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Entries Tagged as 'Events'

One Eared Stag: End of the World Dinner (Menu)

If you’re one of the lucky 70 people who snagged a seat on the dinner to end all dinners on December 21st then here’s some of the goodies that are in store for you:

Steak & Eggs
(Guy Wong – Miso Izakaya)

Chicken Parm Bruschetta
(Bruce Logue)

Cold smoked Escolar, Uni, Hackleback roe, lardo, sorrel
(Robert Phalen – OES)

Salad of Cured Coppa and white anchovies
(Josh Hopkins – STG)

Lamb ribs
(Cody Taylor & Jiyeon Lee – Heirloom BBQ)

Shrimp in plantain peanut sauce, fried tails, Ecuadorian salad, lime
(Peter Dale – National)

Maize panna cotta, onion, cocoa, honey, xocolatl
(Ryan Smith – Empire State South)

Fried apple pie, whiskey
(Taria Camerino – Sugar Coated Radical)

It’s not a complete list and, of course, subject to change, but you get a glimpse of how epic this meal is going to be. So, are you one of the lucky ones?

**Courses above are arranged by order of appearance and starts with Chef Guy Wong. The wait list is very, very long.


Diversion: Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair

A week ago, I had a meeting in the Sugarloaf Parkway area. Tired of chain dining, a few of us decided to pop in quickly at The Fairgrounds and pay the hefty $5 entrance fee so we can gorge ourselves on overpriced, totally-bad-for-you food. Here are the highlights of that very short field trip… in pictures.

Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair
North Carolina style BBQ

Gwinnett County Fair
This brisket sandwich was actually pretty good.

Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair
Too bad there wasn’t any time to check her out. Maybe next year…

Gwinnett County Fair

Gwinnett County Fair
That is beef on a stick. Breaded. Fried.

Gwinnett County Fair

More pictures here.

Gwinnett County Fair 2012
The Fairgrounds in Gwinnett County

One Eared Stag: Leap Year Dinner 2012

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Been traveling here and there lately so this is a bit late. But it happened. The epic dinner of 2012. It was a collaboration of rock star chefs who channeled their creative geniuses to produce the best dinner to ever hit Atlanta. And I was there. Six famous chefs: Robert Phalen, Drew Belline, Josh Hopkins, Ryan Smith, Guy Wong, Stuart Baesel. One talented sous chef. Twelve plates. Three appetizers. Five glasses of wine. One bourbon. One bottle of beer. One cocktail. Sixty-five very full bellies. And a night to remember.

It was so cool, too, because I was in the company of people who were there because of one thing: the love of food. But it was more fun because my sister and I got to crash my very good friends Troy and Cath‘s table who were supposed to be on a date. Well, they always let me crash their dates anyway. So without further ado… the meal.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

OES Leap Year Dinner 2012
Photo of Trotters Fritters courtesy of my good friend @GJAtlUSA

The reception started with a nice, crisp glass of an old classic, the French 75. Holy Taco’s Phillip Meeker prepared delicious hors d’oeuvres that were passed around. I loved the creamy, meaty trotter balls (sorry, no photo thanks, GJ!) enveloped in crispy batter then drizzled with honey. You get a different texture as your teeth sink in from a pop, a crunch, and then a slide. You also get a different layer of flavor from sweet, fried, then meaty. The fresh head cheese topped with shreds of pickled onions was also outstanding in that there wasn’t that metallic, rusty taste you normally get. These were great appetizers to transition to a multi-course, filling dinner.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

The first course started with Chef RP’s fried shrimp heads in a light buttermilk batter. These popcorn shrimp had a nice savory taste whose fried taste was cut down by the aioli. Very nicely done.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Chef Drew took a different approach on the traditional asparagus soup. The creamy, herby, smooth custard was topped with crunchy accoutrements with the roe lending a salty burst of flavor and a pop in the mouth in every bite. It was light and refreshing. It was so good I wanted to lick the jar it came in. Oh wait.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Leap Year Dinner 2012

As if the first course couldn’t be topped anymore, Chef RP’s braised pork belly in bacon broth raises the bar to stratospheric proportions. I had to have a moment of silence on this one. Definitely a death row meal, I call this The Chloe Porky Belly. The smoky, crusty exterior with the pork belly’s fork-tender interior swimming in savory broth was unbelievably delicious. Really. It was amazing. I would love to see this on the regular menu at One Eared Stag: a humongous serving with a side of noodles. Or grits. Or rice. This will go well with anything.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Next came Chef Josh’s creation: sweetish scallops and crispy smoked duck topped with greens and radishes. You can taste maple, bourbon, a hint of citrus, and a tiny bit of vinaigrette. My sister had to shush me so she can have her moment of silence. And in true Troy fashion, my food soul mate Troy, had nothing but praises, expletively expressed, no less. This was so fantastic, we had to scurry and reach for our phones after the first bite, to google when STG would actually open!

Leap Year Dinner 2012

A tartare made with beef heart and bottarga, the minced delicacies provided a great topping to the thin piece of toast. The taste wasn’t that far from beef but with a meatier, viscous texture. It was a good and light transition to the next dish.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Chef Ryan teased us with his wonderful consommé that was so clean tasting. Contained in a small mason jar, it was fantastic poured over the bowl of pea shoots and summer veggies, slices of blood sausage, and pork skin. The light broth lent a contrasting flavor to the heavier-tasting blood sausage while the veggies pulled it all together. A brilliant dish, as expected from Chef Ryan.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Leap Year Dinner 2012

A fun piece of fried pork skin that was as light as air and full of air pockets, as chicarrones should be, came tumbling by next. The dusting of kimchi powder gave this otherwise flavorless snack a tasty, slightly spicy kick. The paired Hitachino beer was a perfect accompaniment. As you all know by now, I don’t drink alcohol (cheap date, I know, and forever a designated driver) so I’m taking my friend Troy’s word on this when he says “the beer brought out the flavors in ways that made the dishes stand out even more.”

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Leap Year Dinner 2012

The heaviest dish of all came courtesy of Chef Guy who gave us a fun take on a Japanese staple: hamburg. But this was no ordinary hamburg. This was an exceptional hamburg. The meat patty is so juicy and flavorful. The gravy, a departure from the ho-hum brown, thick sauce served everywhere else, was thin, yet saucy enough and gave a sweetish-spicy-citrusy sensation. Topped with a poached egg. It wasn’t heavy at all, and not too rich either, as you’d expect from most hamburg versions. You could hear every table go mmm. Yes, it was that good.

By now, we could see people leaving because they were either too wasted or too full. Just imagine, 10 good sized plates and 6 glasses of alcohol including a full bottle of beer. So far. For each person. All these for $100! There was no family-style stuff or any sharing at this meal. Except for my alcoholic drinks which I happily gave away.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

The perfect ending to a meal, Chef RP and Chef Stuart both presented us with two kinds of desserts. Chef RP’s sweet citrus creme was heavier than whipped cream but lighter than Chantilly cream. It was simply heavenly. You can taste flavors of jalapeños, Meyer lemon, clementine, and lime. There was a sort of crumble at the bottom, and sweet and tart dried fruit on top. Oh and there was this gel made of Mezcal which made it a grown-up dessert.

Leap Year Dinner 2012

Chef Stuart’s decadent cornmeal cake came with citrus confit and a big dollop of fresh chantilly cream. It didn’t intend to compete with the multi-course meal. Instead, it provided a palate-cleansing effect, in a simple, yet fantastic way.

So there you have it. Each guest chef’s dish was complemented by a dish from Chef Robert. The effect was one cohesive meal with dishes that did not overwhelm the other. As the courses progressed, you weren’t left with a heavy, sinking feeling from eating heavy, rich dishes. Rather, there was an amazing balance in both flavors and textures — each dish was carefully thought of and excellently executed and where each dish was blow-your-mind delicious. For those of you who were not lucky enough to snag a spot, it was truly an unforgettable dinner. Thank you rock star chefs, for showing we can play with the big boys. For proving we have super talented chefs right in our backyard. For validating Atlanta’s spot on the food map. I have never been more proud to be an Atlantan.

Postscript: Chef Ryan Smith and Chef Guy Wong were both nominated for The People’s Best New Chef by Food and Wine for 2012.

One Eared Stag
1029 Edgewood Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA
(404) 525-4479

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Restaurant Eugene: The JLA’s 1916 Society Luncheon

Restaurant Eugene

One of my favorite special occasions places is Restaurant Eugene. There’s just something about it’s cozy, elegant space, excellent service, and exemplary food that makes celebrating a special moment more memorable. This past Saturday was no exception. The Junior League of Atlanta honored 34 members of its 1916 Society with a special luncheon prepared by renowned chef Linton Hopkins.

Restaurant Eugene

Restaurant Eugene

The backdrop was picture perfect: single-stemmed pink tulips and orchids in simple glass vases, tables topped with white linen then flanked by dark leather chairs, and 34 of the most impressive, most empowering women in Atlanta. 34. All under one roof.

Restaurant Eugene

Restaurant Eugene

Restaurant Eugene

The celebration started out with glasses of crisp Prosecco and passed hors d’oeuvres. Contrasting textures seems to be the theme for these very tasty appetizers. The Pimiento Cheese Fritters were flavor bombs in the mouth — crispy on the outside and gooey, cheesy on the inside, with the red pepper jelly lending sweet heat. The Citrus-cured Trout Tartare was a very mild-tasting fish whose soft meat danced with the crunchy bene wafer.

Restaurant Eugene

While I was never a fan of creamy soups, I became a convert with the best one I have ever tasted: Purée of Cauliflower. This wasn’t the cloyingly thick soup that has always been a turn-off for me. Instead, it was light yet creamy, smooth, and delicious. But it didn’t stop there. Sunchokes chips, toasted pecans, and a tiny dollop of black truffle ghee elevated this already amazing soup to the stratosphere of flavors and textures. This soup is something you can definitely eat all year round.

Restaurant Eugene

A salad is a salad is a salad, right? Wrong. Not at Restaurant Eugene. A mundane lettuce salad is transformed by Chef Linton into a fine dining creation that included winter lettuces, shaved apples, radish, Idiazabal Spanish cheese, and roasted peanuts with a clod of creamy mustard vinaigrette.

Restaurant Eugene

For the main course, pretty slices of tender and juicy free-range Chicken Ballotine garnished with red turnips and greens were a delight in all the senses. The garlic puree and chicken au jus provided additional tastes to an already delicious entree. Light yet filling, with a balance of flavors reminiscent of Restaurant Eugene.

Restaurant Eugene

Orange and cardamom crème brûlée ended the meal. It was so good I could’ve eaten a few more bowls. And this, coming from a non-dessert person like me. I loved the consistency of the brûlée — it wasn’t firm, but it wasn’t super soft either. The very thin layer of caramelized crust was a good departure from the common thick, crunchy kind you see everywhere else. Remember, this was no ordinary crème brûlée. This was Restaurant Eugene crème brûlée.

Can I just say this meal was fantastic in all levels. Not only was the meal unbelievably good, I met the most amazing women who will be life-long friends.

My $20 Restaurant Eugene Meal

Chef Linton

I’m not a fancy eater. Food — good food — doesn’t have to be fancy. You’d seldom see fine dining reviews on this blog. I’d rather eat everyday-food like Korean, Japanese ramen, Mexican tacos, or pho where I can stretch out 2-3 meals for the price of one meal I’d pay at a fine dining venue. But I do go to such places once in a while when I want to (dress up) and have a really nice meal. Yesterday, I was invited to a 4-course lunch prepared by Chef Linton Hopkins. The price tag was $20. Now, who would be crazy enough to turn down such an offer, right? Not only that, a chance to dine and converse with famed Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse was included in the price tag.

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Before I forget. Chef David is such a personable character. He talked a lot about the importance of meals and dining and how traditions are built on them. I could not agree more. My mom cooked three (sometimes four when 3PM snacks are included) from-scratch meals for us everyday while growing up. Meals were eaten as a family. Our Sunday afternoons were spent at grandparents’ house where the entire clan congregates for supper. Traditions. He also “chastised” me (as Jimmy puts it), for not cooking more at home. Well, I ate a lot of home-cooked meals growing up so I’m just making up for lost time, no? :-)

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Anyway. My $20 Restaurant Eugene meal started with some deviled eggs, duck terrine, and pickled okra.  They were all good.  The pickled okra had a lot of crunch and wasn’t slimy at all. Then came bread. I forgot all about the chatter around me when the bread box was placed in front of me. With fresh butter. After I came back to my senses, a bowl of beautiful, fresh-from-the-farm, sautéed winter veggies came around: baby carrots, cippolini onions, turnips, cauliflower. Next came a beet salad with tangerines and radishes which I really enjoyed. Lots of textures in a tangy-sweet background. There was also a plate of romaine lettuce salad that I never got around to (*smile*). Fine, it was a waste of precious stomach space so I didn’t touch it. There was also pimiento cheese and crackers, a staple at H&F. I’ve always loved their pimiento cheese because of the coarser texture. My mom makes a homemade version that’s creamier in texture.

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

The main course consisted of range-free roasted chicken. It was delicious. Period. The fresh black-eyed peas with crispy bacon was phenomenal. They were tender but still had enough bite. There was this simple cabbage dish that was also excellent. It was savory with the apples lending some sweetness to the dish.

Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse

Last was the Molasses Pecan Squares. Chef David says it was the best version he’s ever had. Recipe is on page 162 from his book if you’re interested. (Tami, are you listening? I’m goading the lovely Tami to call me when she makes them.) These pecan squares were awesome. It was moist and chewy — the consistency of cake but with the outer layer of a cookie. I’m not a big dessert fan (I would rather eat bread for dessert) but I finished a big square of it. Did you know?  This would have been more awesome if there were chocolate chips in them.  Just saying.

So there. That was the best meal $20 can buy. Be sure to check out Savory Exposure if you’d like to see more amazing pictures.

Restaurant Eugene
2277 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 355-0321
Restaurant Eugene on Urbanspoon

Holeman & Finch Public House
2277 Peachtree Rd NE Ste B
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 948-1175
Holeman & Finch Public House on Urbanspoon

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