Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tucked away on an obscure side road flanking Piedmont Park (Atlanta's inner-city oasis of rolling meadows and urban forest), One Midtown Kitchen glows austerely amidst the heavy foliage, radiating soft blue light from horizontal stripes of low-wattage neon adorning its modernist, wooden exterior. Low lighting prevails indoors as well, most of it emanating from dozens of tiny dangling pendant lights, with its dark ceiling the dining room suggesting a galaxy of falling stars. At the end of the building a giant picture window looks across a sprawling lawn and uplit oak trees. Clearly, very flattering lighting.
But within this serene, stylized environment high energy characterizes the mood. Both our waiter and host wore over-the-top personas (but terribly friendly). Oh and yes, Cafe Drake and Mother arrived on Prom Night. Happily the rented tuxes and sequined gowns were all herded to tables across the vast room, next to a sprawling bar area. But we were feeling festive enough ourselves, and soon were sipping chilly rose wine and munching on flatbreads and hummus, whisked to the table upon seating.
A cheese plate ($10) was very good, although only one of the three selections was local - we would have loved to see the entire platter devoted to Georgia's growing (and award winning) artisinal cheese industry. Jumbo specimen calamari ($10) proved the best appetizer however, with each giant tentacle lightly fried in a spicy batter, protruding from a pool of pepper jelly mayonnaise. Cafe Drake could have gobbled down at least two more portions. Sophisticated spins on Southern standbys soon arrived from the kitchen, including a crusty yet succulent long-roasted beef brisket ($18), paired with pimento cheese risotto and a watermelon and sweet corn salad. Mother's scallops ($20) were enormous (where do they shop for these huge sea creatures?), perfectly seared, fork-tender and seasoned just enough to enhance their sweet and salty goodness.
Local celebrity chef Richard Blaise has made quite an impression on the Atlanta dining scene since his appearance in the finale two years ago of TV's Top Chef. With something like four or five restaurants dotted throughout the city, Blaise's brand of comfort food by way of molecular gastronomy is finding a welcome home in the Deep South. Nowhere more than Flip Burger do the two dining concepts come together better, i.e. a dessert selection featuring liquid nitrogen-tweaked "milkshakes" in flavors like fois gras and pistachio-truffle.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
a little over 1 cup of urad dhal / 1/4 t. turmeric / 4 plum tomatoes, chopped / 1 onion, chopped / 2 T. oil / 1/2 t. cumin seeds / 1 T. fennel seeds / 2-inch piece of ginger, minced / 2 dried red chiles, broken into pieces/ salt and pepper / chopped cilantro for garnish
- Rinse urad dhal very well then add with 4 cups of water to a large saucepan. Add tomato, turmeric and onion. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer - covered - for about 30 minutes. If foam rises to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon.
- For the last part, heat oil in a small skillet and fry cumin and fennel seeds until they pop. Be careful to not burn!
- Add ginger and chile and fry for 30 seconds.
- Pour seasoned oil into pot of urad dhal and simmer gently for 5 more minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm, topped with chopped cilantro.