Atlanta Meatball Festival Preview (With Recipe)

One of Atlanta’s premiere restaurateurs and a recent contestant on “Top Chef,” Ron Eyester knows a thing or two about pleasing the palate. His Morningside restaurant Rosebud is competing at this year’s Atlanta Meatball Festival, Aug. 30 in Sandy Springs, with a classic meatball that will remind you of the kind grandma used to make.

Feeling pretty confident about his restaurant’s chances of winning, Eyester has revealed the recipe he’ll use to craft meatballs for the competition, scaled down for home cooks.

Chef Ron Eyester’s Meatballs

Ron Eyester's meatball. Photo credit: Henri Hollis/Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ron Eyester’s meatball | Photo courtesy of Henri Hollis, Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ingredients:
2 yellow onions, grated
2 fennel bulbs, grated
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups grated Romano cheese
4 cups panko bread crumbs (Run through Robot Coupe)
8 egg yolks
3 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground beef
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground pork

Method:
1. Quickly sauté onion, fennel and garlic and deglaze with 1 cup white wine.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked onion, fennel, parsley, cheese, bread crumb, egg yolks, tomatoes, red pepper flake, salt, pepper, ground beef and ground pork.

3. Spread meat mixture onto sheet pan, cover with bun bag and allow mixture to chill for several hours or overnight if possible.

4. Using a black handle 2.5-oz. scoop, portion meatballs and again move to sheet pan and allow meatballs to chill in cooler.

5. Fry meatballs in fryer at 300 degrees for approximately 90 seconds, just until outside of meatball has browned.

6. Finish meatballs by braising in tomato sauce in rondo for about 2.5 hours over moderate heat.

pot of meatballs in tomato sauce

Atlanta Meatball Festival | Photo courtesy of Samantha Shal Photography

The Atlanta Meatball Festival, produced by the same team behind Taste of Atlanta, brings out the city’s top chefs for a quirky competition. This year’s festival will feature more than 20 restaurants competing, more space to enjoy your tastes than last year and a large drinks selection. Buy your tickets in advance and arrive early for the best chance to try all the offerings.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

 

New York Cuisine, Southern Hospitality at The General Muir

New York City is synonymous with art, high fashion, finance and great food — but not necessarily with great hospitality. So, imagine my surprise when I enjoyed a very hospitable New York-style dinner at The General Muir.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

I sampled the Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans, Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Crème Fraiche, Chicken Liver Pate, and bowl of Poutine (hand-cut french fries, covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds and crisp pastrami) — all served with a side of exceptional Southern hospitality. For those of you interested in more traditional Southern fare, don’t despair. I also noticed Pecan Crusted French Toast, Deep Fried Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, and even Pickled Eggs on the menu.

Did I mention that The General Muir is a refreshing take on the traditional New York City Jewish delicatessen and located right here in our lovely state? It’s at Emory Point in Atlanta, to be exact. They also offer an amazing brunch menu and a list of some pretty inventive cocktails — for those of you who like that kind of thing. There is even a deli counter attached to the main dining room for those of you wanting to get your bagels and smear to go.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Atlanta Chinatown Mall

As a true lover of food, I’m always looking for a great meal. You may be thinking that since I’m a Chef, a great meal means lots of fancy food, served as lots courses-all costing lots of money. Nope. To me a great meal means delicious food with big flavors, lots of fresh ingredients and affordability. I also like to step out of my comfort zone from time to time and try something new. I’ve found all of that, and more, right here in Atlanta at the Chinatown Mall. It’s tucked away off I-285 and New Peachtree Road, and offers Chinese, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Korean culture all in one small community.

Atlanta Chinatown Mall

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Chinatown Mall

My favorite location at the mall is the food court. No surprise there, especially considering it offers six restaurant stalls, a bakery and two dine-in restaurants. The food selections are all authentic cuisines from around China, recipes passed down from generation to generation. I’ve enjoyed Peking Duck, which is a whole duck cooked until the meat is tender and the skin crisps up crunchy and delicious. The Crispy Pork Belly with a Spicy Hoisin Sauce is another dish I like that cooks the pork belly until the fat and lean are both rich and crisp, before being dipped into a sweet and spicy sauce. And then there is my all-time favorite, a big piping hot bowl of Red Pepper Fish Stew. This stew is thick with chunks of succulent white fish swimming in a broth thick with red hot peppers and Chinese vegetables. Yum! The main thing to remember when checking out the Atlanta Chinatown Mall is to bring a big appetite, your sense of adventure and cash-they don’t accept plastic.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Exploring Atlanta’s Neighborhoods

Municipal MarketDowntown Atlanta is a well known for tourist destination with the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium (voted number one aquarium in the US by Trip Advisor), College Football Hall of Fame and the newest addition to the skyline, the Center for Civil and Human Rights. But Atlanta isn’t all about attractions. To truly get the flavor of this city, visit a few of Atlanta’s distinct neighborhoods. Here are three Atlanta neighborhoods worth exploring:

Sweet Auburn: The Sweet Auburn Historic District is a mile and half stretch along Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta. At the turn of the century, this area was one of the wealthiest African American streets in the world. During the 1960’s it was the center of the civil rights movement and home to Rev. Martin Luther King. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market has 24 individual businesses, including a full service bakery and 11 of the most popular eateries in the city; my favorite is Venezuelan Arepas from Arepa Mia.

Little Five Points: Little Five Points is one of Atlanta’s oldest and most unique commercial districts. Known as L5P, this neighborhood has an alternative feel with several independently owned and one-of-a-kind shops. Junkman’s Daughter carries a variety of items and has attracted costume designers from Atlanta’s burgeoning movie scene. Criminal Records offers old school vinyl, as well as CDs and hard to find comics. L5P has a vibrant music scene with several live venues and funky bars like Star Bar with its shrine to Elvis. You have to be over 18 to visit The Vortex, but anyone can marvel at the giant skull entryway. The edgy L5P Halloween Parade in October is a must see event for all ages.

Castleberry Hill: Recognized as a federal historic district, and a City of Atlanta Landmark District, Castleberry Hill was once a factory-warehouse area but is now best known for its growing arts scene, restaurants and loft residences. The community sponsors the 2nd Friday Art Stroll that includes numerous galleries, restaurants and retail events. This event was the readers pick for best neighborhood art walk by Creative Loafing, the city’s alternative newspaper. Our visit to the art stroll made me feel like I was in a totally different city than my hometown. After viewing a wide variety of art, and participating in a wine tasting, we grabbed a bite and margaritas at No Mas! Cantina.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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4 Things to Do at the BB&T Atlanta Open

Georgia loves tennis and, according to BB&T Atlanta Open Tournament Director and Chief Development Officer Eddie Gonzalez, tennis loves Georgia. Last year about 347,000 people played tennis in Atlanta — more than any city in the world! World-class tennis facilities are in the works, as well; Berry College recently broke ground for the Rome Tennis Center of Georgia, which will feature 51 USTA standard courts on a 30-acre site.

BB&T Atlanta Open

Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open

This summer, tennis lovers from around the world will convene at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta for the 12th annual BB&T Atlanta Open. The first stop in the Emirates Airline US Open Series is also the only professional tennis tournament in Atlanta. The week-long event will kick off on Saturday, July 25 with a qualifying draw and advance to the championship set for Sunday, August 2, 2015. A few Georgia natives will showcase their talents at the tournament, including Georgia Tech freshman Christopher Eubanks, who defeated top collegiate tennis players for the wild card spot in the tournament. And, be sure to watch for UGA grad and reigning champ John Isner, who will be vying for his third title this year.

Alongside the exhilarating tennis matches, BB&T Atlanta Open and Atlantic Station will offer plenty of activities suited for all ages. After watching your favorite players compete for the prestigious title, stroll around to shops, restaurants and ongoing events throughout the week.

Family Zone presented by Prince – Play like the players do on the free tennis courts available from noon until 7 p.m. during the BB&T Tournament. Tennis balls and racquets will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

Kick-Off Concert with The Commodores – These legends of Motown will take the “Night Shift” on July 25 to kick off the tournament in Atlantic Station. The concert promises to be the perfect start to a week of great entertainment.

Post-Match Concert with LoCash – As if one concert wasn’t enough, this dynamic country duo will perform a post-match concert July 29 at 9 p.m. All ticket holders for the Wednesday night match can enjoy the concert for free. LoCash is known for writing songs for Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and many other well-known country artists. Individual tickets for the tennis match begin at $39, including a round of tennis and the LoCash concert.

Post-Match Fireworks Show – Post-match fireworks will be presented by Coca-Cola after the Friday, July 31 night session.

Did we mention that Atlantic Station will be broadcasting the whole tournament live on the big screen in Central Park? So, get your tickets, head to Atlantic Station (remembering to visit the Explore Georgia table!) and show the world how much Georgia loves tennis!

John Isner

2-Time Defending Champion, UGA Grad John Isner | Photo courtesy of BB&T Atlanta Open