The Counter Burger Burger and Brew Mini Pairing

One Tuesday a month the Counter Burger in Roswell offers a selection of four mini burgers paired with four mini brews from a craft brewery. The four mini burgers and beers are pre-selected, so, there’s no worry about selecting toppings, which, if you’ve seen the Counter Burger’s menu you’d understand – it is huge.

counter  burger mini pairing craft beer

Last month, I went the Counter Burger’s monthly burger / brew pairing which featured Red Brick Brewing. I had fun chatting with other attendees even if my date did cancel on me. It is a great idea for a large group, and the food comes out rather quickly.

Burgers:
Hawaiian burger with ham and pineapple and teriyaki-soy sauce
Basic burger with bacon and guacamole and ranch dressing
Burger topped with fried onions and garlic mayo
Greek burger with olives and feta

counter  burger mini burgers and beer

I was pretty impressed with the quality of all toppings – they were tasty and plentiful. While I enjoyed all the burgers, the Bacon and guacamole burger was my favorite. The next one features Jekyll Brewing. Want to attend the next one? It is on November 11 from 7-9. Cost is $20. Contact The Counter Roswell to make a reservation.

Sponsored: Technology Working In the Back Office

The next time you dine in a restaurant, take a look around. Chances are you will notice technology popping up in the various services found in the hospitality industry. In some markets you can log-in, reserve a table, and place an order before you even enter the restaurant! It’s not uncommon to see Front of the House staff using tablets to present menus and organize the seating at their table-tops. Mobile payment apps and devices are also increasingly being utilized to streamline the dinner experience and reduce the amount of time staff members are spending away from a table processing payments instead of spending time with their guests.

Order Totals by Vendor

Order Totals by Vendor

Restaurants are investing in these new systems in hopes of making your visit smooth, so that all you have to worry about is having a good time. Additionally, the efficiency gains their restaurants achieve allow their staff to spend more time with their customers creating a more personalized experience.

What you won’t see while dining is how technology is also being used in the back office to make restaurant managers’ lives easier while improving their bottom line. Though POS technology has long been utilized inside of the hospitality industry, we haven’t seen an advancement into the utilization of mobile devices until relatively recently.

Normally, a restaurant manager keeps notes on paper checklists as they walk around completing tasks like inventory management. Once compiled, they have to squirrel away enough quiet time to place their orders with each of their vendors. Typically this is a fury of phone calls, voice mails, text messages, and maybe emails. Even worse, a Regional Manager who manages several sites at once typically can’t get visibility into what is being ordered until after they get an invoice. If this method sounds error prone and cumbersome, it is.

Order Sheets, customized to fit any inventory setup

Order Sheets, customized to fit any inventory setup

There are companies that are providing software solutions for restaurants to improve this problem. There are companies that are even taking that a step farther and placing a team of Procurement Professionals behind the software acting at the restaurants disposal. This mix of technology and industry expertise is evident at the technology firm ExpenseBite (www.expensebite.com).

Amici Italian Café in Monroe, Georgia has been working with ExpenseBite since they launched their product in the Athens market in Georgia. Andrew Sprinkle, the establishment’s Bar Manager, pointed out some of the improvements this kind of different technology has made in minimizing back office tasks. “Before adopting  this system, my options were to place an order every day of the week to ensure I hit all distributor schedules, or I could call all of my distributors one day a week to place all of my orders at once. Now, with ExpenseBite and the tablet they provided, I can enter all of my orders into the system all at once without any time drain. Before the system I would spend 2 hours a week on ordering. I have never sat down with their tablet for more than 10 minutes per week. I can do all my inventory, ordering and receipting through them.”

That type of efficiency gain frees up time for managers like Andrew to focus on their customers or their staff by adding hours back into their work week every month. Andrew also noted that it isn’t just software he gained, “when there is an issue with a vendor, ExpenseBite takes care of it for me.”

Receipt any order so any employee can ensure an accurate delivery

Receipt any order so any employee can ensure an accurate delivery

Once a manager hits the submit button, the system then places the orders instantly for them. Proactively, the team of Procurement Reps are working in the background to ensure the best quality products at the best possible prices are entered into the platform. Multi-site managers then have the ability to monitor orders as they happen. Even if a mistake is made either by the Manager or the Vendor, the tablet can be utilized to receipt the order coming in for accuracy. This not only ensures the establishment has what they need, when they need it, it also allows for ExpenseBite’s team to do easy invoice auditing.

Though technology is visibly prevalent in the operations in the Front of the House, restaurants are busy installing technology that will also make their lives easier in managing back office operations. Check out a company like ExpenseBite.com to see a group that is doing it right.

 

Ribilta Restaurant Hits Atlanta with Pala Pizza

Launched in the spring of last year in NYC, Ribalta decided Atlanta would be the perfect location for their next spot. While pizza is the star of the show here, with both Napoletana and Pala (a twice baking method and a thicker crust pizza), the smaller plates are not to be ignored either.

The Zucchine Scapece was very unique with a homemade vinegar, mint and garlic sauce. Octopus is getting quite popular all over isn’t it? Ribalta puts Octopus on not one but two dishes on their menu and I tried both. The first was served in a red sauce with olives and capers, which was not my favorite, though the octopus was prepared nicely (not at all rubbery or tough). However, the Seafood salad is where it’s at. With Octopus, shrimp and squid, nothing in the dish is fried. It just has a light lemon / olive oil dressing. Perfect with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Seafood salad with Octopus, Squid and Shrimp

Seafood salad with Octopus, Squid and Shrimp

One a menu with house made pastas, pizzas you wouldn’t expect to find chicken wings, right? I mean this isn’t Domino’s Pizza. But I had to order them. Because Limoncello. Yes, these wings are marinated in Limoncello and served with a side of Gorgonzola sauce. Damn, these wings (called Ali de Pollo) were mighty tasty.

We only tried one pasta dish (the Paccheri Alla Genovese) an onion ragu and veal. The only way I can describe it is to say it tasted like chicken noodle soup. No joke. I don’t know if the pasta was boiled in chicken broth or what, but it just reminded me of chicken noodle soup. They have two different kinds of gnocchi available, a white and a red and I’m anxious to go back and try both of those.

Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

Yes, the star of the show is pizza and Ribalta does have many to choose from including the option to make your own pizza. There’s the Napoletana which is a very thin crust and only bakes for 90 seconds. Then there’s the Pala, which is Ribalta’s signature pizza. Pala is a baking method in which the dough is baked twice, resulting in a crisp outside and doughy inside. Both the Napoletana and Pala come in white and red varieties. Just reading the description, I would have discounted the Pala. I’m usually more of a thin crust gal, but crispy shell of this pizza and doughy inside really were a match made in heaven.

We’re told the flour is imported from Italy and yields a better dough (leaves you not feeling so completely stuffed) than what we normally get here in the US. Looking at the toppings of the Pala, I noticed they are also careful not to go too meat heavy (most are vegetables), which might result that lethargic feeling that results from too much carbs + meat.

Brindisi - Ribalta's Signature cocktail with Prosecco and Aperol, $5 All day on Thursdays

Brindisi – Ribalta’s Signature cocktail with Prosecco and Aperol                      $5 All day on Thursdays

 

My favorite Specials at Ribalta:
Sundays – 1/2 off bottles of wine
Tuesdays- Buy a Pala Pizza and get the pasta of the day for free
Wednesday – Complimentary Processco and 1/2 off pizza or pasta of the day

Note that Ribalta will validate parking for two hours in the parking deck adjacent to the restaurant. More than that and you are on your own.

Ribalta Atlanta
1080 Peachtree Street
Suite 9
Atlanta, GA 30308

Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary but the opinions expressed are my own.

Rumson Gifts Presents a Gourmand Gathering

Catherine McGahan began her home based business seven years ago by carefully selecting gourmet food products from vendors far and wide. Her boutique hand-selected gift baskets became so popular she opened up at store in Buckhead. And you are invited to a special gathering to taste some of these unique finds on November 6th and 7th.

Personalized Gift Basket from Rumson Gifts

Personalized Gift Basket from Rumson Gifts

What’s so special about these gift baskets? The giver can choose exactly what items they wan to send to their friend, family member or business associate. Rumson Gifts ships these items all over the country.

I was invited to Rumson Gifts recently to pick out items for my very own gift basket. From high end oils and vinegars, to beef jerky, it took me quite some time to make my selection. While I haven’t cooked with / tasted everything in my gift basket, so far the Tangerine marmalade and Notti Toffee are two items I love. Seriously the Notti Toffee is like crack. I can’t stop eating it. I’m looking forward to trying the rosemary pasta and preserved lemons soon.

Want to give an amazing gift to someone this holiday? Handpick a foodie gift basket from Rumson Gifts.

Who: Foodies who love foodies
What: Sample artisan goodies
Where: Rumson Gifts, 458 East Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta 30305
When: November 6th and 7th
Cost: Free

rumson foodie gift baskets

First Annual Atlanta Lobster Festival

Did someone say Lobster? I am all over the inaugural Atlanta Lobster Festival. The festival will include an afternoon of live music, arts and crafts, light bites from a selection of the city’s top restaurants, as well as a variety of craft brew options.

General Admission tickets include 10 tasting tickets. VIPs receive exclusive tastings, beer/wine/cocktail samplings, special fancy bathrooms, and 10 Food & Drink Coupons for General Admission areas. These prices for Atlanta Lobster Festival tickets go up after 10/1.

What: Atlanta Lobster Festival
Where: Candler Park
When: Sunday, November 2, 1-6pm
Cost: $25 for Admission and 10 taste tickets, $85 for VIP

atlanta lobster festival