Candyholics, rejoice! There is a new mega candy store making its way into the metro area. The California-based Rocket Fizz chain now has three locations in Georgia: Savannah, Marietta Square, and, most recently, Decatur. Aside from how colorful the store is, what is most exciting is the element of discovery and delight in finding lost treasures. Are you looking for that hard-to-find candy from your childhood? Rocket Fizz stocks loads of treats and surprises from yesteryear. Seeking gummy fruits from Japan or that chocolate bar you loved in England and haven’t found in the States? There’s a good chance you’ll find it among the almost overwhelming assortment of candy that packs the store.
Rocket Fizz prides itself on its huge (and we mean huge) stock of novelty sodas from microbreweries across the country. While there are tons of “normal” drinks such as root beer and ginger beer, the weird sodas, like buffalo wing and ranch sodas, are what will catch your eye. Don’t miss the dictator sodas with flavors such as Fidel Castro Havana Banana. Rocket Fizz also has a proprietary line of sodas in neon colors you won’t find in nature.
Young kids addicted to those taste test videos on YouTube will no doubt find candies they recognize like Warheads sour spray, along with plenty of Ty plush animals with huge glittering eyes. They also have quite the selection of novelty toys like inflatable unicorn horns, Mr. Bill replicas for you to abuse (oh no!), and a unicorn head squirrels feeder, which is both disturbing and awesome. No matter what you come here for, the excursion is bound to be a sweet hit with children and adults alike.
Last week, Many Fold Farm, Georgia’s only all-sheep creamery known for its award-winning cheeses, fresh eggs, and beautiful cuts of lamb, announced that it would close for business in January 2017. Fans, who include Atlanta chef Todd Ginsberg, were shocked.
“It’s a loss to our community, our state, and our country. They were on a national stage and it’s a shame that they weren’t supported enough at home,” Ginsberg said.
Many Fold was one of the fastest growing creameries in the region. Their sheep’s milk cheeses—made by Drue Hocker and overseen by Tim Gaddis, formerly the lauded cheesemonger of Star Provisions—claimed prizes at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition (think of it as the Oscars of the cheese world) for the past four years. Gaddis, who was recently elected to the American Cheese Society board of directors, said he was saddened by the closure. “I feel like invested a lot of myself in Many Fold and took great pride in presenting the cheeses across the nation. I hope this is not the last we see of the cheeses.”
Rebecca and Ross Williams started Many Fold in 2009, around the same time that buying local and eating farm-to-table became a hot trend. Many young people across the country were doing the same with less experience than Ross, who had farmed at the Warren Wilson College Farm and Heifer International’s Overlook Farm. But even for a couple as passionate and smart as the Williams, farm life was a difficult way to make a living. The higher prices on goods like eggs and produce that allow farmers to stay in business are often a tough sell for consumers, Rebecca says.
Rebecca illustrated this issue with an anecdote about her first farmers market, where she sold only eggs from Many Fold. At the time, the eggs were going for $6 for a dozen (they now go for $8). A potential customer walked up and balked at the price, telling Rebecca they were far too expensive. Then, Rebecca recalled, she watched the customer pay $2.50 for an ice pop. But those are mostly frozen water versus eggs, which are a nutrient-dense and inexpensive meal. She says that people often think small farms are elitist, but many of her farmer friends are living in poverty. “People don’t want to pay $35 for a piece of cheese. But that’s much closer to what it actually costs to produce than what we were charging for it. We really felt like we were charging what the market would bear, and it was too much.”
“Sheep don’t pay the bills,” she said. The Sarah Lawrence and Emory graduate did a lot of research before opening Many Fold and crafted a business plan. “We were operating under the assumption of every sheep producing, fairly consistently, between 1 and 2 liters of milk per day.” That was not the case in reality—especially because the Williams chose to add another layer of difficulty by not keeping their flock in confinement. They hoped free roaming would add more character to their sheep’s milk. It did, but at the expense of the sheep producing far less milk than they needed to keep up with demand.
Further, the type of sheep at Many Fold, East Friesian sheep, have only been in the United States for thirty years, which means there is little breed support, Rebecca explained. “People have been working to improve and adapt this breed to individual climates and settings, but there really hasn’t been a consorted breed improvement program, as there have been with other livestock in the U.S. It’s been every man as an island of trying to get these genetics improved, and it simply isn’t working.”
The Williams tried to remedy the production issues by adding more sheep to the flock and mixing the sheep’s milk with cow’s milk. But to stay afloat, they needed to either scale up, switch to a confinement setting, or take more risks on trying to make the East Friesian breed work for them. After crunching the numbers for the next five years, they decided it made no economic sense to continue business.
The couple, who have two small children, have no immediate plans to restart the creamery. Instead, they need to restock their “emotional coffers,” as Rebecca puts it. “We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past seven years, and we were really, really tired.” They plan to keep the livestock and manage the intensive rotational grazing. Egg production, which Rebecca says is easy compared to raising sheep, will continue, but on a much smaller scale (from 1000 chickens to a few hundred), with most eggs sold close to the farm or directly to restaurants.
For Southerners, the humble biscuit is a foodstuff as hotly debated as barbecue or fried chicken. Ask someone where to get a good biscuit in the Atlanta, and you’ll get recommendations with passionate proclamations on the benefits of lard, shortening, or butter. Let me make things easy for you—just go to 8ARM, where baker Sarah Dodge is making my current favorite biscuit in Atlanta.
Before 8ARM, Dodge worked at Octopus Bar (which is owned by Angus Brown and Nhan Lee, the team behind 8ARM and the now shuttered Lusca), Little Tart Bakeshop, Spice to Table, and, most recently, the Preserving Place, where she managed special events and cooking classes. Teaching a how-to class on biscuits actually landed Dodge in her role at the Preserving Place. Her Instagram feed is total bread food porn: You can see Dodge posing with rounds of crusty, artisan bread or take a behind-the-scenes look at her latest creations, like last week’s sausage, Georgia apple, and cheddar turnovers.
Dodge’s biscuits are butter and buttermilk based. What makes them noteworthy is her light touch. Biscuits are notoriously fussy and quickly turn tough when overhandled, but Dodge’s are delicate yet sturdy enough to serve as the base for 8ARM’s daily biscuit sandwiches, which are filled with items like pimento cheese, a perfectly round fried egg with lacey edges, and thick slices of bacon. You’ll start eating with your hands, but finish with a knife and fork. The biscuits are buttery, crisp, and super crumbly, and they’ve got the perfect amount of salt. They are good on their own with a dollop of homemade honey butter or as a sandwich. Fear not if you don’t see any in the glass pastry case; the kitchen may have some in the back.
Most of the baked goods at 8 Arm, including the bread for the crab toast (from the Lusca days), fall under Dodge’s purview. So, don’t forget to grab a chocolate chip cookie or a cinnamon roll on your way out. While you are there, check out the rest of the menu, which includes grain bowls and cool creations like the “50/50,” a combination of baba ganoush, hummus, roasted sweet potatoes, delicata squash, and Indian fry bread. With Dodge in its corner, 8ARM’s dreamy space in the shadow of the Ponce City Market behemoth is quickly becoming the breakfast, brunch, and lunch destination on Ponce. 710 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, 470-875-5856, www.8armatl.com
Over the summer, I went to a music festival on Randall Island off of Manhattan where all of the food was curated by Eater. (Yes, it was as hipster as it sounds.) There were all sorts of stands, tacos, famed Roberta’s pizza out of Brooklyn, Pasquale Jones, PDT slinging craft cocktails, and even a poke stand. Wait, raw fish salad at a music festival? The Hawaiian dish is having a moment, popping up in restaurants all across the country, and Atlanta, too, is on board with the trend.
Poke (PO-kay) has humble origins in Hawaii as a traditional dish sold at restaurants, convenience stores, and food shacks on the side of the road. The word “poke” means “to cut” in Hawaiian, and that’s exactly what the dish is—a chopped and chilled salad of diced raw tuna, salmon, or other fish dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, sliced sweet onions or green onion, and sesame seeds.
Recently, Poke-centric restaurants have sprung up over the country selling items like poke bowls, which include toppings such as sliced ginger, edamame, sesame seeds, and, of course, poke, served over rice. Think of these bowls as deconstructed sushi. Depending on which toppings you choose, poke bowls can be very filling.
Four poke spots have opened in the metro area in the past two months (not including a pop-up called Appa’s at Irwin Street that is currently on hiatus), and the response has been enthusiastic. Each restaurant slightly differs in its approach, but all specialize in poke bowls and some sell another trendy raw fish craze: sushi burritos, which are essentially oversized maki/handroll hybrids wrapped up like a burrito.
Fish Bowl Poke
The lunch options downtown just keep getting better. This new concept from the people behind DUA Vietnamese Noodle Soup was the first of its kind in Atlanta and keeps it simple. The process is easy, just choose your base (rice, salad, or both), protein, marinade, toppings, and aioli sauce. Voila, you have a healthy lunch. 61 Broad Street NW, 404-343-2467
This new vendor in the We Suki Suki Collective in East Atlanta Village serves poke bowls and sushi burritos in varieties such as the Demogorgon, a mix of spicy tuna, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tempura flakes, eel sauce and spicy mayo. Like most poke bowl places, you can customize your creation to your liking. Lunchtime can get a little busy, so call ahead or plan on waiting for your dish to be made-to-order. 479 Flat Shoals Ave SE, 404-913-7667
Another brand new spot, Poké Bar opened this week in Sandy Springs. This is the first outpost outside of California for the chain, which specializes in customizable poke bowls. Rather than layering the toppings, this restaurant serves the poke in scoops so that you can taste each flavor more clearly. The chain has plans to open two more Atlanta locations. 6615 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, 404-343-0424
Emory Point now has a spot for students to get their poke bowl or “sushiritto” (sushi burrito) fix. Boruboru has an extensive menu with base options such as salad, brown rice, or white rice for your creation. If you aren’t feeling inspired, they also have combinations such as Boruboru Style, a mix of masago, macadamia nuts, nori, avocado, pickled red onion, scallion, pickled jalapeno, crispy fried onion, and creamy style dressing. They also have paleo and gluten-free options. 1568 Avenue Place, 404-458-5518
Contrary to popular belief, Atlanta’s best Mexican food isn’t only found along Buford Highway. Recently, the concentration has shifted to other neighborhoods such as Tucker, Jonesboro, and Smyrna, where you can find top-notch tacos in all manner of styles. While this list is by no means exhaustive, my picks span the spectrum of authentic to Americanized indulgence. Did your favorite taco spot make the cut?
Taqueria La Oaxaquena
This Southside Atlanta taqueria makes excellent tacos with a variety of flavorful fillings like tripe (beef stomach) and asada (beef). An impeccable condiment bar lets you customize your taco with smokey salsas or pickled chilies. Oaxaca is considered the culinary capital of Mexico, and the kitchen makes an impressive regional specialty: a tlayuda, which looks like a pizza made with Mexican toppings like chorizo and avocado on an oversized tortilla. 605 Mount Zion Road, Jonesboro, 770-960-3010
El Rey de Taco
Whether for lunchtime or a late-night taco run, you can’t beat the vibrant atmosphere at this Buford Highway mainstay, which is always appropriately decorated for the holiday of the season. El Rey de Taco, which means “the king of tacos,” lives up to its name with an exhaustive list of fillings such as chivo (goat), cabeza (beef cheek), and carnitas (slow-cooked pork). Pro-tip: Ask for the handmade tortillas (tortillas hecho a mano). They cost a little extra, but they add a homespun freshness to the tacos. 5288 Buford Highway Northeast, Doraville, 770-986-0032
Taqueria del Sol
Would my Mexican ancestors approve of me eating a fried chicken taco on a flour tortilla with a side of cheese dip? Probably not, but Taqueria del Sol’s unique flavor combinations and consistency across its multiple locations cannot be denied. The fried chicken taco, owner Eddie Hernandez’s love letter to his adopted home, has reached legendary Atlanta comfort food status. Other all-star options include the carnitas, brisket, ever-changing daily blue-plate specials, and, of course, the cheese dip. Multiple locations
Tacos La Villa
Tucked away next to a Japanese restaurant in a nondescript strip mall in Smyrna, this taqueria is always full of people who know the tacos here are something special. My favorite are the spicy lamb or crumbled chorizo tacos. The richness of each filling makes for a lovely counter to an acidic salsa or pickled carrots from the salsa bar. Flautas, tamales, nachos for the kids, and platters including daily specials round out the menu. 2431 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, 770-951-0415
San Pancho Taqueria
When my parents come into town, they always make me drive them to this Tucker taqueria for the tacos al vapor, a hard-to-find style of steamed taco. The steam seals the edges of the tortilla, creating something that looks a bit like a taco calzone. San Pancho’s fillings include everything from cow’s brains to beef cheek, but if you aren’t feeling adventurous, they serve many other dishes including a homemade fried hard shell taco, tortas, burritos, and Mexican breakfast. 4880 Lawrenceville Highway, Tucker, 770-493-9845
Don’t worry about a language barrier at the taqueria inside of this Mexican supermarket. Most of the taco fillings are either listed on the menu in English or are easily spotted in the steam trays, which cater to home cooks. Anything in these trays, like the crispy carnitas, is a good bet. The taqueria uses its own freshly ground masa for its taco tortillas. The same masa is also used to make creamy tamales, which are sold in both sweet and savory varities. 5263 Buford Highway Northeast, Doraville, 770-452-1361
Situated directly at the fork in the road at the entrance of the Riverside district, this tiny taqueria painted red, white, and green like the Mexican flag packs a big punch with a small but strong menu of classics. Crispy chicken tacos dorados (rolled and fried tacos) are sold for just $7 for 7 and arrive covered with shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, crema Mexicana, sliced avocado, and crumbled queso fresco. Another excellent taco features carne asada served on thin, sturdy tortillas, loaded with cilantro and onion. 2102 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, 404-941-7865
The first thing that strikes you when you meet Bryan Furman, the owner of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue, is his passion and confidence. The first-generation pitmaster carries himself with the kind of self-assuredness and restaurant smarts you’d expect to find in someone with many more years under their belt.
But the 35-year-old has every reason to be confident. His Savannah restaurant opened in 2014 and quickly earned praise from Garden & Gun and Southern Living. When faulty equipment sparked a fire that burned the restaurant to the ground, the entire Savannah community rallied behind Furman to help get the restaurant back up and running.
When Furman made the decision to open a second B’s location in Atlanta last year, his wife Nikki, then a property manager, found the perfect location in a cozy red house in Riverside. Furman and Nikki moved to Atlanta, along with several members of his Savannah team, and opened the restaurant in September.
“A lot of people feel barbecue is supposed to be secret. I am like the total opposite,” Furman says. “I believe in training. Barbecue is an art. If you train someone else to do it, you can grow, and you can get bigger. It won’t just be one awesome place to get barbecue.”
With barbecue, a pitmaster’s point of view needs to appear clearly in every piece of meat—that’s where good training comes into play. Furman’s view is to stick to his roots and cook meat and sides the way he likes to eat them.
“My flavors are what I’ve grown up with,” he says. “I was always told ‘You can’t please everybody.’ As long as you cook the food for yourself, and as long as it tastes like what you would eat, that’s what you serve.”
Furman grew up in Cassatt, South Carolina, and learned to raise pigs on his grandparents’ farm. After taking a welding job in Savannah, he met a pig farmer who offered to keep hogs for Furman if he fed the other pigs on the property. Furman started bringing fresh pork dishes to his coworkers, which quickly lead a catering business. He soon realized a career change was in order.
When you walk into the Riverside location, a chalkboard proudly displays where the day’s meats were sourced. Furman developed relationships with local heritage farms, such as Hunter Cattle Company and Gum Creek Farms, before he even opened his first restaurant. A chatty guy, Furman likes to come out and see how people are enjoying his cooking. Catch his ear and he’ll launch into full food-nerd mode on pork, barbecue, and Southern cooking. His favorite meats (and mine) are the ribs and chicken. He also serves a brisket with a bark as black as night and chopped pork that serves as an excellent vehicle for the sauces. Although he sources most of his meat from farmers, he does get the ribs from a distributor, due to the large quantity sold. Furman also doesn’t sauce his meat; he says he views sauce as a condiment.
Furman doesn’t classify his cooking as any one style of barbecue. He is the modern sort of pitmaster who borrows from many different sources. The restaurant’s two signature barbecue sauces—one mustard-based and one vinegar-based—are both made with peaches. “I didn’t want to come to Georgia with slap-in-the-face South Carolina barbecue,” Furman said. “So, I was like, let me put peaches in my sauce.”
Many of the sides at B’s, which Furman says are just as important as the meat, are classic Southern recipes from his upbringing, such as hash over rice (a barbecued meat sauce poured over white rice), a hoecake that arrives with each order, and complex greens loaded with shredded meat.
“Everything I’m bringing is stuff that was brought up with me when I was younger,” Furman said. “It seems like all the old-fashioned ways are going away. I want to keep it old-fashioned. I’m 35, and people are like, ‘Man, you couldn’t cook that food. What do you know about hoecakes?’ What do you mean? My grandma cooked it!”
Furman has plans to roll out a breakfast service (after all, he’s already cooking at the restaurant every morning) that features his grandmother’s specialty—fresh pork sausage and fried medallions of thinly sliced pork loin, stuffed into freshly baked biscuits.
With his Savannah store handled by his “family” of staff and his relocation here, Atlanta has gained an enthusiastic addition to our culinary landscape. And, from the looks of it, this is just the beginning of Furman’s likely ascent to legendary pitmaster status.
When I was a kid, The Dessert Place was an Atlanta institution. It was where my mom would go when she wanted a special cake for company and where my parents took my sister and I for treats. When you walked into the Buckhead location (where Buckhead Atlanta now resides), a long glass display case full of every homestyle dessert you could ever crave welcomed you. My parents would let us choose something—mom always got the carrot cake—and I always went for either something chocolatey or for the cream cheese brownies. I would eat it off a plate with a cup of steamed milk my mother fooled me into thinking was a real cappuccino. When The Dessert Place closed in 1996 after nearly two decades, Atlanta lost a dessert powerhouse, and I lost a fond piece of my childhood.
Rewind to last winter when Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit opened in Virginia-Highland. I was grabbing a biscuit (well, more like two biscuits) and on the counter was the most curious sight: a platter of cream cheese brownies with a sign in that tell-tale burgundy cursive font reading “The Dessert Place.” I immediately snatched up that brownie, and it was just as rich and luscious as I remembered. What did that sign mean? Was my childhood favorite finally coming back?
Fast-forward to today, when I discovered that The Dessert Place has been officially revived by Marisa Meddin, the daughter and goddaughter, respectively, of owners Sheryl Meddin and Bennett Frisch. With their blessing, Meddin restarted their business by remaking one of their most popular items: the cream cheese brownie. Marisa uses the same worn paper recipe her mother hand wrote years ago for every batch of brownies she makes.
For now, Meddin has an online store that sells the cream cheese brownies in both regular and gluten-free varieties, and she also sells them at a few places around town. Limited quantities are available at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and at Marisa’s godfather’s Buckhead salon, Michael Burton Colors. The cream cheese brownies are also available for same-day delivery from Postmates and soon, UberEATS. You can also place an order directly on the website for pick-up.
As for other Dessert Place favorites, Marisa is toying with the idea of making the popular thumbprint cookies and “Puffins,” a cakey muffin dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. While she has no plans to open a brick and mortar location anytime soon, she says she wouldn’t rule it out. For now, you’ll just have to get your brownies delivered. There are worse things in life.
Hot dogs are, well, hot right now in Atlanta. Doggy Dog just opened a brick and mortar (The Dogg House in Decatur). The team behind the Mercury launched “the Helpful Hot Dog,” a weekly nonprofit event along the BeltLine entrance of Ponce City Market. And Atlanta now has its own New York-style hot dog vendor (well, kind of) with a cool backstory. Enter the Midnight Marauder.
The Marauder, aka Ian Nathanson, moved here from Long Island as a teenager and watched Atlanta’s culinary scene grow through the lens of his dad, a vegetarian chef. Nathanson saw firsthand how limited the options were for industry folks fresh off a late-night shift. “Man cannot live on Waffles and Houses alone,” he says.
Unlike the conventional dogs you’ll find in abundant New York street carts, the Marauder’s dogs are “hyper local Southern ingredients all under the guise of a midnight snack.” Most ingredients used in the hot dogs are sourced from Georgia. (A notable exception is the vegetarian dog, which comes courtesy of Asheville’s No Evil Foods.) The buns are from H+F Bread Company, the franks from the Spotted Trotter, the pickled toppings from Doux South, and the kimchi from Simply Seoul.
Put them all together and it is one ridiculously tasty Hyper Local Hot Dog. (Say that 10 times fast.) I tried a natural casing beef hot dog nestled into a buttered, warm, and pillowy soft bun, topped with “drunken” Doux South mustard and pickled green tomatoes. The toppings tempered the richness of each snappy bite of juicy hot dog.
So, why the curious name? Nathanson cites a love of serials, masked vigilantes, the A Tribe Called Quest album of the same name, and raiding the fridge for a midnight snack for his late-night identity. Midnight Marauder is open Friday and Saturday, 11:59 p.m.-4:00 a.m., so it caters to people leaving bars and, of course, industry folks who need an alternative to yet another waffle-based meal. Marauder also offers late-night delivery through UberEATS. If the wee hours don’t exactly fit your schedule, Nathanson has a pop-up at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 4:30-8:30 p.m. (until October 26th), and another at Eventide Brewing on October 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Cafe + Velo owners Jeff Demetriou (an Atlanta artist and cyclist) and Benjamin Boisson (owner of Atlanta Beltline Bikes) want you to drive your car less. The duo opened a cozy, unpretentious coffee shop on Edgewood in hopes that it would appeal to Atlanta’s cycling and pedestrian community—it’s easily accessible by foot, bike lanes, MARTA, and the Atlanta streetcar, and has rack space for over twenty bikes.
Inside, you cannot escape the cycling theme. Black and white videos of cyclists project on the walls, which are also decorated with the vehicles themselves). A “Wall of All” gallery prominently displays 75 photos of famous cyclists, civil rights leaders, artists, poets, thinkers, and activists. The cafe also rents 8-speed city commuter bikes ($35 per day/$200 per week), and a vending machine, “The Bike Box,” dispenses bike parts, tools, and accessories.
Since this is a French-inspired cafe (Boisson is a native of France), it hosts an in-house French baker/chef, Eric Dauce, who makes traditional staples such as éclairs, macarons, and croissants. The croissants are the foundation for the cafe’s menu of “crandwiches,” breakfast and lunch sandwiches that are, of course, all named after types of bicycles. (There’s even one named after the old-timey penny-farthing.) While they aren’t traditionally French, the croissant sandwiches are the cafe’s more substantial offering beyond muffins, cookies, and the like. Coffee drinks are exceptionally made and use Atlanta favorite Octane Coffee.
For a location on Edgewood, Cafe + Velo has a ton of outdoor space. There’s a lovely courtyard with lots of tables and chairs, a miniature croquet court, and a roof deck where they’ll hold morning yoga. With the crisp fall weather in the air, this is fast becoming my new favorite place to hang out and work.
Brookhaven doughnut darling Bon Glaze has opened a location in Buckhead’s Powers Ferry Square, the Roswell Road shopping center anchored by Bartaco. The store is open every day from 6 a.m. until the doughnuts run out.
If you aren’t familiar with Bon Glaze, the store has made a name for itself with its classic doughnuts and bon bons, super creative doughnuts (there’s one with a raspberry glaze that is also covered in cotton candy), candied bacon, Liege waffles, breakfast sandwiches that use doughnuts for the bun, and coffee. Owners Kelly and Kenny Keith make everything from scratch and try to source only the best products, such as the natural wood smoked bacon used for all of their bacon inventions. You can taste the difference in the quality of these yeast-based doughnuts—they’re super light and not cloyingly sweet, unlike something you’d get at a mass-produced chain.
The new Buckhead store has a handy-dandy window you can walk up to and buy whichever doughnut from the massive menu tickles your fancy. The shop also offers delivery through Doordash. If you are looking something for a special occasion, Bon Glaze makes doughnut towers and will even create a makeshift birthday cake out of letter-shaped doughnuts that spell out “Happy Birthday.” Now that’s a sweet treat.