and Vidalia coleslaw. Burgers begin with 100-percent-fresh, never-frozen Certified Angus Beef smashed on a flat grill to sear in the juices then served on toasted artisan buns and dressed with real cheeses, the freshest produce and top-quality condiments. Going beyond burgers, marinated chicken sandwiches, grilled and seared hot dogs, signature salads, veggie frites and garlicky Smashfries are smash hits. Beer, wine, Häagen-Dazs shakes and root beer floats are liquid delights.
Smashburger - Johns Creek: 9775 Medlock Bridge Road; 770-497-6274.
Smashburger - Buckhead: 2625 Piedmont Road, NE; 404-237-2374.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO AQUA BLUE! #10 AND COUNTING -- WITH $20.01 DINNER SPECIAL THROUGH AUGUST 10
Party time! The 10-year celebration is underway at Aqua blue in Roswell with a special $20.01 prix-fixe dinner menu plus $5 small plates and drink specials through Wednesday, August 10. On the last night, party hearty with Atlanta's own FunkyStuf 70s band plus enjoy complimentary cake and champagne.
The $20.01 menu reads like a delicious timeline spanning the last decade with choices of a tasting plate of Asian Delight or butter lettuce wedge with vine-ripe tomato, crispy applewood smoked bacon, candied pecans and sweet Gorgonzola dressing; Maine lobster ravioli, wild shrimp and scallop grits or grilled beef tenderloin; and classic crème brûlée or a trio of sorbet. Selected small plates and cocktails are $5 during the celebration. Register to win a free meal a week for a year! Special Olympics Georgia receives a gift of 10 percent of the last night's sales. Visit Aqua blue on Facebook for more details. RSVP to 770-643-8886.
Aqua blue: 1564 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell; 770-643-8886.
HOW'S THAT SECRET MILKSHAKE RECIPE COMING ALONG? THE DEADLINE FOR THE MAYFIELD BELOW ZERO HERO CONTEST IS AUGUST 15
We're cranking up the pressure on you milkshake junkies out there to keep on churning until you come up with your ultimate milkshake recipe for the Second Annual Mayfield Dairy Milkshake Recipe Contest. Entrants have until August 15 to submit recipes at www.BelowZeroHero.com and vie to win the $10,000 grand prize and to shake things up in the Mayfield Dairy test kitchens. A survey conducted by the Atlanta-based dairy churned out some provocative insights. The shakedown discovered that Americans prefer to blend their shakes with fresh fruit such as strawberries (#1) and bananas (#2) over candy. Chocolate and cookies come next, especially in the 18 to 50 set. Contrary to stereotypes about women and chocolate, slightly more males than females go for chocolate add-ins. So there you have it, now gather the family around the blender and go to it!
A panel of culinary judges will pick the top 10 recipes nationally based on overall appeal, originality and taste. The recipes will be posted online on August 25 for consumers to taste test and vote on, and winners will be announced in early September. First place winner slurps up $10,000, second place $3,000 and third place $1,000. Visit the contest's website, Facebook or Twitter (@IceCreamFun) pages for recipes and tips!
PEACHY KEEN! AUGUST IS NATIONAL PEACH MONTH
Spice Route Supper Club's Peach Chutney
National Peach Month is huge in Georgia -- even bigger than that gi-normous peach water tower along I-85 in Gaffney, S.C. The time is ripe to devour this local fruit at green markets and area restaurants.
Spice Market in the W Atlanta-Midtown is incorporating the luscious fruit into a roasted peach financier with peach and shiso salad and ginger ice cream for a cool $7. (In the W Atlanta-Midtown, 188 14th Street, NE; 404-724-2550)
Smashburger crushes the juicy fruits into peach BBQ sauce for its Atlanta burger, which is dolled up with Wicked® Pimena cheese, grilled jalapeños and Vidalia coleslaw on an egg bun. Regular Smash is $5.99 and $6.99 for the Big Smash. Buckheaders are good to go at their Smashburger and things will be peachy for Johns Creek residents when their neighborhood Smashburger opens August 10. (Buckhead: 2625 Piedmont Road, NE; 404-237-2374. Johns Creek: 9775 Medlock Bridge Road; 770-497-6274.)
JCT. Kitchen & Bar dresses up the house-smoked pork chop with potato purée, Vidalia onion and grilled peaches for $26. (In Atlanta's Westside Urban Market at 1198 Howell Mill Road; 404-355-2252)
Asha Gomez of Spice Route Supper Club and soon-to-open Cardamom Hill embraces Georgia peaches and works them into her flavorful Kerala, India cuisine. One of her favorite ways to use them is to make peach chutney (inspired by the flavors of Kerala):
Serves: 6 to 8
- 2 lbs. fresh Georgia peaches (cored and cut into bite-size pieces)
- 20 white pearl onions
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon ginger (julienned)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 star anise
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- Sauté pearl onions, ginger in the coconut oil until they are golden brown
- Add bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, paprika, salt and sugar and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the peaches and cook for 5 minutes.
- Serve with grilled chicken or grilled fish.
SCOUTMOB DISCOUNT LEADS YELPER TO EVENING IN PARIS AT AMUSE!
Been there, done that. Forgot to use the discount on a place you've really wanted to try. At least Yelper Vladislav M. made it in under the wire and was rewarded with a wonderful dining experience at Amuse! in Morningside/Piedmont Park. Save and savor, it's a beautiful thing.
I came here to use the Scoutmob discount which expired the next day. Having travelled throughout France for 2 weeks (mainly Paris and Cote d'Azur), I have previously tried a number of French restaurants, whenever I had a chance. Amuse is located in the heart of Piedmont Park, and is fairly close to another French restaurant - Atmosphere (at first I confused the two). The restaurant is located on the first floor of a European style apartment building. Even though we made reservations, they were not necessary. We were seated in a cozy table by the window. After the server handed us water and a loaf of bread with butter, the waiter seemingly dissapeared. We were busy discussing the day's events but nonetheless were somewhat concerned that the waiter disappeared. About 15 minutes later, he came to our table, apologizing for miscommunication and took our order. A few more minutes after, he brought out the calamari appetizer as a kind gesture to forgive the delay. Both myself and my girlfriend were hungry that evening and devoured the wonderful calamari which was accompanied by a creamy seafood sauce. For the entrees, we ordered the honey duck (daily special) and sauteed carolina river trout with asparagus, potatoes au gratin and tomatoes provencale. Both of us were very impressed with the freshness of the dishes as well as the tomatoes, which were done in the traditional style, stuffed with bread crumbs, garlic and basil. We were anxious to try the dessert special of fresh wild berries with ice cream or a cream brulee; however after finishing the meal we realized that we were full and decided to come back again specifically for the dessert. We were pleasantly surprised with the bill (less than $20 a person) and enjoyed the ambiance and the professionalism of the restaurant's staff. Overall, Amuse ranks among the top of my list for french cuisine in Atlanta.
Amuse!: 560 Dutch Valley Road; 404-888-1890.
EAT IT AND TWEEP: BBQGEEK IS RIGHT ON 'CUE
You might say BBQgeek takes his cues from 'cue, and his tweets are smokin' with spicy comments from top chefs. Obviously there's a BBQ cult out there that's more than happy to pull up the good stuff and toss it on to the rest of us. Butt in on the action on Twitter (@BBQgeek) and look for links to area BBQ joints, BBQ sites, blogs and scoop on local BBQ happenings on his BBQgeek blog.
Sample Tweet: I wonder if BBQ ever made it to the menu at #elbulli.
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Melissa Libby & Associates is an Atlanta-based public relations firm specializing in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries.