Outback Steakhouse Review - New Wood-Fire Grill Menu

Outback Steakhouse
Review - New Wood-Fire Grill Menu

Dan and I went to an Outback media dinner recently to try their new wood-fire grill items and new menu items. We already love Outback, so we were very interested to see what the new offerings were. Our tasting menu included the new Wood-Fire Grilled Outback Special, Wood-Fire Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Hearts of Gold Mahi, as well as Wood-Fire Grilled Pork Chops, Prime Rib, and Ribeye. We were impressed to learn that everything at Outback is made from scratch, including mashed potatoes which they whip fresh all day, and their chocolate sauce and Bloomin Onions. The story behind Bloomin Onions is very interesting, but I will save that for another day.

Everything we tried was perfectly cooked and delicious, and we really loved the new seasonings and wood-fire grilled taste. Dan’s favorite dishes were the succulent Prime Rib, which was perfectly cooked, and the Wood-Fire Grilled Ribeye, which was juicy and extremely flavorful. I loved the Outback Special Signature Steaks, both classic and wood-fire grilled flavors. For dessert, we tried Classic Cheesecake and Carrot Cake, and got a very special treat, a sample of the new and amazingly delicious Chocolate Waffle, which is also made from scratch. Outback’s décor has also been changed with an updated and very classy look. We had a wonderful time, and now we like Outback even more after trying the new options.

Here is some more information about the new wood-fire grill technique, and some photos of the exquisite new offerings -

The wood-fire grill preparation is now available for Outback’s lineup of signature steaks, chicken and seafood dishes. The new wood-fire grill steaks are lightly seasoned and flame-grilled over oak wood which delivers an unmistakable, delicious outdoor grill flavor. Senior VP John Li says that “The new wood-fire grill option for steak is a perfect addition to Outback’s already renowned seasoned and seared grilling method; it’s designed specifically to give that smoky flavor you can only find by grilling over natural oak wood. We’re now able to let our customers choose exactly how they prefer their steak grilled and flavored.”

Loyal Outback fans, of course, still have the choice to order their steak prepared with Outback’s classic, Zagat® award-winning “seasoned and seared" grilling method - - seasoned with 17 savory spices and seared to seal in its juicy flavor. Regardless of the choice, each juicy, delicious steak is hand-selected, perfectly aged and hand-trimmed before being prepared and served.

Outback Steakhouse starts fresh every day to create the flavors that our mates crave. Best known for grilled steaks, chicken and seafood, Outback also offers a wide variety of crisp salads and freshly made soups and sides. New creations and grilled classics are made from scratch daily using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from around the world. For more information, please visit www.outback.com or Outback on Facebook.

Carrot Cake

Hearts of Gold Mahi

Baby Back Ribs

Wood-Fire Grilled Ribeye

Wood-Fire Grilled Sirloin

Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


Heat Seekers Show Coming to Atlanta in January - Need Spicy Suggestions

Heat Seekers, a Food Network Show, is coming to Atlanta in January. They want to find the spiciest/hottest/most flavorful dishes in the Atlanta area. They are literally looking for the "hottest" restaurants, which can be hole-in-the-wall venues in addition to the poshest of joints.

Submit your suggestions via our comment box or to atlantafoodies@gmail.com. You can read a little more about the show at the Heat Seekers site:
Heat Seekers


Botekim Brazilian Bistro Review

Dan and I tried Botekim Brazilian Bistro last week, and we absolutely loved it! Chef Alex DeGrossi and operating partner, Romulo Costa, are very authentic, friendly and hospitable. The name Botekim actually comes from the Brazilian word for bistro, and the restaurant's tag line "Authentic Brazilian Comfort Food" describes it perfectly.

What did you order? How was your food?

We ordered Lingüiça de Porco Acebolada for our appetizer, which is Brazilian Pork Sausage, Caramelized Onions, and Toast Points. This is a delicious homemade sausage made from Chef Alex's great-grandmother's recipe. My entrée was Empadāo de Frango, Chicken Breast & Heart of Palms Pie with Frisée Salad, and Dan ordered Picanha com Fritas, Grilled Rump Cap with Fries. We both loved our entrées. The frisée was a perfect compliment for the chicken pie, and Dan's rump cap steak was perfectly cooked. Many dishes feature the flavor of cachaça, an ingredient we had never encountered before. Cachaça is a by-product of sugar made before sugar crystallization rather than after like molasses. It is similar to rum, but has its own flavor.

For dessert, we had Brazilian Flan, and Profiteroles with ice cream and hot fudge. Everything was made fresh from recipes passed down through the Chef’s family, and each dish was delicious! We loved trying the Brazilian flavors, which are a fusion of Portuguese, French, and Italian cuisine, combined with South American tropical flavors. The drinks are excellent as well. We tried the Red Kiss, Lick of Sunshine, and Caipirinha drinks, and they were all wonderfully made with fresh fruit juice. You really must try Romulo's Caipirinhas.

Describe your impressions of the service. Was anything exceptionally good (or bad) about the quality of service you received?

Service at Botekim was exceptional! Our beautiful server Natalia was very charming and knowledgeable, and took care of our every need. She was from Brazil, and knew everything about our food.

What do you think of the décor and atmosphere?

The décor at Botekim is unique and lovely. It is a bistro atmosphere, but purely Brazilian. The floors are done in Ipanema and Copacabana styles, and there is a fine dining atmosphere. Every detail at Botekim is done the right way, from the chilled water to the authentic Brazilian advertisements that adorn the walls.

Do you consider this a good value for the money you spent? If no, why not?

Yes, it is a fine dining experience for a mid-range price.

How would you rate this restaurant compared to the other restaurants you visit on a regular basis.

Botekim is an outstanding and unique addition to the local cuisine, and we will definitely be back.

This restaurant is best for (Choose all that apply)

• Good food • Quick bite • Family-friendly
• Outdoor • Romantic • Special occasion

All of the above!

Botekim Brazilian Bistro

Botekim Brazilian Bistro on Urbanspoon


Godiva Coffee - Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark

I recently got to try Godiva Coffee's latest seasonal flavors – Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark - as part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Godiva Coffee. These flavors are inspired by Godiva's most popular chocolates and crafted with high quality, medium-roasted, 100% Arabica beans for a rich, smooth taste. The indulgent flavors also make it easy to create special fall-inspired coffee recipes. My husband Dan and I loved the Pumpkin Spice flavor, especially since it is so appropriate for Autumn. The Pumpkin Spice Coffee is inspired by Godiva's favorite fall truffle with its creamy and delicious pumpkin spice ganache.

My mom and dad tried the Caramel Pecan Bark flavor, and were fans as well. Here is what my dad, Jim, had to say. "First, let me say that I am not a fan of flavored coffees. I prefer a nice cup of full bodied, medium roasted, real Arabica coffee. That Robusto stuff is a bit harsh. That having been said, let me say that the Godiva Caramel Pecan Bark coffee is very nice. I'm using my usual measuring device to prepare the coffee in my coffee maker with the thermos pot that keeps the coffee hot without direct heating. This maker is supposed to be ten cups, but it's really about six normally sized cups. In other words, each "cup" is about six ounces. So, I use one measure for each two cups. The result is delicious. The flavor isn't overpowering, so the basic nature of the coffee from which it's made comes through. I'm very impressed."



New Menu at Buckhead Diner

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a tasting at Buckhead Diner, which was also the launch party for the new Atlanta Food Bloggers Society, an association for top food bloggers in Atlanta. With its delicious food and classic diner décor, Buckhead Diner is an Atlanta favorite, and also a great place to spot celebrities. My mom, Pattie, attended with me, and we had a wonderful time chatting with other top bloggers and sampling delectable dishes created by Buckhead Diner’s Chef, Charles Schwab. Chef Charlie chatted with us about the new menu at Buckhead Diner, and was very friendly and gracious.

Here is the menu for the tasting – each dish was scrumptious, but I will describe them in more detail. Everyone seemed to enjoy everything, but we all had a different favorite. Mine was the Spicy Pow Pow Rock Shrimp.

Tasting Menu -

White Truffle Deviled Eggs with shallot mayo and bibb lettuce – Flavorful and delicious.

Ceviche Day Boat - pristine seafood in lime and lemon juices, red onion, tomato, long chili, avocado and cilantro and paper thin sweet potato and plantain chips - Loved it. Perfect amount of cilantro.

Pimiento Cheese Balls - OMG, these were so good with gooey pimiento cheese inside!

Spicy Pow Pow Rock Shrimp served with chopsticks - My favorite dish. Lovely sauce, but watch out for the kick.

Grilled Chicken Breast Cobb Salad with Point Reyes blue cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette – This was probably the overall favorite dish of the tasting because of the variety of fresh ingredients and remarkable blue cheese.

Vegetarian Flatbread with arugula and pesto, a new item. - We all loved this flatbread pizza.

Horseradish Crusted Maine Cod with autumn bean and corn succotash - Delicious flavor combination.

Turkey Breast “Jardiniere” wood grilled with fresh cut asparagus, tiny tomatoes, shaved radishes, fingerling potatoes, organic arugula and olive oil lemon vinaigrette - This was another favorite, and would make a wonderful light lunch.

Buckhead Diner’s Famous James Beard Award Winning White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie - Wow! This was amazingly delicious! I love white chocolate.

I would certainly recommend a visit to Buckhead Diner, and if you have not been recently, it is definitely worth a trip back to try the new menu.

Buckhead Diner's Website

The Buckhead Life Group was so gracious to host this event, and I would like to share some news about their company as well. In Fall of next year, a new Pano’s restaurant will open on the entire main level of 103 West. The dining experience and menu are being designed with broad appeal for upscale Atlanta diners. Award-winning local designer, Bill Johnson of Johnson Studios will collaborate with founder and CEO, Pano Karatassos and his sons Niko and Pano to design the new restaurant. The recently renovated Grand Ballroom downstairs will feature an expanded pre-function space and will continue to be used for private events.

Buckhead Life is also currently expanding its highly successful Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida, with the addition of a third private dining room that will accommodate up to 70 people, and there are plans to open two more Buckhead Life restaurants in Florida. The first is in Coral Gables is expected to anchor a major hotel and condominium development. The second is on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, which will introduce a new concept for the company – Lobster Bar Grille. The Lobster Bar Grille will feature a more approachable menu than the original Chops Lobster Bar with menu selections to appeal to a broader market.

Buckhead Diner on Urbanspoon


Taste of Atlanta 2011! - October 22 & 23

Taste of Atlanta - October 22 & 23

Head to Tech Square in the heart of Midtown to celebrate all the 'tastes' Atlanta has to offer. Experience delicious bites from more than 80 of Atlanta's favorite restaurants, exceptional wine, beer and cocktail tastings, seminars and food pairings and relaxing music cafes.

For more info and to purchase tickets:
Taste of Atlanta.


Castleberry Hill Chili Cook-Off - October 22, 2011

THE 10th Annual Castleberry Hill CHILI COOK-OFF is Saturday, October 22, 2011
Proceeds Benefit the Castleberry Hill Fire Department and the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association

Atlanta, Georgia (October 5, 2011) – The 10th Annual Castleberry Hill Chili Cook-Off is taking place on Saturday, October 22 at the Elliott Street Deli and Pub. Not only will there be terrific chili to sample; there will also be a hot dog eating contest and live music. The winner walks away with a cool trophy and of course chili bragging rights. This year’s judges will include firemen from the neighborhood’s Fire Department as well as Atlanta Restaurant Blog’s Malika Harricharan, author of the new book, Food Lovers’ Atlanta. As in previous years, proceeds will benefit the Castleberry Hill Fire Department the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Beautification projects. Entry is free. Tastes are $5 each. For more information, visit Castleberry Hill Cook-Off.

When: Saturday, October 22, 2011
2 p.m. to 5:00 p.m

Where: Elliott Street Deli and Pub
51 Elliott St Atlanta, GA 30313

Cost: Free Entrance. Tastes and beer samples are $5 each.

Benefiting: Proceeds Benefit the Castleberry Hill Fire Department and the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association

Website: Castleberry Hill Cook-Off.

Parking: Plenty of Free Parking in the lots at and around Elliott Street Deli and Pub.

2 p.m. Event Begins
3 p.m. Judging Begins
4 p.m. Hot Dog Eating Contest
4:30 p.m. 2011 Chili Awards

Sponsors: Elliott Street Deli and Pub, Boar’s Head


Willy's Mexicana Grill Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Jennifer Dunaway! You have won our contest for a $20 gift card from Willy's Mexicana Grill!

Fans, stay tuned for our next contest! :)

Check out Willy's Website!


Anime Weekend Atlanta - September 30th - October 2nd

AWA is going on this weekend, September 30th - October 2nd, 2011, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a cultural post rather than a food post, but all of the anime fans I know love Japanese food, and snacks like Pocky.

Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) is a Japanese Animation (Anime) & Comics (Manga) convention. AWA was first organized in 1994, with the first convention held in 1995. Since then, AWA has been recognized as one of the most popular Japanese Animation conventions in the United States, and one of the top ten attended anime conventions in North America.

AWA has a variety of events, including video rooms, a dealers room, costume contest, panels, workshops, an artist alley, and a formal ball.

AWA's Mission

1) To provide a venue for fans of Japanese Animation and Manga to come together in a festive environment.

2) To educate in the history of the medium by having guests who have worked in the industry.

3) To learn about the aspects of Japanese culture through animation and comics.

Anime Weekend Atlanta

See you there!


Visit Atlanta's Japanfest 2011 this Weekend! - Sept. 17 & 18th

Japanfest 2011 is this weekend!

With annual crowds exceeding 17,000, JapanFest marks its 25th year as the largest Japanese cultural festival in the Southeast. This year's JapanFest will focus on earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, and 100% of revenue from ticket package sales will be donated to the cause.
When: Saturday, September 17, 2011 (10 am – 6 pm) and Sunday, September 18, 2011 (10 am – 5 pm)
Where: Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30097
Cost: $8.00 at the door (or can be purchased online); Children 6 and under free. Teachers can bring up to 50 students for free by applying online at www.japanfest.org - Ticket packages are available for purchase at http://www.japanfest.org/

JapanFest, one of the largest Japanese festivals in the country, is an annual celebration of Japanese culture.
JapanFest will feature taiko drum concerts and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, cultural workshops including tea ceremony, kimono, and calligraphy, children's games, Japanese food and beer garden, bonsai trees, and contemporary and traditional music. JapanFest is organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia, The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General of Japan.


Willy's Mexicana Grill Contest! Win a $20 Gift Card

Our new, awesome contest starts today! We have a $20 Willy's Gift Card ready for our lucky winner. If you live in Atlanta or Athens, GA, enter to win $20 worth of delicious giant burritos! Willy's is the best place for burritos!

To enter, simply follow Atlanta Foodies on Google Connect or on Facebook! Atlanta Foodies

Contest ends September 30th at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced October 1st.

Bon Appetit, and Good luck!


Noshfest '11 in East Cobb - September 4th and 5th

Sunday, September 4 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Monday, September 5 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

The festival takes place in the parking of lot of:
1415 Old Canton Rd,
Marietta, GA, 30062

For the second year, Nibble and Noshfest entices the community with food
and entertainment over Labor Day weekend. Their boast is “You don’t have
to be Jewish . . . to enjoy what we’ve got planned!”

Nibble and Noshfest (just Noshfest, for short) is a two-day gig that provides
visitors with a taste of Jewish and other ethnic and traditional foods sold in
“sample-size” portions, priced from $1 to $4 – in other words, a Cobb Jewish
version of “Taste of . . .” events. In addition to the food, there will be a range
of entertainment from music and comedy, to Israeli dancing. Craft and
accessory vendors sell their wares; Community organizations will provide
insight to Jewish life, and give tours of the Temple Kol Emeth’s sanctuary.
Children will be entertained by huge inflatables and other great activities.
The festival will be taking part in the HAVE A NOSH, SHARE A NOSH program.
Visitors are encouraged to bring 2 non-perishable food items that will be
donated to charitable organizations to fight hunger.

As a comedic entertaining bonus, the public is invited to participate in one of
several Yiddish Spelling Bees to win prizes for spelling Yiddish words like oy,
kibbitz chutzpah and schmooze

There is no entrance fee; visitors purchase tickets to pay for the food samples
and children’s activities.

And for a great evening, plan on a “nosh and a show.” Enjoy dinner at
Noshfest on Sunday and then attend Comedy Night at Noshfest at 7pm,
featuring Keith Barany, a former writer from the hit show Seinfeld and The
Jimmy Kimmel Show. For one evening only, tickets are available at the door
for $20 and pre-sale for $15. It’s a wonderful evening to complement the
traditional BBQ’s of Labor Day weekend.


The Hub at Holiday Inn - Gwinnett Center

Mom and I went to the concept launch for The Hub at Holiday Inn this month, and we were extremely impressed with their new design, social media integration, and delicious cuisine, not to mention their excellent service and very warm, friendly staff. We also got to meet Adventure Girl, a beautiful travel guru. Holiday Inn's headquarters are in Atlanta, and if you would like to try their new concept, it was just launched at the Gwinnett Center Holiday Inn. The food was wonderful, and the new menu includes healthy fare as well as comfort food like Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwiches and scrumptious waffle desserts, as well as tasty specialty cocktails. They are also sponsors of StoryCorps, the oral history project. Here are more details about The Hub at Holiday Inn -


In today’s world, people are staying connected in myriad ways – in person, by phone, online via social channels – and all the while, sharing experiences with one another through their stories. The Holiday Inn brand understands the importance of personal connections and the value in stories shared with business colleagues, friends, family or even someone you’ve never met before. With that in mind, beginning today through Sept. 14, 2011 the Holiday Inn brand is launching Stay Social and asking consumers across the country to share their favorite travel stories on its Holiday Inn Facebook page. The initiative celebrates the official launch of The Hub at Holiday Inn, a new guest environment where travelers can easily fill up, unwind and have a little fun, all while connecting with each other.

“We know the Holiday Inn guest is social and enjoys interacting with others,” said Verchele Wiggins, vice president global brand management, Holiday Inn Family of Brands. “In keeping with the philosophy of doing things ‘on the guests’ terms, we designed The Hub at Holiday Inn to be an innovative and open space where travelers can connect with others as well as eat, drink, relax, work or just have fun. The Hub at Holiday Inn is all about bringing good things together.”

Stay Social

To kick off Stay Social, Holiday Inn is proud to sponsor StoryCorps®
, the national nonprofit organization that provides Americans the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their stories. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. The brand tapped C. Kemmons Wilson, Jr. and McLean Wilson, the son and grandson, respectively, of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, to be the first to share their personal travel stories and the connections they’ve made with their hotel guests over the years. Through StoryCorps, the Wilsons’ recordings will be archived at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress ─ forever becoming part of American history.

“Throughout the years, the Holiday Inn brand has continued to evolve in order to stay connected to its guests,” said Kemmons Wilson, Jr., president and chairman of the board, Wilson Hotel Management Company, Inc. “From the first personal connections made at check-in to its online communications, it’s clear the Holiday Inn brand understands that listening to guests’ stories drives innovation and service.”

Whether it’s a chance encounter on a business trip that resulted in a lifelong friendship or a cherished family beach vacation, each personal story posted online by consumers as part of Stay Social, will connect travelers all over. While on the Holiday Inn Facebook page, guests will also have the opportunity to explore The Hub at Holiday Inn virtually and even share their thoughts on different elements of the space with the brand directly. In addition, one person will be chosen at random to win the Stay Social grand prize – an all expense paid trip to The Hub at Holiday Inn in Atlanta, Ga. After experiencing the best of Atlanta, including two tickets to a Major League Baseball game and an opportunity to record their winning story with StoryCorps, the winner will go home with a brand new iPad and Wii.

A Place to Connect

Holiday Inn Hotels also officially launched its innovative design of The Hub at Holiday Inn at the Holiday Inn Gwinnett Center in Georgia. The Hub at Holiday Inn is the answer to the changing needs of travelers. The 5,000 square-foot space integrates existing but separate public areas into one cohesive space designed to help guests easily connect with others and enjoy a variety of experiences outside their hotel room.

While Holiday Inn Hotels already provides guests with everything they need to stay connected to the office or home with free WiFi, accessible outlets and a business center, The Hub at Holiday Inn allows the brand to provide the added benefit of being able to connect with people on a social level. The Hub at Holiday Inn focuses heavily on three areas that really sets it apart from similar concepts: an enhanced bar experience for eating and drinking, the ability to have fun via the gaming area and being able to relax either at the outdoor cabanas and fire pits or in the media lounge. Between the restaurant, bar, coffee shop, market, media center, games and outdoor patio, it’s easy for guests to unwind at The Hub at Holiday Inn.

For more information about The Hub at Holiday Inn and Stay Social, please visit the Holiday Inn Facebook page.


P. F. Chang's "Triple Happiness" Happy Hour Review

My parents, Pattie and Jim, were invited to a dinner on August 1st at P.F. Chang’s Vinings location near Cumberland Mall, to try the new Triple Happiness “Drinks, Dim Sum, Street Fare” Happy Hour menu. Here is their report, followed by reviews of individual dishes.

The personnel were very personable, as one would expect. We were greeted by Krissy, the PR Representative, and were immediately provided with a small glass of house wine, either Shiraz blend or Sauvignon Blanc. The brand was Vinyard 518. This was refreshed as needed until the cocktails were served. I had a glass of each. The red was a bit tart, but smoothed out with drinking. The white was clean and what one would expect of such a wine.

Three tables were set up refectory style with about 10 seats at each. There were a couple of restaurant people at each table, also. Our table had four of them. Another couple consisting of a young woman and her mother were at the other end of the table from Pattie and me. We were occasionally joined by the visiting chef, who was quite a character. Pattie and I spent most of the evening talking with Mr. Ricca, the managing partner for this location.

The food and drink, aside from the wine, was served as one dish and one cocktail at a time. The drinks were served in what were described as sample sizes. These were what I would call normal highball glass size. We were also provided with a special cocktail, namely a very high-end Margarita that was very delicious.

In my opinion, I could have a great time at their Happy Hour and would need a ride home afterward. We had a great time. Good conversation, good food and drink.

Cocktail Display - Clockwise from left

Blue Moon Belgian Wheat beer
Light wheat beer without hoppy flavor. Very clean.

Yuku Ginger Mojito
Light ginger flavor with minty overtones as befits a mojito cocktail.

Coconut Lemon Sour
Very nice summer drink. Made with lemon water and coconut water. Nicely tart.

Dragon Martini
Made with Skyy dragon fruit infused vodka.

Dark and Spicy
Both light and very dark rums. Kinda like a high end Planter's Punch.

Dishes Served

Tuna Tataki Crisp (3)
A crispy rice cracker holding a slice of tuna (referred to as "tuna sashimi"), but slightly cooked. Covered with a garnish of scallions, tomatoes and others.

Pork and Rice Sui Mai (3)
Steamed dumpling, open at the top, stuffed with Pork and Rice, slightly spiced. Nice.

ShangHai Street Dumpling (2)
Dumplings with a very spicy sauce, which added greatly to the flavor. The chef brought our table some of the sauce that had been chilled. It started out cool, but heated up rapidly.

Flaming Red Wontons (5)
Very spicy. Made my capsaicin reaction come on and my voice hoarse. In other words, really good.

Asian Street Tacos (2)
Near to far: Spice Shrimp, Traditional Beef, Red Cooked Pork.
A mixture of Chinese and Korean cooking methods.


P.F. Chang's China Bistro (Vinings) on Urbanspoon