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The Third Space – Atlanta’s Premier Food Testing and Education Celebration Venue

In Restaurants on April 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm
The Third Space Kitchen

Photo Credits: The Third Space, Atlanta, GA
Asha Gomez and team, 2013
http://thethirdspaceatl.com/

Atlanta has a new beautiful food education celebration venue, officially opening May 1st – The Third Space, which is the brainchild of Cardamom Hill’s owner and chef, Asha Gomez.

Here, chefs will hold candid cooking classes and test their recipes in a beautifully welcoming, yet modern cooking and prep facility. I would love to partake in some of these classes – some of the chefs mentioned here are ones I’ve met in the past, and they’re all passionate, soulful, salt-of-the-earth people.

From an interior design standpoint, the space is an open floor plan with a high efficiency work area. Miele provides much of the high-end appliances used. To soften the space, Asha and her designers chose rustic and organic colors and textures, much of which I personally try to use in my own home to bring the feeling of the outdoors in – think soft greens, cinnamon and chocolate stained hard flooring and antique furnishings and decor.

The Third Space brings a hint of old British Colonial flavor to some of the furniture lines as well as some Indian-inspired pieces, like the jali (lattice-metal screened) cabinet shelving. The space should be a breath of fresh air for professionals and food-lovers alike. Check out photos posted by Asha on Facebook to see the progress!

For the official press release click here: http://www.360media.net/pdfs/ts13_nowopen.pdf

The Third Space culinary class schedules are posted here, register online to attend any of the classes: http://thethirdspaceatl.eventbrite.com/

Cardamom Hill Summer Hours Soon | The Third Space in Full Progress

In Awesome People, Chefs, Restaurants on April 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm
Cardamom Hill's Kerala Fried Chicken

Cardamom Hill’s Kerala Fried Chicken

Cardamom Hill has all the natural beauty of fresh Indian foods with the atmospheric sensibilities of the grand hotel restaurants in India with American restaurant business savviness.  The Cardamom crew will be changing to summer hours soon to focus on their great new chef testing, educational and event facility, The Third Space, which I hope to write more about and post interior layout plans and construction progress later.

Original Link: https://twitter.com/CardamomHill/status/327163046327906304/photo/1

I first tried Chef Asha’s fried chicken at last year’s Fried Chicken Festival. It took me back to India and reminded me of a fried chicken recipe that some of my family members have perfected and serve for lunch. Warm spices marinate throughout the chicken, tenderizing it, and you get a nicely spiced crunch as you bite into the chicken, not a mouthful of battered bland breading, like some cooks prepare their chicken (over-battering is not my fave).

If you’ve only tried Southern fried chicken, I’ve gotta say that there’s a whole world of fried chicken to try and enjoy. I may go on a quest within metro Atlanta to find all the different versions of fried chicken that the world has to offer. ‘Kentucky’ may get a run for its money with Kerala, Kolkata and Korean Fried Chicken.

As an Indian chick, I’m a big fan of Asha. I’d like to see more types of Indian cuisine come to the forefront of dining culture – where the real spirit of Indian cooking is showcased, instead of buried in cost-cutting measures, as is the case with a lot of Indian restaurants: few pieces of veggies or meats swimming in a sea of greasy sauce, bad customer service, and unappealing eating areas.

Asha Gomez truly gets the opportunity of bringing Indian culture to the dining table and adds the personal and beautiful touches that grandmothers and other beloved family members have done for generations when feeding their loved ones.

Try the Kerala Fried Chicken, of course – but venture into Asha’s stuffed eggplant dish, the variety of croquettes, and for something different, try the seasonal roasted fish, prepared in a particularly wonderful Indian method of wrapping the fish in banana leaves for maximum flavor and juiciness. Full menu for Cardamom Hill is available on the website: http://cardamomhill.net/ ; check Cardamom Hill’s social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to get specially-created dishes of the day.

Spread the Love, Restaurant Owners!

In Musings, Restaurants on April 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

In Atlanta, all the great ethnic restaurants and even particular local cuisines are all bunched up in certain areas of town – there’s not a nice even spread to expose people to various cultural expressions of food. For example, all the Korean and Vietnamese restaurants are lined up on Buford Highway or Jimmy Carter. Is that the case in your town? Why do you suppose that is?

The neighborhood I live in has a lot of Mexican and quasi-Mexican (think Korean-taco, Cali-Mex, Tex-Mex, and the like) places available. So when I want something yummy nearby, in my mind I get a bit irritated that my choices are “Hmmm,….do I want a real taco and tamale dinner, taco with kimchi in it, or super fancy bistro taco that I have to get out of my yoga pants for?”

Ugh.

Furthermore, I have to hike 20-30 minutes to get decent Asian food, 40-60 minutes drive to get my hands on some German sausage (yes, I LOVE me some sausage, sausage from all around the WORLD even! That’s another blog post for another day, my hungry little food | porn readers) and get giddy over spaetzel. ALL the Ethiopian places are right next to each other in one neighborhood, so I really have to know that I’m having a massive spicy Kitfo craving before I head out.

Yoohoo, restaurant owners! We need Asian, Ethiopian, Argentinian, German, Italian, French, Middle-Eastern, Jamaican, Indian, and other great restaurants available in different areas and neighborhoods! We food enthusiasts crave and appreciate the variety.

Build it and we will come!

Soul-to-Soul Food

In Awesome People, Chefs, Restaurants on April 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I feel pretty honored and humbled at the same time to meet a few great chefs in Atlanta the last few months and am excited that Atlanta is gaining more attention with the food and restaurant industry.

Today, I bonded with Chef Sammy Davis Jr., a former contestant on Food Network’s show, Chopped, over food, liking food too much, and of course, spinal problems. Frequent cooking, in general, wreaks havoc on your knees, feet and spine. He is always great when I see him, and today I got a hug because I come in so frequently. He will be starting up cooking classes soon at his neighborhood eatery, The Park Market & Deli in Grant Park. Chef Sammy’s Philadelphia-style sandwiches pack a flavorful punch and satisfying sink-your-teeth bite in a world full of wimpy, soggy, squishy, flavorless subs; his other signature dishes like Shrimp and Grits, are some of the creamiest grits I’ve ever tasted in Atlanta.

Mihoko Obunai

Chef Mihoko Obunai

Also, I recently met Chef Mihoko Obunai, who is  also a former contestant of Chopped, at a recent charity event for CARE at her restaurant, Joli Kobe. I was amazed at her grace, beauty, and absolute skill in the kitchen, and I was secretly rooting for her as a woman in a competitive industry. I watched her in action from my countertop right next to the kitchen as she artfully plated her Yuzu Kombu-cured Kona Kampachi, all the while working alongside Chef Todd Richards, Chef Cooper Miller, and Chef Hector Santiago in a tiny space.

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Joli Kobe CARE Event Joli Kobe CARE Event

It was pure poetry in motion – they instinctively knew how to work together and glided around the kitchen without bumping elbows or keeping the other chefs from perfecting their dishes. Had this been in my family, there would be a lot of spills, clamoring, and hollering – but this is why these chefs are true professionals. But it’s beyond that – they have a silent understanding, some sort of secret code in the kitchen amongst each other…all for the love of food, that I will never know.

It’s really something to have a chef chat with you, and generously pour you an extra glass of sake at the end of the night after a successful event as they wind down and enjoy the rest of the evening. The gift of food is so intimate and ritualistic. I felt that I got to experience Chef Obunai’s passion, her art and Japanese heritage through her food, and with the same care as though I was a special person invited into her home. I can’t wait until her next dinner affair to see her in action – it’ll be a smaller event featuring specialty fresh Ramen noodle topped with a choice of pork tonkatsu (a panko-breaded Japanese cutlet) or seared beef belly.

I’ll also get to see Chef Todd Richards at this event, whom I originally met at Atlanta’s Fried Chicken Festival (yes – it now exists in Atlanta, and you can die happy after that festival, I assure you). His fried chicken dish was actually the winner of the competition. I later got properly introduced to Chef Todd through one of my old friends, KC Scott, who got into the restaurant business as a chef at the Ritz Carlton but has since ducked out of the restaurant business to raise four of her own little ducklings. Hopefully this time Chef Todd won’t be working in the kitchen and I’ll have a chance to break bread, or in this case, slurp noodles, with him.

What’s wonderful is that these three folks are down to earth, are an absolute joy to talk to, and that they share that same glee over presenting their food and take pleasure in you enjoying it.

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