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.”
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?
Field Notes (To receive our local foods column and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter.) What do farmers love almost as much as a sunny day after a soaking rain? A crowd of eager volunteers showing up on a weekend morning, ready to work. Hard. For free.
The inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is this weekend, kicking off in earnest on Friday morning and concluding on Sunday afternoon. If you’ve heard about this event and perused the lineup (which you can find in the “Schedule At A Glance” link on this page), you’re probably excited or at least curious. But, to echo other local writers like Kessler and Rodell, you might also have heard about this thing without it really registering. It is, granted, a fairly innocuous name. And the metro area power-loads its weekends with festivals and “Taste Of” events. What makes this one different from all the other foodie schmooze and booze gatherings?
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.
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.
Come February or March, Storico Fresco, the handmade pasta shop that opened in Buckhead last year, will move to a new location and expand its offerings to be more like an Italian grocery.