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Hector Santiago on departing Abattoir and opening at Ponce City Market

Perhaps best known for his now-defunct Latin restaurant Pura Vida, Hector Santiago is leaving his post as executive chef at Anne Quatrano’s Abattoir to work on developing his own restaurant at Ponce City Market....

Hector Santiago talks Big Sky Buckhead, H. Santiago Burritos for mid-2014

Hector Santiago, formerly of Pura Vida and Super Pan, has joined forces with Adam Berlin and Juan Calle to open a new fast-casual restaurant in Buckhead. Big Sky will focus on food inspired by Santiago’s Latin background, but also encompass other cultures and ingredients. This 130-plus-seat space with multiple patios is set to open the last week in January or first week in February. We spoke with Santiago, who shared more details about his upcoming project.

Updated Reviews: Woodfire Grill and Abattoir

Monkfish Tail, in the shape of a miniature cornucopia, sits on a small bed of fluffy basmati rice and curried chickpeas. Tikka masala sauce artfully dribbles down one side of the fish into a scarlet pool on the plate. Its synced, grooving flavors—a bass line of cumin and coriander, the smooth phrasing of heavy cream, ginger, and garlic in close harmony—mingle with the meaty swimmer and hum like a Motown chart-topper. A dab of cucumber chutney on the side adds a shimmering falsetto note.

Where to eat this weekend: May 3-5

Saltyard preview at Huff Harrington
Saltyard is offering Atlantans the chance to try its food before the restaurant officially opens in a few weeks. The dinner will be held at Huff Harrington Fine Art tomorrow at 7 p.m. The menu will include ahi tuna carpaccio, raw Thai vegetable salad, lemon and ale-braised chicken thighs, and more, served with wine. Reservations are required. $75 per person. Call 404.382.8088.

Bazaar Bizarro fundraiser for Slow Food Atlanta
A country fair with food from Farm Burger, Community Q BBQ, King of Pops, and more, Bazaar Bizarro is Saturday at 10 a.m. at Love is Love Farm at Gaia Garden in Decatur. Local crafters and circus performers will be showcasing their talents, and attendees can participate in a “veggie Tug-of-War,” radish races, Maypole dancing, and cupcake walks, among other activities. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $12.50 for children (plus service fees), and proceeds benefit Slow Food Atlanta.

El Burro Pollo is back
Hector Santiago (formerly of Pura Vida) is bringing back his burrito stand, El Burro Pollo, this weekend for a pop-up in East Atlanta Village. According to Santiago’s Facebook page, the stand will be open Saturday from 6:30 p.m. “’til the food is gone” at banh mi shop We Suki Suki.

Cinco de Ri Ra
Though Cinco de Mayo celebrations are usually kept to Mexican restaurants, Ri Ra Irish Pub is offering its own take on the holiday Sunday with a “Cinco de Ri Ra” celebration. The party, which starts at 9 p.m. and goes until midnight, features a DJ, Dos Equis, margaritas, and Mexi-Irish creations such as corned beef and cabbage burritos and shepherd’s pie enchiladas.

Hector Santiago’s Super Pan

Besides my belief that he is one of the five best chefs working in Atlanta today, what I love most about Hector Santiago is the way he tinkers with things. Instead of renovating his Poncey-Highland restaurant, Pura Vida, in one chunk, the Top Chef alum took six months to build a basement dining room himself. He also reframed the kitchen, moved an awkward door leading to a hallway, and, most recently, started both a weekday sandwich shop on-site and a weekend burrito stand in the parking lot across the street.

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