Pioneer Chef Darryl Evans Honored at Le Cordon Bleu

Chef Darryl Evans

Chef Darryl Evans

Edna Lewis foundation and Le Cordon Bleu celebrate Chef Darryl Evans. Evans was one of the foundation’s former board members who passed away in late February. He was the first African American gold medalist in the Culinary Olympics. (Yes, there is a Culinary Olympics).

Chef Darryl was most recently the executive chef for the City Club of Buckhead but worked at the Four Seasons and Villa Christian. He was most known as one of the premiere black chefs of our time, not only in Atlanta but all over. Check out this article on Darryl Evans by John Kessler.

To celebrate Chef Evans, the Edna Lewis Foundation will be hosting two events at Le Cordon Blue: a casual affair on April 12 and a multi-course upscale soiree on April 13. Proceeds from the event benefit the Chef Darryl Evans Culinary Scholarship program.

April 12
Wine Tasting, Bites and Dessert
Where: Le Cordon Bleu 1927 Lakeside Parkway, Tucker, GA
When: Saturday, Apri 12,, 2-5 pm
Cost: $35

April 13
5 Course Dinner prepared by by Chefs from Across the country
Where: Le Cordon Bleu 1927 Lakeside Parkway, Tucker, GA
When: Saturday, Apri 13,, Cocktails: 6:30, Dinner, 8:00
Cost: $125

To buy tickets to one or both events visit: Edna Lewis Foundation

Atlanta Film Festival Foodie Shows

Atlanta Film Festival foodies

The Atlanta Film Festival kicks off Friday, March 28 and offers a variety of food-centric programming, screenings and events with attending directors as a part of its Film to Table Series. Here are some of the food-related events:

Food on Film
Saturday, March 29, 2:15PM – The Plaza Theatre, Chipotle Auditorium
Food on Film is the festival’s annual celebration of movies for foodies. This year attendees will snack on culinary shorts including “The Cake Lady,” “Sumo Roll,” “Sausage” and “The Scarecrow,” followed by the documentary “Sriracha,” an examination of our nation’s new favorite hot sauce. Pass & ticket holders may join in for actual film-inspired treats at the Highland Ballroom afterwards, made possible by Epting Events.
Admission: $10
Attending Talent: Griffin Hammond (Director, Sriracha)
Randy Clemens (Writer, The Sriracha Cookbook)

Dog Days
Sunday, March 30, 9:30pm – The Plaza Theatre, Chipotle Auditorium
directed by Laura Waters Hinson & Kasey Kirby
USA, 2013, English, 75 minutes
After losing his job in 2009, Coite Manuel sets off to build his dream business with the help of two unlikely women—Deane, his harp-playing aunt, and Siyone, an East African hotdog vendor and single mother of four. Staking his meager life savings on a vision to revive Washington, D.C.’s dwindling hotdog vending community, Coite faces bewildering challenges—from hostile city regulations and an entrenched local monopoly to the sudden popularity of food trucks. Filmed over the course of four years, “Dog Days” journeys to a world where the top dogs of big business meet the underdogs of street food in a comically serious caper about the promise and struggle of the American dream.
(Film to Table)

Sunday, April 6, 12:30pm – The Plaza Theatre, Chipotle Auditorium
directed by James Moll
USA, 2014, English, 70 minutes
Most Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat. “Farmland” takes an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their twenties, all of whom are now responsible for running their farming business. Learn about their high-risk/high reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.
(Film to Table)
Attending Talent: James Moll, Director

poor calvin's restaurant downtown atlanta

Poor Calvin’s, Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Review

Set in a nondescript old home in downtown Atlanta, if you blink, you might miss Poor Calvin’s.  But it would truly be a shame if you did. Stepping inside the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by the bartender, hostess and manager. How’s that for being welcomed?

The name struck me as odd and was one of the first things I asked Chef Calvin about when I saw him. He said it is loosely based on a restaurant in Florida called Poor Richard’s, but it also a name that has stuck from Calvin’s friends. He said when he finds a restaurant space like his present space, he puts a lot into renovations and such building it up and as a result is “poor” when first opening. Incidentally, he opened a restaurant several years ago in Statesboro, to bring a touch of Asian food to South Georgia. Lucky for us, it didn’t resonate well with those folks and Calvin moved north.

Poor calvin's Atlanta downtown asian fusion

Frankly My Dear Cocktail

Asian fusion restaurant atlanta

Poor Calvin’s dining room and bar

Before diving right into food, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the superb cocktail menu. There’s a terrific mix of classic cocktails like the Dark and Stormy, Sazerac and Aviation, fruity cocktails like the Fuji Apple. But it was none of those that caught my eye. Instead, I went for the Frankly, My Dear with Gin / St. Germain and house made rosewater. I followed that up with what is the best Pisco Sour I’ve had outside of Peru.

We ordered the crab cake (if you read this blog regularly, you know I’m a slut for a good crab cake!) and the Pop Rocks Duck Pate (pictured at the top of this page). I mean, c’mon, with a name like that how could we not order it. And yes, it does come crackling to your table.

frog legs in Atlanta

Frog Legs

Chef Calvin sent over the Frog Legs too. I’d never had them before. These were served with Roti (Indian bread) and a Thai curry sauce.

I wish more servers in Atlanta were like ours that evening. Besides being there when we needed him without being intrusive, it was more than that. Blaine was able to steer us in the direction of things that were standouts on the menu and describe things without being pretentious or talking down to us.

Atlanta downtown dining Asian fusion

Pork Chop Special

During our dinner Chef Calvin took time away from the kitchen to sit down and chat with me for a while. We discussed his life abroad, mostly Europe, where his family is to this day. When I asked him why he chose to move here (the US) he said that he likes the creativity he has here. Not so in Europe, I inquired? Nope, he says. They are much more traditional there and customers don’t seem to like deviations from the norm. “Americans are much more adventurous eaters,” says Calvin.

Sneaking a peek at the menu, days before we headed to Poor Calvin’s I sort of had made my mind up on my entree – Chilean Sea Bass, but after hearing the description of the Unicorn fish and the fact that I’d never had it before, I changed my mind. And I’m thrilled I did. Hat tip to Blaine and Chef Calvin for encouraging me to try this dish.

Unicorn Fish Atlanta Poor Calvin's

Unicorn Fish

The Unicorn is so named for the horn that sticks out on top of its head This meaty fish (I needed a knife to cut it) didn’t disappoint. It is definitely a stronger tasting fish. The creamy artichoke-sun-dried tomato sauce would have outmatched a lighter fish.

poor calvin's fusion

Pear Dessert

The pictures speak for themselves as to the care and thought put into the plating of every single dish. I really hope you’ll go support this downtown gem. Disclosure: I was hosted by Poor Calvin’s for this dinner but the opinions expressed are my own.

510 Piedmont Ave
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
(404) 254-4051

Spodee: Moonshine Wine and Then Some

Spodee is a new kind of liquor which hails from White Mule Farms. It’s a mix of wine, moonshine, with a fruity chocolate finish. During the Depression this was a concoction of country wine, moonshine, spices and other fruits from the garden. They poured it into whatever containers they could find, hence the un-fancy milk bottle that Spodee is delivered in today.

spodee hooch cocktails

The nice folks at Spodee sent me a complimentary bottle of it to taste and experiment with. I first poured it into a glass by itself to get the taste of it and while I’m not generally one for sweet drinks, I was impressed with this one. There is a difference between pure sugary sweet drinks you’ll find at the likes of a TGI Fridays  and a sweetness enhanced by other flavors of wine and spice, which is what Spodee is. It reminded me of Sangria with the taste of chocolate.

spodee wine punch recipe spodee wine shandy
It came with several recipes: A citrus spritzer, Ruby Fizz, and a Spodee Shandy. Since I didn’t want to add any more sweetness to it, I opted to give the Shandy a try. It recommends a lager, so I bought that and mixed in some lemon juice. It was quite good  with the lager but then I remembered I had some Sweetwater White IPA which I wasn’t crazy about but might mix well with Spodee. Genius! That was the perfect combo for a nice sipping drink! I could see sipping on this on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

On a return visit to the Spodee website I now see that they have a recipe for the Barn Burner which mixes equal parts Spodee, OJ, and club soda. Now that sounds like a pretty kick ass brunch cocktail to me!

Spodee retails for about $9 and can be found in liquor stores around Atlanta.

Establishment Buckhead Cocktail Bar

Establishment is a new bar serving up a mix of classic and modern cocktails along with upscale bar snacks. There are three ways I can see this spot being enjoyed:

1.) You and a couple girlfriends want a night on the town, but someplace edgier than your normal green apple martini spot. This is a terrific spot for a mid-week drink or two and light snacks. Sit at one of the couches away from the crowds, though this doesn’t guarantee certain douchey guys from feeling free to sit down and hit on you.

2.) You just want a well made cocktail. Perhaps you know exactly what you want. Or maybe you want to chat about cocktails with a bartender who is experienced and can make a good stiff drink. Sit a the bar and watch the bartenders work their magic.

3.)  You want to see and be seen (Fridays and Saturdays). I’m sure this place is packed in like sardines on the weekends, with ballers in their VIP booths. If this is your scene, then by all means roll in on the weekend.

Establishment Cocktail bar Buckhead Atlanta

I fell into the first category, visiting Establishment on a low-key Wednesday for a girls night. Grabbing a couch, it gave us a view of all the action at the bar. The drink menu seems to have lots of Gin and Bourbon cocktails. Since I’m not a fan of either, I was glad to find the Ginger Shrub Margarita. An interesting twist on the traditional Margarita, it contains spicy ginger and egg whites and goes down quite easily.

Cocktail bar Establishment Buckhead Atlanta

The food menu is small – only seven choices. They were out of the venison and pork meatballs with bourbon jam which I would have loved to sample. However, the fried chick peas and pimento cheese covered in bacon marmalade was still rather filling. The bacon marmalade is like smoky bits of bacon and when mixed with the cheese and pita was a winning flavor combo.

Establishment cocktail bar Buckhead
We could have stopped at those two appetizers and left very satisfied but we also opted to give the hushpuppies and bacon and eggs a try. I found the hushpuppies to be the most disappointing item, being overly dry and bland. The “bacon and eggs” – deviled eggs with bacon are the best bang for your buck at $10.

A second round of drinks was less exciting than the first. We had our eye on the Deconstructed Dirty – Vodka and house orange bitters served over a house made martini iceball but they were out. Apparently, they only make 20 a day. If this was 8 pm on a Wednesday, they must run out by 5:30 on Fridays.

My friend’s berry cocktail was not appealing, it was as if it was missing something. I wanted something really out of the ordinary and chose the Maple Mason-Dixon. Made with egg white maple foam, bitters and whiskey, it was more sweet than I bargained for, but was definitely different.

Disclosure: I was invited to Establishment for some complimentary snacks and cocktails. However, the opinions are my own.

3167 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30305

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