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Jamie Hausman

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New hot shop: Kit and Ace

Kit and Ace
Photograph by LuAnne DeMeo

Update 5/5/16:

Kit and Ace has closed its temporary location at Ponce City Market, and today opens its permanent shop at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta.

In the midst of chilly season, this Canadian retailer known for cozy basics has landed two locations in town. (The first opened at Ponce City Market in November; the second is set to arrive in Buckhead this March.) Three reasons we love their comfy styles:

1 Hip roots
Shannon and J.J. Wilson founded Kit and Ace in Vancouver in 2014. The wife and son, respectively, of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, they’re no strangers to the active-luxe market. Shannon was previously the lead designer at Lululemon.

2 Warm fuzzies
The brand’s “technical cashmere” begins as fur on the belly of Mongolian goats. It’s then spun into a yarn and interlaced with materials like elastane and viscose, resulting in a supersoft machine-washable cloth—no dry-cleaning hassle.

3 Local love
Each store showcases local community. Atlanta artists and contractors created decor (some for sale) for its gallery-style space, where a communal table plays host to regular (invite-only) supper club events.

This article originally appeared in our January 2016 issue.

MARTA pilots farmers market pop-up next Friday

Produce from Patchwork City Farms
Produce from Patchwork City Farms

The West End MARTA station will get its first pop-up farmstand next Friday to showcase produce from urban farms in Southwest Atlanta. The stand, which will operate every Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. until early October, is a pilot program that MARTA hopes to duplicate across its other 37 stations in Atlanta. The market will also double the value of SNAP EBT dollars for shoppers with food stamps.

“There’s a need for fresh and healthy food, and transport plays a big role in that,” says Cicely Garrett, the food systems innovation manager at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). “This program allows us to test out some alternative models of how to combine transport and food that can set the stage for things to come and provide people with the opportunity to interact with local growers and outside of traditional store.”

In addition to the ACFB, partners include Community Farmers Markets and South West Atlanta Growers Cooperative (SWAG). The setup will include approximately five booths, two of which will be an aggregation of produce from SWAG farmers, including Jamila Norman of Patchwork City Farms in West End. The remaining three booths will be informational and feature cooking demonstrations to illustrate the benefits and ease of choosing (and preparing) healthy foods. The farmstand will include photos and stories about the farmers, as well as opportunities for shoppers to meet with the growers.

Get to canning with Preserving Now’s Lyn Deardorff

Canning Demo Photo Credit Judy McCabe SmithLyn Deardorff didn’t start canning until she got engaged and met her canning-obsessed, future mother-in-law. Flash forward 40 years, and today she’s one of the South’s resident canning experts, teaching classes as Preserving Now at Piedmont Park, Serenbe, and the Nashville Farmers Market.

When Deardorff first started teaching five years ago, students were often interested in eating local produce year round but were also too intimidated to get started with preservation. What with all the fancy equipment and fear of botulism (a bacteria-based type of food poisoning), Deardorff says her first goal is to show students that they are able to can in their own kitchens with tools they already own, sometimes in under 30 minutes.

“The more I teach it, the more I realize how useful, versatile, and functional canning is,” she says. “It’s the only way to hold onto seasonal produce.”

What does she like to preserve? Deardorff sticks to canning seasonal produce in small batches and is armed with recipes with no or low sugar and high nutritional values. She recently pickled cherry tomatoes, which she’ll eventually spread on toast with goat cheese. You can get the recipe from Deardorff, plus another one for peach butter, at her class this Saturday, June 27, at Serenbe. Tomorrow she’ll be at Piedmont Park teaching about pickling pickles, tomato, and fruit. Classes range from $45 to $75.

Deardorff has one piece of advice for neophytes still afraid to make a water bath. “Get started. You’ll find it’s easy, tasty, and healthy, and it’s not as hard as you think.”

A UGA professor wants to make caviar sustainable

Doug Peterson sells the last thing anybody would expect from a college professor working in rural Georgia: caviar. But just outside Chattanooga—three hours northwest of the University of Georgia, where he works as a professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences—Peterson produces the state’s only sustainable caviar at a 5,000-square-foot facility in the town of Cohutta.

Photograph by Kyle Burdg
Photograph by Kyle Burdg

Caviar, or salt-cured sturgeon roe, is one of the world’s most expensive delicacies, fetching as much as $400 for just a few teaspoons. But in the Caspian Sea at the southwestern tip of Russia, long one of the biggest sources of sturgeon, overfishing and pollution have crippled the breed. Elsewhere, environmental degradation and dams blocking migration patterns have lessened the species’ numbers. World organizations estimate that sturgeon populations have declined by as much as 70 percent since the early 20th century. As a field biologist specializing in wild sturgeon, Peterson wanted to do his part to help save the species. “I began to think of a way that we could produce top-notch caviar, as good as anything you can get from the wild,” Peterson says. “If we could convince chefs and diners that our way of doing it was better than killing wild sturgeon while they’re trying to spawn, we’d be golden.”

Worldwide, there are only about 90 caviar farms. It’s a numbers game: It takes $1 million to $3 million to start a proper sturgeon farm and six to 10 years before female sturgeon reach sexual maturity and their eggs can be harvested. Returns on investment don’t follow for many years. Investors, unsurprisingly, are wary. But because Peterson wasn’t interested in running a commercial-scale operation, he needed considerably less money, which he acquired over time in part through a UGA grant. In 2003, he loaded his first batch of Siberian sturgeon into massive tanks filled with fresh spring water from the North Georgia mountains.

Doug Peterson holding a wild sturgeon at the edge of Lake Michigan
Doug Peterson holding a wild sturgeon at the edge of Lake Michigan

Photograph courtesy of UGA Team Sturgeon

In 2009, Inland Seafood became the first to distribute Peterson’s caviar to restaurants. “I’ve been studying caviar for 30-something years. As far as consistent quality, this is as good as it gets,” says Bill Demmond, Inland Seafood’s COO. Today buyers include Empire State South, Lusca, Restaurant Eugene, and Aria.

Any profits are dumped back into sturgeon research, which appears to be paying off: Sturgeon populations are beginning to make a comeback in the Atlantic and the Altamaha River. And farmed caviar production nearly doubled from 2005 to 2010, according to International Aquatic Research. Peterson hopes that farm-raised caviar will one day account for a majority of the world market. That’s still a ways off, considering just 2 percent was farm-raised when Peterson started, and he’s doubtful that the wild Beluga population will ever recover in the Caspian Sea. But nearly 6,500 miles away here in Georgia, the species’ future grows brighter by the bite.

How to harvest caviar

Print1 Female sturgeon produce eggs (or roe) when they reach sexual maturity (between six to 10 years of age). During ovulation, a few eggs are extracted from the fish’s ovaries and checked for size, texture, and color.

Print2 Females whose eggs aren’t up to standard are returned to the tanks and checked again months later. The rest of the fish are moved to another tank of fresh spring water.

Print3 Ice is slowly added to the tanks to cool and calm the fish, making them immobile. Females are then killed with a quick blow to the head. The ovaries are removed, and the flesh is processed into fillets.

Print4 The fish’s ovaries are opened and gently rubbed across mesh screens, which separate the delicate roe from the ovarian membrane. The roe are rinsed in water, drained, salted, and then chilled on ice.

Print5 Roe are drained again before being packed into tins and cured for two to six months in a room chilled to 24 to 26°F. Tins are then shipped to distributors.

PrintUGA caviar for sale
A one-ounce tin goes for around $55 at wholesale.

Illustrations by Brown Bird Designs.

This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue under the headline “How ‘Bout Them Eggs.”

Bangkok Station to open in Buckhead in April

A new Thai restaurant called Bangkok Station (550 Pharr Road, Atlanta, 30305) will open in Buckhead this April. Owner Ratinthon Nithithanawut and chef Nathaphak (Paul) Maphu will use their restaurant experience in Thailand to forge an authentic dining experience inspired by the rail system there—hence the name Bangkok Station.

The menu will feature traditional dishes and flavors reflecting various regions of Thailand, with prices ranging from $4.50 to $32. There will be grilled skewers, as well as seafood dishes like jumbo prawns in Tamarind sauce. On the bar side, Bangkok Station will offer Thai cocktails, imported liquors, and local beers.

In addition to the dining room and bar, the restaurant will have a patio and a private room with handcrafted knight’s chairs. Multimedia displays of Thai culture will be projected on the walls, and the decor will include railroad bells.

Maphu says the restaurant will stand out in Atlanta’s Thai food scene because of the authentic flavors, delicate presentations, and its outdoor patio, which he hopes will conjure memories of sitting beside the Chao Phraya River in Thailand.

Local Roots app delivers fresh produce, goods from Georgia farms, artisans to your door

3415LocalRootIf you’ve ever used Instacart for its convenience and bought a CSA share for its local quality, Local Roots is for you. With a clean and streamlined interface, the app allows users to select farms or stores within 50 miles of Atlanta from which they can order produce, cold-pressed juices, handmade soaps, and freshly baked cookies. While the soft launch occurred on March 2, serving consumers in Buckhead and Midtown, expect to see more neighborhoods and producers by March 16. We sat down with the man behind the app, Doug Calahan, to find out more.

What made you want to create this app?
I was originally trying to solve food security problems, and I kept coming back to this issue where if you want to solve food security, you have to grow food locally. The way that we’ve gotten into this mass production of everything in the world just doesn’t work. The current generation wants authenticity and to know where their food is coming from.

I started looking at different models and ways, like the organic model, but what’s happening is that as these models grow, they start running into the same issues that the big agricultural groups did. You need more supply at a cheaper cost, so you end up opening an organic farm in Chile, but it’s right back to the same problem. Any model out there where companies warehouse food and sell to distributors is inherently bad for farmers because the infrastructure costs are so high and farmers make less money. I needed to come up with a solution that was inherently good for farmers, so that I could increase the margins of profits for farmers.

The other side of it is, if farmers are selling to Whole Foods, they’re only getting 25 cents on the dollar, which is inherently bad. This app works the same way a farmers market targets a neighborhood, while leveraging technology to fit a consumer’s schedule. We give a farmer a neighborhood where they can distribute goods to the consumer’s door. This way, farmers make better margins and skip the middle man.

How is this different from a CSA?
One, there’s choice. We make guarantees to the farmers to eliminate that risk. We basically give that same guarantee just to farmers because whatever we don’t sell, we‘ll buy and donate to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. For the consumers, it’s watching to see who’s coming in town and when they’re going straight to the buyer’s door with the items they’ve specifically chosen.

Why do you think it will work in Atlanta?
From a consumer side, Atlanta has a great population that is all over this. The communities, the restaurants, and the chefs in this city have driven this movement over the last 10 years toward local, local, local. As a city, we’re ready for it and we want locally grown food. For the farmers, we are now seeing an uptick in the number of people farming because small farms are becoming sustainable. We’ve got so much land around the city, and this new generation of farmers are coming through who want to farm organically and create crop diversity. It’s great timing.

Describe a typical Local Roots user.
I’d say it’s two groups. Millenials are ideal, as they’re extremely comfortable with technology and they’re more focused on eating healthy than the last generation. Another demographic we’re targeting are the healthy moms who watch what they eat, exercise, and want to make good choices for their families but need that convenience.

Based on the soft launch and Beta testing, is it working?
The reception so far has been great. We’ve still got a lot of operational things that we need to iron out over the next couple of months, however. The first thing people say when they open the app is that it’s just beautiful. When people get the food, they see how beautiful it is. We’re so conditioned to seein food that has been grown thousands of miles away, shipped, and driven to us, but you look at the local food and it’s gorgeous and tastes delicious because it was picked yesterday. You can’t find anything fresher, which is amazing, because we’re not sending it to an aggregated facility and then selling it over the next couple of weeks. You’re buying direct from the farm and the farmer is bringing it right to you.

What’s the future for Local Roots?
Next week, we’re inputting recipe boards, so whenever you order, you’ll have a link to our Pinterest board. Based on what you order, you’ll see recipes that you can use. It’s something we’ve been wrestling with how to do, but this is really simple. By June, we’ll expand to neighborhoods beyond Midtown and Buckhead.

Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield debuts his first cookbook this Sunday at Atlanta Botanical Garden

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Photograph courtesy of The Reynolds Group

Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union will celebrate the launch of his first cookbook, Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons, at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this Sunday. The event begins at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $50, but pony up $75 and you’ll also get a signed copy of the book, which retails for $45. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Slow Food Atlanta.

The event includes a meet and greet with Satterfield, during which he will personalize books, as well as a tasting of several recipes featured in the book. Bites include oyster stew, radish sandwiches, beet red velvet cupcakes, sweet potato buckwheat pancakes, and English pea hummus (recipe below). An open bar with beer and wine will be available, and guests can bid on framed images from the book via silent auction. Guests will also have access to the rest of the garden grounds.

Satterfield’s debut cookbook, which officially releases on March 3, highlights the vegetable-driven cuisine of Miller Union, as well as the chef’s seasonal approach to cooking. While it’s not completely vegetarian, the book includes simple recipes that highlight the bounties of each season with beautiful photographs to boot. To purchase tickets to the event, click here.

Recipe for English pea hummus:

Ingredients
Kosher salt: 1 cup, plus 1/2 teaspoon or more to taste
2 cups fresh shelled English peas (about 2 pounds unshelled)
1 stalk green garlic, chopped (or 1 small garlic clove, chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Instructions
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 quarts water and 1/2 cup kosher salt to a boil. Prepare an ice bath of 3 quarts water and ice with 1/2 cup kosher salt stirred in until dissolved. Add the shelled English peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. When sweet and tender, immediately remove the peas from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking. Let sit until the peas are fully cooled, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain.

Combine blanched peas, green garlic, mint, chervil, lemon, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with crudités or crackers.

Makes 1  1/2 cups

Brazilian steakhouse Chama Gaucha opens in Buckhead this March

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223ChamaGauchaFiletMignonBrazilian steakhouse Chama Gaucha will open for lunch and dinner this March in Buckhead in the same plaza as Farm Burger on Piedmont Road (3365 Piedmont Road). In true churrascaria style, the restaurant will revolve around an antipasti bar that will showcase charcuterie, cheese, and salads. Slow-roasted, high quality cuts of meat cooked over an open fire will be paraded around the restaurant on spits. Picanha, the prime cut of the sirloin, will be the house specialty.

Executive chef Ederson Cunha, a native of southern Brazil, grew up cooking around the churrasco (Brazilian for firepit) and has teamed up with general manager Nelcir Muller and Restaurants Consulting Group. “The Chama Gaucha team fell in love with the thriving, dynamic Buckhead neighborhood,” Muller says. “We are excited to be a part of the growing community and the resurgence of Buckhead as one of Atlanta’s best dining neighborhoods.”

With locations in Houston, San Antonio, and Chicago, this is the group’s first restaurant in the Southeast. Inside the restaurant, you can expect gold-textured ceilings, flowing draperies, and a color palette of tans and browns. Fire pits and an outdoor bar will be on the patio, where guests can order from a menu of small plates.

Ford Fry’s Superica opens today, check out the menu

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elfelix_food&drink_0014On the heels of The El Felix, Ford Fry’s first Mexican restaurant in Alpharetta, Superica opens today for lunch and dinner at Krog Street Market. Here’s a first look at the menu, which chef Sheldon Wolfe (current sous chef at The El Felix) will helm after the opening. Live music and breakfast service are coming soon.

What made you want to put this concept in Krog Street?

I always noticed that Inman Park/Old Fourth Ward was an in-town neighborhood where high-end, more-expensive restaurants struggled. This is our first Mexican restaurant and I’ve been wanting to do one forever, and this is the first place where I felt this was the right fit and what the neighborhood needed. There’s not much Mexican food around there, other than in the Highlands.

How is Superica different from The El Felix?

The whole idea behind Superica was to recreate the restaurant experience in Austin, Texas and even Nashville, where you can go into this casual place with a stage where, at a certain time of the night, there’s a band or local singer/songwriter that goes on stage. It converts from a dining experience to more of a late night experience. The other thing is the breakfast/brunch experience on Saturday and Sunday.

How often will there be live music?

We are shooting for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Why brunch?

When I go home to Houston, I go to this breakfast place near my house that is always packed. I wanted a spot in Atlanta for people to go and have Mexican breakfast because I want to go eat there, but I thought being by the BeltLine was perfect. The Old Fourth Ward is such a residential area and near the BeltLine that I think they needed something like this. On the weekends, people can be out on their bikes and come have brunch and margaritas.

When will brunch service start?

Two to three weeks in. We’re going to get our system down for a couple weeks and then at the latest, three weeks in, early March.

Is it true that the menu items for both The El Felix and Superica were developed at the same time and the same place?

Yeah. We’ve added some stuff to the cocktail menus, slightly, to be more adventurous. The menu will slowly evolve a little bit more, but the food items will be slightly more adventurous, maybe with some goat popping up and different things that we feel would go over better in this neighborhood than it would in Alpharetta. I don’t want to downplay Alpharetta but that was the goal, to push it a little bit.

How would you describe the interior design of Superica?

When I go to these places in Austin, I guarantee they don’t hire any designers. They just do it, they find stuff that’s silly and put it up because they don’t want to be taken too seriously. There’s a little humor in there, there’s a little funkiness. There’s also some refinement, too. We definitely spent way too much money on it, for sure, but hopefully it’ll all work out in the end. At night time it gives off a feel of Austin especially with the stage and the lights.

Are there any menu items that stand out to you at Superica?

The breakfast is really going to stand out. Anything from the huevos rancheros to migas to grilled quail and tamales with a fried egg. There is a taco we’ve been playing with that’s a beef cheek taco, and it’s pretty spicy, and I really like that it’s really pushing the heat level. We’ll probably have to label the heat on the menu.

Are there any house salsas?

On the table, we have a spicy hot sauce, our own housemade Tapatio, typically used for ceviche and things like that. When guests come in we give free chips and two different types of salsa. There’s one that’s an avocado tomatillo salsa and then there’s a wood-roasted tomato salsa.

What was your approach to the beverage menu?

It was mainly Lara Creasy. I explained that I wanted the traditional Austin, Texas high-quality house margaritas as opposed to a really racket margarita. She’s always made great tequila drinks for me, so I wanted her to run with it and play a little more and let her creativity run under the parameters.

Why Sheldon Wolfe to run the kitchen?

Sheldon, like me, loves food and loves music. I told him about this idea a couple years ago when we were in this chef band together. I told him about Krog Street and how we wanted to have a stage in there, and he pulled me to the side and said I’d love to throw my name in the hat for that because I could really have fun with that. Sheldon is one of these guys that I’ll make a salsa or sauce of some sort and have this recipe somewhat written down, and then Sheldon will get a hold of it and just do what he does with it and makes it better. There’s something about him that just has it.

What can diners expect from him as a chef? How would you describe as his style?

He’s committed to not ever cut any corners. That’s one of his biggest strengths. Our prices are probably a little bit higher than your typical strip mall Mexican restaurant, but it’s that way because we don’t want to cut any corners and we want to have high quality stuff. He understands that.

Click the thumbnails below to see the food and drink menus

216FrySupericaFood216FrySupericaDrink

 

Two-day Decatur cocktail festival to host seminars, tasting-event

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211DecaturStirsDecatur’s best mixologists will join forces at the end of the month for a two-day drink fest at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and Decatur Conference Center. The inaugural craft cocktail seminar, Decatur Stirs, will include five workshops, as well as a tasting event on Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1. Organized by Herb Chereck, owner of Decatur Package Store, Saturday workshops will be led by Miles Macquarrie (Kimball House), Paul Calvert (Paper Plane), Melissa Gallagher (Leon’s Full Service), and Julian Goglia (Pinewood Tippling Room). Sunday’s headliner class on brunch beverages will be moderated by Greg Best. Tickets are on sale now.

Chereck came up with the idea after visiting Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, which he calls the “Daytona 500 of cocktail festivals.” While Decatur Stirs is small in comparison, it features big names teaching hands-on classes.

“Basically every major city besides Atlanta has some type of cocktail, spirit-centric festival,” Chereck says. “Atlanta is large enough, and there’s enough of a craft cocktail environment, from both a consumer perspective and retail, that we needed one.

A public happy hour at Makan will kick off the event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 27, where the organizers will announce the Decatur Stir signature cocktail. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and last 75 minutes, culminating in a craft spirit and cocktail tasting event from 4-6:30 p.m. Recipes will be available for each cocktail featured. The tasting will also include local beverage artisans 1821 Bitters and Richland Rum and distilleries like 13th Colony. Sunday classes begin at 11:30 a.m.

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