The Dish
In This Issue
Pecan Day at Chocolate South
Vote Adam Evans for Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef® Award
RA Sushi's Guest Appreciation Night
BaconFest 2014
Optimist NOLA Patio Party
King + Duke Patio Party
Autism Speaks Charity Night at Bantam + Biddy
Brookhaven Welcomes Willy's Mexicana Grill
Drew Belline Shares Mushroom Soup Recipe
Hearth Pizza Tavern Contest Finalists
Junior League Tour of Kitchens
Appetizing Aperture
What's New on Pinterest
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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Chocolate South is Nuts about Pecan Day


Loggerhead Turtles at Chocolate South


In a nutshell, this buttery sweet nut comes from the only nut tree native to North America, which deems it well worthy of recognition on Pecan Day, March 25. On the local front, Georgia is the top pecan-producing state in the nation! Chocolate South pays homage to this noblest of nuts in three confections: Richland rum ball combines local pecans, rum and cookies ($3); Georgia Loggerhead Turtle sports pecan legs ($4); the classic bourbon ball blends pecans, bourbon and locally made cookies ($3); and the cherry cashew pecan bar incorporates dried fruit and nuts in a solid chocolate bar ($7). Priced per piece. Not much to shell out when you're peeking at pecans!


The Optimist's Adam Evans is Up for Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef® 2014 Award  -- Vote Him to the Top through March 31


Photo by Richie Arpino

Adam Evans, executive chef at The Optimist, recently found out he's one of 100 innovative chefs across the U.S. nominated for

Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef® 2014  award! Ten regions, 10 chefs per region -- find Evans on the Southeast slate and vote! Online polls are open through Monday, March 31. Every vote counts toward determining a winning chef for each region and thus identifying Food & Wine's 10 best new up-and-coming chefs. Evans continuously wows The Optimist guests with addictive upscale fish shack dishes. If you're hungering for more, read his short bio then help spread the word via Twitter or Instagram using the #PeoplesBNC hashtag.

Be the Yin to RA Sushi's Yang at Guest Appreciation Night on March 27




You're yearning for yummy sushi, sashimi, spirited specials and a happening social scene. Yin. RA Sushi Bar Restaurant lives to provide the yang. The Midtown restaurant and lounge honors all who complete them, saying "You're RAwesome!" at Guest Appreciation Night on Thursday, March 27 from 7 p.m. until close. First off, enter the free raffle for a sushi social ($200 value) for you and your friends. Next stop, the "Pick 2 for $10" menu is lengthy with the likes of pineapple cheese wontons, pork gyoza, chicken yakitori, Asian chicken wings, garlic citrus yellowtail, seared tuna, crispy onion albacore, sweet onion salmon, salmon carpaccio, Tootsy maki, California roll, Philadelphia roll, vegetarian roll or spicy yellowtail, salmon or shrimp rolls. Complete that thought and plunk down $5 for a Kirin or Kirin light, Hakutsuru "draft" sake, Fuzzy Momo Bellini, well cocktail or a glass of Coppola Bianco pinot grigio, Sterling Vintner's chardonnay, Lunetta prosecco, 14 Hands merlot or Trinchero Main Street cabernet. Kinda like this yin yang thing we've got going here. Much more sophisticated than other completers we can think of, such as PB and J or milk and cookies.


Bid on Gunshow Dinner for 10 and Pig Out on Bacon, Beer and Bands at BaconFest 2014 on March 29




Have a swine time at BaconFest 2014, all porked out with beer, bands and 2,250 pounds of crispy bacon! Oink. Serious squeal. The 14th annual fundraiser for local improv and nonprofit Dad's Garage caters to the over-21 crowd with a hefty portion of fun and adult carnival games at Masquerade Music Park on Saturday, March 29 from 1-6 p.m. Between chews and brews, hoof it to the silent auction and bid on smokin' hot items, such as dinner for 10 at Kevin Gillespie's Gunshow in Glenwood Park. Online ticket pricing and structure follow guidelines, depending on how much bacon and beer one plans on consuming ($27-$87). Feed on Facebook for quips and details.

The Optimist Taps into "Hoptimist" Cask Beer at NOLA Patio Party on March 29


Photo by Brandon Amato


The spirit of Mardi Gras lives on, out on the patio at The Optimist on Saturday, March 29, beginning at 3 p.m. This is no sedate garden party. While you're toe-tapping to live music, bartenders will tap into special "Hoptimist" cask beer from Atlanta's own Red Hare Brewery. Yours, for $5 a pour. New Orleans-themed punches ($8) put Bourbon Street to shame: Absinthe Frappe, The Hurricane, Milk Punch Redux and a New Orleans Pimm's Cup. Cajun chow? A NOLA crawfish boil satisfies your gullet with sausage, potatoes, corn and mushrooms for $18. All this and more make this fais do-do a fête do, do!



$3 Three Taverns White Hops, Grilled Bites and Live Music at King + Duke Patio Party March 30


Photo by Brandon Amato


By Sunday, March Madness will have run its course. Leave those frenetic courts behind and bounce over to a more relaxing court, the patio party at King + Duke starting at 3 p.m. on March 30. Situated where Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads meet in Buckhead, King + Duke provides some of spring's best people-watching perches. The day looks even better when you're holding a $3 White Hops Belgian-style IPA from Decatur's own Three Taverns Craft Brewery. Chill out to live music from Amy Gerhartz, playing acoustic pop, rock, folk and soul from 4-7 p.m. Chefs are grilling up finger-friendly bites for $5: the Mini Duke on a soft bun with coal-roasted onions; grilled candied pork, lime and chili; local mushrooms and soft ripened cheese or angus steak skewers with green sauce and spring onion. Grilled, skewered Georgia shrimp flavored with lemon and garlic are $6. Maybe keep a fork handy to recover any juicy morsels!


Autism Speaks Charity Night at Bantam + Biddy on Crescent Avenue is April 1




According to Autism Speaks, every 11 minutes another family discovers that their child has an autism spectrum disorder, the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S. Bantam + Biddy co-owner Shaun Doty actively supports causes relating to autism, and he's holding an Autism Speaks Charity Night at the Bantam + Biddy Crescent Avenue location on Tuesday, April 1. Get your April Fools' Day practical jokes out of the way early in the day and head over for drinks or dinner. Ten percent of all proceeds after 5 p.m. will benefit Walk Now for Autism Speaks. And autism is no laughing matter.


Willy's Mexicana Grill Now Open and Rolling Burritos in Brookhaven's Cherokee Plaza



There really is a Willy behind Brookhaven's newest burrito destination, Willy's Mexicana Grill in Cherokee Plaza. Willy traveled far and wide, from the Smokies to the Rockies to the Land of the Burrito Gods (a.k.a. San Francisco). Around 1995, he discovered his purpose in life: to provide that California-fresh burrito-bundle experience to deprived Atlantans. Over the years, he's rolled thousands of burritos. Willy's newest location is convenient to both Brookhaveners and Buckhead office dwellers scouting a palate-pleasing burrito fix between 11 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week. Guac, salsas and other menu items are made from scratch. Guests select from more than 20 fresh toppings and mouthwatering proteins, such as lean sirloin steak, chargrilled adobe or Sinaloa chicken, chipotle barbecue pork or marinated tofu plus vegetarian options. This Willy's is the first one to offer sopapillas, those sweetly cinnamon, addicting southwestern dessert treats that pair nicely with Willy's house-made specialty lemonades and flavored iced teas.


Foraging Inspires Drew Belline of No. 246; He Shares Chanterelle Recipe on HGTV


Photo by Tuan Huynh

As Drew Belline tells it, a forager showing up at his restaurant with a bag of forest-fresh chanterelles turned him on to the beauty of foraging. Now hooked, he excuses himself from the kitchen at times to find fungi in the North Georgia mountains to inspire recipes at No. 246 in Decatur. HGTV blogger Danny Bonvissuto recently featured Belline, his fancy for foraging and his recipe for wild chanterelle mushrooms in Parmesan brodo with goat cheese tortellini, sweet corn and tarragon. If you think the name of said soup is a mouthful, wait until you make and taste the real thing! Lack of foraging needn't send you on a guilt trip. Store-bought chanterelles do just fine.


Vote with Your Mouth on Hearth Pizza Tavern Contest Finalists


Rick Rocket Pizza at Hearth


Candidates are in for Hearth Pizza Tavern's pizza contest. Each pie on the finalist slate will have its week on the menu, in the oven and on customer tabletops. Sales determine which pizza developer will take home first prize of a $100 Hearth Pizza Tavern gift card and a coveted spot on the menu, a $75 gift card for second place or a $15 gift card for third place. Week one featured (Meat) Ballin' Outrageous by Randy Robbins, topping homemade marinara sauce with premium cheese blend, chorizo, salami, meatballs, spinach and red onion. Through March 30, guests can try All Red Everything, a Facebook entry from Hannah, that's well-red with homemade marinara, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella (granted, mozzarella is cream-colored). March 31-April 6, opt for the Sardinian Shrimp pizza, a Facebook entry from Mark, swimming out of the oven with shrimp, basil, pine nuts and more fresh basil tossed on top after exiting the oven. We hate making tough decisions like these - we may have to order one of each!


On the Front Burner: Junior League of Atlanta Tour of Kitchens




Leave it to the Junior League of Atlanta to find out what's cooking in 14 of Atlanta's finest residential, drool-over kitchens. Their 17th annual Tour of Kitchens heats up in houses across town Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, March 30 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. On Sunday at 11:45 a.m., Nikolai's Roof chef Stephanie Alderete will perform a cooking demonstration where she serves up seared diver scallops with forest mushrooms, sweet peas and sweetbread crust, red watercress and a crustacean demi-glace. Tour tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at JLA headquarters and at each home during the tour. Special VIP packages are available. Spring sunshine or showers, the event goes on as planned.






Some eat light, others chase light. Chez Us Bay Area photographer and blogger Denise Woodward falls into the latter category, clicking away on her iPhone 5s and capturing some very appealing shots. Look up her Instagram, @denise_woodward. More light, less filling.


Appetizing Aperture




Phone food photo alert. Location: Umi in Buckhead. As soon as the plate graces your table, record a shot of the visually apparent artistry in Umi's spicy tuna crispy rice. Do it pronto because there's no stopping your fingers or fork once you start on these bites of lightly fried crispy sushi rice topped with spicy tuna tartar and jalapeño slices.


What's New on Pinterest




Pasta sauce, pesto sauce, dipping sauce, be saucy or get sauced. Sure, you can buy it by the jar in the big-box grocery or you can perfect a pot or batch of your own after perusing our scratch-made sauces board.