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Asha Gomez, chef and owner of Cardamom Hill, is branching out from the restaurant business into another aspect of the food world: She'll open the Third Space at Inman Park's Studioplex in late February. Multifunctional and custom built with Miele appliances, Gomez says the space will be a one-stop destination for chef demos and classes, private dinners, tastings, and more.
"Hello, and welcome to Cougar Town," a friend said as we jostled through the crowd at Barcelona Wine Bar. She was eyeing a table of six preternaturally blond girlfriends, clinking sloshy glasses of red wine and shrieking "Happy Birthday" to one of their pack. Scores of other coiffed, forty-something women prowled the central bar, their spiky heels on the wooden floors adding snare-drum rim shots to the growing din of voices.
Cauliflower sauteed with dates and green olives on a taqueria menu? I encountered this oddball side dish in January the first time I ate at East Atlanta's Holy Taco. It certainly seemed out of place alongside guacamole and brisket tacos, but the combination itself, when I tasted it, wasn’t outlandish at all: The salty-sweet tango of slivered Medjool dates and snippets of nutty Lucques olives entwined the same way that chocolate with pretzels or bacon with maple syrup do, and the neutral cauliflower made for a receptive backdrop.
The Popsicle, a brand name owned by the Unilever corporation but often used in the vernacular, has come a long way since its chemical-flavored beginnings. It was allegedly invented in the 1900s by an eleven-year-old who left a stirrer overnight in his cup of fruit-flavored soda and found a tasty treat in the morning after a freeze. Mexican immigrants to the U.S. brought with them the culture of paletas—small-batch ice pops made from spiced fresh fruit. In the last couple of years, young entrepreneurs from all over have started producing handcrafted ice pops using organic and local ingredients in an increasingly sophisticated range of tastes.
As funny as it is to hear a youthful forty-year-old describe himself as “a product of an earlier era,” I knew exactly what chef Shaun Doty, the owner of Shaun’s in Inman Park, was trying to communicate when we sat down for a chat at Aurora Coffee in Little Five Points. I thought he would be mad at me for starting the conversation by calling him “the king of french fries.” Au contraire! He reminded me that, although he grew up in Oklahoma, he had lived in Belgium, where frying potatoes is an art form, and that he had once been married to a Belgian woman.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like the fierce, bitter taste of dark chocolate. Like all French children, I grew up on chocolate croissants, peeling off the buttery dough to access the vein of pure delight. Later on, I pressed my face against the windows of Paris’s most renowned chocolate artisans, anticipating the one truffle or glossy bonbon I would buy with hoarded money.