Barbecue outtake: Staq’s “Mess”

Our big ol’ Barbecue Issue will be out in a couple weeks, but here’s a preview of the quirkiest dish I found on my hunt (mentioned in the issue but not pictured). It’s served at Staqs BBQ in Smyrna, a woman-run joint in humble digs on a rather lonely stretch of South Cobb Drive, not too far from Windy Hill Road. The staffers are sweet and doting, and as I scanned their menu, I saw a dish simply called “A Mess: Waffle, Pulled Pork, Slaw.”

MSG, umami, and the foods you love that contain them

You’ve seen the signs — “NO MSG” or “We don’t cook with MSG.” — and you’ve probably only seen them in Chinese restaurants. The irony, however, is that despite what's posted above the fish tank, the kitchen is probably still using the flavor-enhancing additive. Is this a bad thing?

By the ounce, the cost of cupcakes

Abstract: Cupcakes: Can’t stop, won’t stop. But just when you think Atlanta might be sick of frosting, another Crayola-colored cupcake bakery opens it doors. A chain out of Beverly Hills, Sprinkles at Lenox Mall is the latest of the batch. On a recent visit I had hoped to grab a dozen for the office, but I burned those plans when the clerk said that a dozen costs $42. Between the ten or more employees shuffling behind the counter, the swirly mountain of icing on each cake, and the cupcake ATM machine that operates 24/7, running this place isn’t cheap. Somebody has to pay.

10 peach dishes you need to try now

Given that our ubiquitous state fruit has made its way onto our license plates and street signs on practically every corner, it should come as no surprise that local chefs are also tinkering with the Georgia peach in a number of creative ways.

Cesar Chavez essay winners to earn 5 minutes of fame

Cesar Chavez’s birthday is coming up March 31, and perhaps you haven’t thought of a proper way to mark the occasion. Do not panic. Just open a new Word file, fire up the Wikipedia, and start writing.

At least this compromise comes with peaches

Five years ago, you would have had trouble finding Georgia’s most iconic fruit at a local farmers market. Peaches, like Vidalia onions, are usually grown on large commercial farms and distributed nationally through a system that gives little preference to local retail outlets.

Capra Gia: Same guy, same goats, new outlook

If the faces behind the new Capra Gia goat cheese stand at your farmers market look familiar—and if the cheese tastes deliciously familiar, too—you may be experiencing Coles Lake déjà vu.Mark Stevens, cheesemaker for the now defunct Coles Lake Dairy, is back in business with a new group of partners, some of whom worked with him at Coles Lake. The new business, Capra Gia Cheese Company, is the same but different—which makes perfect sense, when you consider that Stevens himself says that he left but never did.

Great Miller Light Chili Cook-Off is on the move

It’s difficult to outgrow a venue as spacious as Stone Mountain Park but the 34th annual Great Miller Light Chili Cook-Off has apparently managed that particular feat. This year’s tomato sauce enrobed ground meat swill fest will take place at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Saturday, October 5. The annual extreme eating event has also undergone a name change, The Great Miller Lite Chili and BBQ Cook-Off, reflecting the new venue’s ability to host amateur pit masters, all vying for the coveted best barbecue chicken and ribs awards.
Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market announces its first restaurants

Ponce City Market has announced the first batch of vendors set to open in its Central Food Hall. Dub’s Fish Camp (Anne Quatrano), H&F Burger (Linton Hopkins), Jia, Honeysuckle Gelato, and Simply Seoul Kitchen (Hannah Chung and Grace Lee) will open in one of the largest brick structures in the Southeast. Openings will be staggered: Dub’s, H&F, Honeysuckle, and Simply Seoul are aiming for spring 2015 and Jia is aiming for winter 2014.

A guide to Chinese dumplings across Atlanta’s Buford Highway

According to most of my Chinese friends, finding good dumplings in Atlanta is harder than scaling the Great Wall. They would rather make them on their own. One friend, though, was more optimistic than the rest. Chef Ken Lim, the owner at Penang Atlanta, has been eating dumplings for thirty years, and he offered to be my guide for the afternoon. Lim first came to Atlanta in 1996 to help his uncle open Penang, and just last year Lim returned to the city to takeover the family business.

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