The Dish
In This Issue
Holiday Dish List
New Year's - Parties & Dining
A Note From Rafer: Adopt A Golden Atlanta
New Marlow's Tavern Opening
End of the World Dinner
Bellini Brunch & Tea Dances at 10th & Piedmont
Kaleidoscope Anniversary Celebration
Tweep of the Week @sixburnersue
Appetizing Aperture: The Swirl at Uncle Julio's
Pinterest: Cookie Corner
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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Our Holiday Dish List for Parties, Pick-Up-Packs, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
We've made our list, checked it twice, blogged it and we're posting the blog link because we're really nice. More important than our personal wish list is our posting of Atlanta restaurants that are ready to pull together that last minute holiday party or save a table for you on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Pop the Cork on New Year's Eve Revelry and New Year's Day Dining to Usher in 2013   




Atlantans looking for a reason to celebrate Mondays have a big one: New Year's Eve falls on a Monday this year. Our city's restaurants are ready with parties and dinners both elegant and casual. If a resolution is to try out more restaurants, go ahead and start on New Year's Day with some of these suggestions.


Welcome the new year with the new kid in Midtown, 10th & Piedmont, which is already quite at home on the corner that formerly housed Outwrite bookstore. Food and drink specials, the regular menu and a DJ are part of the plan. Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more. Rent out a booth in the "celebration lounge." Call 404-602-5510 for details and minimums.


Aqua blue in Roswell is hosting a festive Blue Year's Eve celebration. A special three-course prix fixe menu is available for $49 per person in addition to the full à la carte menu. Enjoy menu items like the Maine lobster bisque, five-spice New York strip and crispy shrimp and house-made warm chocolate cake. DJ starts up at 9 p.m. followed by a champagne toast and party favors at midnight. Reservations: 770-643-8886. 


In the heart of Midtown, Ecco rings in the new year with special menu items on Monday, December 31. The special additions include beet velouté with pears, nasturtium, bay scallop crudo and smoked paprika ($13); baked farm egg with charred duck liver, preserved lemon, lavender cream and celery leaves ($10); roasted quail with chestnut risotto and black currant gastrique ($18); wood-grilled rib-eye with smoked cauliflower, crisp chanterelle mushrooms and béarnaise ($58); steelhead trout with scarlet queen turnips, roe, saffron and arugula ($29), and milk chocolate torte with spiced pineapple and pine nut tuile ($9). The regular menu is available in addition to these one-night-only dishes. For reservations, call 404-347-9555.


Ring in the New Year over a weekend-long celebration at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. From 4 p.m. on Friday, December 28 until Tuesday, January 1, indulge in festive holiday cocktails or featured bubbly and then dine from the New Year's menu or famous à la carte menu. The special New Year's menu starts with poached gulf shrimp over Southern-style goat cheese grits, included with entrée price. Entrées include Delmonico steak with blue crab and Gruyère glassage for $74.95, filet mignon and lobster brioche bread pudding for $69.95 and lobster tail with mac and cheese for $79. Chocolate budino finishes the meal for $9.95. Tax and gratuity not included. Reservations: 770-698-8112. 


JCT. Kitchen & Bar is serving a Southern dinner this New Year's Eve on Monday, December 31. For $65 per person, the restaurant is offering a taste plus a three-course meal. Diners begin the meal with the featured taste of aged goat cheese with country ham and garlic herb toast. Other sample items from the menu include smoked baby beets with watermelon radish, Asher Blue, tiny croutons and green goddess; hickory smoked beef short ribs and seared sea scallops with root vegetable Gouda gratin and braising reduction; and "nearly" flourless chocolate cake with milk chocolate ganache and white chocolate sorbet. There is a corkage fee of $10 per bottle. For reservations or more information, call 404-355-2252.


The second annual New Year's Eve party at Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub happens Monday, December 31, beginning with dinner service from 5 p.m. on and an optional three-course meal for $20.12. Food and drink specials roll all evening, and DJ B-Dub starts spinning tunes at 10 p.m. Champagne is available for a midnight toast, and the bar is open until 2 a.m. No cover charge.


Atlantans can bite into the new year with Little Cake Bakery's strawberry and champagne cupcakes. These sweet confections pair perfectly with a glass of bubbly. For more information or to place orders, call 404-841-8856.


Visit your neighborhood Marlow's Tavern this New Year's Eve for a chef-driven, prix fixe menu for $37 per person. Start with Maine lobster and shrimp chowder or the winter tavern salad. The main plate is a grilled veal chop with Canadian milk-fed veal, harvest vegetable and lump crab hash, dried cranberry, beurre blanc, asparagus and cranberry veal demi. Chocolate crème brûlée fulfills the sweet tooth. More information and locations are on the website. The newest Marlow's Tavern in Emory Point will be open on New Year's Eve.


Add an Italian twist to New Year's Eve at Decatur's No. 246. Their four-course menu is $55 per person and features local cauliflower panna cotta with frothy sea urchin sweet butter, Osetra caviar, soft herbs and brioche; Nantucket Bay scallop carpaccio with Meyer lemon; local crispy parsnips with Tennessee black truffles; butter-poached Maine lobster with young fennel, blood orange, tarragon, olives and arugula; and brie and white chocolate cheesecake with roasted pears and walnut nougatine. Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Day. Reservations: 678-399-8246.


In West Midtown, The Optimist will ring in 2013 with a four-course prix fixe menu on New Year's Eve for $65 per person. Menu items include shrimp pop tarts; baked Virginia oysters with spinach, bacon, preserved lemon and parmesan cheese; grouper with white wine-steamed clams, lump crab meat, leeks, baby bok choy and lemon; and banana custard pocket pie with pralines, pralines and cream ice cream and salted pecans. Reservations: 404-477-6260.


Midtown's RA Sushi Bar Restaurant throws a RAckin' New Year's Eve party from 7 p.m. to close. Evening-long food specials include Firework shrimp, "RA"solution roll, Stroke of Midnight maki and Edamame Eve dip. Party drinks include half-price sake and specialty cocktails. Note: RA Sushi is open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and closed on Christmas Day. More information: call 404-267-0114.


Ray's Restaurants offers diners a warm place to gather this holiday season. Ray's on the Creek in Alpharetta is open from 5-11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and the bar will remain open until 1 a.m.; New Year's Day hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations: 770-649-0064. Ray's on the River is throwing a New Year's Eve party from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. in the Grand Pavilion. Guests can partake of the premium open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvre, oyster shucking station, six-piece live band with dancing plus a midnight balloon drop and champagne toast. $125 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations: 770-955-1187 or email; credit card number required to hold reservations. The restaurant itself is open from 5-11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and the bar will remain open until 1 a.m. They also will be open New Year's Day from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Ray's in the City is open New Year's Eve from 4-11 p.m. and New Year's Day from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations: 404-524-9224.


On Monday, December 31, South City Kitchen Midtown and South City Kitchen Vinings  are celebrating New Year's Eve with a special three-course prix fixe menu at $42 per person. Both locations are offering options such as house-made pimento cheese with toasted corn crackers, butter pickles and celery hearts, pan-seared duck breast with butternut puree, mustard greens and sweet garlic jus, and Velvet Elvis Cake, banana-chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter icing. For more information or to make reservations, call 404-873-7358 for the Midtown location and 770-435-0700 for the Vinings location.


Woodfire Grill is offering several five-course menu options on New Year's Eve. The chef's tasting menu and pescatarian option are priced at $115 per person and the vegetarian menu is $100. Wine pairings are also available for $12 per glass or $20 per glass for premium wines. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 404-347-9055. 


Celebrate New Year's Day with Bantam + Biddy's special menu or order from the regular menu. On Tuesday, January 1, the restaurant offers a traditional Southern special of corned Brasstown ham and ham gravy, stewed organic black-eyed peas, braised collard greens, Buckeye Creek grits and sweet potato pie, all for $20. Bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas are offered all day for $10. Call 404-907-3469 for more information.

Five Goldens? Ring Adopt a Golden to Give a Golden a Home or Toss a Donation Their Way




People. Seriously? While y'all are running to and fro fetching gifts for family and friends, my furry friends at Adopt a Golden Atlanta merely want someone to be their friend and family and toss a ball to and fro for them. Of course if you're thinking about adopting a golden, the humans that head up this compassionate nonprofit rescue organization will ask you some serious questions. The last thing they want is a dog to get its tail-wagging hopes up over a new home and then have to leave. Sure, we shed, but we make up for it in love, doggie kisses and companionship. If the time's not right for adoption, there are plenty of other ways to share your resources for the betterment of these sweethearts. Make a donation in the name of a dog-loving friend. Always stylish, always fits and the color is always right - golden.


 Love, Rafer

Top Reason to Go to Marlow's Tavern: They're Opening Emory Point location on December 18


Many reasons to enjoy the gourmet cuisine and liveliness of Marlow's Tavern are already out there. Another reason comes into play on Tuesday, December 18 when the newest Marlow's Tavern location opens at 1627 Clifton Road in Emory Point. The Decatur community will find Marlow's 160-seat setting, covered patio, modern tavern menu and hand-crafted cocktails very appealing. Menu components flow with the seasons and have something for every noon-through-night appetite. The new "stuffed" turkey burger and steak frites, classic shrimp and crab nacho plate and the grilled chicken panini made with Prestige Farms chicken are mighty tempting. Marlow's beverage menu encompasses American and global wines, original cocktails and a simple, but varied list of beers (less time studying list, more time to savor your SweetWater or Terrapin brew). Craft cocktails start with fresh fruit juices, herbs, simple syrups and small batch liquors.

The first Marlow's Tavern location opened in 2004 in Alpharetta. Over the past eight years, Marlow's Tavern locations have sprung up in neighborhoods across the metro-Atlanta area. Marlow's builds a sense of community through involvement with non-profit organizations such as Special Olympics Georgia and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, as well as by welcoming each guest with warm hospitality and world-class food and drinks. 

In Case the Mayans are Right -- Would You Rather be Dining or Doing the Dishes? Join Atlanta Chefs at One Eared Stag for "End of the World Dinner" on December 21




The 2012 phenomenon has been receiving a lot of hype lately - perhaps you've heard about the Mayan calendar predicting the world will end on 12.21.12?


Chef Robert Phalen of One Eared Stag is planning a five-course "End of the World Dinner" of apocalyptic proportions that evening, and many of Atlanta's most popular chefs will be there, palling around and cooking up some cataclysmic cuisine. Look for Drew Van Leuvan of 7 Lamps, Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere of Bantam + Biddy, Drew Belline of No. 246, Adam Evans of The Optimist and Taria Camerino, pastry program creative director for JCT. Kitchen & Bar, The Optimist and No. 246. Invite your near and dear to share the experience. The big night begins with appetizers at 6 p.m. then moves on to five courses with out-of-this-world wine pairings. An adjournment to the patio for cocktails, cured meats from every chef and oysters comes next, then guests move back inside for another five-course food and wine pairing plus a champagne toast around 11:11 p.m. Pass that milestone and two more courses of sweets, champagne and cocktails await. The whole shebang is $150 a person (plus tax and gratuity) with a money-back guarantee if the world does end during the dinner. And then, who cares about the dirty dishes? To be placed on the waiting list for this dinner, call One Eared Stag at 404-525-4479.

Bellini Brunch and Tea Dances Fill Spirited Sundays at New 10th & Piedmont


Photo by Tim Hobby 


Lazy Sunday mornings morph into lively Sunday afternoons as guests savor Bellini brunches and swing at afternoon tea dances at 10th & Piedmont. Midtown's newest restaurant and lounge from bothers Sean and Gilbert Yeremyan now serves a Sunday Bellini brunch from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. followed by a tea dance from 4 p.m. until close. Late afternoon tea dances traditionally followed garden parties in the English countryside culture of the 1800s. The custom jumped stateside (think the song "Tea for Two" in the 1925 Broadway musical "No, No Nannette"), providing a way for friends to get together. In its own modern version, 10th & Piedmont brings in a live DJ for dance music until closing, and there's no cover charge. Bellinis are only available at brunch and are bubbly accompaniments to Chef Brett Ring's brunch menu. The Southern/multi-cultural blend of foods includes:  "Hair of the Dog," toasted Cuban bread topped with smoked tomatoes, Asiago cheese, two poached eggs and vodka tomato gravy; a meaty breakfast with two eggs, link sausage, ham, toasted bread and butter, bacon and grilled tomatoes; chicken and waffles; grits with applewood smoked bacon, sweet corn and sorghum syrup; grilled cheese and tomato bisque; So-Co bagel and lox; buttermilk biscuits with vodka tomato gravy and choice of country ham sausage or bacon; as well as customary morning foods such as blueberry pancakes, oatmeal and more. FYI, the Yeremyan brothers also own and operate HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern and Gilbert's Café & Bar as part of their restaurant group, Communitas Hospitality.

Kaleidoscope Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary with Christmas Eve Dinner Special



Deck the halls and light up the birthday cake candles - Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub celebrates birthday number two on Christmas Eve. The globally attuned restaurant in Brookhaven is offering a special three-course meal for $20.12 and backs it up with the regular menu plus a generous number of drink specials. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. No cover charge. Reservations optional; call 404-474-9600.


Eat It and Tweep: Turn to Six Burner Sue for Ways to Put More Green on Your Holiday Table




Susie Middleton of Six Burner Sue (@sixburnersue) wants to see veggies at every meal. She's penned two cookbooks toward this mission: "Fast, Fresh & Green" and "The Fresh & Green Table." Living on a small farm in Martha's Vineyard may have something to do with her voracious appetite for growing, cooking and eating fresh and green. Snatch a recipe link off her Twitter or fill up on all things veggie on her Six Burner Sue blog.


Sample Tweet: Winter Greens And A Lovely Salad Recipe to Use Them - cooking fresh and eating green with susie midd


Appetizing Aperture




Thursday, December 20 is National Sangria Day - cool stuff at Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican Food. Take it straight up in homemade sangria-on-the-rocks or stir your straw around in The Swirl, Uncle Julio's signature drink that layers homemade frozen sangria and frozen margarita. Ho, ho, ho, it's quite a festive swirl of deep red and pale green in a frosty mug. 


What's New on Pinterest: Cookie Corner


Who's ready for an online cookie exchange? Our Pinterest board is a virtual bakery case of ideas and finger-licking photos. Especially useful: the step-by-step guide to decorating gingerbread folk, gluten-free chocolate thumbprint cookies and the so-cute peanut butter reindeer cookies. The true confessions cookie shout out goes to the one iced "dear Santa my mommy made these...please still leave gifts."