Tag Archives: pork

Kevin Gillespie Celebrates Pork in New Cookbook

Love all things pork? Can’t get enough bacon? Then you’ll want to pick up a copy of Pure Pork Awesomeness by Chef Kevin Gillespie.

The cookbook out March 31st features recipes from around the world with pork as the featured ingredient. The Atlanta chef, restaurateur and Top Chef fan favorite shares his love for pigs and offers dishes for any occasion or day of the week.

Pure Pork AwesomenessYou’ll have a new appreciation for how delicious and versatile pork can be with more than 100 recipes like Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder, Pork Vindaloo, Thai Red Curry Pork, Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs, Ham Burgers, Bacon Popcorn and Bacon-Molasses Chipwiches.

The book is full of information on pigs, from guides to breeds, parts and labels to cooking methods and techniques. It even answers the question, “why do pigs have snouts?”

Fans can join Chef Gillespie for a special cookbook release party on Sunday, March 29th from 2 to 6 p.m. at Gunshow. Admission includes a signed copy of the book with a rare edition of the “lost” chapter and an array of appetizing pork offerings. Guests will also enjoy drink specials including beer from SweetWater Brewing Company. Tickets are $50 and are available through Xorbia.

Chef Gillespie opened Gunshow in Glenwood Park in May 2013. His second restaurant, Revival, will open this June in Decatur. Chef Gillespie’s debut cookbook, Fire in My Belly, was selected as a James Beard Award Finalist.

Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, and is available for $29.99.

For more information visit chefkevingillespie.com.

Twin Smokers BBQ

Twin Smokers Brings BBQ to Downtown Atlanta

With the arrival of Twin Smokers BBQ, there’s now a restaurant for any craving in Downtown Atlanta.

The barbecue and bourbon spot in the Luckie Marietta District is the latest restaurant from Legacy Restaurant Partners, owners of nearby Der Biergarten, Game-X, Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria and STATS.

Twin Smokers offers a casual setting that focuses on the food. You place your order at the counter. Tables offer street views or views of the twin smokers – named Elizabeth and Matthew after the owner’s children. While you’re waiting you can check out the “Wood Library,” the restaurant’s collection of Texas mesquite, hickory, white oak and post oak used in the smokers.

Twin Smokers

Daily the chicken, pork and sausages are smoked over hickory and white oak in Elizabeth, and the beef is smoked over Texas mesquite and post oak in Matthew. Using traditional smoking techniques with some modern technology (the smokers have electric thermostats to control the temperature), everything comes out just right.

Continue reading

Southern Gentleman

A Twist on Tradition at The Southern Gentleman

A tip of the hat to The Southern Gentleman, the new restaurant offering traditional favorites with a modern twist in the Buckhead Atlanta development.

The southern influenced gastropub is the place to go for a post work drink or dinner with friends. You’ll find a chef-driven menu with locally sourced ingredients in a laid back yet sophisticated setting.

Bourbon fans – and those hoping to discover what makes bourbon so good – will love the cocktail menu. Try the East of Hudson, The Southern Gentleman’s take on a Manhattan, or that week’s Barrel Aged Cocktail. If you want your whiskey without all the fuss, there’s a list of more than 80 kinds of bourbon, rye and Scotch. There’s also a selection of draft and bottled beer, and wine by the glass and bottle.

Southern Gentleman cocktails

Continue reading

The Pig and The Pearl

The Pig and The Pearl

The south meets the sea at The Pig & The Pearl, a smokehouse and raw bar now open at Atlantic Station.

Sure, it’s a seemingly odd pairing. But as The Amateur Gastronomer found out, it’s one that lets you enjoy exactly what you’re craving, without having to compromise on quality.

Pig and PearlThe Pig & The Pearl comes from the team at The Shed at Glenwood. Owners Todd Martin and Cindy Shera sought to create a gathering place in Midtown, with an artfully prepared and fun menu from Chef Todd Richards.

The interior is a mix of weathered wood and whitewashed brick that offers a soothing respite from busy Atlantic Station.

Continue reading

D.B.A. Celebrates National Pig Day

Looking for a place to celebrate National Pig Day on Friday, March 1st? Head to D.B.A. Barbecue for a special evening of all-you-can-eat pork barbecue, drink specials, live music and more.

For its second annual Pig Out, the Virginia-Highland restaurant will offer a buffet of house-smoked suckling pigs, ribs, bacon, pork rinds and pork belly. There will also be pork inspired side dishes and desserts including bacon potato salad and candied bacon chocolate cake. Three dollars gets you a Red Hare brew or moonshine to wash it all down.

Completing the pig-inspired theme, D.B.A. will be showing the film Porky’s at 9:30pm.

The buffet will begin at 6pm and costs $20 per person. The regular dinner menu will also be available.

National Pig Day at D.B.A. Barbecue, Friday, March 1st at 6pm. 1190 N. Highland Ave NE Suite B, Atlanta 30306. (404) 249-5000

Beyond Pub Grub at Meehan’s Public House

Who would have thought that one of the top peach cobblers in Atlanta would be at an Irish pub?

A lot about Meehan’s Public House may be surprising for first time diners.  More than just a spot for pub grub in downtown, Meehan’s serves gourmet fare with a local and organic focus.

Though it is tempting to fast forward to the excellent dessert, let me start at the beginning.  I was recently invited to dine at Meehan’s Public House for a taste of the restaurant’s new and signature dishes.

The interior of Meehan’s is like many Irish pubs — dark and intimate with wooden booths that line the narrow space.  The menu too includes traditional Irish fare.  But after a few bites (or maybe even sooner), you’ll realize, thanks in part to its executive chef, Meehan’s is much more than your typical Irish pub.

Executive Chef Jordan Wakefield incorporates his own southern cooking traditions in Meehan’s menu.  Chef Wakefield grew up in Georgia and is no stranger to Atlanta’s food scene, having worked at Food 101 and Spice Market.  Like a number of Atlanta chefs, Wakefield is passionate about the local foods movement.  At Meehan’s he creates Irish and gastropub favorites using ingredients from Georgia farms.

My meal started with a taste of Meehan’s popular dishes.  The Guinness Battered Fish and Chips were instantly a hit, with just the right amount of crispy skin surrounding the flaky fish.  The 101 Meatloaf also was a winner, with its savory mix of bison meat, ground beef and sausage.  Rounding out the first course, the homemade soft pretzel with a cheese sauce was a great snack with a beer, and the Ahi tuna tostadas had a nice spicy kick.

Next came the Organic Kale Salad, served with Applewood bacon, roasted golden beets, Asiago cheese and avocado.  Chef Wakefield kept it simple, serving the kale raw in a tangy vinaigrette.

The main event was the “Shake-n-Bake,” a giant pork chop from Niman Ranch that was breaded and lightly fried.  It came topped with a wild mushroom gravy and sides of Parmesan mac and cheese and locally grown Swiss chard.  It was clear to see why Chef Wakefield chose to feature this dish — it was outstanding.  The pork was cooked perfectly; the moist meat was enhanced by the wonderfully crunchy outside.  I don’t often order pork at restaurants but this dish is worth a special trip.  The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA was an excellent choice to wash it all down.

Then came dessert: the Georgia Peach Cobbler.  Locally grown peaches were served over a sweet biscuit with a scoop of High Road Craft caramelized peach ice cream.  Just the aromas of vanilla and cinnamon made my mouth water.  Sweet and savory, warm with the cooling sensation of the ice cream, this dessert added an exclamation point to the end of the meal.  Though I was full going into the course, I had to resist licking the bowl.

Perhaps odd at an Irish pub, I didn’t have a single Irish beer over the course of the evening.  For Chef Wakefield, the idea of eating local applies to breweries too.  Rather than pair the cobbler with a pint of Guinness, Chef Wakefield served us a Chocolate Milk Stout from Terrapin, the Athens, Georgia brewery.

Guinness fans needn’t fret.  Meehan’s has the Irish stout on tap and, according to a Yelp review, pours the best pint in town.  Meehan’s also hosts monthly beer dinners (details can be found on their website).

The owner of Meehan’s Public House plans to open two new locations of the restaurant: one near Emory and one in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Whether you’re in the mood for a beer and snack after work, or want to take that special someone on a date, you can enjoy both at Meehan’s Public House in downtown Atlanta.

Meehan’s Public House, 180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30303
(404) 214-9821

image of restaurant’s exterior from Meehan’s Facebook page

Praising the Lard at COCHON 555

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in downtown Atlanta a congregation rose to its feet, lifted glasses of Pinot Noir and exclaimed, “Praise the Lard!”

The reason: COCHON 555, a 10 city tour bringing together 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 winemakers and hundreds of pork fans to celebrate and raise awareness for heritage breed pigs.

As the clever expression from creator Brady Lowe might indicate, COCHON 555 was a sinfully fun way to end the weekend.  With more than 750 pounds of pork, more than a dozen wines and two beers to taste, the sin of gluttony certainly comes to mind.

But how could you not want to pig out?  The five chefs, selected because of their support of local agriculture and ranches, had prepared a sumptuous spread with their own take on the other white meat.  With so many different dishes I wanted to try them all!

Last year’s “Prince of Porc” Chef Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s in Atlanta looked like he could take the title again.  Guests swarmed his table to get a taste of his Berkshire pork flan and dumplings; they were so popular that they were gone in just over an hour.

Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston was also a hit from the start.  He had a host of pork dishes that disappeared almost as soon as they were placed on the table.  From a spicy pork sausage to chicharrones, to the rich and creamy pork liver (my favorite), Chef Brock made great use of his Ossabaw/Berkshire cross.

Chef Mike Lata of FIG Restaurant (Food Is Good) joined his fellow Charleston chef in presenting a variety of dishes using his Tamworth pig.  His ten tasty offerings included pork skin polenta, pork belly with watermelon pickles, lard crackers with pimento cheese, corn “hogs” with rhubarb ketchup and bourbon lard caramels.  Considering the impressive spread, I was surprised to find out that Chef Lata only has two pork items on his menu; it’s the restaurant’s fresh fish and vegetable dishes of which he’s most proud.  On a side note, chatting with Chef Lata made me want to plan a trip to his restaurant right away.

Considering the recent pork belly craze, I asked Chef Lata what he thought the next pig trend will be.  His answer: pigs’ trotters.  They’re in low demand from local farms which makes them easier to get, and taste great when slow-cooked.  Chef Lata says diners love FIG’s crispy pork trotters.

Besides promoting heritage breed pigs, COCHON 555 aims to promote family-owned farms.  It’s a sentiment all the chefs support.  As Chef Todd Mussman of Muss & Turner’s in Atlanta handed me his dish that he called an “entire pig in a bowl” (pancetta di porchetta over smoked pork consommé with a bitter herb salad and ham jerkey), he told me he’s been serving local produce and proteins for ten years and won’t serve food unless it is fresh.

The participating wineries at COCHON 555 are also family-owned.  I was really impressed by the wines I tasted — I can’t recall another recent tasting when I’ve enjoyed every single wine.

I started with the crisp and refreshing Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle blend from Buty Winery in Walla Walla.  It made a great pairing with Chef Kelly English’s dish.  The chef from Restaurant Iris in Memphis served a pork tamale sandwich that combined Latin American and Vietnamese flavors.  I also enjoyed Buty’s two red wines: the elegant 2007 Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend and the rich and spicy 2006 Columbia Rediviva, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

I had a hard time picking my favorite Pinot Noir among the wines from Domaine Serene and Anne Amie Vineyards from Oregon and Hirsch Vineyards from Sonoma.  The 2006 Evenstad Reserve (served earlier in the VIP lounge) and the 2007 Yamhill Cuvée from Domaine Serene were lush and complex with nice acidity that went well with some of the more savory pork dishes.  Anne Amie’s Pinots were supple and bursting with flavor, with notes of cherry, plum, cola, toffee and thyme.  I would be thrilled to enjoy a bottle of any of Hirsch Vineyards’ four Pinots, each spicy and intense with well balanced fruit and acidity.  I was glad to find out that all of these wines are available in Atlanta.

As I snacked and sipped it was neat to watch Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats butcher an entire Berkshire pig.  I had never seen a pig breakdown before so it was interesting to watch Ryan’s skills and learn more about the various cuts of meat.  When I asked Ryan about his favorite part of the pig, he said he enjoyed the cheek and neck which become really tender when slow-cooked.  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for those on restaurant menus.

Before the winner was announced it was time for dessert — more pork!  An entire roasted pig that had been injected with ham hock butter was rolled out and carved by Nick Melvin, the Executive Chef at PARISH.  Guests were able to dive right in, enjoying the meat with a tasty sauce or putting it on sandwiches.

With appetites sated and votes tabulated it was time to reveal the winner.  The title of Atlanta’s 2010 Prince of Pork went to Chef Sean Brock, who impressed with his assortment of delicious dishes.  He will compete against the nine other Princes and Princesses of Porc in June at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, where the winner will be crowned King or Queen of Porc.

What a way to honor the protein.

Click here to see more photos from COCHON 555 Atlanta

Earlier: Pig Out Sunday at COCHON 555


Cochon 555 Coming to Atlanta

Take 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers and you’ve got COCHON 555, a pork lover’s perfect pig out.

The 10 city coast-to-coast pork party, to be held in Atlanta on April 18th, will feature a smorgasbord of dishes with pig as the main ingredient.  Each chef will prepare an entire heritage breed pig from head to toe, with their variety of offerings paired with wine.

COCHON 555Guests will get to enjoy all of the chefs’ creations while a panel of judges decides which chef is the “Prince or Princess of Porc.”  The winner in each city will have the opportunity to compete at Grand Cochon during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June, with the winner crowned the “King or Queen of Porc.”

The event will include over 750 pounds of heritage pork, a whole pig breakdown demonstration, a “swine & spirits” mixologist showcase, and a “meat” & greet VIP Lounge that will feature artisan cheese, oysters and reserve wine.

COCHON 555 (meaning pig in French) was created in 2009 to help preserve heritage breed pigs by promoting breed diversity in the national community.  The chefs are selected based on their support of local agriculture and heritage species.  The pigs are sourced from local ranches devoted to sustaining heritage breeds.  Participating wineries are all family owned.

The participating chefs in Atlanta’s Southeast Regional competition are 2009’s Prince of Porc Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s Restaurants in Atlanta, Mike Lata of Fig Restaurant in Charleston, Sean Brock of McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston, Kelly English of Restaurant Iris in Memphis and Todd Mussman of Muss & Turner’s in Atlanta.

Their dishes will be paired with wines from Gamble Family Vineyards and Hirsch Vineyards from California, Buty Winery from Washington State and Anne Amie Vineyards and Domaine Serene from Oregon.

The 2010 tour has already visited Napa and New York.  This year’s other host cities are Boston, Stillwater, Oklahoma, Des Moines, Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.

COCHON 555 in Atlanta will be held April 18th at the W Hotel Downtown at 55 Allen Plaza.  The event starts at 5:00pm, with VIP entrance at 3:30pm.  Tickets cost $125 for general admission and $175 for VIP.  For more information and to buy tickets visit www.cochon555.com.