What We’re Eating: Carta da Musica

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One of our favorite items on this month’s Regional Menu at Pricci is the Insalata of Blood Orange, Saved Fennel, Lolla Rossa Lettuce, Roasted Sardinian Olives, Carta da Musica, and Fiore Sardo Cheese.

It’s not just that this salad is terrifically seasonal- of course we love the top-of-season blood oranges and the crispy fennel bulb, but what we love most is that this dish is rooted in history. The literal translation for “Carta da Musica” is “Sheet Music”, named because the dough is supposed to be rolled so thin that one can read sheet music through the finished flat bread.

We didn’t have any sheet music lying around at our taste test, but the crisp, light-as-air bread was indeed thin enough to see through yet sturdy enough to hold the weight of the perfect bite: an olive, a blood orange, and a slice of fennel.

The bread is made simply with flour, semolina, salt, and warm water. Carta da Musica is intentionally unleavened for increased shelf life, as migrant farmers used to carry several pounds of Carta da Musica with them to round out the usually three or four ingredient meals they would eat while camping.

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Chef Sean Thompson

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We sat down with the Chef behind the gorgeous dishes at Chops Boca to talk about how his first night on the job, what he loves most about being a chef, and his biggest accomplishment yet.

How long have you been the Executive Chef of Chops Boca?

It’ll be 2 years in July.

What do you remember about your first night there?

I remember Pano introducing me as the new chef. I’m lucky that the staff embraced me as I embraced them.  I had a speech that probably came out completely different than what I had envisioned, but I do remember telling everybody that it was time to get to work, which is exactly what we’ve been doing ever since!

What’s your favorite Chops Boca memory?

That’s hard to say! We have a lot of fun here and we’ve had so many great memories that seem to just keep coming.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Every part of it. The fact that I get to wake up everyday and do what I love more than anything as a career is indescribable. I have the opportunity to make other people’s lives better w/ my passion for cooking. Words can’t describe.

What’s your proudest accomplishment at Chops Boca?

I think when you stop and take too much time to recognize accomplishments it puts an emphasis on a stopping point. Yes; we have accomplished a lot and I’m very proud of the work we have done, but I feel like Buckhead Life and Chops Lobster Bar is just getting started. Through our hard work and attention to detail, sky’s the limit.

Any notable celebrity sightings?

It’s a tie between Adam Sandler and Anthony Rizzo.

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Soft Shell Season

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Blue Crabs in the warm waters of Florida have started their annual molting process, thus kicking off one of our favorite times of the year: Soft Shell Season! When Blue Crabs outgrow their hard exterior shells they go through a process called molting where they shed their outer shell. It’s only a matter of hours before their replacement shells harden, so when it comes to Soft Shells timing is everything!  Most fisherman will catch Blue Crabs, keep them in saltwater tanks while they wait for the soft shells to molt, and then remove them from the salt water which keeps the new shell from hardening.

All of our Soft Shells are sustainably harvested in Citrus County, Florida and delivered live directly to Pano’s Market at the Atlanta Fish Market. Thanks to our relationships with fishermen, we’re serving the freshest {and first!} Soft Shells in the city.

Our Chefs are wild about these warm-water loving crustaceans because of their delicate texture and sweet flavor that lends itself to a wide variety of flavors and cooking techniques. From now through mid-June you so you can look forward to Soft Shell Specials from your favorite BLRG chefs! 

This weekend you can find soft shells at Buckhead Diner, Bistro Niko, and Chops Lobster Bar.
   

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What We’re Eating: Belon Oysters

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Also known as “European Flats”, the famed Belon is our favorite oyster this time of year. Atlanta Fish Market is one of the only restaurants in Atlanta serving this hard-to-find gem, so we often hear the question “what’s so special about belon oysters?”

Well for starters, these oysters are essentially a species unto their own in the oyster world. In fact, their shells are impossibly round and more closely resemble a large scallop than a common oyster. As the nickname might suggest, these oysters are “flat”- so flat in fact that many of these oysters cannot close their shells after being removed from the water and must be banded (notice the red rubber bands above) and packed upside down to stop the shells from draining.

“Belon” is actually the name of a river in Brittany, France that’s said to cultivate the finest oysters in Europe. In fact, the species wasn’t introduced to the United States until the 1950s, but it flourished in the chilly waters of Maine and 70 years of cultivation has resulted in an oyster that’s incredibly unique in that it has none of the briny, salty flavors commonly associated gulf-raised bivalves. Instead, they’re known for their strong mineral, metallic, and sometimes even hazelnut flavors that many find polarizing. When it comes to Belons there’s one thing we can agree on one thing- this is an oyster that will leave few without opinion.

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Join us for Share our Strength!

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Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation

for No Kid Hungry

Celebrating 29 Years!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree 200 Peachtree Street NW, #206 Atlanta, GA 30303

Event Chairmen: Pano Karatassos & George McKerrow

Prepare your taste buds for the return of the city’s most anticipated culinary event of the year, Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry. Celebrating its 29th anniversary, the event will take place on Thursday, April 20th in a brand new venue, Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree, featuring more restaurants, more chefs and more surprises including an intimate VIP Dinner Experience. 100% of proceeds support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America.  Leading the 2017 event along with our Event Chairmen, Pano Karatassos and George McKerrow, is Honorary Chef Cat Cora, TV personality and restaurateur.

Guests can take part in two different experiences: an ultra-exclusive VIP experience featuring a multi-course dinner with wine pairings (prepared table side) by one of Atlanta’s most influential chefs or the Grand Tasting experience, sampling signature fare and spirits from over 50 of the city’s premier restaurants while enjoying auctions, wine tastings and live entertainment.

Together, we will end childhood hunger in America.

Interested in learning more about the 2017 event? Please reach out to Allison Palestrini at apalestrini@strength.org 

Click to purchase tickets and learn more about the event. 

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What We’re Drinking: Barrel Aged Cocktails

Bistro Niko’s “Monteleone” is not your average cocktail. In fact, it doesn’t even feel fair to call it just a cocktail. What it is though is bourbon, dry curacao, and sweet vermouth that’s aged in a port barrel anywhere from three to six weeks. When it’s finally ready to enjoy, it’s served over a single ice cube in a low ball glass dashed with Angostura bitters.

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The Monteleone is the brainchild of Manager Tommy Mclaren, who has been with Bistro Niko since its opening in 2009. He’s the kind of guy who’s always pulling bottles down from the bar, urging you to try what he’s creating, and thinking aloud about what he might try next. In short, he’s exactly the kind of guy you want to talk (and taste) cocktails with.

Fascinated by the New Orleans cocktail renaissance of the mid-1800s, Mclaren began with a fixation on the Sazerac. He then he moved on to the Vieux Carre, a lesser-known bourbon and cognac-based drink that was created by the head bartender at you guessed it, The Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans in 1938. His intention was to take the spirit of what was happening then, the intense creativity, the serious devotion to high quality spirits, and translate it into a cocktail that people would enjoy and appreciate today.

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Mclaren has been perfecting the drink for several months. His original vision was a drink that was dark and solid, essentially a dream for serious bourbon drinkers, and the written recipe fully suggests it would be. But, after weeks of turning the barrel and patiently waiting for the first taste, Mclaren found a cocktail that was complex with a balanced sweetness and had bright, underlying notes of ripe citrus. So if you can’t quite put your finger on what’s so surprisingly special about this drink, you’re not alone. It wasn’t until the next batch that Mclaren discovered that the port barrel was responsible for unlocking the complexity of the dry curacao, yielding complex flavors of orange, not one-dimensional sweetness.

McLaren recommends making a large batch (half gallon) of this cocktail for your next party for easy hosting.

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Mclaren recommends making a large batch (half gallon) of this cocktail for your next party for easy hosting.

The Monteleone Cocktail
12 cups Angel’s Envy Bourbon (12 cups)
2 cups Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (2 cups)
2 cups Dolin Rouge Sweet Vermouth (2 cups)
2 dashes Bitters 18.21 original bitters (add in each glass before serving serving)

Combine first three ingredients and allow to age 3 to 6 weeks.
When ready to serve, add 2 dashes bitters in a lowball glass with one large cube ice and top with the aged drink.

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One Gift Six Ways. The Perfect Present for Everyone.

The Ultimate Dining Card is valid at all of Buckhead Life’s restaurants, never expires, ships for free, includes gift wrap, and now through January 31st we’re adding 20% more to every purchase. Sounds like the perfect gift, right? Well, we’re putting that claim to the test.  Here’s how the Ultimate Dining Card is perfect for everyone on our list: 

For the Newlyweds…

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Pair the Ultimate Dining Card (Hello, date night!) with holiday decorations to help the new couple deck the halls for the first time! You can even start the tradition of giving special ornaments (we like these) and take the guesswork out of gifting in the future.    

For the Hostess…

img_0101 You know the friend who always makes entertaining look effortless? Treat them with festive hand towels. The best part? They’ll even be able to use the Ultimate Dining Card at Pano’s Food Shop and Corner Cafe to pick up a platter of hors d’oeuvres or dessert for their next soiree.

For the New Parents…

img_0083 Give a much needed date night, and add an extra touch of thoughtfulness by offering to babysit. Truly the ultimate gift for new parents.

For the Chef…

gift guide, best gift The only thing home chefs love more than cooking at home is being inspired by a delicious dinner out! Give them both with the Ultimate Dining Card + dish towels (we like these) + simple wooden cooking utensils. The best part? They’ll be able to use the card to pick up fresh fish & seafood at Pano’s Food Shop next time they’re in the mood to try an ambitious new recipe. 

For the Wine Lover…

img_0497 The Ultimate Dining Card pairs well with their favorite bottle of red, and they’ll be able to use the card for any of our food & wine dinners and special wine events. Festive napkins add a holiday touch and they’ll think of you each time they use them. Cheers to the perfect gift!

For Literally Anyone…

img_0065   Everyone loves fine dining, and everyone can appreciate high quality peppermint tea (we like Harney & Sons) during the holiday season. Trust us, this is a universally great gift.  Have your own creative way to gift the card ? Let us know by tweeting us @buckheadlife or posting on our facebook page. Have questions about the Ultimate Dining Card? Visit our FAQs page and learn more about the gif that’s great for everyone on your list. Purchase the Ultimate Dining Card 

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A Chef’s Tips on the Best Way to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

  The best part? You already have all of the ingredients on hand.  

Turkey & Dressing Pot Pie

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup roasted vegetables, chopped 1/3 cup flour 1 1/2 cup turkey gravy 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup milk 3 cups turkey, cubed 1 10″ pie crust 1 cups leftover bread dressing  
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Pre-bake pie crust for 10 minutes or until golden brown and remove from oven.
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in roasted vegetables and flour. Pour in gravy, milk, water; stirring to blend. Bring mixture to a simmer and stir in turkey. Remove from heat.
4. Pour mixture in pie crust. Cover with dressing.
5. Bake in 350F oven until bread dressing is golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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Drink This: Buckhead Diner’s Crimson Heat

  The Crimson Heat, Buckhead Diner’s newest cocktail, serves as a reminder that tequila should have a place on your bar cart long after Summer is over. The drink starts with a base of muddled jalapenos and fresh blood orange puree and is topped with tequila, triple sec, and served in a glass rimmed with house-made citrus salt. The result is a drink that strikes the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and salty. “The goal was to create something seasonal that uses tequila in a non-traditional way. Most people automatically think margaritas when they hear tequila, but with this cocktail we wanted to challenge the idea that to have a great tequila drink you’ve got to also have a lime base. The unexpected flavors of blood orange are really what make the cocktail, and they also let you know that you’ve grown up from a margarita so to speak”, says the drink’s creator Jessica Purdy.  

_mg_9233Crimson Heat

 2 oz Don Julio

½ oz Blood Orange Puree

1 oz Lime Juice

¾ oz Jalapeno Simple Syrup

1 half slice of blood orange (muddled)

2 slices of Jalapeno (muddled)

Splash of Sour Mix

Splash of Triple Sec

Glass: Highball

Citrus Salt: Equal parts orange, lemon, and lime zest, and coarse sea salt.

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Pricci Regional Menu: November in Benevento

Each month, Chef Piero Premoli of Pricci takes diners on a culinary tour of different regions of Italy. This month’s menu celebrates the fresh flavors of the coastal region of Campania and is sure to broaden your culinary horizons and further your love of Italian cuisine. Chef Piero’s menu is available every night. Three Course Menu 39. With Wine Pairings, additional 18. See the menu. 
Here are some of our favorites from this month’s menu:
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Medaglioni di Vitello 

Chef Piero’s “Medaglioni di Vitello” is the ultimate Italian comfort food. Tender veal is marinated then perfectly charred and served alongside cheese-stuffed roasted potatoes and dressed with a green peppercorn and artichoke sauce and topped with microgreens. The exciting flavors and complex textures in this dish make it among the most addictive dishes to ever hit Pricci’s menu.

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Scarpariello Pomodoro e Scampi

Chef Piero’s “Scarpariello Pomodoro e Scampi” is inspired by Campania’s coastal setting. A region prized for its fresh produce, handmade pastas, and ultra-fresh seafood, this flavorful, spicy dish makes use of fresh chilies, Mediterranean Langostino, and day-made spago pasta.

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Baba

“Baba”, Chef Piero’s fresh, seasonal take on the classic dessert plays on the complex flavors of fall. Light yeast cakes are filled with silky cream, soaked in rum, then topped with apricot and rum raisin sauce and candied orange peels.

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