Eat Your Heart Out During Alpharetta Restaurant Week

Feast on new eats and favorite treats during Alpharetta Restaurant Week, happening Feb. 21-27. If you are looking for savory plates from chef-driven and locally owned restaurants, then this week of dining will keep your taste buds busy. Choose from lunch and dinner options, each featuring three-course prix fixe menus that will please every foodie’s palate.

 A piece of delicious cake from Alpine Bakery and Trattoria

Save room for dessert at Alpine Bakery and Trattoria in Alpharetta.

Alpine Bakery and Trattoria ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Known for its tasty bakery full of seasonal goodies, Alpine Bakery and Trattoria features a menu that is packed with Italian favorites with an Alpine flair. The Alpharetta Restaurant Week menus feature many favorites, including a chance to taste a piece of one of the restaurant’s beloved cakes.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Cup of Italian Wedding Soup, Cup of Tomato Basil Soup, Alpine House Side Salad or Alpine Caesar Side Salad
  • Entrée: Alpine Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Caprese Panini or Spaghetti with Red Sauce
  • Dessert: 1/2 slice of any cake available by the slice

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Mussels Marinara, Fried Calamari or Italian Rice Balls
  • Entrée Course: Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan, Housemade Lasagna or Baked Ziti
  • Dessert Course: Peanut Butter Pie Bar, Key Lime Pie Bar or Rocky Road Bar
Vinny’s on Windward’s Italian Sausage Lasagna, featured on the lunch menu for Alpharetta Restaurant Week.

Vinny’s on Windward’s Italian Sausage Lasagna, featured on the lunch menu for Alpharetta Restaurant Week.

Vinny’s on Windward ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Savor Italian favorites while you sip on wines from around the globe in a chic, yet easy-going atmosphere.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Tomato Ciabatta Bread Soup, Zuppa Di Pesce or Simple Arugula Salad
  • Entrée: Margherita Pizza, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Vinny’s Italian Sausage Lasagna
  • Dessert: Biscotti Cookies: Pistachio and golden raisin and chocolate dried cherry cookies with fresh berries

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Zuppa Di Pesce, Simple Arugula Salad or Salt and Pepper Fried Calamari
  • Entrée: Chicken Scallopine, P.E.I. Mussels or Veal Meatball Gnocchi
  • Dessert: Biscotti Cookies or Bistro Vg’s “Killer” Tiramisu
Enjoy a meal at South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta

Enjoy a meal at South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta

South Main Kitchen ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Located in the heart of downtown Alpharetta, South Main Kitchen offers Alpharetta a fresh and unique kitchen-inspired dining experience. With each dish carefully prepared and inspected by Chef Christy Stone before leaving the kitchen, diners can expect a delectable dining experience that is hard to duplicate. Sip premium cocktails while sitting on the patio, where local musicians perform most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad, Smoked Cauliflower Soup, Pecorino Cheese, Pumpkin Seed or South Main Garden Salad
  • Entrée: Brisket Chili, South Main Club or Brisket Tacos
  • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Spiced Pear Hand Pie, Cheesecake or Sticky Sorghum Pudding

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad, South Main Garden Salad or Smoked Cauliflower Soup
  • Entrée: Brisket Roast, Springer Mountain Chicken or Salmon
  • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Spiced Pear Hand Pie, Cheesecake or Sticky Sorghum Pudding
MADE Kitchen and Cocktails, Alpharetta

MADE Kitchen and Cocktails is decorated with repurposed cotton mill beams, oiled, steel hanging lamps and reclaimed shutters from the Jim Beam distiller.

MADE Kitchen and Cocktails ($25 dinner menu): Taste your way through Spain with uniquely crafted tapas. Sip on a flawless cocktail that blends world ingredients with seasonal and local resources. Try a glass of wine that is sure to please every wine enthusiast.

Dinner:

  • Appetizer: Rocket salad, Wood-grilled artichokes or Spanish chorizo
  • Entrée: Grilled skirt steak with twice fried fingerling potatoes, Braised pork cheeks or Springer Mountain Chicken
  • Dessert: Shattered Chocolate Bar, Six Month Manchego Cheese or Housemade Bread Pudding
Pure-Taqueria-Alpharetta

Cocktails and guacamole at PURE Taqueria in Alpharetta

Other awesome menus featured for Alpharetta Restaurant Week:

For a full list of restaurants featured during Alpharetta Restaurant Week, along with a listing of all of Alpharetta’s 175+ dining options, visit www.awesomealpharetta.com.

CaitlynFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard is the Director of Communications at the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all things fun and unique in Awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time outside with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

Georgia Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Favorite Holiday Recipes

Georgia born-and-raised chef Kevin Gillespie often draws from his experiences growing up in a Southern family. In fact, his latest restaurant, Revival, in Decatur, Ga., is a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients. Below, Gillespie shares two anecdotes from celebrating the holidays in Georgia, along with two of his favorite holiday recipes that will make your dishes the talk of the table.

Revival-web

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin is an interesting twist on a vegetable that is often under appreciated, especially in my house growing up. My mom always hated Brussels sprouts. They were taboo in our family. I hated them too, until I learned how to cook them.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

The turning point was at Thanksgiving in 2009. I was determined to convert my mom into a Brussels sprouts fan.

The challenge was that I had to make something that could be baked in a crowded oven. One taste of this gratin and the whole family loved it. Now, it’s a requested dish at almost every family function. My mom and dad even ask me to make it for potlucks they’re going to, and they pass it off as their own.

You can prep ahead of time, so you’re not doing all the work the morning of your holiday gathering. Start by making and pureeing the sauce, slicing the Brussels sprouts, and preparing the topping ahead of time. Refrigerate until you’re ready to make the dish. Then, all you need to do is reheat the sauce, fold in the Brussels sprouts, assemble and bake.

You can get the entire Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe on my website, along with some other holiday favorites.

Grilled Venison

Another great holiday recipe is grilled venison. If there was one theme from the holiday season growing up, it is this celebrated game meat.

The beginning of the holiday season always coincides with the best of deer season, and my dad usually takes a whole week off to hunt. Suffice to say, the Gillespie household always had venison on the table during the holidays.

My recipe for grilled venison is quite simple and calls for just five ingredients: two pounds of venison, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons chopped rosemary, two tablespoons chopped garlic and two tablespoons of espelette pepper or hot paprika.

Mix and marinate two pounds of venison for 8-24 hours. Boneless filet or backstrap are the preferred cuts. Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high.

Take the meat out of marinade, but don’t wipe it off; just lightly shake it. Then, season the meat with salt and ground black pepper.

Grill for four minutes on each side or to rare/medium rare. Never overcook venison. Let rest for five minutes, and it’s ready to serve.

Kevin Gillespie. Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Chef Kevin Gillespie is the owner of Gunshow in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta and Revival in Decatur. In February 2015, he was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef: Southeast. He is the author of two cookbooks — “Fire in My Belly” and “Pure Pork Awesomeness” — available online at Kevin Gillespie’s General Store.

Unwrap the Holiday Magic in Alpharetta

‘Tis the season for tree lightings, mistletoe, tacky sweaters and Santa photos. With numerous holiday events, there’s never been a better time to visit Alpharetta. Stop in and tell Santa what’s on your Christmas list after snapping a photo with him at one of the many photo opportunities around the city. Lace up a pair of ice skates and take a twirl at the ice skating rink at The Cooler or at Avalon. After you’ve worked up an appetite, choose from more than 175 dining options. Or, if shopping is more your style, drop into a few of Alpharetta’s 250 retail shops located in five shopping distinct districts for one-of-a-kind finds.

ice skating at Avalon

Go ice skating at Avalon through Jan. 24, 2016

Ice Skating at Avalon: Lace up your skates and glide on ice at Avalon’s Rockefeller-inspired skating rink through January 24.

Ice Skating at The Cooler: Enjoy public ice skating in the indoor rink. Dates, times and prices vary. Click here for updated information.

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Santa Sightings in Alpharetta: Santa Claus is making his list and checking it twice in Alpharetta. He is making his rounds at some of your favorite attractions. To see a complete list and to get times, click here.

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Holiday Themed Cooking ClassesGather friends and family and learn how to make special holiday cookies, desserts and traditional meals. You’ll surely be baking like a pro this season!

  • Girls Night out: Cookie Swap at Sur la Table at North Point Mall – December 15
  • European Christmas Vacation at Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods Market Avalon – December 18
  • Incr-Edible Holiday Cookies at Publix Apron’s Cooking School – December 23

For more information on Alpharetta’s three cooking schools, including the only Publix Apron’s Cooking School in Georgia, click here.

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Shopping and Dining in Alpharetta – Whether you crave traditional or unique dishes, there’s an Alpharetta restaurant for you. Walk the downtown area and visit local favorites such as Smokejack BBQ, South Main Kitchen and MADE Kitchen and Cocktails, or head over to Avalon to have a taste of Chef Michael Perez’s novel interpretations of Italian food at the one and only Colletta. For more of a dainty bite accompanied by your favorite doll, make a reservation for tea at the American Girl Boutique and Bistro in North Point Mall.

shopping in Alpharetta

Find gifts for everyone on your list in Alpharetta

Fashionistas love visiting Alpharetta’s five shopping districts. Stop at a variety of locally owned boutiques like Sis and Moon’s and La Bella Maison in downtown Alpharetta or make a day of it and hit all your favorite stores like Fab’rik, West Elm and American Threads at Avalon. Then, drop in at North Point Mall to visit all your favorite, well-known stores like Von Maur, Macy’s and Michael Kors. Visit Dress Up Boutique along Windward Parkway to browse trendy outfits and accessories. Last but not least, head to the North on Main district for upscale consignment including high-end finds from Designer Consigner.

Alpharetta is an awesome place to experience the holidays. But, don’t take our word for it – come experience it for yourself! Enter to win the Ultimate Shopping and Dining Giveaway in Alpharetta that is packed with shopping and dining certificates worth over $2,000!

Make your plans now and begin unwrapping the holiday magic in Alpharetta. Visit www.awesomealpharetta.com for a complete list of Alpharetta hotels and rates as well as a comprehensive list of things to do.

CaitlynFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard is the Director of Communications at the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all things fun and unique in Awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time outside with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

 

Cooking in Savannah with Chef Joe Randall

This month, Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah celebrates its 15-year anniversary, and a series of special classes are scheduled to mark the occasion.

Chef Joe Randall's Cooking School in Savannah

Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah

Chef Joe Randall is an expert on Southern cuisine and a food service veteran with more than 50 years in the hospitality and food service industry. Years of working in the restaurant field have given Chef Joe the knowledge, expertise (and patience) to run his own cooking school for the last 15 years. With the motto of “Put a little South in your mouth,” he shares his extensive culinary knowledge with an emphasis on Southern, Low Country, and Atlantic Georgia Coastal cuisines in a comfortable, yet practical, setting.

Black-eyed pea cake with grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon and roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Black-eyed pea cake with grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon and roasted red pepper vinaigrette

Located on Waters Street in Savannah, Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School offers nightly classes of dinner and a show. Choose from either a hands-on or a chef demonstration-style class. During the hands-on class, you cook your own dinner under the watchful eye of Chef Joe, who is there with a guiding hand to the proper cooking techniques. If you’re not interested in working, then the demonstration dinner is for you! Just sit back, watch Chef Joe in action, and enjoy a delicious meal.

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker and her former student Kyle Petrucelli with Chef Joe.

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker and her former student Kyle Petrucelli with Chef Joe.

To celebrate the school’s 15-year anniversary, Chef Joe is calling in an impressive list of Southern celebrity chefs to teach classes Sept. 14-19, 2015, with the show stopper prepared by the man himself on Saturday, Sept. 19.  As you can well imagine, these classes are very popular with guests from around the globe interested in meeting Chef Joe, trying their hand at Southern cuisine, and enjoying a great meal. Make your reservations early!

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. She is the guest chef at Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School Sept. 17, 2015. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

10 Places to Visit in Athens When at a UGA Game

Between the Hedges in Athens

Between the Hedges | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

It’s that time of year again and if you are a Georgia Bulldogs fan, there is no place you’d rather be than in Athens, Georgia watching football on a Saturday. A fall breeze in the air, the smell of the grill while tailgating and a cold drink in your hand tends to conjure up all sorts of good memories for so many Georgians.

We live here every day so we get to see how great this city is up close and personal all the time. So we thought we would give you some recommendations for ten great places to check out when you’re visiting Athens for a UGA game.

We broke them into three categories for you so that no matter your mood or what point in the day you were at, you could ramp up your partying, kill some time with shopping or wind down before the long drive back to the real world. And better yet, all the recommendations are within walking distance to Sanford Stadium and your tailgate!

The Ramp Up

Creature Comforts in Athens

Creature Comforts | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Creature Comforts – One of the best new breweries in the country. While they have only been around for less than two years, they have already won multiple national awards for their beers. They are in the old Snow Tire building that they beautifully renovated with the help from local woodworkers, Oneta Woodworks. It is a warm and inviting place and with four or five beers in their regular rotation there are plenty of options to choose from.

All Good Lounge – This bar is typically packed but they have two floors complete with a rooftop bar so there is plenty of room to spread out. Being in right in the heart of downtown, they leave their garage door open to let their energy out onto the street and the street’s energy into the bar. While it may be bustling, they have three distinct bars that run the length of the building so you won’t wait long at all and will have your choice of cocktail or beer.

Trappeze Pub* – An Athens staple for years, Trappeze not only has a ton of great beers on tap, but they have really good food to go with them. You won’t find many domestic beers here but you will find the most exhaustive beer menu in Athens full of craft beers from around the world. The best bet is to tell your knowledgeable bartender or server what kind of beers you typically enjoy and then let them go to work finding something that you’ll love.

The Georgia Theatre Rooftop* – When rebuilding the Georgia Theatre in 2011 after the fire that destroyed it, the owners wanted to add a new layer to the concerts they were famous for. So they added a rooftop bar that mixes great drinks with a great view. Food service is provided by the Branded Butcher downstairs and offers a great selection of burgers, sandwiches and tacos. So you can eat or drink (or both!) all while overlooking beautiful downtown Athens.

The Time Killers

Wuxtry Records in Athens

Wuxtry Records | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Kristen Ashley Artist Shop/Dynamite/Community – We are cheating here: this is really three great businesses but since they are all right next to each other we thought we’d combine them into one. Kristen Ashley Artist Shop opened this year and is a beautiful art supply shop full of handmade stationary and other local art. Dynamite Clothing is one of the best vintage shops in Athens, which is saying a lot. Community is a gorgeously designed and decorated retail shop focusing on fashion and the products from local artists including many Athens themed items.

Wuxtry – One of the more popular spots for Athens visitors, it absolutely worth a trip. Wuxtry has been consistently showing up on ‘Best Record Store’ lists for years. And with their additional adjacent building for discounted records, Wuxtry Side Car, and their comic book shop upstairs, Bizarro-Wuxtry, they have the whole corner of College and Clayton to themselves.

Frontier – A great gift shop that carries a wide selection for both men and women. Many of the items come from local artists in Athens and the ones that don’t are carefully selected to reflect seasons and trends. From soaps to art to jewelry, Frontier has something for everyone and being in the middle of downtown, it’s an excellent space to pop into to escape the heat . . . or the game day crowds.

The Wind Down

The World Famous in Athens

The World Famous | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

The Grill* – Odds are if you’ve been to Athens, you’ve been to The Grill. You also know there is nothing better than gorging on their famous feta fries after a long day of football. A classic grill setup with jukeboxes and fountain drinks, it’s both a throwback for alumni and a savior for newbies.

The World Famous* – More bar than restaurant, The World Famous often gets overlooked for having some of the best food in Athens. The bar feels like a Pinterest board come to life thanks to its creative design and the Mason jars that all of their drinks come in. Local chalk artist Chris Collins also keeps their chalkboard colored with UGA-themed artwork during the season. Whether it’s a day game or night game, this is the perfect spot to grab food and drink as you wind down.

Seabear* – Relatively new to the Athens food scene, Peter Dale (The National, Condor Chocolates), Patrick Stubbers (The Four Courseman) and Chris Luken (Normal Bar, The National) opened Seabear Oyster Bar in the Fall of 2014. Since then they’ve been flying in fresh daily oysters from across the country with some of the best bar service in town with their signature cocktails and their well-thought-out beer selection. This is a great spot to stop on your way out of town and if you time it right, you can hit one of their two daily oyster happy hours when all oysters are $1.50.

* Also have food.

The Broad Collective Logo

The Broad Collective is a development engine for the artist, creative and small business community in Athens, Georgia. Their goal is to foster and advocate for a healthy and sustainable Athens by nurturing the community’s economic, communal and cultural growth.