Friday, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012


Cudos to the locals, happenings

& Spring festivals around town

CNN recently released a list of the ‘50 Best Chinese Restaurants in the U.S.’ and two local eateries made the list. Canton House Chinese Restaurant on Buford Highway in Atlanta: “This Cantonese restaurant serves dim sum for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Talk about commitment to craft.” And, Tasty China on Franklin Road in Marietta: “Once you’ve tried the spicy fried eggplant with the numbing beef roll at this Sichuan restaurant, you probably won’t have enough sensation in your tongue to go for more.”... Atlanta-based High Road Craft Ice Cream has been selected as the ‘Grand Champion’ of the 2012 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. Husband and wife team Nicki and Keith Schroeder have been producing their small-batch ice creams since April 2010. Their products are featured at Whole Foods markets throughout the Southeast and will be in Fresh Market stores nationwide in April... The 2012 James Beard Awards have announced this year’s nominations and Atlanta is well represented.  For ‘Best Chef: Southeast,’ three local chefs made the cut.  Hugh Acheson for Five and Ten restaurant in Athens (he also owns Empire State South locally and The National in Athens), chef Billy Allin of Cakes & Ale in Decatur and chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene. Acheson also has a book in the Cookbook category. Chef Kevin Gillespie from Woodfire Grill made the nomination for ‘Rising Star Chef of theYear’ and in the ‘Outstanding Pastry Chef’ category, chef Aaron Russell (Restaurant Eugene) and chef Cynthia Wong (Empire State South) were both added.  In the ‘Outstanding Restaurateur’ category, look for Mike Klank and Eddie Hernanadez from Taqueria Del Sol.  And lastly, making the cut for ‘Outstanding Bar Program’ both Holeman and Finch Public House and The Porter Beer Bar were nominated.The winners will be announced in early May... Chef Linton Hopkins’ Restaurant Eugene was also the only Alanta restaurant to make this year’s Gayot (guy-oh) Restaurant Issue as one of the ‘2012 Top 40 Restaurant in the US. And, chef Ford Fry and Drew Belline’s No. 246 in Decatur made the cut on Gayot’s ‘2012 Top 10 New Restaurants in the US.’... Food & Wine magazine’s award for ‘The People’s Best New Chef’ is selected by the public and in the ‘Southeast’ category this year, four local chefs are in the running: Guy Wong of Miso Izakaya in Atlanta, Ryan Smith of Empire State South in Atlanta, Steven Satterfiled of Miller Union in Atlanta and Peter Dale from The National in Athens... Travel & Leisure magazine has published a list of ‘America’s Best Wine Bars’ and Atlanta is represented by Barcelona Wine Bar on N. Highland Avenue: “This wine bar goes for a contemporary look — wood-plank walls, airy kitchen — with a wraparound patio that’s loosely inspired by La Rambla, the famous tree-lined main street of Barcelona.”... Sublime Doughnuts on 10th Street in Midtown, has been nominated by Bake magazine for ‘America’s Best Bakery.’ Sublime is the creation of Atlanta native, chef Kamal Grant, known for offering handmade, high-quality, gourmet pastries to the doughnut addict. The winner will be announced in May... Earlier this year, Southern Living magazine asked its readers to vote for the ‘Best Food Destinations in the South.’ Decatur, Georgia was on the very short list of 10 cities. Here’s why Decatur is one of the Tastiest Towns in the South: “Known as a progressive little pocket of Atlanta, Decatur is ‘like Oakland is to San Francisco,’ says Billy Allin, chef/owner of Cakes & Ale Restaurant and Bar, which serves smart, sophisticated fare. ‘It has its own identity but is considered a part of Atlanta. People here are well traveled but love our small-town vibe,’ he adds. Expect laid-back spots such as Brick Store Pub and Farm Burger that, ‘in a very casual way, are doing it right,’ says Billy.”... And Open Table’s ‘2012 Best Service’ list is ready with the Top 100 restaurants being recognized.  Three local restaurants were honored: Bacchanalia on Howell Mill Road in West Midtown; Bones on Piedmont Road in Buckhead; and Woodfire Grill on Cheshire Bridge Road.
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the 20th Annual Dining Out for Life event, one of Open Hand’s largest annual fundraisers, will be hosted at more than 100 metro Atlanta restaurants. For diners, 20% or more of their total check will be donated to support Open Hand, which recently celebrated the delivery of its 20 millionth meal in Atlanta. Open Hand is a nonprofit and has grown to become the nation’s largest community-based provider of home-delivered meals – more than 5,000 meals daily across 17 Georgia counties. For a full list of participating restaurants, visit or call 404-419-3333.
More than 40 of Atlanta’s best chefs will gather to participate in Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Atlanta on Thursday, April 12 at the Georgia Aquarium. Celebrating its 24th anniversary, this gourmand food and wine event will feature specialty cuisine samplings; live, silent and beverage auctions; wine tastings and live entertainment. This year’s event will feature Bravo TV’s 2011 Top Chef Masters (season three) winner, chef Floyd Cardoz as its honorary chef. General Admission is $250 per person and VIP Admission is $350 per person. The VIP reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 770.436.5151.
On April 5th, 5 Seasons Brewing on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs will be celebrating its 11th Anniversary.  For the past 5 years it has been celebrated as The Jam for Dan. A crucial piece to the foundational family of 5 Seasons, Chef Dan Gordon passed away on March 28, 2008, he was also a drummer. Musicians within the 5 Seasons family and are now a part of the celebration. Each year the tradition has been renewed, growing larger in tribute. What was initially billed as The 5 Seasons House Band has evolved into two bands, Red Zeppelin and Blue Horizon. The event is free and open to the public with a big party, half-priced specials, appetizers, fun & games. The ceremonies will begin with a toast to Dan at 5:55 and the music will last until they’ve played all the songs they know. For more, visit
Canoe's outdoor music series, Song of the South, returns on April 18th at the outdoor River Bar on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. It will feature local artists every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the spring. Guests can relax in the riverside Adirondack chairs, gather around the River Bar, or enjoy appetizers or dinner from chef Carvel Grant Gould at garden tables. The 2012 spring schedule includes new musicians to the series including Wednesday, April 18th, Lauren Staley Morrow & Jason Morrow (from Whiskey Gentry), as well as Tim Brantley on April 25th. Visit for the schedule through June.
Haven Restaurant and sister venue Valenza Italian invite you to join them for their Annual Neighborhood Patio Parties. Chefs Stephen and chef Matt will be grilling out on the Big Green Egg and serving up seasonal bites paired with a selection of beer and wine. Guests will enjoy live music by Gross, Hill and Callahan. Admission is $20 per person and includes food and beverages. Haven Restaurant & Bar will host on Thursday, April 5th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Valenza Italian will entertain on Thursday, April 12th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1441 Dresden Drive in Brookhaven. Visit or
Festivals & Fairs...
It’s that time of year and with an early Spring, everyone will be taking to the streets.
The Kennesaw/Big Shanty Festival features over 250 Arts & Crafts booths, 25 food booths, two entertainment stages, Civil War Encampment, a variety of children’s activities and live acoustic music throughout the weekend. Taking place Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22nd in Downtown Kennesaw.  Admission is free and a parade will kickoff the festival at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.  Call 770.423.1330 or visit
The 3rd Annual Lake Lanier Islands Resort Arts & Craft Festival is planned for Saturday & Sunday, April 14th & 15th. The festival sight is located at the Islands Marina in Buford.   It is filled with visual arts and crafts and will feature continuous entertainment.  Kick back and listen to the sweet sounds of Scott Thompson.  There will be a variety of food booths and a large interactive children’s area.  The festival is woven into Georgia’s largest ‘in the water’ boat show.  Free admission to the event with a $10 fee per vehicle to enter the Resort (discount coupons will be available). For more info, visit or
This year’s Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival will feature over 175 arts & crafts booths, 15 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities.  The festival is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, April 28th & 29th at the Village Green in Smyrna and admission is free. Atkins Park and the Smyrna Market Village, adjacent to the Jonquil Festival, will also host its 10th Annual Crawfish & Shrimp Boil on Saturday & Sunday as well. Visit for more info.
The City of Cumming invites you to sample over 25 local restaurants from the Cumming and Forsyth County area at Taste of Cumming on April 7, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.  The event will be held at the Cumming Fairgrounds on Castleberry Road. Sample your favorite restaurants for $1 - $4. There will also be a kid’s zone, free entertainment, an egg hunt, touch-a-truck, music and more.  Admission is free.  For a complete lineup of entertainment and participating restaurants, visit
Grape Crush Productions is ‘showering’ Buckhead with red, white and bubbles with its first annual Buckhead Wine Festival on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 2 - 6 p.m. at the Andrews Entertainment District at 56 East Andrews Drive. As guests enjoy tasting a wide variety of wines from around the world, they’ll also have the opportunity to take part in wine seminars, shop at the pop-up market, savor tasty treats from local vendors and enjoy live entertainment. The event supports the Atlanta Community Food Bank with a canned food drive and monetary donations. Tickets are $25 advance/$35 door. Visit for details.
The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is back April 20 - 22 in Piedmont Park. The Dogwoods will be in full bloom and hundreds of artists from around the country will set up their tents for the Festival. An Atlanta staple for more than 75 years, there is something for everyone.  In addition to the fine art for adults and art collectors, there is a Kids Village featuring huge inflatables, arts & crafts and face painting for all ages, as well as the ever-popular 24-foot rock-climbing wall. Music has also become an essential feature of the weekend’s festivities with a wide array of diverse offerings filling the springtime air. Visit for all the details.
It’s the 27th Anniversary of The Georgia Renaissance Festival, April 14 to June 3, on Saturdays and Sundays plus Memorial Day, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Inside the gates of the 16-Century Kingdom, you’ll find Knights and Maidens Faire, King Henry VIII and his Court, jolly pubs and a 32-acre World Bazaar of  treasures created by artisans who also perform demonstrations of their crafts.  Feast like royalty on a variety of delights including the popular giant roasted turkey legs. Endless entertainment waits with ten stages featuring juggling, music, comedic storytelling and feats of incredible physical skills.  There is also a Petting Zoo and rides in a medieval amusement park. The Festival is located at I-85 and Exit 61- Peachtree City/Fairburn.  Adults $19.95, Senior 60+ $17.95, Youth ages 6 - 12 $8.95, 5 and under FREE.  For more info, call the Festival Hot Line 770.964.8575 or visit
Celebrate Mother Nature this spring at the 8th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest in Candler Park with a diverse lineup of talent and activities. Kicking off on '420' and continuing through Sunday, April 22, the weekend is jammed-packed with performances from regional and local artists, live comedy, a cask ale tasting, Planet 420, the kid’s zone and more. A portion of the proceeds raised will be donated to Park Pride – as part of the mission of the 420 fest is to leave the park in better shape than it was found. Admission is free with local art, food and SweetWater’s brews available for purchase. Adults, 21 and up with a valid ID are requested to purchase a $5 wristband.  For more information, please visit