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gwilson

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Posts posted by gwilson

  1. If you make it to Atlanta, then you should go to Fox Brothers. Even though barbecue tastes are incredibly subjective, a lot of people agree with me that they're the best in Atlanta and serve very good food. The other two places you mentioned are also good choices, but I'd put Fox Bros. just ahead of them. Oh, one other place you may consider is Harold's Barbecue - an institution around here, they've been open over 50 years. Although the barbecue isn't that great, they still serve really good Brunswick stew and crackling cornbread.

    -Greg

  2. Mi Pilon is an excellent suggestion. Around 'the corner' is Nadia's which specializes in Weat African (Liberian) food.

    There is a place off of 316 in Lawrenceville - I think it's on Hurricane Shoals Road. Jamaican food, and I believe they are/used to be on restaurant.com. Can't think of the name right now though.

    -Greg

  3. To me, Watershed and JCT offer two different takes on Southern cuisine.

    JCT Kitchen is more modern, with flavors that area a bit bolder. Watershed is simple and understated. Chef Peacock is famous for his Tuesday night Fried Chicken special. It's extremely lightly floured and fried to order. It's more about letting the quality of the meat come through than the crisp seasoned crust of other types of fried chicken. I feel that his restaurant is a bit more traditional in that way - and I love his connections with the great Edna Lewis. JCT Kitchen is good also, just in a different way.

    One small concern might be that Watershed is accessible from MARTA, while JCT Kitchen is not so much. Just in case you decide you don't want to drive.

    If you do go to JCT Kitchen, it shares a parking lot with Star Provisions (which includes Bacchanalia and Quinones), a Taqueria Del Sol location, and a Figo Pasta location. All of which are worth checking out, especially Star Provisions if you want some foodie souvenirs to take home.

    If you go to Watershed, there is also a Taqueria Del Sol across the street from it. Just 2-3 blocks away are Taco Mac if you need a sports/draft beer fix, Cakes And Ale which is run by a Watershed alum and they have a killer pastry chef in Cynthia Wong, Brick Store Pub is one of the best places to drink beer anywhere, and a location of Cook's Warehouse for those souvenirs again.

    -Greg

  4. In case you haven't been to Atlanta, a couple of things you should know. The city is not very pedestrian friendly. We have sidewalks and the basics, but the city is just not designed to be travelled on foot. (I just spent a week in San Francisco, and it was the exact opposite - *so* nice out there.) And to make matters worse, our public transportation is fairly poor. And cabs don't really run that much here - although you'll be staying downtown, so there will be a few more cabs than usual.

    I have a few suggestions that are walking distance from the Hyatt Regency. I think the furthest is about a mile.

    Sun Dial has decent food, but they're known for the views. The restaurant revolves, so you do get a nice view of the city. If you like that type of thing, I'd suggest just having a drink at the bar. You can just ride the elevator up to check out the view, but I think they've started charging for that. Not positive though.

    Trader Vic's is a bit touristy, but it can be fun.

    FAB is the new version of an old Atlanta restaurant (Brasserie Le Coze). I still haven't made it down there to try it out, but I've heard mostly good things about it.

    Chik Fil A is a Southern U.S. fast food chain founded here in Georgia. It is fast food, but their chicken sandwiches are very good. (Plus, they have waffle fries.)

    Room At Twelve I've been here a couple of times and enjoyed it. Look at their website for information about an early bird prix fixe menu that they have - $25 for three courses.

    McCormick & Schmick's is another chain, but has pretty good food - steak and seafood type of thing. (Although they pay no attention to sustainability issues.) One thing about them is a great happy hour - under $4 food items (not just small bites, but full size options) and (I think) drink specials. They have the menu on their website.

    The Varsity is an Atlanta instituition. I really recommend a visit here. It won't be the best food you've ever eaten, but it's a real piece of history.

    Glayds Knight and Ron Winan's Chicken and Waffles has a bit of the Southern/regional food you were looking for in a casual atmosphere. (Although it's not high on my personal list of places to go.)

    Mary Mac's Tea Room is another Atlanta institution, and an example of the 'meat and three' I mentioned in my other post. (Well, technically a tea room - but it's pretty close to the same thing.)

    MF Sushibar One of the best sushi restaurants in Atlanta (along with Taka - which is definitely not within walking distance for you).

    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! If the red neon "hot light" is on, make sure you get a fresh hot doughnut.

    Baraonda has gotten some real good reviews. I used to know a girl who worked there, and she said it was very good.

    ENO is a great wine bar. (I think the best one in Atlanta.) The food usually has a Mediterranean influence, and they almost always have a few different wines on the list, like Greek, etc.

    Thelma's Kitchen is another example of a 'meat and three' type of restaurant.

    Daddy Dz is consistently ranked as one of the best barbecue places in Atlanta. We Southerners do like to argue about barbecue.

    Dynamic Dish This blog isn't updated everyday, but it functions as their only website. David is one of the best chefs in Atlanta. His food is the type of vegetarian cuisine that makes carnivores jealous. (Although he does occaisionaly use meat.) I highly recommend going here, but check the website for his hours.

    A few other interesting places if you have some free time:

    Fox Theatre is absolutely beautiful. They give tours of the theatre, and it's definately worth checking out even if you don't see a performance there.

    Shakespeare Tavern isn't well known for their food, but they do serve dinner before the shows. And their performances are good.

    Churchill Grounds is a first rate jazz club, that does serve a few things to nosh on during performances.

    Sweet Auburn neighborhood is only about half a mile from where you're staying. There are restaurants, stores, a farmer's market - a lot of food related things to do. That website isn't great, but it will give you a starting point to see if you're interested in anything there.

    World Of Coca Cola Coke was founded here in Atlanta, and World Of Coca Cola offers a history of the drink along with exhibits, being able to taste different versions from around the world, etc.

    Georgia Aquarium is the world's largest aquarium. (And probably has the world's largest crowds. ha) But is worth it, they have done a great job with everything about the aquarium.

    CNN offers tours of the studios and some behind the scenes stuff.

    (If you actually do have a bit of free time while you're here, look at getting a CityPass. I did it when I was in San Francisco, and it was great. Of course, out there, it included public transportation. But the one for Atlanta is good for a few things I mentioned, plus more.)

    I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, but that should give you a good starting point. If you have any questions about anything, just let me know.

    -Greg

  5. By regional, I assume you mean Southern U.S. The big trend in Atlanta right now is Farm-to-table and upscale Southern cuisine. Probably the best places that are doing that now are Restaurant Eugene, JCT Kitchen, Quinones Room, and Watershed - although there are quite a few others.

    If you're looking for something more casual, we have a few restaurants called a 'meat and three' (or two), named because you pick a meat from the daily selections and three (or two) vegetables from the daily offerings. Unfortunately the best ones are open just for lunch, but there are a few open at night if you can't get away during the day.

    Atlanta has quite the diverse ethnic populations also. So if you're looking for some other kind of regional - we have a restaurant for pretty much any country you can think of.

    Do you know where you'll be going for the business dinners? Where are you staying? Will you have transportation? All that will make a big difference.

    -Greg

  6. East Pearl in Duluth is usually good. 1810 Liddell Lane Duluth, GA (678) 380-6868 (Google the address, but it's off a little bit. It's basically at the corner of Shackleford Rd. and Liddell Lane in a building that looks like a ski lodge. I-85 to Steve Reynolds, go East. Left on Shackleford, East Pearl will be on your left.)

    I think they only have dim sum during the day - but they have it every day. And you're only half a block from the Gwinnett International Farmer's Market, and about 5-10 minutes from Super H Mart if you need to walk off all those calories.

    -Greg

  7. I havne't read the boards for a while, or I would have gotten to this sooner. Sorry about that.

    The two best Thai restaurants in Norcross are

    Thai Restaurant of Norcross (catchy, huh?) 6055 South Norcross Road

    Royal Thai Cuisine 6365 Spalding Drive

    I admit that I haven't been to either in a while, but they have both been around for many years and have stayed consistent over those years.

    -Greg

  8. I first started getting gout in 2001 (I was 29.), but didn't realize it at first. I had started playing tennis again, so the little twinges I felt in my feet I put off on just tweaking my ankle a little. I did a little research after getting these twinges a few more times, and realized it sounded a lot like gout. But since it's usually older men who develop it, and especially after seeing the treatment (being a dry vegetarian), I decided I didn't have gout. Heh. And then one day, I woke up and just rotated my foot slightly and almost screamed, it hurt so bad.

    Over the years, I've tried altering my diet, going through phases. I've never done any one 'alternative' treatment for a long period, usually because my attacks were fairly spaced out, and I'd get bored with it. Then a while back, I had a bad attack in both knees at the same time. It looked like I owed some guy named Guido a whole lot of money. I was on the couch for a month and out of work (restaurant business - the perfect occupation for having gout) for six weeks.

    I seriously modified my diet, and was okay for months. But earlier this year, I had another mild attack. But it lingered for over a month, coming and going. So I finally went on probenecid. So far, so good. Like an earlier poster, I really wanted to do this 'naturally'. Not that I dislike drugs in general, but that gout really pisses me off. For years, decades even, I was fine. Then one day, my body decides it's not going to get rid of the uric acid anymore. Why? That's what irks me the most - that there's not much to why it happens other than genetics and predisposition and other general stuff. It's very annoying.

    In my research, I've found that the non-animal food sources aren't that bad. Mushrooms, broccoli, beans, etc. have the purine causing chemicals, but they are slightly different. The worst things are red wine, offal, shellfish, beef, and oily fish. (I've noticed, like one poster above, that a lot of foods that are 'good for you' are bad for you if you have gout. Drinking a glass of red wine for reservetol, etc.; oily fish for the omega-3s. Gout is truly an evil condition.) Things that are mildly bad would be cheese (anything with protein), the vegetable/beans category, chicken and turkey. (Maybe other fowl too. And I think bison might fall in this category because of it's low fat and nutrition profile. But I haven't been able to find anything about it.) In between would be all other meat and alcohol.

    And lastly - none of that is necessarily true. Gout seems to be a very individualistic condition. It will effect people very differently. To all the people above who are dealing with it, good luck.

    -Greg

  9. I'm a little late, but I ate at Table about a year and a half ago. It was one of the best meals I had had in a long time. Main dish was duck breast with braised celery that was just incredible, and I had a half bottle of a sparkling Burgundy that was excellent with it. And, granted, a year and a half was a while ago, but I still recommend eating there.

    -Greg

  10. I rarely bake anything; biscuits would be the only semi-regular item. But I've been thinking about making crackers lately. I'd like to know the basics ideas, but I'm specifically thinking about making a rosemary cracker just for snacking.

    So what is the basic procedure? What's the dough like? And how do you get specific shapes - form them first or cut them after baking? Thank you for the help.

    -Greg

  11. This is basically a reposting of the first post, but I've updated the image links. A couple of other small things: John Fleer is no longer the executive chef at Blackberry Farm. I believe that he is/was planning on opening his own restaurant somewhere in Tennessee, but I haven't really heard any news on it. And if I remember correctly, his executive sous chef took over his position. Also, something I should have said from the beginning, the food pictures of the final night's dinner were not taken by me. They were all taken by a member of John Fleer's staff. And to whoever you may be - thank you for doing that.

    It was at Blackberry Farm. But first, a little back story...

    Last October I went to California for a vacation. Since I'm in the industry, I somewhat keep up with what's going on in other cities' culinary scenes. There is a young lady named Suzanne Goin who had gotten a lot of press, so I decided to eat at one of her restaurants, A.O.C. It was divine! After eating her braised pork cheek dish, the bartender asked me how it was. I said, "It was so good - it makes me want to propose to the chef." And we both laughed. (Although I will admit, I was only half-joking. At the time, I did have a little crush on her.)

    So anyway, time passes, and over this past summer, I decide to put Chef Goin's name into Google. Didn't really get too many links to anything that I didn't already know. Except for the one about Blackberry Farm (different link) and the cooking school classes that she would teach there. So long story short - I went. And it was incredible.

    Blackberry Farm is beautiful itself. It's in Eastern Tennessee in the mountains (foothills). The property is very old, but the Bealls have only owned it since the '70s (if I remember correctly). But they have transformed it into something wonderful. The service, the food, the atmosphere, the staff. Every little detail was thought of in advance. (Like having a very yummy box lunch waiting in your car when you check out.) I could go on and on about all the little things that I noticed that just made the stay so incredible. But let's get to the food (and wine)...

    The executive chef of Blackberry, Chef Fleer, did a demonstration before lunch one day. And Suzanne did one the next day. Chef Fleer's food is some of the best that I have ever tasted. It has a decided Southern Flair, and every bite is delicious. The picnic lunch we had on the last day consisted of suckling pig, roasted corn, seafood and bean salad, fig and walnut green salad, house-made spoon/pone bread, and some other things that I don't recall. He did not cook this particular meal, but I'm sure he oversaw its conception and execution. This one meal is actually something they do fairly regularly for the guests - as I'm sure the guests have demanded.

    And for the wine people - Ehren Jordan was there. He is the winemaker for Turley Winery and winemaker/owner of Failla Winery. Failla is a very small, fairly new winery, named for his wife's maiden name. Turley is known for their production of cult Zinfandels (no the grapes don't go around killing other varieties - though I could imagine people killing for these wines). The wine tasting was a vertical of 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 "Hayne Vineyard" wines (probably their most famous bottling). And Ehran was a joy to talk to. Unlike so many in the business, he is completely unpretentious. He doesn't say things like "How did you feel about the notes of the ula berry hiding underneath the pine scents?". He drinks/enjoys/educates about wine because he's passionate about it.

    Now for the first batch of pictures. (I couldn't figure out the image thingee, so they're all links.)

    The Main House is where I stayed. These are the, um, 'cheap' rooms. This also holds the dining room and the main kitchen. Next to it is the Guest House and the Oak Cottage (concierge), which I didn't get pictures of for some stupid reason. And just down the drive are the Holly Glade Cottages - where I really really couldn't afford to stay.

    My small, but cozy, Bedroom. And the Bathroom, which had a HEATED FLOOR!!! I'm thinking that is my vote for best invention ever.

    The Sitting Area of the Main House leads into the Bar Area (two pics), which leads into the Dining Alcove, which leads into the Main Dining Room. There is also the Game & Snack Room. Named such, by me, because it has games & snacks. (It's a bit hard to tell, but those are bottled Coke products. Bags of chocolate chip cookies, trail mix, M&Ms, etc. And the drawer underneath has Perrier, juices, and other stuff. And it was all free. Well, you weren't charged per item. But you sure were paying.)

    This is the view from the Sitting Room and the same view from the veranda.

    This is getting long, so I'll skim over the rest:

    Walland Pond

    Farmhouse Spa

    Hammock by the brook

    Horses

    A couple of Artsy Pictures. (Although I am proud of the second one. It turned out just like I wanted.)

    Footbridge

    The view from The Overlook, which I renamed Fat Man's Death. Because the short, but steep, hike to it almost killed me.

    Pretty Sunset (two pics)

    (For the rest of the pics, go to here.) <Actually, I can't figure out a way to get the whole album to be viewable to the public. I have quite a few more pictures of the grounds and stuff - if you want to see them, just let me know, and I'll email them or something to you.>

    Now for the good part - the food. The last night, the two chefs team up for dinner. This is what we had.

    Ham Hock Consomme (three pics)

    Salad Of Smoked North Carolina Trout - fennel and avacados with orange/sherry vinaigrette and saffron pickled fennel

    paired with Failla "Keefer Ranch" Chardonnay 2002

    Roasted Pears, Endive, And Arugula - with hazelnuts and shaved saint agur

    paired with Turley "Alban Vineyard" Rousanne 1999

    Eastern Skate - with parsnip puree, glazed Brussel sprouts, and Balsamic brown butter

    paired with Failla "Keefer Ranch" Pinot Noir 2001

    Liberty Farm Duck Breast (two pics) - with Kabocha squash, cavolo nero, and pomegranate salsa

    paired with Turley "Vineyard 101" Zinfandel 1996

    Tea Smoked Rack of Summerfield Farm Lamb - with sweet garlic wilted watercress and red pepper grits

    paired with Turley "Hayne Vineyard" Petite Syrah 1995

    Coffee Creme Caramel - with a ribbon cookie

    paired with Alban Vineyards "Rotten Luck" Viognier 2001

    Believe it or not, there are even more details that I could share. And every single one of them contibute to why, about 3 days later, I'm still unbelievably happy. (Although a little irked too, because I had to leave. lol)

    -Greg

  12. So, for example, dumplings. Pretty much every Asian cuisine has a version of these, so I'd do a little guide to dumpling types, with brief descriptions of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc., dumplings, and also some examples of dumplings from non-Asian cuisines. This I think, in addition to perhaps being interesting, could help demystify a new cuisine for someone who has never, for example, had Korean food.

    This is actually what I was trying to say (mostly). Something of a guide for people completely new to a specific cuisine to let them know what the main flavors/dishes/ingredients are to that cuisine. Thank you for saying it so much better than me.

    And just for the record - in my earlier post, I should have used the word traditional instead of authentic. That day-glo sweet and sour sauce is authentic to Chinese-American cuisine, but it's not traditional Chinese. (Or something like that.) And there's nothing wrong with that. I was just wondering how you can go to a restaurant and distinguish the 'traditional' from the 'authentic'. And the cuisine comparison chart things would be very useful in that. Thanks again.

    -Greg

  13. First, I'm really glad that you're writing this. It sounds like something I'd love to read (as I did your first book).

    I do have one idea, but I'm not sure if it's exactly compatible to your book. My problem has always been an issue of authenticity. (Not to start a debate about the merits of 'authentic'.) If someone goes to the typical American Chinese restaurant, they may love it (which is fine). But then they go somewhere else and get an 'authentic' dish, and hate it. Even though it may be prepared exactly the way it should be and tastes appropriately. Without actually travelling to Asia, how do you go about recognizing what is good and what isn't (regardless if you personally like it)?

    Okay, reading over that, it probably doesn't have anything to do with your book. I had it worded much better in my head, but it's not coming out that way now. I'll still post it in case someone can interpret what I really mean. :laugh: (And maybe after this headache goes away, I can reword what I was trying to say.)

    -Greg

  14. Fat Matt's has good barbecue. It's been around for a while and looks like it. Bad news - there is better barbecue in Atlanta, and the restaurant has already been on FTV (Rachael Ray). Mary Mac's is an Atlanta institution, and the quality of the food (like all meat and threes) is debatable. If they don't make the white gravy like the way your momma used to, then they're not any good - that type of thing. (And I'm almost positive that she's been there also.)

    If you're willing to do some ethnic markets that serve food, then that opens up your options a lot. Someone mentioned DeKalb Farmer's Market, which is a very cool place. A few things about it - their website is horrendous. They don't allow photography inside the store for some reason - not sure how they'd feel about having a television show shot there. And it's not a true farmer's market - it's more like an international market. All kinds of things that you've never heard of, a huge mixture of cultures, and good people watching.

    The Buford Highway Farmer's Market is similar, but very Asian-centric. A very cool place. It's been quite a while since I've been there though. I don't remember if you can actually eat there.

    The only other place that I can think of off the top of my head is Sabra International Market up in the Dunwoody suburb which is supposed to serve some delicious shawarma.

    I'll post more if I think of anything else.

    -Greg

  15. I had a couple more thoughts about Atlanta for you. There's a place in the Northern suburb of Lawrenceville called Sophia's Valentino. Really good American-Italian dishes with a few Greek ones thrown in. It is just off Highway 316 which is a busy road that runs between Atlanta and Athens, GA. But it's not visible from the highway - it's off in a little industrial/office park. If you didn't know it was there, you'd pass by and never realize it. Across the highway is a small local airport.

    Another place that seems to be the type of place you'd like is El Molino. It's a taqueria in the back of a tiny Mexican/Hispanic grocery store in a small strip mall. I've only eaten there once, but the jamon torta I had was quite good. As you go through the grocery store, you pick up a soda out of the cases, go to the window to order, and sit in the little back room while they cook your food. I've also heard that they have specials on the weekends, but haven't tried any of them myself.

    And there's always a ghetto burger at Ann's.

    -Greg

  16. There are definately ways to do it. It's just complicated because every state has their own set of laws. Back in late 2003 I spent two weeks in California, including a stay in the Wine Country. A local wine store there shipped a whole case back home for me. You could include wines that you bought elsewhere as long as you matched the number with bottles from their store (and they had a very good selection). And I live in Georgia which is one of the worst states for alcohol laws. I don't know for sure, but I assume that is still their policy.

    -Greg

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