Thursday, December 1, 2011


'Best of' awards, the holiday
happenings and Toys For Tots
It’s that time of year again when local media outlets present their ‘best of’ the Atlanta dining scene. Cudos to them all... A newcomer to Atlanta in 2011, the online food blog Eater Atlanta, has announced its ‘2011 Eater Awards’ local winners and they include: Restaurant of the Year ~ One Eared Stag; So Hot Right Now ~ No. 246; Chef of the Year ~ Guy Wong (Miso Izakaya); Bartender of the Year ~ David Durnell (Bocado); and Bathroom of the Year ~ Holeman & Finch Public House... The online restaurant reservation company, OpenTable, recently published the ‘Diners’ Choice Awards’ for the top 100 restaurants in the Country and three local eateries made the list: Aria, Canoe and Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails... Tom Maicon, over at Food & Beer Atlanta,  has picked his ‘Top 25 Beer Destinations’ for the year and the top 10 include: Brick Store Pub, Thinking Man Tavern, The Porter Beer Bar, Leon’s Full Service, Wild Wing Cafe Marietta, 5 Seasons Brewing Company (all three locations),  Twain’s Billiards & Tap and the Wrecking Bar Brewpub.  For the full list, visit Creative Loafing’s longtime columnist of 24 years, Cliff Bostock, has announced his top 10 Atlanta restaurants for 2011. He adds a disclaimer that this is not a ‘best of’ list, just his favorites and that some happen to be near his home in Grant Park: Spoon in East Atlanta, The Shed at Glenwood, Lunacy Black Market, Eclipse de Luna at Miami Circle, Miso Izakaya, Holy Taco, Octane and the Little Tart Bakeshop, Las Palmeras, Stir it Up in Little Five Points and La Pietra Cucina. His other moderately priced favorites are Top Flr, El Señor Taco, El Taco Veloz, Fritti, Chateau de Saigon, Daddy D’z, Pura Vida, the Bakery at Cakes & Ale, Bocado, Super Pan, Sprig, Goin’ Coastal, Fox Brother’s BBQ, Stone Bowl, Peter Chang’s, and, of course, Popeyes. His pricier faves include Miller Union, Empire State South, Sotto Sotto, No. 246, One Eared Stag, Serpas and Cakes & Ale... Atlanta Magazine’s ‘Top 50’ picks are available online ( but here’s a recap of their Top 10 favorites:  1. ~ Bacchanalia; 2. ~ Restaurant Eugene; 3. ~ Cakes & Ale; 4. ~ Holeman & Finch Public House; 5. ~ Tomo; 6. ~ Empire State South; 7. ~ Bone’s; 8. ~ Miller Union; 9. ~ Aria; and 10. ~ Sotto Sotto... Food & Wine magazine recently scouted the U. S. for the ‘Best Fried Chicken’ and named two area eateries among 30 others: Mary Mac’s Tea Room ~ “This Atlanta institution, which resembles a country-style kitchen, has been serving fried chicken and yeasty rolls since 1945. In the Southern tradition, the tea is intensely sweet.” And, Greenwood’s in Roswell also made the list ~ “In a 1790 log cabin called Greenwood’s, the decorating theme — Day-Glo Grateful Dead posters on dark pine slats — doesn’t deter diners from standing in line for honey-pepper-dipped fried chicken.”... And, congratulations to Atlanta’s chef Todd Richards (Café at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead), who was named ‘one of four new chefs to watch’ in the November issue of Esquire magazine ~ “Following European masters at the Ritz, Richards, an American, shows his own sumptuous style in dishes like foie gras with huckleberry gastrique.”... Also honored recently were Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner, partners of Local Three Kitchen & Bar, who were named restaurateurs of the year at the annual Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence awards held in November.  Other awards that night included Rich Chey, owner of Doc Chey restaurants, who received the Distinguished Service Award; Will Harris of White Oak Pastures who received the Innovator Award; and Ted Turner was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Ted’s Montana Grill.
Holiday happenings...
•For the past five years, Atkins Park Tavern in Virginia Highland has pedaled in the Christmas season with an annual 15 to 20-mile Santa Ride. This year’s ride takes place on Wednesday, December 7, setting out from the tavern at 6 p.m. and braking several times en route for holiday cheer.  This is the time for you to haul out the Santa hats and antlers affixed to helmets, elf costumes, jingle bells and wrap lights for the bike. Since it will be dark, add a Rudolph nose. This 2012 Georgia Chain Gang fundraiser benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Enter yourself or welcome the yuletide riders back around 9 p.m. Atkins Park Tavern is located at 794 North Highland, 404-876-7249.
•On Thursday, December 8, Der Biergarten (located in the Luckie Marietta District Downtown) will host its second Nikolaustag Holiday Celebration complete with adult festivities, music, food and beer specials.  Santa will make an appearance for grown-up reindeer games like beer pong on the patio, hide the pickle - a German tradition - and more.  Guests can enjoy $5 liters of draft beer, complimentary appetizers and a DJ from 5 – 7:30 p.m.     The German restaurant and beer garden has been transformed into a holiday wonderland dripping with miles of garland and lights, nearly 10,000 ornaments, 72 nutcrackers and 26 Christmas trees. 404.521.2728,         
•Mark your calendars for December 15th for Food 101’s ‘12 Beers Of Christmas Dinner’ ($55 plus tax & gratuity). Executive chef Justin Keith has created a dinner featuring four courses, each paired with a tasting of three different beers. Courses include an artisan cheese plate with pickled orange cranberry relish and crostini; a blue point oyster crudo with orange coriander mignonette and micro arugula; chestnut soup with fromage blanc and fried sage; a smoked rabbit pot pie; and an updated twist on your grandmother’s fruit cake. Food 101 is located at 4969 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, 404.497.9700.
•Also on the 15th, celebrate the season at Rosebud, where beloved bar keep Jeff will create three seasonally-inspired cocktails for just $15 from 6 - 9 p.m.. Guests will enjoy the special drinks and a DJ spinning holiday tunes. For more info visit  or call 404.347.9747. Rosebud is located at 1397 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306.
•Have breakfast or dinner with Santa ($20 adults, $10 children) at One.midtown kitchen on Saturday, December 17.  The family-style breakfast includes French toast, snowball donuts, bacon, fresh fruit, hot chocolate and fresh juice. One is located at 559 Dutch Valley Road in Atlanta and reservations are required.  Don’t forget your camera for a photo with Santa, 404.892.4111.
•Meehan’s Public House in Sandy Springs is also celebrating on the 17th with a four-course Celtic Christmas Dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Each course will be paired with an alcohol from United Distributors. Meehan’s will also be hosting a toy drive for Camp Sunshine. The evening will cost $42 per person including alcohol pairings. A 10% discount will be offered to guests who bring a gift for the Camp.  Meehan’s Public House is located at 227 Sandy Springs Place. For more info visit or call 404.843.8058.

Trend of the month...
Meehan’s Public House Downtown joins the national fight against prostate cancer by hosting a Mustaches and Mini Skirts party on Friday, December 9, 2011. The event is to celebrate the culmination of the ever-popular ‘No Shave November,’ also called ‘Movember’ trend that has been popping up across the globe ( In 2010, the American Cancer Society noted that 447,000 Mo Bros, as the participants are called, raised more than $48.6 million dollars. Guys shave your beards and leave your mustaches for this one night and ladies show up in your favorite mini skirt to support the cause. The event starts at 9 p.m. and costs $10 at the door. Meehan’s will offer food and drink specials as well as live music for the evening,  404.214.9821. 200 Peachtree St., Downtown,

Toys For Tots...
The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys each year, and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. This year finds BLT Steak Atlanta (W. Atlanta-Downtown Hotel on Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd.) participating through December 14th. Guests who visit BLT Steak and donate a new, unwrapped toy will receive a complimentary cocktail or dessert.  You can also receive a free appetizer by bringing in a toy for the collection going on through December 17 at Ray’s on the River, Ray’s Killer Creek and Ray’s in the City. Visit Ray’s online for location information,   Other drop off locations accepting through January 1st include One.midtown kitchen (559 Dutch Valley Road), Two urban licks (820 Ralph McGill Blvd.), TAP (1180 Peachtree Street) and Parish: Foods & Goods (240 N. Highland Avenue).
FIGO Pasta introduces its annual ‘2012 FIGO Pasta Pepper Shaker Calendar’ and a set of coupons valuing nearly $100, available for $9 at all seven FIGO locations through January. A portion of each calendar sold will benefit Wellspring Living. Visit for more details... H & F Bottle Shop in South Buckhead on Peachtree Road has an idea for Christmas, a new cocktail kit.  The folks over at H & F have put together a Sazerac kit with everything you need  for your bourbon-lovin’, gin-sippin’, beer-geekin’, wine-collecting’ loved ones. The drink was created at the Sazerac House around 1850, and the recipe has changed many times through the decades due to availability of cognac, absinthe and bitters brands. The kit comes with: Sazerac Rye, Angostura and Peychaud’s Bitters, Herbsaint, a citrus peeler, and two lemons for $75. All cocktail kits come with a complimentary bag of Kold Draft ice cubes. Call 404.841.4070 or visit for more ideas... Chef-owner Anne Quatrano and cheesemonger Tim Gaddis also have an item for the holidays and have launched Cheese & Crackers, A Southern Collective at Atlanta’s gourmet market, Star Provisions. This savory cheese-of-the-month club will offer cheese lovers and novices a selection of three themed Southern cheeses each month. Members can select three ($200), six ($375) or 12-month ($775) memberships during which they will enjoy one to one-and-a-half pounds each of three types of Southern cheeses per month. The 2011-2012 cheese themes include: December 2011 – ‘Southern Blues’ features blue cheeses from around the Southeast; January 2012 – Georgia cheeses; February 2012 – Aged Southern cheeses; March 2012 – North Carolina cheese; April 2012 – Spring picnic cheeses; May 2012 – Tennessee cheeses; June 2012 – Southern goat’s milk cheeses; July 2012 – Alabama cheeses; August 2012 – Southern sheep’s milk cheeses; September 2012 – Kentucky cheeses; and October 2012 – Virginia cheeses. Memberships are available by calling 404.365.0410 ext. 132. The monthly shipment can be picked up at Star Provisions or shipped anywhere in the United States. A $15.95 shipping fee will be added to each shipment.