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Category Archives: food events & happenings

feast noir – atlanta's first foodie flash mob is in the works

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The creative mind behind the Atlanta Underground Market (AUM) just released the news of an event that will certainly have Atlanta foodies all in a tizzy.

Based on the wildly successful French foodie event, Diner en Blanc, Feast Noir aims to bring 1,000 foodies together in an as-yet-undisclosed location to enjoy dishes prepared by the participants themselves.

Feast Noir is scheduled for August 14, 2011 at 6pm.

Read all of the details about the event and register to attend at the Feast Noir website.



wine dinners: a great way to find good wine

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When it comes to finding a wine you like, you’ve really only got a few methods to choose from.

  • you can take a recommendation from a friend or an expert,
  • you can take a wild guess based on the prettiness of the label and / or the floweriness  of the wording on the bottle as you stand scratching your head in the aisle
  • or… you can taste it.

Of those three methods, only tasting is foolproof. Friends and experts may have different palates, and we all know better than to judge a wine by its cover, don’t we? And even once you’ve chosen a wine, there’s the work of figuring out what wine goes with what.

Enter, the wine dinner. This growing trend helps experienced and budding wine connoisseurs make sense of it all. If you haven’t had the chance to go to a wine dinner yet, lemme ‘splain what you’re missing out on.


What is a Wine Dinner?

A wine dinner is multi-course meal, typically hosted by a restaurant, a winery or a combination of the two. Each course of the meal comes along with a wine that has been selected to complement the dish being served.


What’s So Great about Wine Dinners?

You get to relax – unlike wine tastings and tours where you’re sort of shuffled along between tastings, at a wine dinner you’re comfortably seated. You can even kick your shoes off if you want, I won’t tell.

You get a serious wine education – during the wine dinner, either the restaurant’s sommelier or a representative from the vineyard will provide notes on the wines you taste that you simply won’t get anywhere else. Plus, if you happen to attend a wine dinner with other ‘cork dorks’, you’ll learn even more from the conversation.

You get to eat some really great food – most of the restaurants hosting wine dinners are pretty top-notch. Often, they’ll feature special dishes for the wine dinner that aren’t on their regular menu.

You save money – during a wine dinner you’ll typically taste a minimum of four dishes, along with equal servings of wine for a much lower price than you would if you were to purchase them all at regular price.

Here’s a quick roundup of three wine dinners in Atlanta that I’ve attended recently, and how I fared at each.


Mirassou Wine Dinner

As part of a multi-city promotional tour coinciding with the 156th anniversary of Mirassou Winery, California winemaker David Mirassou hosted a series of wine dinners for local food and beverage writers, wine educators, and bloggers across the country. The Atlanta stop of the tour featured a 6-course tasting menu prepared by Chef Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, and yours truly was invited to attend.  Each course was a perfect mouthful of local, seasonal ingredients that Chef Gillespie crafted to complement the accompanying wine. Throughout the meal, David entertained us with stories from his family’s winemaking past, and explained the unique characteristics of each wine we tasted. Needless to say, the food was amazing. The wines – a pleasant surprise.

My favorite wine of the evening: Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon – I’m not usually a big fan of Cabs, most tend to be too tannic for my tastes. But Mirassou’s Cabernet was much more drinkable, while still retaining the tannic profile. I dubbed it, ‘the softer side of Cab’. Retails for around $10



Mother’s Day Brunch at Frogtown Cellars

Craving the experience of Napa, but lacking the time or the funds? Georgia’s wine country is a suitable alternative for us Atlantans. This past Mother’s Day I decided to treat Mom and myself to our first visit to a Georgia winery. We chose Frogtown Cellars in Dahlonega, and were treated to a delicious 4-course brunch with wine pairings in a truly beautiful setting.

My favorite wine of the day: Frogtown First Convergence – East-meets-West blend of Cabernet and Malbec grapes from Russian River (66%) and Cabernet Franc grapes from Frogtown vineyard (34%). Retails for $27.99



The Generous Pour Wine Event at The Capital Grille

Did you know that there are only 173 Master Sommeliers in the entire world? So it’s a real treat when one of these esteemed wine experts hand picks 9 of his personal favorites and invites you to taste them. That’s exactly what went down this week at The Capital Grille in Buckhead. The restaurant invited several local food writers to a special preview of their summer wine event, The Generous Pour. George Miliotes, Master Sommelier and resident wine expert at The Capital Grille, joined via telecast to explain the 9 wines he chose for the event, and then answered our questions via live Twitter feed. After George’s introduction, we sampled each of the wines along with complementary dishes prepared by Chef Brad Weiderman. The unparalleled white-glove level of service at the Capital Grille made this one a real treat.

My favorites of the evening:

Tarima Hill Monastrell, 2009 – A Spanish varietal that’s not available anywhere else in the US for the next couple of months. It’s a medium-bodied red that I can only describe as ‘seductive’.

Chateau St. Jean, Belle Terre, 2008 – arguably the best Chardonnay I’ve ever tasted. Described as ‘a rich, creamy wine… with toasted almond and vanilla oak’. From the Russian River region of California. $25.



The Capital Grille’s Generous Pour Wine Event continues through September 4, and is only $25 for ample servings of all 9 wines with dinner. Do this!

To see questions and answers from The Generous Pour preview event, search for #tcgpour11 on Twitter.

Want to get personalized wine recommendations from a Master Sommelier? Follow George Miliotes (@TheWineExpert) on Twitter.

But hey – don’t just settle for his (or my) recommendations. Go out and taste for yourself.




sweetwater 420 beer dinner at south city kitchen vinings

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south city kitchen vinings

Calling all brewheads!

On Thursday, August 19, South City Kitchen Vinings will host a unique, four-course prix fixe dinner featuring the distinctive beers of Atlanta’s own Sweetwater Brewery.

The cost is $50/person (including tax and gratuity) and reservations are available by phone only at 770.435.0700.

Check out the menu below:



Passed Hors d’Oeuvres

Housemade corndogs with orange-coriander “honey mustard”

Chilled white shrimp with seasonal heirloom tomato-horseradish jam

Paired with Sweetwater Sch’wheat—a refreshing, unfiltered American

wheat ale full of delicate rays of citrus hop overtones


“Hot wings-style” ale-brined, grilled Carolina quail with buttermilk blue cheese,

celery puree, herb salad and Texas Pete butter sauce

Paired with Sweetwater IPA—a big, bold Indian pale ale

loaded with intense hop character and natural, unfiltered flavors


BBQ-braised beef brisket with smashed lady peas and fried coleslaw

Paired with Sweetwater Motorboat—a silver medal-winning,

extra-special bitter (ESB) full of sweet caramel and wheat flavors


Bacon-wrapped “banana split” with chocolate stout ice cream,

honey, chocolate and roasted peanuts

Paired with Sweetwater Georgia Brown—an especially drinkable

ale that’s smooth, subtle and a little bit nutty


For directions to South City Kitchen Vinings visit: For more information about Sweetwater Brewery, please visit



drink for a good cause – 2 reasons to raise your glass

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I say, if you must drink, drink for a good cause.

Examples of good causes include:

  • ’cause it’s Wednesday
  • ’cause I feel like it, and
  • ’cause somebody else is buying

But if you’re searching for an even better cause to drink for, there are a couple of great ones happening this week.

Cause #1: Celebrity Cocktail Nights at Park 75 Lounge

This Thursday, the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta continues its weekly Celebrity Cocktail Nights. Every Thursday through June 24th, Park 75 Lounge at the Four Seasons will feature a different local celebrity bartender serving up his/her favorite cocktail recipe for attendees. This week’s celebrity drink peddler is Vern Yip – the charming and talented host of HGTV shows like Design Star and Deserving Design.

Why it’s a Good Cause: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Ulman Cancer Fund, which provides specialized support for young adults affected by cancer.

Cocktails are $10 each, and complimentary valet is available. Event goes from 6-9pm.


Cause #2: Atlanta Classics Bar Tour in Virginia Highlands
On Saturday, May 29, 2010 from 1- 6pm, experience drinks and food at some of the most historic bars and restaurants in Atlanta. $10 (advance price) covers your admission, a Classic Bar Tour mug, a t-shirt and discounted drinks at the participating pubs. Featured bars include: Atkins Park Tavern, George’s Restaurant and Bar, Limerick Junction Irish Pub, Manuel’s Tavern and Moe’s & Joe’s Tavern. Participating bars will also offer food specials at 1960s prices. Groovy!

Why it’s a Good Cause: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Check out for tickets and more info.

purpose-driven cheers,


atlanta auction gallery – vintage deals for next to nothing

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If you’ve ever ridden Marta southbound into the West End station, you might have noticed the backside of a huge billboard that faces east towards downtown. The front of the billboard changes regularly, but the rear consistently bears the large and highly recognizable glyph of the ubiquitous grafitti artist, DOSE. For months, that billboard was the signal that I’d reached the end of my daily work commute from Alpharetta. Every day, I’d marvel at the sheer size of the thing and the ballsiness it must have taken to climb that high and labor for hours (probably in the dark) to get the tag just right.

But, billboards and graffiti aren’t the point of this story. Well… not really.

If you were to let your eyes trail all the way down to the base of that huge billboard, you might notice a large warehouse-looking building with an array of vintage signs and large antique fixtures out in front.  None of those signs will give you a clue as to what the building is, or what goes on inside of it, however. For that, you’ll have to show up on the 2nd Friday of the month – the same Friday of the monthly Scott’s Antique show. Before you hit the door, you’ll be greeted by the smell of barbecue coming from the huge grill out front. Make your way inside, and you’ll find a wide-open space filled to the brim with dusty, but well-worn vintage furniture and antique pieces. Huge chiffarobes, marble-top tables, decorative glassware, handcrafted knick knacks and curiosities are literally stacked up to the ceiling. The other people there with you will more than likely be antiques dealers from all over the Southeast who come to the once-a-month auction held here for the free barbecue, the unlimited supply of free beer and wine served in red plastic cups, and the most ridculously cheap deals on vintage and antique furniture I’ve ever seen.

Around 6:30 or 7, the auction begins. The selection changes every month, based on what Mike, the kind-faced middle-aged guy who runs the place, has been able to get his hands on since the last auction. For first-timers, it’s best to sit back and watch the action unfold for a bit. Though a belly full of free barbecue and booze might make you want to jump head first in to the bidding, you’d be better of taking a couple of cues from the pros in the joint. Watching the crowd interact with the barking auctioneers is enough entertainment in itself, but the prices that some of the items go for will have you absolutely amazed; especially if you’ve ever paid for vintage or antique stuff at some of the retail establishments around town. They even take plastic, and give you a couple of days to arrange for transportation if you succesfully bid on one of the larger items up for sale.

In the year or so since I’ve been frequenting the monthly auction, the word seems to be getting out more about the place. This month, Mike’s even having an additional auction – on a Saturday – to give folks another opportunity to score some serious deals. Even if you don’t find anything worth buying, who can argue with free food and drink?

I would point you to some other online resource for all the details, but (fortunately) there’s no website to find them on, no ads in the paper. Just look for the billboard near the West End Marta station, and follow your way to the ‘pot of gold’ underneath.



NEXT AUCTION: Saturday, April 24 5pm-until
Atlanta Auction Gallery
556 Tift Street
Atlanta, GA 30310

looking for daily atlanta deals? meet scoutmob.

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If you’re not already signed up for Scoutmob, you’re missing out on some great deals at restaurants, bars, and shops in Atlanta.

Haven’t heard of Scoutmob? Maybe you’ve heard of its parent company, Skyblox. If you’ve ever linked into the wi-fi network at intown Atlanta joints like Joe’s Coffee in EAV, or No Mas Cantina in Castleberry Hill, you’ve no doubt seen the Skyblox home page. The company was founded about two years ago by former Earthlink  employees, and initially started as a secure wi-fi service provider for local restaurants, bars, and cafes. As an added service, Skyblox began publishing weekly emails that clued readers in to the latest happenings and specials at Skyblox wi-fi locations and other local haunts. The weekly email grew quite popular and eventually morphed into Scoutmob – dubbed a curious guide to mobile deals for the Atlanta explorer – which debuted a little over a month ago.

Here’s what’s so great about Scoutmob.

It’s opt-in – Scoutmob publishes a brand new deal each day that you can claim if you want or ignore if you’re not interested. This is great for consumers, because you’re not committed to sign up for anything,  and it’s even better for the businesses advertising via Scoutmob, because it gives them easy visibility into how many people responded to their campaign.

It’s limited-time only – Each deal expires within 24 hours, so there’s a sense of urgency to claim the deal. Once you do, you have anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to redeem it at the location.

It’s mobile – This is truly what makes Scoutmob unique. Most deals, discounts, or coupons require you to either print something out to present at the venue, or worse yet, require that you just remember the deal when you happen to show up. Once you claim each Scoutmob deal, it’s sent directly to your mobile phone – which you then present at the venue. If you’re an iPhone user, there’s a Scoutmob app that makes the process even easier.

It encourages exploration – In addition to the daily deal (which gives you incentive to try a new place out without paying full price), Scoutmob also publishes brief recommendations on local people, places, and things you might also want to check out.

The deals are deep – In my opinion, 10-15% off usually isn’t worth the hassle of signing up for something, and it generally doesn’t persuade me to visit a place. Scoutmob deals are more apt to make me act on them because they’re significant. Almost all of the discounts I’ve seen so far have been in the 40% and higher range.

Check out Scoutmob for yourself. Visit their website or follow Scoutmob on Twitter.



beer connoisseur online launches

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You’re Invited!



Dear BonVivant Online Reader,

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently started blogging for Beer Connoisseur Online. For the past few months, the folks at Beer Connoisseur have been working hard to get both the print and online versions of the magazine ready for release.

And now, it’s ready.

The Beer Connoisseur Online website went live a couple of weeks ago, and to celebrate, Beer Connoisseur is hosting a launch party.



When: Tuesday July 21st, 2009
What: A SweetWater Brewery souvenir glass and beer tastings. Connoisseur Cask tapped and poured, live music, brewery tours, photographer and more!
Details: Magazine Subscribers** – $10. Non-Subscribers – $12.



**Subscribers enjoy – VIP brewery tour by a SweetWater tour guide and access to the VIP seating area with a complimentary cheese pairing.

To become a Beer Connoisseur subscriber, visit the website. Use promotion code: FBC-0103 to get exclusive benefits.
To RSVP:email with the number of people attending and whether or not you are a subscriber.