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?
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.
While driving around the Chamblee area doing research for our April Cheap Eats issue, I was struck with a craving for the chocolate-covered coconut macaroons at Maison Robert. I drove by the old location on North Peachtree off Peachtree Industrial and panicked—the sweet little house that formerly housed the business was empty. A quick iPhone search revealed I was out of touch: Last July, the business a moved a five-minute drive away to 5256 Peachtree Road, in a new building among the older shops in historic Chamblee.
Last spring, frontline food lovers like the Blissful Glutton started praising the pasta wonders of Michael Patrick, a chef, sommelier, and Italophile who had taken frequent trips to Italy over the last six years researching obscure recipes. He’d just started his business, Storico Fresco, selling his fresh and dried handmade pastas through the Farm Mobile and at farmers markets throughout the metro area. I tried them first last June, after reading the piece my colleague Christiane Lauterbach had penned for the magazine’s August issue. I was cooking for a friend’s birthday party and bought three filled pastas: bertu, filled pork sausage, homemade ricotta, parmesan, and grana padano cheese; cjalsons, stuffed with figs, raisins, smoked ricotta, and herbs and finished with a ridged edge; and pi fasacc, a specialty of Lombardy made to resemble a baby wrapped in a papoose, flavored with taleggio, grana padano, ricotta, and herbs.
It is elusive, to be sure. It is also chartreuse and spiky, with each spiraling cone a naturally occurring fractal—meaning its shape is formed by smaller shapes that repeat its geometric pattern. Oh, heck, you just have to see it to believe it ... so look to the right.