Seven Lamps: Craft Food & Drink in Buckhead

New Year, new restaurants to try. At the top of your list should be Seven Lamps, the new restaurant from co-owner and Executive Chef Drew Van Leuvan (formerly of ONE. midtown kitchen), now open in the Shops Around Lenox.

The restaurant takes its name from an essay by English art critic John Ruskin. The “lamps” are the seven principles of architecture – sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience – principles that Chef Van Leuvan believes are applicable in the kitchen.

Architecture is important in creating an inviting ambiance at Seven Lamps. The triangular space is warm and intimate, with reclaimed wood from an old mill in North Georgia adding a rustic feel. Long tables mean you may be seated near strangers. The outdoor tables are sure to be packed as the weather warms up.

Seven Lamps is dedicated to craft food and drinks. That means a focus on house-made ingredients and intricate cocktails that may take a little longer to prepare.

You’ll have a hard time selecting among the effervescent, classically inspired and barrel aged cocktails created by Arianne Fielder, beverage manager and head “mixtress.” Try the Red Dawn (barrel aged Four Roses bourbon, Pur Likor spiced blood orange liqueur, Benedictine and black walnut bitters), or the Chilcano (house barrel aged Pisco Porton, smoked lime and Seven Lamps’ delicious ginger beer). If you’re in the mood for something sweet try the Crunch Punch, which is Peanut Butter Captain Crunch-infused Redemption Rye, vanilla syrup and cream with a dash of nutmeg.

Jerk sodas, made fresh in-house to order, offer a tempting non-alcoholic alternative.

The menu at Seven Lamps is a mix of small plates that are perfect for sharing and generously portioned main dishes. This guarantees you’ll find something perfect for whatever time you dine (Seven Lamps is open until 2am), as well as the number in your dining party.

Start with a sampling from Seven Lamps’ “Salted, Cured & Whipped” section. The Pate de Campagne, Foie Gras Torchon and Potted Smoked Salmon are made in-house. Next try the Silver $ Mushrooms, stuffed with pork rillette. The Savory Crepes, filled with wood grilled kale and served with a gruyere gratin, satisfy that creamy salty craving.

The selection of handmade pasta will entice even the most carb-conscious. Try the Tagliatelle, which has Sapelo Island clams, andouille, jalapeno and asiago cheese in a flavorful tomato sauce.

There’s the saying “bacon makes anything taste better.” At Seven Lamps, Chef Van Leuvan demonstrates that wood makes anything taste better (there’s a wood-burning oven in the open kitchen). The Wood Grilled Hanger Steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare, is one of the best dishes on the menu. When infused with wood smoke, faro and broccoli rabe have never tasted so good.

Dessert offers a whimsical end to the meal. Try the Fried Banana Pie, which is topped with chocolate sauce, crème fraiche sherbet and dried cherry. Or go for the Rainbow Sherbet Push Pop, which has layers of raspberry, orange and lemon sorbet.

Seven Lamps, 3400 Around Lenox Road, Atlanta (404) 467-8950 www.sevenlampsatl.com

[slideshow auto=”off” thumbs=”on”]

Winter Whites: White Wines in Season

White wine is in season even when the weather is cool. Here are five white wines to try tonight:

Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2011
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
13% alcohol
$22

If you think the only white wine that comes from New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc, you’re missing out. Craggy Range produces delicious single vineyard Chardonnay on the North Island.

This wine comes from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand’s second largest winegrowing region. The grapes were mostly harvested by hand, and the wine spent five months aging in 12% new French oak barrels.

Reminiscent of Chablis, the Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay has citrus and white peach aromas. Lemon, grapefruit and tart white apricot flavors mingle with vanilla and a hint of almond, with lively acidity and chalky minerality giving the wine a bright finish. It’s the happy medium for people who can’t decide between a stainless steel or oaked Chardonnay.

 

Vincent Gaudry Le Tournebride Sancerre 2010
Sancerre, France
12.5% alcohol
$25

All wines tell a story, and this French wine has a dynamic – that is, biodynamic – one. Vincent Gaudry’s wines come from the Sancerre AOC in the eastern part of the Loire region, in central France. The domaine has passed from father to son for several generations; they began farming organically in 1993. Today the domaine is not only certified organic, but it is certified biodynamic too —  Gaudry cuts wood for his barrels only on days suggested by the biodynamic calendar, and the wines are bottled according to the lunar calendar. There are no artificial yeasts or additives in the wine, and the wine is not filtered. What you drink is a true expression of the place where the wine came from.

Le Tournebride, named for a small path leading to the domaine, is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes came from 30 year old vines that grow in limestone and marl soil. The wine was fermented in tanks, then spent eight months on the lees before bottling.

The nose of Le Tournebride Sancerre is a mix of citrus and tropical fruit. Flavors of lemon, peach, pineapple and tart lychee unfold on the palate, with a hint of Marcona almond on the lingering finish. Well balanced acidity and refreshing minerality make this wine a pleasant sip.

 

Barbi Orvieto 2011
Umbria, Italy
12.5% alcohol
$18

Orvieto is both the name of a region in central Italy and the wine produced there. White Orvieto can be a blend of several grapes; the Barbi Orvieto is a blend of Grechetto (40%), Procanico (30%, also known as Trebbiano), Verdello (10%), Malvasia (10%), and Vermentino (10%). These combine to make a wine that is crisp, refreshing and aromatic, with a slight touch of sweetness adding a lift at the end of each sip.

The grapes in the Barbi Orvieto were grown in vineyards that are 960 feet above sea level, in clay and sandy soil that is rich in fossils. Fermentation was stopped early to retain some residual sugar.

Melon and honeysuckle aromas introduce a palate of honeydew, green apple, yellow pear and a hint of white pepper. Vibrant acidity gives the Barbi Orvieto a lively mouthfeel and a clean finish.

 

Halter Ranch Côtes de Paso Blanc 2011
Paso Robles, California
14.2% alcohol
$25

If winter weather has you feeling down, try the Côtes de Paso Blanc from Halter Ranch. Its fragrant floral aromas will make you feel like spring is already in bloom.

Rhône grapes shine in Paso Robles, the Central California region where Halter Ranch Winery is located. This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc (33%), Roussanne (26%), Picpoul Blanc (20%), Marsanne (12%), and Viognier (9%). After fermentation in French oak barrels, the wine spent four months aging on the lees in 100% neutral French oak barrels.

Aromas of white flowers and peach expand on the palate, along with flavors of white apricot, jasmine, orange blossom and toasted hazelnut. Elegant with refreshing minerality and a satisfying finish, the Côtes de Paso Blanc is a white wine that is sure to cheer you up on a cold day.

 

Standing Stone Vineyards Riesling 2011
Finger Lakes, New York
11.7% alcohol
$14

The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is becoming the go-to spot for new and exciting Riesling. Even the president is a fan – on Monday a Finger Lakes Riesling was served at President Obama’s inaugural luncheon.

Standing Stone Vineyards is located on the east side of Seneca Lake. The grapes for the 2011 Riesling were fermented in stainless steel tanks using three different yeasts. The final wine is a blend from the lots, which brings together the most desirable characteristic of each.

This off-dry Riesling is wonderfully aromatic with notes of ripe citrus, tropical fruits and wildflower honey. On the palate are flavors of tangerine, sweet grapefruit, guava and mango. Gentle acidity balances out the sweetness, and flinty minerality makes for a clean finish.

More White Wines | Red Wines | More Under $20

Winter Beer Carnival Returns in February

Fun is on tap this February at the 4th annual Winter Beer Carnival. The event, to be held at Atlantic Station on Saturday, February 9th, is an afternoon of midway games, rides, DJs and of course — plenty of beer.

From 3pm to 7pm guests will get to taste more than 100 different beers including seasonal and winter brews, craft beers and traditional favorites. VIP ticket holders will be able to enter one hour earlier and have exclusive access to a VIP section that has a selection of premium and hard to find beers.

Click here for the list of beers at the 2013 Winter Beer Carnival

Tickets are on sale now and cost $40 in advance or $50 at the event. Admission includes all the beer you can safely consume, a commemorative Winter Beer Carnival sampling glass and unlimited carnival games. VIP tickets cost $60.

Designated driver tickets cost $20 in advance and $30 at the event and include unlimited carnival games.

Click here to purchase tickets online. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Ticket Alternative at 1-877-725-8849.

The Winter Beer Carnival is ages 21 and up. For more information visit www.winterbeercarnival.com or their Facebook or Twitter pages.

The 4th annual Winter Beer Carnival, Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 3pm to 7pm (VIP entrance at 2pm), Atlantic Station’s special event site (20th Street at Fowler Street) in Midtown Atlanta.

Wine Trends for 2013

Want to discover new wines and stay ahead of the latest trends? Here’s what the Amateur Gastronomer predicts will be big in 2013:

Wines from the Languedoc

The wine region to watch in 2013 is the Languedoc. This region in southern France is producing exceptional wine at great values.

The Languedoc is located along the Mediterranean sea, between the Spanish border and Provence. South of Bordeaux and west of the Rhône, the Languedoc offers wines made with grapes found in both regions (including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). The Languedoc’s aromatic white wines are food-friendly and crowd pleasing, and include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Picpoul. Ideal growing conditions and less name recognition contribute to make Languedoc wines wallet-friendly.

Vegan Wines

With grapes as the main ingredient, you would think wine would be vegan, right? Not necessarily. The culprits: egg whites and gelatin. These are used in fining, a technique to clarify wine. The fining agents attract and bind with unwanted solids; once they are removed the wine is clear, bright and without sediment.

Vegan wines follow in the footsteps of organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines, with consumers wanting to know in greater detail where and how their wines are produced. Look for vegan wines to have a bigger presence at wine shops and restaurants in 2013.

Wines from the Other 47

Venture outside California, Oregon and Washington and you’ll find that there are many standout wines produced beyond the West Coast. These whites, reds, sparkling and sweet wines are winning awards and gaining fans across the country. In particular, New York, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are producing noteworthy wines. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to try a wine from another state.

White Wines Low in Alcohol

Bigger is not always better – and such is the case when it comes to more alcohol in wine. Over the past few years white wines have been creeping above 13% alcohol, which can sometimes overwhelm the delicate flavors.

In 2013 look for white wines that are full in flavor, not in alcohol, to be popular. These include Riesling and Portugal’s Vinho Verde, which have alcohol content ranging from 8 to 11 percent. These white wines are especially good as the weather warms up, as they are refreshing and easy to sip on a hot day.

Tannat, Tamed

At the other end of the wine spectrum is Tannat, a red wine grape that produces robust, full-bodied wines with big tannins and high alcohol content. Tannat originated in southwest France and has found a home in Uruguay, where it is considered the national grape. Tannat is grown in a number of US states, and can be used alone or in blends.

Tannat has a wild reputation but in 2013 look for Tannat to be tamed. Winemakers have been adjusting the harvest time as well as fermentation and aging techniques to coax out the softer, more elegant side of Tannat. If you’re a fan of red wine and haven’t yet tasted Tannat, make 2013 the year to do so.

Celebrate Southern Cuisine with the Southern Food Tour

From biscuits to barbecue and everything in between, the south has a rich culinary history. This February you can celebrate the south’s tastiest traditions with a new organization dedicated to supporting local chefs, farmers and artisans.

The Southern Food Tour will hold its launch party on Saturday, February 16th at the Goat Farm. The organization’s mission is to be a distinctive voice for southern food by fostering the people who are defining southern food right now.

The launch party will be an evening of southern favorites, beer, spirits and live music, and will feature a preview of a short film about the south’s culinary heritage.

Among the food that will pay tribute to the various regions of the south will be a pig roast from chefs Ford Fry and Kevin Gillespie; gumbo from The Optimist’s Adam Evans; tamales from E.J. Hodgkinson of JCT Kitchen; and chicken biscuit sliders from Buttermilk Kitchen’s Suzanne Vizethann.

Monday Night Brewing will offer a selection of locally brewed beer and American Spirit Whiskey will offer signature cocktails. There will be live music from Blair Crimmins and the Hookers.

Tickets are now on sale online at Xorbia.com and cost $55 for VIP (5pm entry) and $45 for general admission (6pm entry).

For more information on the Southern Food Tour visit southernfoodtour.com or their Facebook page.

Southern Food Tour Launch Party, Saturday, February 16th, 6pm to 10pm. Goodson Yard at the Goat Farm, 1200 Foster Street Northwest, Atlanta 30318.