Friday, July 28, 2017

Star Grazing


Umi continues to draw locals and celebrities alike. Recent sightings include SPANX founder Sara Blakely (whose shapewear empire is conveniently headquartered across Peachtree), “Ironman” Robert Downey, Jr. and Jaleel White, best known for his role as Steve Urkel in the ‘90s sitcom “Family Matters.” Described as a “very nice guy,” White dined on Ito-kase along with a few of the restaurant’s more exotic items -- monkfish liver and sea urchin.

Get On Board -- Storico Fresco Meat and Cheese Boards -- for Easy Entertaining


Simplify menu planning for poolside gatherings, picnics and outdoor concerts by picking up a Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante weekly featured meat and cheese board ($16). No need to pre-order the rotating selection of authentic Italian meats and cheese portioned to serve two to four people. Pop in, place your request at the counter and your board will be ready in about 10 minutes. Browse or enjoy a beverage while waiting or call ahead if you’ve no time to spare. Combination examples include Prosciutto San Daniele, soppressata, pantaleo, Ubriacone and mixed olives; mortadella, Lou Bergier and Santa Teresa with mixed olives and pistachios; and finocchiona, bresaola, Canestrato de Madaio and provolone piccante, with pistachios and other wonderful Italian charcuterie and cheeses.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cocktail World Mover and Shaker and International Bartender of the Year Shingo Gokan Visits Himitsu July 26-29


World renowned cocktail ace Shingo Gokan, who’s also the creative director behind the bar program at Himitsu, will visit the Tokyo-style cocktail lounge in Buckhead over the dates of July 26-29. Over the weekend, Gokan took home the International Bartender of the Year title at the Tales of the Cocktail conference in NOLA. Read more about Gokan on The Dish blog and open his Instagram @SoberSpeaker for insight on his thoughts and inspirations. Reserve a seat at Himitsu to experience the wow factor of Gokan’s signature sips such as the Raichi of lychee-cello, lemon, grapefruit and rosewater ($16); Serori with gin, celery, Chartreuse, elderflower and lime ($19); Kyuri, potent with gin, cucumber, lemongrass, pineapple and absinthe ($18); Yashinomi of rum, coconut, Kaffir lime, galangal honey and chili ($16); Ko-Hi, alert with mezcal, coconut, cold-press coffee, kokuto and vanilla salt ($18); or Kemuri, strong with Japanese whisky, Kijoshu sake, Oloroso sherry, Benedictine, bitters and smoke ($21). Serious about his cocktails, Gokan pays “Homage” to fun concoctions like Beton cappuccino of mezcal, Becherovka, cacao butter, citrus, egg white and tonic water ($17); a lavender-laced Kiwi gin gimlet ($17); and Peanut Alexander blending bourbon, peanut butter, Averna and vanilla cream ($16). You go, Gokan!

Third Thursday Evenings Come “Alive in Roswell” with Music, Food and Family Fun -- July 27


The back-to-school bus will arrive soon, ferrying a load of afterschool activities. Let the whole family celebrate summer’s last few unstructured evenings at Alive in Roswell on Thursday, July 27. The monthly free festival, sponsored by Explore Roswell, parties hearty from 5-9 p.m. each third Thursday evening from April through October. Activities running concurrently on Historic Canton Street and in Historic Roswell Square entertain all ages, whether tastes run toward food trucks, live music, kids’ games, face painting, balloons or visiting boutiques and businesses around the festival. A free trolley transports between the two venues. Adults, take cheer in hand. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased and consumed at Alive in Roswell!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Long Days Lead to Happy Hours, in Town and Out


Atlanta restaurants are ensuring summer’s long, lingering afternoon into evening hours are extra happier by planning happy hour food and drink specials. Pick your chill factor -- air-conditioned cool or patio people-watching wearing your killer sunglasses. 5Church Atlanta, at the corner of 14th and Peachtree, in Midtown throttles up a Rush Hour Remedy Monday through Thursday afternoons from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the bar and high-tops area. Munch on ahi tuna poke with herb and cheese flatbread, PEI mussels, a charcuterie and cheese board or Prime C.A.B. Sliders ($6-$8). Tank fillers include Three Taverns Brewery Prince of Pilsen, Storypoint Chardonnay or Chateau d’Eau Viognier at $5/glass; Les Trois Couronnes Cotes-du-Rhone at $7/glass or Square Plumb & Level cabernet sauvignon-cabernet franc for $8/glass.

Dock at Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar in The Avenue East Cobb every day from 4-6 p.m. to join the crew for Oyster Happy Hour featuring $1 “Buck-a-Shuck” oysters of the day, $5 draft beer of the day and $5 house punch.

The outlook is rosy for those who relax in the bar area at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails for Rosé & Happy Hour every Monday-Thursday from 5-6:30 p.m. Slurp up a baker’s dozen of oysters at half price while sipping rosé wine priced at $5 a glass.

During The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill Oyster Hour, crack half the price off a dozen raw oysters from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday at both the Buckhead and Canton Street locations. Every Monday, enjoy a pound of peel ‘n eat shrimp at the half-pound price. Tuesdays, all bottles of wine are half off.

Caravan, carefree, to Gypsy Kitchen Gypsy Hour Monday through Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for a rotating selection of wine vintages and unique varietals at $5 a glass, the perfect go-withs for tapas priced at $4-$5 each.

HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown pours $3 well drinks and $3 SweetWater 420 drafts every Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 p.m. HOBNOB keeps kids and parents alike happy and full by offering one free kid’s menu item free per adult entrée purchase on Sunday through Thursday nights from 5-7 p.m. at their Midtown and Brookhaven locations.

All three Ray’s Restaurants set aside time for happy hour bar and bite deals. When downtown, retreat to the calm of Ray’s in the City bar and lounge Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until close. During happy hours, bar-friendly bites are half-price, including Ray’s “New Orleans” barbecue shrimp, steamed mussels, Crispy Point Judith calamari and Ray’s blue cheese chips. Raw bar is half the usual price Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. until closing (excludes cold seafood tower). Drink specials include $6 house wines by the glass, $8 Tito’s cocktails and $8 Savanah Bourbon. Enjoy live music Tuesday through Saturday evenings.

Happy hour specials flow through the bar and lounge areas of Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs and Rays at Killer Creek in Alpharetta: Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. (Ray’s on the River) and 3-7 p.m. (Ray’s at Killer Creek), 9 p.m. – close at both restaurants and Sunday from 5-9 p.m. (Ray’s at Killer Creek). At both restaurants, enjoy $1 oysters on the half shell and select half-price appetizers including Ray’s brisket burger, Ray’s “New Orleans” barbecue shrimp, goat cheese pimento fritters and Ray’s blue cheese chips. Spiked punch is $6 a glass and local draft beers command $4 at both establishments; glasses of house wine are half price at Ray’s at Killer Creek and $6 at Ray’s on the River.

Marlow’s Tavern, Willy’s and Babalu are Sweet on Charity, Donate Almost $75K this Summer


That mighty mouthful satisfies senses even more when you know the restaurant behind it is reaching out to help others and aid local communities. The June 26 grand opening event for Babalu Tapas & Tacos in Midtown raised $10,426.96 in donations to be split between the Atlanta Children’s Shelter and Shepherd Center. Look for more community benefitting opportunities from this new hotspot!

Thanks to guests’ donations, Marlow’s Tavern locations raised nearly $40K for Special Olympics Georgia in June, exceeding expectations. In return for their June generosity, Marlow’s gave each guest donating $1 or more a $5 gift card to use on a future visit. The 19th Annual Marlow’s Tavern Golf Classic in Roswell on Sept. 18, hosted by Marlow’s Tavern and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management, will drive even more funds toward Special Olympics Georgia.

Willy’s Mexicana Grill strives to inspire youth and support children in our community through donations and hands-on learning experiences. Calling upon loyal customers to pitch in during June and help raise $22K in 22 days, Willy’s was thrilled to surpass its goal and present a total of $25,585 to The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. Willy’s presented the check July 11 at The Boys & Girls Clubs’ “Salsa, Salsa” event, where the Brookhaven club proved to be hot stuff, winning the competition.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Airport Travelers, Try this New Wine Blend: HBF and Premier Airport Wine Bar Chain Vino Volo


Life’s a journey. If your journeys fly through airports across the USA, drop this info pin in your oenophile notebook. Atlanta-based Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF) is joining forces with Vino Volo, a premium wine bar with more than 40 locations in 32 airports across the U.S. and Canada. Vino Volo (Italian for “wine flight”) provides a sophisticated and relaxing wine experience for airport travelers who want to enjoy wines from around the world by the glass while waiting for their flights. In Vino Volo wine shops, travelers can select high-quality wines -- perfect for that last-minute gift. The merger is a natural blend. According to HBF CEO Regynald G. Washington, “Both HBF and Vino Volo are widely recognized for operational expertise, top-notch guest service and a strong commitment to employees.” Like HBF, Vino Volo has received extensive accolades from the industry, counting 34 "Airport Revenue News" awards including "Food Operator with Highest Regard for Customer Service" 11 years in a row and “Best Airport Wine Bar” at the Airport Food & Beverage awards. The coupling of HBF and Vino Volo embraces and enhances the spirit of HBF founder Wassim Hojeij’s vision of “enhancing the passenger’s dining experience, one airport at a time.”

Hit The Big Ketch for Sun, Sea and Sandwiches during National Sandwich Month in August


National Sandwich Month spreads across August like PB&J, but with much more intriguing options (not to dis the lunchbox staple). Atlantans fishing for a beach feel and seaworthy sandwiches can steer to The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill Buckhead or Canton Street locations to pull in prize “Ketch” sandwiches, each served with your choice of side item, Aug. 1-31. A ciabatta grouper sandwich ($17.95) layers blackened grouper, bacon, tomato, Arcadian lettuce and honey horseradish dill sauce within a toasted ciabatta bun. Or, drift toward the luxury of lobster grilled cheese boasting chunks of lobster meat sautéed in butter and nestled amid melty American cheese, tomatoes and jalapeño cornmeal Texas toast ($16.95). Cool and lovely, the shrimp and crab salad croissant ($14.95) heaps a salad of large diced shrimp, lump crab meat, Meyer aioli and diced celery onto a buttered and toasted PFG croissant, dressed with tomato and lettuce. Unlike the usual beachy chow, these are all sandwich, no sand.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What’s New on Pinterest: All About Avocados


Getting peeled, smashed and smeared can be the pits. Unless you’re an avocado. All About Avocados goes beyond guac and avocado toasts, adding the creamy dreamy fruit to nearly everything. Stock up and add its healthful riches to egg rolls, blackened shrimp cucumber bites, dips, hummus, deviled eggs, sandwiches, soups and “supergreen” ice cream. Elevate chickpeas and feta, caprese salads, vinaigrettes and even grilled cheese with a touch of avocado. That secret pesto sauce ingredient? You guessed it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#Foodgram: Drizzle and Dip


Skip the 24-hour trip to Cape Town, South Africa and visit Sam Linsell’s blog Drizzle and Dip instead. The Cape Town food stylist-writer-photographer-cookbook author-baker hunts down the delish. Lick the screen? You might.

Appetizing Aperture


If you want to keep a rosé from wilting (punchy pun intended), follow Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar beverage manager Jose Pereiro’s lead and make it a slushie. Jose’s Frosé ($9) is equally refreshing on the first sip and the last. Ah, summer’s savior, found.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Star Grazing


British actor Sacha Baron Cohen was spotted dining at Umi in Buckhead on a July Saturday. To copycat, sit at table 61, tilt some Moscow Mules and relish Umi starters of yellow tail jalapeño, spicy tuna crispy rice, madai carpaccio and sanmori followed by specialty typhoon and soft shell crab rolls.

Marlow’s Tavern Raises More Than $38K for Special Olympics Georgia during June


Marlow’s Tavern friends and neighbors came through with donations for Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA) during the restaurant’s June donation drive. For every donation of $1 or more, guests received $5 gift cards to use on a future visit. The June drive raised a total of $38,976 -- $18,000 more than last year’s drive. Fundraising swings to the greens on Sept. 18 for the 19th Annual Marlow’s Tavern Golf Classic hosted by Marlow’s Tavern and Sterling Spoon Culinary Management. Since 1999, this annual event has raised more than $685,000 for SOGA athletes. This year’s tournament goal is to raise $95,000. Information on sponsorships, attending and making donations can be found online.