Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipe: Cauliflower Rice

Image Source: LA Times

Image Source: LA Times

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner and looking for a non-traditional side dish that will impress? I really like this Cauliflower rice recipe. The recipe is incredibly easy to make ahead and there’s so much flavor. The caramelized cauliflower with the green onions and red pepper flakes also make for a pretty dish.

I’ve made the recipe a handful of times and it always turns out great. One thing I’ve noticed is that the extra five minutes of “drying out” the rice didn’t really change the consistency that much, so you could omit that step, especially is oven space is critical. Also, I like to add mushrooms as well to my dish.

Roasted Cauliflower Rice from Ad Hoc via LA Times

1/2 head white cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of curry powder
6 cups water
1 cup Carolina, or long grain, rice
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the canola oil and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Place the cauliflower in a roasting pan (reserve the bowl) and roast until the cauliflower is a deep brown and tender throughout when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 25 minutes, tossing several times for even coloring and cooking. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees.

While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the rice just until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice well, then spread the rice in a thin shallow layer in a large baking dish.

Place the rice in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, then stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.

Place the cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Taste and season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper.

Gently stir in the warmed rice and butter, tossing until the butter is melted and evenly coats the rice and cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.

Where to Get Thanksgiving Dinner To Go in Atlanta

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I mean how great is it that the only responsibility is eating? And after you stuff yourself silly, most of us get the day after off.  So, why waste your time slaving away in the kitchen? Let these Atlanta restaurants prepare you feast for you so you can relax with your guests.

DBA Barbecue
Who doesn’t love the incredible barbecue from DBA? Well let them do the cooking for on Thanksgiving. A full cooked turkey with all the sides like mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish, and green bean casserole feeds eight people. The full feast is $174.99 and the turkey only is $69.99.

Park 75 at The Four Seasons offers a delectable feast to treat some pretty lucky people. Their “Turkey To Go” for your Thanksgiving celebration serves 8 and includes tax and gratuity for $285.

The Pig and the Pearl
Just need a turkey? They got you covered with a juicy smoked turkey ($65). It’s making your mouth water isn’t it? Then add all the sides you want. Choose from cranberry sauce, Vinegar slaw, Collars, Smoked Sweet potatoes and of course, Pig and the Pearl’s lovely Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese.

Smoke Ring
Let the Smoke Ring team cook you and your family Thanksgiving dinner. Chef Jordan Wakefield is taking turkey orders. Each 20 pound turkey will cost $50, and Smoke Ring’s whole menu of sides by the quart will be available for purchase as well. The turkeys will include a side of gravy as well.

Don’t want a whole turkey? We understand. That’s why they are offering an apple glazed turkey breast (feeds 4-6 for $34.99). It comes with cranberry relish but you’ll probably want add some sides like the Cornbread Chestnut Dressing, White wine braised collard greens or Kale, almond and faro.

Another spot offering turkey breasts is Parish. Planning an intimate gathering for two? Parish is perfect for that with packages starting with two turkey breasts and herb gravy for just $22. Add sides of Cornbread and sage stuffing or classic sides like green bean casserole and mashed potatoes (between $8-10). Don’t forget their delicious signature cranberry port jelly. Parish even has a feast for kids (chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese).

Souper Jenny (Everything but the Bird)
Known for their soups, you could make a meal from them alone. Sides priced at $17 a quart include incredible items like Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing with Dried Figs and Chestnuts, Kale and butternut squash stuffing, sausage stuffing with roasted apples, mushrooms and sage, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with pears and pecans. Of course, these offerings would make a perfect (almost) vegetarian Thanksgiving spread too.

Holiday pies from Gigi's Cupcakes

Holiday pies from Gigi’s Cupcakes

What about dessert? That’s easy. I’m getting mine from Gigi’s Cupcakes. Nope, not cupcakes. Gigi’s is actually making two special pies just for the holidays. Choices are Southern Pecan pie or Pumpkin pie ($19.99 each). Gigi’s Pumpkin pie is served with a special ginger snap crust. The Pecan pie is made with a whiskey flavored filling. I can’t decide which I’m more excited about!

8 Great First Date Ideas

Although it may be traditional, dinner and movie is not the best idea for a first date. How can you get to know someone sitting in silence for two hours during a movie? Atlanta’s got so many alternatives that are anything bur ordinary. Here are 8 surefire ways to impress someone with first date plans.

1. Speakeasy –Show your date you are in the know by taking them to one of Atlanta’s speakeasies. Prohibition, located in Buckhead’s East Andrews complex, offers expertly crafted 1920s era cocktails. Enter through the red phone booth after dialing a secret number. Ask around at one of the restaurants in East Andrews to score the secret digits. On the northside, there’s Eleanor’s. Just pop into Muss & Turner’s next door, walk to the back and enter through the freezer door. 1Kept is not so much a speakeasy as a restaurant / bar, but it can be difficult to find off Peachtree and it does have the speakeasy vibe, so we’re including it in our list.

2. Sports – Take in a game. Sure, it’s sad we don’t have the Thrashers but we’ve still got the Braves and Falcons. A game is a super idea for a first date because there isn’t constant pressure to always be coming up with new talking points. Plus the people watching is terrific fun!

3. Music – While Vinings has evolved, it has also stayed cute and eclectic. Have dinner at Soho, an upscale restaurant with dark woods and excellent dishes. Then head over to the Vinings Inn (live music on weekends only), across the street. Just walk in and up the stairs like you know exactly where you are going. No on will stop you. Enjoy are drink on the patio if the weather allows for it.

4. Tapas – A weekday date is ideal at Eclipse di Luna, but weekends will get noisy and crowded. The Dunwoody location is a good, central meeting point if you both are coming from opposite sides of the city. And you can head for coffee and dessert at Café Intermezzo after. Alternatively, Barcelona Wine Bar in the Virginia Highland area is quite exceptional for tapas as well.

6. Brunch the Beltline – Who says a first date has to be in the evening? Everyone loves brunch, right? Head over to Parish and make your own Bloody Mary. Stroll along the beltline for a short walk and enjoy brunch at TWO Urban Licks.

5. Movie Buffs – Sure, movies are not good first date ideas, but if you are movie buffs, why not go on a tour with Atlanta Movie Tours? You can see some of the famous sites of movies that were filmed in Atlanta. Once back at the Castleberry Hill headquarters, have a bite at Smoke Ring or Bottle Rocket.

7. Brewery Tour– Over the last handful of years, a handful of breweries have popped up around the ATL serving delicious craft beer. Is there any other kind worth consuming? Most breweries offer free tours with the purchase of taste tickets.

8. Wine Tasting – Wednesdays are the unofficial “wine night” all around the city. Many restaurants offer some sort of tasting or discount on wine. Choose a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try and stay for dinner after the tasting? Or check out this date night I planned in Dunwoody.

Guys, ladies love it when a man puts some thought into planning a date. Go ahead and steal one of these ideas. Your secret is safe with me.

9 Most Romantic Restaurants in Atlanta

Atlanta's Most Romantic Restaurants

I often get emails asking me where a special place to celebrate an anniversary or a romantic birthday is. So, after many times answering emails, I thought it’s time I just write an article on the most romantic restaurants in Atlanta.

Who says Southern food can’t be elegant? Not Wisteria. This restaurant, housed in a historical brick building with exposed ductwork is sophisticated yet trendy at the same time. Unless you are a wine aficionado, let your server select a wine, as the wine “book” is quite long. Can’t miss starters like butter bean hummus and tuna tartare are the perfect start to a meal. Their signature entrée, a molasses pork tenderloin is artfully presented.

STK is the epitome of sexiness when it comes to Atlanta restaurants. The swanky atmosphere is perfect for a romantic birthday dinner. Sip on a colorful cocktail as you nuzzle up to your sweetie in the comfy booths. Indulge in a lamb shoulder starter or beef tartare. But make sure to get one of their signature steaks.

Bistro Niko
Part of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Bistro Niko has a lovely patio as well as a beautiful interior, both perfect for a romantic dinner. French food and romance pair so well together. But don’t worry – the food is isn’t escargot and frog legs. The menu is made up of decadent pastas and dishes you’ll recognize.

Bistro VG
In the suburbs? Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered there as well. Bistro VG is an underrated restaurant high on romance. It is easily accessible for Roswell, Alpharetta and East Cobb residents. Service is top notch and staff will go above and beyond the make sure your evening is outstanding. You can’t go wrong with their nightly specials.

10 Degrees South
After many years, there is still nothing like 10 Degrees South, the only South African restaurant in Atlanta. The subtle lighting and white tablecloths complete the romantic feel for this Buckhead restaurant. Start with the calamari or Sosaties (skewered beef in a apricot curry sauce). The ostrich is a good entrée choice as are any of the fish options. Don’t miss out on the terrific selection of wines.

Set in a converted house in Buckhead, Aria is the perfect place for a memorable evening. The menu contains a nice selection of traditional American foods but also has some more daring items for foodies. They are often touted for their phenomenal dessert selection; so don’t overlook that during your romantic evening.

Aqua Blue
Another highlight in Roswell is Aqua Blue. They’ve got a lovely bar area with high tops. Not sure if your date is worthy of a full meal? Meet for a drink and have a delightful cocktail or glass of wine. You can continue your dinner here should you choose or move to the more private white tablecloth booths in the main dining room. For dinner, the crab cakes and tempura fried green beans rock! You can’t go wrong with the Sea bass entrée.

TWO Urban Licks
Consistently rated highly as the restaurant to impress someone, TWO lives up to the hype. Besides the lovely view of the Atlanta skyline, the 14-foot wood-pit rotisserie tower in the center of the dining room is quite impressive too.  Cozy up to your date and sip on their expert cocktails. Salmon chips are a terrific way to start your meal. Scallops, fish and steak – you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here.

4th & Swift
Are you a romantic foodie? Then, this is the spot for you! With its stained concrete flooring, high ceilings, and low lighting, it has an overall industrial look and feel to it. Dishes are well executed and service is the perfect mix of helpful yet unobtrusive resulting in an extraordinary evening.

Where to Drink Absinthe in Atlanta

The U.S. banned absinthe in 1912 due to hallucinogenic properties, but the potent spirit has made a comeback (legally). In the last handful of years, Absinthe has had resurgence. Although the green fairy, may not have the same effects as it did last century, Absinthe still has popularity and is served at several Atlanta restaurants and bars.

Absinthe cocktails have a strong licorice flavor, which most people either love or hate. The licorice flavor tends to be quite overpowering in many cocktails, and it takes a special talent to portion it just right for the perfect flavor. Here are several restaurants where you can expect a well-made Absinthe cocktail.

where to drink absinthe atlanta

Absinthe service at Publik Draft House

Publik Draft House
Probably the best Absinthe presentation can be found at Publik Draft House, with their Absinthe service. A dispenser with five spouts is filled with Absinthe and ice. The contraption comes with a cube of sugar set on a spoon, which dangles over a glass. As the Absinthe is slowly dispensed the sugar melts and it is poured into various glasses. It is drinks and a show all in one!

Prohibition at East Andrews
What’s cooler than drinking in a Speakeasy? When the entrance is via phone booth. But it’s worth the effort for their phenomenal drinks, especially the Absinthe based ones. Sezerac anyone?

While the European / Mediterranean food is a super choice whether on a date or to impress out of town guests, they also have a creative cocktail list that includes Absinthe. LA EMILIA MELA contains whiskey, cognac and Absinthe.

H Harper Station
H Harper Station, a former train station, is a beautiful space with terrific cocktails. With specials like The Amulet,” a mix of gin, apricot brandy, grapefruit, Pernod and Absinthe, you’ll want to pull up a stool and watch the action when this cocktail is made.


Absinthe cocktails at Publik draft house atlanta