The Dish
In This Issue
20th Anniversary At Alon's Bakery And Market
Slow Food Atlanta's Bazaar Bizzaro Fundraiser
Taste of the Highlands
Strings On The River
Atlanta Streets Alive
The Optimist Opening
Zagat Award Winners
"Fire in My Belly" Pre-Order
Tweep of the Week: @ronnilundy
Appetizing Aperture: Smashburger
Looking for the latest restaurant openings, 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. 
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Think Twenties Come From ATMs? Alon's Bakery And Market Gives Plenty Of Twenties To Celebrate 20th Anniversary


The Dish


Silver? Gold? Try green. Alon's Bakery and Market is marking its 20th anniversary with "20" appreciation savings and gifts for guests. There's a lot to look forward to given the market's plentiful array of prepared gourmet items, bakery goods, artisan cheeses, wine, beer and more. Spend $100 on a gift card and get a $20 gift card from May 20th - 26. Adding to the celebratory list, National Strawberry Month reaps 20 percent off of Alon's spectacular strawberry marmalade the week of May 27 - June 2. Every Tuesday, guests who spend $20 at Alon's will receive a complimentary chef's choice dessert. And, the Dunwoody location slices $5 off the price of pizza on Thursdays (hmm - buy four, save $20). There's a chance you may take home even more when you throw your name in the free lunch drawing. Alon's turns 20, and we get the gifts. Lovin' this yummy idea. 

Slow Food Atlanta's Bazaar Bizzaro Fundraiser On The Farm In East Lake Has More Going On Than A Three-Ring Circus


The Dish 


Tractor pull? Must be a farm event. Acrobats and aerialists? Circus for sure. Throw in some street food vendors such as Farm Burger, Sandwich Buddha and King of Pops, and it's apparent that Slow Food Atlanta's fundraiser is truly a Bazaar Bizzaro. Good times flow together across the Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens and East Lake Co-housing this Saturday, May 19 from 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. In addition to the aforementioned amusements and chow, play around at the country fair, shop the amazing craft market, buy some raffle tickets, dance around the Maypole and hear local acoustic bands Christ, Lord!, The Black Sheep Ensemble and Sourwood Honey. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12.50 for those 12 years and under. Funds raised support Slow Food Atlanta's mission to send local food producer delegates to Terra Madre, a bi-annual gathering of international food communities in Turin, Italy.

Meet, Greet, Eat -- Taste Of The Highlands Features Fifth Group Restaurants, Alon's Bakery And Market, Atkins Park Tavern And Lots More

Photo via Taste of the Highlands on Facebook

Virginia Highlanders (and VaHi wannabes) are pumped for the 10th Annual Taste of the Highlands this Saturday, May 19 from 2 - 5 p.m. in John Howell Park. Taste buds swear it's all about them. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) confirms it's really all about the kids. CHOA hits a soft spot in the heart of presenting sponsor Fifth Group Restaurants, whose restaurants Alma Cocina, Ecco, La Tavola Trattoria, The Original El Taco, South City Kitchen Midtown and South City Kitchen Vinings will be among the more than 30 restaurants at the taste fest. Look for two more neighborhood friends: Alon's Bakery and Market and Atkins Park Tavern. Hydrate with beer, wine, cocktails and other beverages while sampling specialties and catching the live band vibes. The rain-or-shine event sells out each year so we suggest purchasing tickets online before Friday and picking them up at the gate. $40 per adult, $25 students with ID, free for children under 5 years.


Down By The Riverside, Ray's On The River Harmonizes With The Ken Ford Foundation For "Strings On The River" Outdoor Benefit Concert On May 19



A three-decade-long relationship between great food, charitable giving and music moves out from the dining room to the lawn this weekend at Ray's on the River. On Saturday, May 19, the riverside dining destination partners with The Ken Ford Foundation (KFF) for a concert to benefit Georgia's young musicians. Originally founded by internationally known musician and "King of Strings" entertainer Ken Ford, KFF focuses on enhancing academic excellence through generating music programs and classes for Georgia's youth. At Saturday's 12 - 4 p.m. concert and fundraiser, guests can purchase beer, wine and soda to sip as Ken Ford and KFF students perform. Praise 102.5 FM will be conducting a musical instrument drive; your no-longer-used instruments could be music to the ears of school students and children in The Fragile Kids Foundation, a beneficiary of KFF. General admission tickets are $45; VIP tickets are $55 per person and include concert admission, an autographed Ken Ford CD and a VIP meet and greet. 

Atlanta Streets Alive In Virginia Highland Bars Cars And Opens Wide To Foot Friendly Fun
On May 20



Park the car and move with the Atlanta Streets Alive
groove along two miles of North Highland Avenue on May 20 from 2 - 6 p.m. Inspired by an open streets project in Bogota, Colombia, the Sunday afternoon street fest shifts a normally busy thoroughfare into pedestrian overdrive. Walk, bike, skip, cartwheel (no motorized vehicles, please) along the route that connects the Freedom Park Trail and the Atlanta Beltline project. Atlanta Streets Alive begins at North Highland and Virginia avenues and meanders through five Atlanta neighborhoods to end up at Highland Bakery. En route amusements include Great Atlanta Bicycle Parade, a walking play, aerobics, public art, laughter yoga, salsa, double dutch, boot camp, soccer, martial arts, cornhole, a bicycle rodeo and more. Good thing Atkins Park Tavern will be open and ready to party outdoors - all of that walking is bound to build up a thirst and an appetite! Stop by the front patio to check out Cornhole ATL and try Big Green Egg recipes. 

The Optimist Opens May 21, Bringing Sustainable Seafood To Trendy West Midtown

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee


Fishermen embrace each day on the water as an opportunity to catch the next big one. As owner of The Optimist, West Midtown's soon-to-open sustainable seafood restaurant, Ford Fry finds the positive word appealing. The name "Optimist" was actually suggested by Fry's father, referring to a small sailing dinghy for children. Look for The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist to open Monday, May 21 at 914 Howell Mill Road. The restaurant will offer high-quality seafood, classically prepared in a wood-burning grill and oven and served in environs that evoke a vintage Savannah fishery feel. Weekdays, The Optimist lunch menu offers a selection of fish entrées, salads and sandwiches ($12-$19). Lunch might be crispy day-boat flounder with ricotta gnocchi, ale-battered haddock fish and chips or a chopped salad with wood-roasted organic chicken and local feta. Open nightly, the restaurant divvies up its dinner menu ($2.50-$26) into categories of On Ice, Start, Fish, Farm, Sides and Such, and Pies, Cakes and Frozen Stuff. Start salivating for East Coast oysters with fresh horseradish mignonette; Florida grouper with smoked Vidalia onion and horseradish broth; roasted Heritage pork with farm spinach and sherry onions; duck fat-poached swordfish with pickled sweet peppers and crispy pancetta; and buttermilk doughnuts, sweet corn ice cream and red pepper jam. For liquid refreshment, look for seafood-friendly wines from global coastal regions, American port-city microbrews and creative cocktails with a seaside twist ("The Truth As We Know It" martini has a smoked salmon garnish). Lunch is served Monday - Friday 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; dinner Sunday - Thursday 5 - 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 - 11 p.m.


Oyster Bar at The Optimist, is a casual "fish camp" style place with an outdoor patio and of course, an oyster bar. Venice Beach in the 1970s? You're there now. Raw bar and small plate prices run $2.50-$14 for tempters such as peel-and-eat Georgia shrimp, smoked haddock chowder and Maine lobster roll with shoestring fries. An ice-display station features a daily punch and "oyster backs," mini-cocktails that pair with the day's raw bar specials. Doors open at 5 p.m. weekdays and 3 p.m. weekends. Closing? When the fish stop running for the night. Add the phone number to your contacts now to get ready: 404-477-6260. 


Zagat Announces Award Winners -- Aria Makes Top 3, No. 246 And Chicken And The Egg Among Top 5 Newcomers

Chicken and the Egg by James Camp

The latest update of the little red restaurant bible of Atlanta restaurants, based on the 2012/13 Zagat Survey, is now available. Aria fans will not be surprised. The longtime favorite and chic dining spot came in third in food rankings, third for décor and ninth most popular -- meaning most-often mentioned. Top newcomers included No. 246 in Decatur (number 4) and Chicken and the Egg in Marietta (number 3). Alma Cocina gets a nod as a key newcomer, and Woodfire Grill is mentioned among the top rated. FYI, the Zagat Atlanta Restaurants guide comes in print and e-reader versions, although it might be rude to read at the dinner table. 


Kevin Gillespie Has A "Fire In My Belly." Pre-Order His New Cookbook And You Can, Too



Southern charm, heated passion, natural obsessions and dry humor. "Fire in My Belly" ($40 list price) by Kevin Gillespie, the "Top Chef" star and executive chef of Woodfire Grillhas 356 pages of steamy substance, including 120 hip recipes so you can cook up your own heated stories. Find your inner chef in chapters such as "My Version of Southern Food" or "Food You Thought You Hated." Gillespie enlightens all of us who've left the farmers market barehanded because we didn't know what to do with anything there. Pre-order the cookbook (to be released in early October) then start gathering fresh, sustainable, organic and local ingredients to be ready for the desire in your belly to fire up the kitchen.


Eat It And Tweep:  Ask Ronni Lundy, What Is A Cornbread Fundamentalist Anyway?



This Kentucky wonder will be easily digested by Southerners, and she opens a Southern exposure window for those trying to figure out our bluegrass and Southern-comfortable heritage. Follow Ronni Lundy's hilarious tweets (@ronnilundy) or go long with her blog. You know there's no short version for true Southerners anyway, bless their hearts.


Sample Tweet Da truth, da canola truth, and nuthin' but...Jane Says: Know Your Cooking Oils via @TakePart Thx @janelear

Appetizing Aperture  


National Salad Month AND National Burger Month share the merry month of May. No prob. Smashburger's new Wedge Club burger puts both between the buttered bun: 100 percent Certified Angus Beef topped with applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, iceberg lettuce wedge, tomato, red onion and blue cheese dressing. The big and beefy burger is $5.99 while the chicken sandwich take is $6.99. Pull out the napkins, you're gonna need them.