Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine - The Latest in Soda Fountain Technology

This week, Dan and I went to check out the latest in soda fountain technology – the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. I had heard a lot of buzz about them and really wanted to try one. We headed over to Firehouse Subs where they have an amazing number of drink options. Check out the menus! We loved the Cherry and Raspberry Coca-Cola options, and the Cherry Limeade! There are over 70 options for diet drink preferences, too. Once you go Freestyle, I don’t think you would ever go back.


These futuristic-looking soda fountains are appearing in even more in Atlanta restaurants lately. You can find them at various Burger King, Moe’s, and Taco Mac locations, and a Coca-Cola Freestyle truck visits other venues. To find the one nearest you, use the zip code finder on the Freestyle website here - Coca-Cola Freestyle

These Coca-Cola Freestyle machines are just cool and unique enough that they’re worth checking out. Not only are they sexy, but they are also fun to use and have something for everyone – imagine a world where no matter what you’re craving or feeling, its readily available at your fingertips Each Freestyle machine has a full-color touch screen that allows you to choose over 100+ different brands, including flavors and sodas not available anywhere else; there is literally something for everyone. From sodas and energy drinks to flavored waters and juices, the Coke Freestyle machine has it all. http://www.coca-colafreestyle.com/ 
Twitter- @ccfreestyle


Sweepstakes! Stoney River Sonoma County Wine Country Sweepstakes

Enter to win Stoney River Sonoma County Wine Country Sweepstakes! It is simple opportunity to enter in for a chance to win a well-deserved trip and other prizes. The sweepstakes ends in exactly two weeks so there is still ample time to enter the sweepstakes and to get a great meal at Stoney River!

By going here and entering your email address, you will be entered to win a four-day, three-night, all expenses paid trip for four to Sonoma County wine country.

In addition, 50 additional runner-up packages will be awarded. Those packages will either be dinner at Stoney River Steaks for one year, a Foley Wine Dinner for four guests, Decanter and four Stoney River Glasses, one magnum of Foley Family Wine, and two $50 Stoney River gift cards.

To better one’s chances of winning, you can also receive three additional entries into the sweepstakes by entering the code number from a Stoney River guest check on the website. Readers can receive five additional entries by joining Stoney River’s Red Canoe Society (again, all they have to do is enter an email address, except this time, they’ll enter it here). The sweepstakes end Oct. 31, so hurry!


The Capital Grille - Review of NEW Perimeter Location

The Capital Grille
94 Perimeter Center West
Dunwoody, GA 30346
P: 770-730-8447
Lunch: Monday – Friday
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Dinner: Monday – Thursday
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday
5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Dan and I tried the new Perimeter location of The Capital Grille a couple of weeks ago. I had always wanted to try it, but it is often hard for us to get to Buckhead or downtown locations since we live OTP. Now that The Capital Grille is at Perimeter right next to Seasons 52, we can get there easily. How convenient!

What did you order? How was your food?

Dan sampled the Stoli Doli cocktail, their specialty drink which is straight pineapple-infused Stolichnaya Vodka. He really liked it. There was a gigantic container filled with pineapple slices and Stoli Vodka on the bar. We didn’t try wine this time, but The Capital Grille is renowned for their wines and has “5000 Bottles on Wine on the Wall.”

We started our meal with bread and salads. The bread basket was impressive with an assortment of Onion Bread, Poppyseed Rolls, and Lavash. Lavash is a is a soft, thin flatbread popular in several countries such as Turkey, Iran, and Armenia. It is gaining in popularity here as well.

I tried the Mozzarella and Tomato Salad, a caprese salad with balsamic vinegar, which was a very large portion, and tasted wonderful. Dan tried the Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing with tender, baby spinach leaves, onions and mushrooms with warm signature bacon dressing and chopped egg and smoked bacon sprinkled on top. He really loved this salad.

For our entrees, Dan ordered Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Caramelized Shallot Butter. It comes with caramelized shallots, seasonings and coffee rub. Dan really enjoyed his steak, and Dan knows steaks since he is a chef. He had the Parmesan Truffle Fries as well. I tried the Filet Oscar, which is an 8 oz Filet Mignon, served with steamed asparagus spears, colossal lump crabmeat, and drizzled with housemade Béarnaise. I had never had the Oscar treatment before, although I had heard a lot about it from Dan. I thought that it was very decadent and delicious.

Our dessert was a Coconut Cream Pie. “A delightful vanilla flavored crust is layered with luscious whipped and coconut pastry cream. A caramel rum sauce topping makes it even more irresistible.” It really was very delectable, and I had never had anything similar before.

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

We were helped by a couple of servers who were very attentive and pleasant. We never wanted for anything, and our water was always filled.

What do you think of the décor and atmosphere?

Décor at The Capital Grille is upscale and chic. As the website mentions, “Rich African mahogany paneling and warm lighting from one-of-a-kind art deco chandeliers set the tone for a comfortably elegant evening.” This would be perfect for any business lunch or elegant date.

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

Yes. The prices are on point, and you do get the quality you pay for.

This restaurant is best for...

Business Lunch or Dinner, Family Outings, Special Occasions, Romantic Evenings. The Capital Grille is a very popular, classic, and elegant institution in Atlanta.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon


Taste of Atlanta is coming - October 5-7!

Returning for its 11th year, Taste of Atlanta gears up for a landmark weekend in Tech Square. Anxious epicureans can get gourmet at the city’s most anticipated culinary event on October 5-7. With a distinct recipe for success, Taste of Atlanta offers an array of diversions for the culinary curious. From fan favorites to new experiences and more, the festival brings the annual action to back to Midtown for a tasty trek.

On Friday, October 5, The Big Grill: Grills Gone Wild fires up the weekend. Attendees can enjoy all-inclusive access to the city’s best grilled grub, chilled cocktails, beer and wine. Yacht Rock Schooner will perform while attendees sample bites from some of Atlanta’s most renowned chefs including Ford Fry, Kevin Rathbun, Jay Swift and more. Tickets for the Friday night fete are all-inclusive and can be purchased by visiting http://tasteofatlanta.com/bigGrill.php

On Saturday and Sunday, more than 80 of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants and most exciting chefs serve up their specialties at this year's festival. From international cuisine to under-the-radar eats, Taste of Atlanta spotlights the incredible energy and diversity of Atlanta's shining food scene. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit http://tasteofatlanta.com/restaurants.php.

Festival highlights, featuring participating restaurants, include:

·         Barcraft Competition – It’s back! Guests can channel their inner mixologist and sample cocktails from Atlanta’s best bartenders as they compete for the top spot. Open to VIP ticket holders only.
·         Family Food Zone – Step right up for demos and cooking lessons from national and local chefs in an interactive environment. Returning to the lineup this year, the Top Chef Kids Competition offers hands-on experience for chefs in training.
·         Inside the Food StudioExperience the fascinating world of the professional chef to discover secrets of the craft. Returning for its third year, this intimate experience is hosted by Tom Sullivan. Patrons can enjoy beverages and bites while learning valuable cooking skills and insight into the Atlanta restaurant scene. Whether highlighting the most unique condiments or Atlanta’s top spots for midnight munchies, this behind-the-scenes look offers unrivaled insight into the professional kitchen.
·         Grill Dome –Kamado Grills are bringing the heat to this year’s festival. With demonstrations throughout the day, local grill-masters can watch as chefs cook up their specialties on these amazing ceramic grills. 
·         The Kitchen Workshop – Hosted by Mara Davis, The Kitchen Workshop is a hands-on cooking experience offering patrons a unique and enriching opportunity to learn how to create delicious dishes in their own kitchen. A wide range of classes and instructors provide the ideal interaction for patrons to enjoy themselves and learn interesting twists on basic cooking concepts and techniques. Open to VIP ticket holders only.
·         Home Plate Main Stage – This year, get ready for a throw down. Renowned chefs battle it out and go head-to-head on the main stage. These culinary craftsmen tackle secret ingredients, themed challenges, unique recipes and more.
·         Barnes & Noble Bookstore – Stroll through this tent to pick up the latest copies of today’s most popular cookbooks and other food-related titles. Check out the cookbook signing schedule to meet notable chefs like Adam Roberts, Kathleen Flinn and more.
Taste of Atlanta founder Dale DeSena takes great pride in the fact that the festival has so much to offer for everyone’s distinct appetite.  “Most people hear ‘Taste of Atlanta’ and they think they’ll get lots of great food – and they’re right!” says DeSena.  “We love when people also discover how educational the festival is.  With the addition of The Kitchen Workshop this year and the continued success of Inside the Food Studio, we’re one of the few festivals that really encourages the attendees to engage with the chefs, the food and the programming.  We are so proud to serve the city in this capacity and to show the world the amazing restaurants and chefs that help define Atlanta.  We can’t wait to transform Tech Square into foodie heaven once again this year!”

Taste of Atlanta ticket information:

·         General admission tickets (includes 10 taste coupons) are $25 in advance; $35 at the gate. Kids ages 13 and under receive FREE admission (excluding taste coupons) when accompanied by a paid adult.
·         VIP tickets (includes 15 taste coupons and access to Wine+Beer+Cocktail Experience) are $75 in advance; $85 at the gate. A limited number of VIP tickets are available, and the first 300 ticket holders each day receive a festival gift bag.
·         Taste coupons are used to purchase food from participating restaurants. Menu items are valued at one, two or three taste coupons. Additional taste coupons are sold in increments of 10 coupons for $10 or 20 coupons for $20.
·         Tickets are sold at locations throughout Atlanta, including select Whole Foods Market outlets. Advance tickets must be purchased by midnight on October 5. For more information, visit http://tasteofatlanta.com/tickets.php.

About Taste of Atlanta:
Taste of Atlanta is a three-day festival that attracts food lovers from throughout Atlanta, the Southeast and beyond to enjoy tastes from more than 80 restaurants from all over the Atlanta Metropolitan area.  Guests can sample delicious dishes; sip robust wines, craft beers, and innovative cocktails; be entertained by demos from celebrity chefs; and enjoy interactive sponsor experiences and family-friendly entertainment, all while uncovering the incredible dining treasures the city has to offer. Join us Friday through Sunday, October 5-7 in Technology Square. Stay connected to Taste of Atlanta 2012:


Japanfest 2012 - This Weekend - Saturday, Sept. 15th and Sunday Sept. 16th

It's time for JapanFest! Mom and I went last year, and it was so much fun! I loved trying all of the Japanese foods and looking at Japanese products, as well as all of the cultural events such as martial arts and music. It was awesome! This year, JapanFest Weekend will be held on September 15-16, 2012, from 10 am to 6 pm (Saturday) and 10am to 5pm (Sunday) at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center (located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097).

Here is some more info -

JapanFest, now in its 26th year, is the largest Japanese festival east of Houston and south of Washington, DC, and typically draws crowds exceeding 19,000. Organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia and The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, JapanFest is designed to promote understanding between Japanese and Americans in the Southeast.

Tickets are $8. Children age 6 or younger free. Teachers can bring their students to JapanFest for free by applying online at www.japanfest.org. Larger organizations can save money by purchasing advanced ticket packages online.

JapanFest will feature a variety of musical performances sure to suit all ages and interests, including taiko drumming, J-Rock and J-Pop, and classical music.

Dance performances will include both traditional and modern Japanese dance, as well as traditional Okinawan dance. All are invited to join in the spirited Bon dance!

For visitors who have always wanted to try on an authentic Japanese kimono, the Konnichiwa Club will dress attendees from head to toe in the latest kimono from Japan. JapanFest will also feature a variety of exciting workshops on various aspects of Japanese culture.

For fans of martial arts, JapanFest will feature demonstrations of virtually every Japanese martial art in existence, including aikido, karate, kendo, kyudo, and sumo.

Visitors can purchase an amazing array of Japanese goods, including kimono, Japanese tea, dolls, and rice paper. The Japan-America Society of Georgia will have t-shirts and temporary tattoos; the Ginza-dori, organized by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and named after Tokyo's famous shopping district, will feature Japanese ceramics, traditional Japanese clothing and accessories and fun items such as masks and toys; at the Bazaar on Sunday organized by the Georgia Japanese Language School you will find books and household goods. Traditional Okinawan items will also be available.

Kids will have a fantastic time experiencing Japanese culture firsthand. In our Childrenfs Area, they can make their own Japanese tops, and the Suburban Atlanta Kite Enthusiasts will be on hand to teach them how to make a Japanese kite. The Ginza Dori shopping arcade has tons of games and activities for kids as well, such as ring toss, water yo-yos, Japanese toys, and more! They can even take part in carrying the o-mikoshi, a traditional Japanese portable shrine.

Many of the approximately 460 Japanese companies based in Georgia will display their products in the Made in Georgia exhibition. Interactive exhibits include the latest in Japanese technology, such as automobiles, tractors, and electronics.

JapanFest features the best of Japanese cuisine in Atlanta! Local Japanese restaurants will offer a tantalizing menu of roll sushi, bento boxes, ramen noodles, takoyaki, shaved ice, curry rice, yakisoba, torikaraage, and more!

JapanFest is not possible without the help of over 150 volunteers. To fill out an application, please visit www.japanfest.org.

No pets other than guide dogs are allowed inside the convention center. For more information, call 404-842-0736.



Tin Lizzy's Review - Perimeter Location

Tin Lizzy’s - Perimeter
121 Perimeter Center West
Atlanta, GA 30346
P: 470-514-1050
*470 is not a typo. It’s the new Atlanta area code.
Sun: 11:00am – 12am
Mon-Sat: 11:00am – 2:00am

Dan and I went to Tin Lizzy’s to try it out before the grand opening at the Perimeter location. I had heard that it was really good, but wanted to try it myself…

What did you order? How was your food?

We ordered a pitcher of Pomegranate Margaritas  and Chips with Queso Fundido to start. Queso Fundido is queso blanco with chorizo sausage, grilled onions and peppers. For our entrees, we tried a few of Tin Lizzy’s fun taco combinations. 

Dan had Spicy Cilantro Steak Tacos with grilled steak, jalapenos, onions and cilantro; Southern Comfort Chicken with grilled chicken, goat cheese, grilled onions, fried pickles and bbq sauce; and Chow Chow Shrimp with grilled shrimp with Asian cole slaw, roasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro and onions. I had Korean BBQ Pork which is pulled pork with Asian slaw and spicy chili salsa, and BBQ Pork with pulled pork, bacon, cilantro, slaw, and honey chipotle bbq sauce. Dessert was similar to churros, cinnamon chips with whipped cream. We were really impressed at the selection of fresh mex combinations, and enjoyed everything.

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

Service was fantastic. Our server was cheerful and friendly, and always ready to help.

What do you think of the décor and atmosphere?

Décor is trendy sports bar with a latin beach flavor. There is sand art with flowers in a tequila bottle, for instance. Cute, and great to watch football.

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

Yes, everything is reasonably priced, and you can order a la carte.

This restaurant is best for...
Casual dinner, good food, hanging out with friends and family. Great experience! 

Tin Lizzy's Cantina on Urbanspoon


Review of SOHO in Vinings

Mom and I dined at SOHO Restaurant in Vinings recently, and had a wonderful time. SOHO is rare find, a hidden gem with an excellent, dynamic chef and delightful ambience. You can visit their website here - SOHO Atlanta

What did you order? How was your food? 

We tried the tapas menu - appetizers paired with wines. These included Pork Milanese with roasted lemon and greens, Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli in a lemon cream, and braised lamb with fried asparagus. Our wines were Dainero (Castiglion del Bosco ’08), Chianti (Fonterutoli Classico ’09), and Vermentino (Antinori, Bolgheri ’10), a white wine which was exquisite. We also we thrilled to try the Chilean Sea Bass and Elk, both of which were very delicious and perfectly cooked by SOHO's experienced and wonderful culinarian, a graduate of CIA, Chef Jeff Ahn. 

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

Service was impeccable.

What do you think of the décor and atmosphere?

Décor was beautiful and charming. It would be perfect for a romantic dinner as well.

Great for:

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

Soho on Urbanspoon


Seasons 52 Summer Menu Review - Perimeter Location

Mom and I sampled the new Summer Menu at the Perimeter location of Seasons 52, the highly-acclaimed fresh grill and wine bar restaurant. Everything was wonderful – I have added Seasons 52 to my list of favorite restaurants. It is always excellent, and I love the ambience and healthy menu. We also learned from Enrique Iglesias himself, that Seasons 52 is partnering with Atlantico Rum and Enrique Iglesias for exquisite summer cocktails we tried - the Watermelon Refresher and Strawberry Lemon Euphoria. These were indeed very refreshing! 

The Summer Menu is headlined by the introduction of an 11-ounce Piedmontese All-Natural Bone-In Strip Steak – a lean, tender cut of beef which is becoming more popular in sophisticated eateries across the country.  Seasons 52’s new summer appetizers, entrees and signature Mini Indulgence will be available for lunch and dinner through mid-September. 

“We are extremely excited to introduce our guests to the Piedmontese All-Natural Bone-In Strip Steak on our summer menu. A unique offering for steak lovers to enjoy, Piedmontese beef is tender, flavorful and lean,” said Cliff Pleau, Senior Director of Culinary at Seasons 52. “Along with the Piedmontese beef, the summer menu features a variety of grilled vegetables, seafood and poultry that depict the essence of the season.”

In addition to the Piedmontese Bone-In Strip Steak, we tried the other delicious new summer menu items, including: 

Organic Tomatoes with Warm Crusted Mozzarellaorganic tomatoes and warm-crusted Mozzarella, micro greens, basil, pesto vinaigrette
Chilled Lobster & Shrimp Spring Rolls cool salsa verde, aromatic lemongrass, sweet-hot red chili
Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Cavatappi Pastacaramelized garlic, organic tomatoes, fresh broccoli 
Summer Vegetarian Tasting“grains of life,” soft taco, chili relleno, vegetables, cedar roasted tofu, mango chutney 
Berry Cheesecake Mini Indulgencecheesecake, fresh blueberries, raspberry sauce and graham cracker crumbs 

Also, Seasons 52’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes added a new wine to his “Drink These Before They Become Famous” list.  Jam Jar Moscato 2011 Western Cape-South Africa joins George’s handpicked selection of must-try wines for the season. “Jam Jar Moscato is a refreshing and approachable wine for summer,” said Miliotes. “With flavors of peach, apricot, lychees and orange blossom, it is a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity.”

We will definitely be back to visit Seasons 52 very soon! You can visit their website here - Seasons 52

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon


Heywood's Provision Company and Meathaus

Chef Patrick Gebrayel's excellent Heywood's Provision Company and Meathaus serves Marietta/East Cobb residents. They are located in East Lake shopping center, next to Wild Wing Cafe. Heywood's is an Artisan Butcher shop. What is an artisan butcher? An artisan is simply that, someone trained in the art or craft. Heywood's is a "Chef driven craft shop" focused on the quality of the product they provide their patrons. As they say, "The proof is in the taste!"

Heywood's meats are truly spectacular, and the sausages are handcrafted by Top Atlanta Chef Patrick Gebrayel, who has years of experience as an executive chef, and has won many accolades for his creations. They have a wide selection of meats for summer BBQs. You can visit there website here - Heywood's Provision Company

Here is a sampling of their menu -

Andouille - Garlic, black pepper and thyme. All pork, natural casing.

Bacon - Dry rubbed and smoked over hickory.

Pepper Bacon - Coated with cracked black pepper.

Cheddarwurst - Sharp cheddar cheese and a bit of spice. All pork, Natural casing.

Chicken Cheddarwurst - All chicken, no pork, natural casing.

Mexican Chorizo - Well spiced, cured and smoked. All pork, natural casing.

Portuguese Chorizo - Cured with red wine and heavily spiced. All pork, natural casing.

Corned Beef - Beef brisket cured for a full week, cooked with pickling spices.

Kielbasa - Garlic, marjoram, and black pepper. All pork, natural casing.

Stop by and say hello to Chef Patrick!


Johnny Rockets Opening at Phipps Plaza!

Mom and I got to visit one of the the grand opening festivities for the brand new Johnny Rockets at Phipps Plaza! It's right across from Legoland, and we had a fun time in the diner-style restaurant, especially when the servers all danced together! The burgers and shakes are fantastic, too. Here is more info about Johnny Rockets at Phipps Plaza...

"Johnny Rockets is the classic American restaurant which offers traditional Johnny Rockets decor and signature favorites including Hamburgers, American Fries and Shakes." Since opening his first Johnny Rockets in 1991, franchise owner Steve Snyder has operated multiple restaurants throughout Atlanta, including the Underground Atlanta and Georgia Aquarium Johnny Rockets locations. He was inspired to pursue franchise opportunities with the restaurant chain after a meal at Johnny Rockets transported him to his college days. He has since operated five locations in his 20 years with the company.

 “It’s been an amazing experience to see the evolution of the brand, including our menu expansions and upgrades, but the joy of the simplistic experience remains the same,” said Snyder. “We’ve established great relationships in the community and with our many regular guests throughout the years. I’m excited to treat them, along with new guests, to the high-energy Johnny Rockets experience in a new setting. “And with the new Legoland Discovery Center, the timing of our newest restaurant couldn’t be better,” added Snyder. “Parents and children can enjoy our classic American food, timeless music, and family-friendly atmosphere before or after they experience all that the new center has to offer.”

A grand reopening celebration for the new restaurant was held in mid-May to officially welcome Johnny Rockets back to the Phipps Plaza shopping community. The new Johnny Rockets is located on the third floor of Phipps Plaza, at 3500 Peachtree Road NE in Atlanta. The 1,123-square-foot restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. This is the fifth Johnny Rockets in Georgia.


Johnny Rockets/Phipps Plaza on Urbanspoon