Chuck the Resolution—Bring on the Ham!
(…and the mochi, cornbread, and maybe some lentil soup)

By: Rachelle Hicks


It’s New Year’s Eve and you may be reeling over the good and the bad of 2011: all those surprises that made your year, as well as those moments that don't bring joy (…perhaps due to a broken resolution?). With all of the ups and downs, you’ve probably considered a resolution for 2012. But, really, what more should be expected from the New Year besides it simply being a good one?

Let’s take a look at some foods from around the world that different cultures eat to welcome a good New Year and how each is considered to bring good luck and fortune. And since all these dishes can be found here in Atlanta, you could even venture to make a marathon feast of it by trying them all! Imagine how lucky that could make your 2012.

The South: Black Eyed Peas, Kale and Cornbread. 
Getting you to eat your veggies wasn’t grandpa’s only motivation on New Year’s Day. As he sets down a plate of folded, steamy kale, slippery black eyed peas, and a golden square of cornbread, he might just be your good luck charm in the New Year. Cornbread and steamed kale are considered lucky because they resemble gold and folded dollar bills, while the significance of black eyed peas dates back to the Civil War when Sherman overlooked a few black eyed pea crops during his havoc-wreaking march. This lucky bean was then considered heaven-sent by surviving Confederates as it became their main source of food. These three lucky Southern comforts can be found at Mary Mac’s Tea Room.  

Mary Mac’s Tea Room
224 Ponce de Leon Avenue
Atlanta 30308
404.876.1800
www.marymacs.com

Holland: Olie Bollen. 
These lovely buttered puff pastries have been eaten during "yule" (December 26-January 6) since the period of ancient Germanic tribes in Holland. The tradition began as a way to guard against the Germanic goddess Perchta who would cut the bellies of those who did not offer enough food to her for the New Year. Bellies stuffed with Olie Bollen would not allow her sword to penetrate the stomach, leaving the tribesman unharmed. Today Olie Bollen are still loved for their buttery goodness, but have been made even more divine with a dusting of powdered sugar. A boxed mix can be found at IKEA.

IKEA
441 16th Street NW  
Atlanta 30363
404.745.4532
www.ikea.com

Mexico, Spain and Cuba: 12 Grapes. 
At the stroke of midnight, it is considered good luck to eat a grape for each chime of the clock. Grapes must be green and the taste of each determines how the according month will go. For instance, if grape number 4 is sour, April of the following year may be difficult; if grape number 7 is sweet, then July of the following year will be good. And thanks to standard clock chime time (say that 3 times really fast!), which is 3 seconds between each chime, you don’t have to worry about stuffing 12 grapes within 12 seconds. This tradition originated during the Spanish region of Alicante’s 1909 grape surplus when farmers convinced their buyers that it was good luck to eat grapes during the midnight chimes in order to sell the overstock. Grapes can be found at most all supermarkets, but an organic bunch at Dekalb Farmers Market is quite delicious.

Dekalb Farmers Market
3000 East Ponce De Leon Avenue 
Decatur 30033
404.377.6400
www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com

Germany: Pork or Pig-shaped Marzipan. 
Since the time of ancient Germanic tribesmen, the Teutons, pigs and boars have been a symbol of agricultural abundance and luck. According to Teutonic myth, the boar taught early Germanic people how to produce food through agriculture by demonstrating the “plow” mechanism with his tusks. During today’s New Year’s celebrations, Germans will feast on juicy pork bratwurst, or eat marzipan candies shaped like pigs. Savory bratwurst meals can be had at midtown’s Der Biergaten and sweet marzipan piglets can be found at Buckhead’s World Market.

Der Biergarten
300 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
404.521.2728
www.derbiergarten.com

Cost Plus World Market
3330 Piedmont Rd NE #17  
Atlanta 30305
(404) 814-0801
www.worldmarket.com

Italy: Lentil Soup. 
You know what they say about lentils… Well, not much, except that they’re good for you and Italians eat them for good luck on New Year's Day. In Italy, lentils are known to bring good fortune to those who eat them New Year’s Eve. The disk-like shape of a lentil is said to resemble a coin, so eating a bowl of lentils is like eating hundreds of small, mushy doubloons. These little medallions are most commonly prepared to eat in lentil soup. To find one of these lucky stews in Atlanta, visit Gilbert’s Mediterranean Café for their Brothers’ Mother’s Lentil Soup.

Gilbert’s Mediterranean Cafe
219 10th Street
Atlanta 30309
404.872.8012
www.gilbertscafe.com

Japan: Mochi. 
This traditional Japanese treat is a type of rice cake that is pounded to a moldable paste and made into a variety of treats and edible decorations. Traditionally families will gather to make mochi during an end of the year ceremony called Mochitsuki. The mochi is then used for making confectionary, ornamental cake, soup, and ice cream. The practice of making decorative mochi stems from Shinto traditions which regard rice, mochi’s main ingredient, as a strength-giving food. When eating mochi, a knife is never used because of the superstition that it would sever family ties. At Trader Joe’s you can find mochi-covered ice cream balls in strawberry, chocolate, mango and green tea flavors.

Trader Joe’s Midtown
931 Monroe Drive NE
Atlanta 30308
404.815.9210
www.traderjoes.com

Flavors NOW wishes you a fortunate and happy New Year!
 
 
New Year’s Eve is a time of reflecting on the year coming to a close and looking forward to the adventures 2012 will bring. Here are some offerings from our trusted partners that will satisfy your culinary cravings and finish 2011 on a delicious note!

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

www.davios.com
404.844.4810

Ring in the New Year at Davio’s with festive live music by Bria Kam from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. and a prix fixe menu sure to start your 2012 off right. Enjoy Executive Chef Bennett Hollberg’s 5-course menu, featuring Roasted Beet Salad, Chestnut Soup with Brioche Crouton, Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Organic Polenta, Seared Endive and Coconut Broth, Grilled Beef with Yukon Gold-Celery Root Puree and Red Wine Blackberry Reduction. For a sweet finish, guests will enjoy Champagne Sabayon Parfait with Fresh Raspberries and Frosted Almonds. Cost is $75 per person (wine pairings may be added for $35). Regular menu also available all day. Call for reservations. 

Firefly Restaurant
www.fireflyrestaurant.net
678.761.2617

Celebrate in at Firefly in Alpharetta with a New Year's Eve "Grand Masquerade" featuring live music from Fifth Element, a DJ, dancing, cocktails, wine and draft beer, chef-selected hors d'oeuvres and a Champagne toast at midnight. Doors will be open from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. Cost is $100.00 per person, inclusive. Call for more information or to reserve.

Kurt's Bistro
www.kurtsrestaurant.com
770.623.4128

Kurt’s Bistro is festive all on its own, and for will open for New Year's Eve celebrating 
starting at 4:30 p.m.. The restaurant will offer an exquisite 5 course limited menu, including a traditional glüwein reception, for $75 per person. Add an optional wine flight plus a premium Champagne toast for an additional $30. Visit the website to view the full menu and to make reservations (required). 

Market at the W Hotel, Buckhead
www.marketbuckhead.com
404.523.3600

Market is celebrating an end to 2011 and toasting to the beginning of 2012 with a decadent six course tasting menu, featuring creative house specialties such as Chilled Oysters and Caviar, Steamed Maine Lobster, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and much more, all in addition to the regular dinner menu offerings. Cost for prix-fixe menu is $75 per guest.

Toast the new year on January 1 at Market at the W Buckhead. Offering Chef David Gross’ delicious brunch menu and $14 bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys from 12:30 to 6:00 p.m., it will be a stylish start to 2012.

Call to make reservations for either event (strongly recommended).

Celebrate the New Year with Ray’s Restaurants
www.raysrestaurants.com

With several locations around the city, Ray’s Restaurants offer a variety of options to keep your New Year’s Eve both delicious and festive. 

Ray's at Killer Creek will be open from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., and the bar will be open for late night revelers until 1 a.m. Make reservations by calling 770.649.0064.

Ray's in the City will be open, serving their regular menu, from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. and the bar will stay open until midnight. Make reservations by calling 404.524.9224.

Ray's on the River’s main dining room will serve their regular dinner menu from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. and the bar will remain open until 1 a.m. Make reservations by calling 770.955.1187.

Ray's on the River Event Pavilion will offer a New Year's Eve celebration with dinner and dancing. The celebration will run from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m., with dinner service beginning at 8:45 p.m. The cost is $95 per guest or $850 per table of 10 guests. Call for reservations (required) at 770.955.1187. 

Sage Woodfire Tavern
www.sagewoodfiretavern.com
770.569.9199 (Alpharetta)
770.804.8880 (Perimeter)

Visit either of Sage Woodfire Tavern’s locations - Perimeter or Alpharetta - and enjoy a festive night of dining and dancing. Live samba music and dancing begins at 6 p.m. and a live DJ will be spinning upbeat tunes from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. A complimentary midnight Champagne toast and party favors will ensure the New Year is welcomed in style, and both a special menu and the regular menu will be offered for guests’ enjoyment. Call for reservations. 

Southern Art Restaurant & Bourbon Bar
www.southernart.com
404.946.9070

One of Buckhead’s newest restaurants (the space re-purposed from its former incarnation as Au Pied de Cochon at the Intercontinental Hotel) is making a splash. From 5 to 7 p.m., the kitchen will present a 3-course menu for $65 (wine pairing for $25) and then from 7 until 11 p.m., a 5-course menu for $85 (wine pairing for $35). Southern-inspired menu selections include Tennessee Duck Leg, Oysters on the Halfshell, White Oak Farms Beef Tartare, Cornmeal Crusted Black Grouper, Blue Crab Bisque with Lump Crab Dumplings and sweet finishes such as Bourbon Pecan Pie or Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. Call for reservations. 

Sedgwick Restaurant Group
www.sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com

To celebrate the advent of 2012, Vinny’s on Windward, bistro VG and Aspens Signature Steaks will all be open and offering their regular, delicious menus. Make your reservation online.

The Taco Stand, Alpharetta
www.thetacostand.com
404.754.4500

The Alpharetta outpost of The Taco Stand is celebrating the end of 2011 with a full-on party. Join local band Tye Dyed for live tunes perfect for dancing, a special menu, cash bar with drink specials, festive decor and balloons, midnight Champagne toast, party favors and more, all beginning at 8 p.m. $20 admission fee, beginning at 8 pm. Call 678.662.4600 for reservations.


Tantra, Buckhead
www.tantraatlanta.com
404.228.7963

For a bit of extra excitement, Tantra in Buckhead will present their second annual “Midnight Sabrage” and New Year’s Eve Dinner Party! The $55 three course menu includes Mediterranean-inspired choices for each course and a glass of bubbly. A DJ begins spinning tunes at 10 p.m. and the big finish of the evening will happen promptly at midnight when a bottle of Champagne will be opened with razor-sharp saber. Call for reservations. 


Stay Safe This Holiday Season

It’s easy to celebrate a little too much, but it’s important to be safe. This holiday season, the Safe Holiday Campaign is offering services to ensure you and your fellow revelers get home safely:
  • Free Ride Home from Checker Cab. Call 404.351.1111
  • Free "Tow to Go": Budweiser and AAA will take a guest and their vehicle home safely. Call 800.AAA.HELP.
  • SafeRide America: Call 404.888.0887
 
 
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There's something about the flavors of sugar and spice that make it feel like the holidays... and a little buzz thrown in doesn't hurt, to celebrate with some of Atlanta’s favorite holiday spirits! Even though (Jack) Frost is running a bit late this year, (Jack) Daniels and some of his friends’ seasonal delights are here to warm you up for feasts, festivities and frolicking around the town. Check out these wintertime cocktails being served at hotspots around Atlanta. Some will remind you of tiptoeing to peek at the milk and cookies ("Sugar"), while others will bring you back to the comforts of sipping hot cider beside a blazing hearth ("Spice"). All will bring a new season of memories—as long as you haven’t ho-ho-hoed yourself to sleep under the tree!

Take Note: Most of these sprightly libations will be served throughout the winter season, so you can enjoy them into the New Year.

Sugar
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French Russian
(Inspired by the “Twelve Days of Christmas” verse “Three French Hens”)

Yield: 1 Drink

1 oz. Absolute Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. Café Bohême
½ oz. Kahlua
½ oz. half and half
 
Build in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with a chocolate cigar sugar stick. 

St. Regis Hotel
404.563.7900
www.stregisatlanta.com

Photo: New South Photography, Brooks Harris

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Midnight Milk and Cookies
Yield: 1 Drink

1 oz. dark Crème de Cacao
1 oz. light Crème de Cacao
1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
½ oz. half and half
½ oz. milk chocolate syrup
Cocoa powder

Mix dark and light Crème de Cacao, Vanilla Vodka, half and half, and milk chocolate syrup into shaker with ice. Shake well. Line rim of glass with vodka and dip into cocoa powder. Pour and serve immediately.

Shula’s 347
404.848.7345
www.donshula.com

Photo: Natalie Najjar

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On Point
(Inspired by The Nutcracker’s run at The Fox Theatre.)

Yield: 1 Drink

1 ¼ oz. Vodka
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. rose wine

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain over ice. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

Publik Draft House
404.885.7505
www.publikatl.com

Photo: Rachelle Hicks


Spice

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Sled Dog

Yield: 1 Drink

2 oz. espresso (Park Grounds uses Counter Culture espresso)
1 oz. milk foam
1 tsp. raw sugar
½ oz. Gran Marnier
Cinnamon

Pour raw sugar into cappuccino cup. Pour espresso over sugar. Add Gran Marnier. Top with milk foam. Dust foam with cinnamon.

Park Grounds
678.528.9901
www.parkgrounds.com

Photo: Rachelle Hicks

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Winter Cocktail

Yield: 1 Drink

2 oz.Crusoe Spiced Rum
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. ginger liquor
½ oz. Allspice Dram
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Lemon zest

Combine all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a columned glass with ice. Add lemon zest.

Rosebud
404.347.9747
www.rosebudatlanta.com

Photo: Rachelle Hicks

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Honey and Spice

Yield: 1 Drink

2 oz. apple cider (Aria uses a house-made cider)
1 ½ oz. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
½ oz. Domaine de Canton
½ oz. lemon juice
Splash of ginger ale

Shake Jack Daniel’s, Domaine de Canton, lemon juice and cider over ice. Strain into a glass full of ice. Add a splash of ginger ale… and Wallah!

Aria
404.233.7673
www.aria-atl.com

Photo: George Sanchez


Compiled and written by Rachelle Hicks.  

 
 
We are on the cusp of Christmas, and events and happenings in Atlanta don’t seem to be slowing down a bit during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you’re in the market for festive holiday plans or need to score some last-minute gifts, we have you covered with news from our friends and partners. Happy holidays!

Last-Minute Foodie Gifts
Hal’s Kitchen


Looking for last-minute gifts for the foodie in your life? Hal’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs is 30% off of cookbooks and tabletop appliances and 20% of everything else in the store, through Thursday, Dec. 22. For more information on store offerings or to purchase one of their fun, informative cooking classes as a gift, visit www.halskitchen.com.

Master Engraver Casey Cochran at Beverly Bremer
December 22 & 23


If you’re looking for a last-minute gift that will become a family heirloom for years to come, look no further than Beverly Bremer Silver Shop. Best yet? You can have your purchases engraved while you wait by master engraver Casey Cochran. Call 404.261.4009 for more information or visit www.beverlybremer.com.  

Helping Others is SWEET
Nancy G’s Collects Items for Covenant House

Nancy G’s Cafe is sharing the wealth this holidays season, delivering meals to Covenant House (a shelter for homeless youths; learn more at www.covenanthouse.org). To add to their gift, they invite any of their guests to bring an item from Covenant House’s wish list (such as shoes, games, bedding, clothing, gift cards, etc...) and to enjoy a complimentary dessert. For more information, call Nancy G’s Cafe at 404.705.8444 or visit www.nancygscafe.com.

Calling All Young Aspiring Chefs!
The Art Institutes's Culinary Scholarship Competition

If you know a teen who is an aspiring chef, The Art Institutes's Culinary Scholarship Competition may be just the ticket to make those dreams a reality. On April 21, 2012, competitors will go head to head, competing in either the “Best Teen Chef” competition (for high school students) and the “Art Institutes's Culinary Scholarship Competition” (for high school graduates), competing for thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money.To enter, have the student in your life visit www.artinstitutes.edu/culinary and fill out the entry application before February 3, 2012.

Mary Moore is Woodward Academy Distinguished Alumni
The Cook’s Warehouse Owner Wins Prestigious Award


Mary Moore is a fixture in the community, supporting charities and culinary events in Atlanta and beyond. A 1987 graduate of Atlanta’s Woodward Academy, she received the noteworthy Distinguished Alumni Award, which has been presented annually since 1966 to an alumni of the school who has distinguished themselves through community involvement and professional achievement. We couldn’t agree more - big congratulations to Mary! To learn more about Moore’s company, visit www.thecookswarehouse.com.

Be Entertained
Firefly Restaurant’s Live Music


A new addition to Alpharetta, Firefly Restaurant, serves up feel good American fare - from ribs to burgers - all prepared with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Visit to enjoy live entertainment from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. To learn more, call 678. 761.2617 or visit www.fireflyrestaurant.net.


 
 
For the third installment of our "Home For the Holidays" series, we asked Jennifer Brett from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution to share one of her favorite holiday recipes. She candidly told us, "I have ONE recipe I can actually cook!" and she shares it below. You can read her column, "Peach Buzz," on page two of the paper's Living section and more frequent installments online at http://blogs.ajc.com/the-buzz. For continuous, witty commentary on news in Atlanta and beyond, follow her at @AJCBuzz on Twitter. 
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This recipe is from Betsy Stark of Starkville, Miss. She is a cousin of my husband, Charles Gay. Cousin Betsy is much beloved for her warm spirit and hospitable nature. Any visitor to her beautiful home, Stark Hill, has been immediately welcomed with a hug, followed by "What will you have to drink?" Cousin Betsy has always been a gracious hostess, and many pleasant evenings begin with the passing of her cheese wafers, which always disappear quickly!


Cheese Wafers

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Method: 
Soften butter, cream in cheese, add flour. Mix in Rice Krispies. Roll into balls and mash with a fork to produce criss-cross design. Bake on a cookie sheet on the top rack at 350 for 10 minutes.


 
 
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If you don’t like the smell of chestnuts roasting over an open fire or simply don’t feel like cooking Christmas dinner, there are plenty of Atlanta restaurants serving dinner - from the traditional to the creative. So, make plans to dig in and rest assured knowing that a professional chef has got the cooking covered. Presents are another story - you're on your own for those! 

Ritz-Carlton—Atlanta 
Guest can feast on a four-course meal at the Atlanta Grill (pictured below). Start your evening with a mushroom soup, follow that up with local salad greens paired with a creamy vinaigrette, and choose between beef tenderloin, grilled North Atlantic swordfish, and grilled vegetable and goat cheese in brioche as your entree.  Cap off your meal with a choice of chocolate liqueur soufflé or dusted sugar and fresh raspberries. 
Dinner is from 5:30-10 p.m. Cost is $68 per adult, $90 per adult with wine pairing, $35 per child ages 5 to 12. 
Reservations are required. 
 404.221.6550
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Atlanta/Default.htm

Ritz-Carlton—Buckhead
Served at The Café, this holiday smorgasbord is guaranteed to satisfy the whole family. Diners nosh on their choice of sausage, lamb, seafood, and a variety of meats. A variety of salads, soups, and hot vegetable dishes are also available. Dessert options include a plethora of cooked-while-you-wait crepes, Yule logs, and a variety of individual desserts.
Dinner is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Cost is $99 per adult, $39 per child (excludes tax and gratuity). Reservations are required.
404.240.7035
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Buckhead/Default.htm

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Park 75 at The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons’ Park 75 restaurant (pictured at right) will be serving a buffet on Christmas Day. Main dishes at the carving station range from Georgia white shrimp and grits to market fish of the day with fennel and pomegranate. For those who prefer a less traditional holiday meal, expect to find a pot pie, salad and antipasto, tapas, seafood, pasta, Asian, and dessert stations with plates to please every palate. 
The buffet is from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Cost is $82 per adults, $30 per child ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and under are free. 
404.253.3840
www.fourseasons.com/atlanta 

Atkins Park Restaurant—Virginia Highlands location  
Feast on classic holiday dishes at Atlanta's oldest continuously licensed tavern. Main dishes range from braised pork shoulder to big green egg smoked turkey breast. Sides include roasted garlic mashed potatoes and sweet potato biscuits. Finish your holiday meal with a slice of eggnog cheesecake or southern pecan pie. 
Restaurant opens at 6 p.m. Cost is $22 for adults, $17 per young adult, and $10 per child under 10. Reservations are recommended. 
404.876.7249
www.atkinspark.com

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The Melting Pot—Available at all four Atlanta locations 
This fondue-lovers haven is serving up their regular menu and their four-course specialty seasonal menu that includes apple cider Swiss cheese fondue, cherry blossom salad, and white chocolate pumpkin fondue.
The Melting Pot is open from 4 to 7 p.m. 
404.389.0099 
www.meltingpot.com/mid-town-atlanta/welcome 

Lobby at Twelve 
The Lobby at Twelve is offering up a Christmas buffet that is sure to please everyone. Entrees include turkey breast, sautéed trout, and Swedish meatballs. Round out your main dish with trimmings like cheese tortellini in roasted pumpkin sauce, and sausage and sourdough bread stuffing. Top off your meal with your choice of pecan bars, mini pumpkin cheesecake tarts, and more. Menu is subject to change. 
The buffet is available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $49 per adult, $17 per child ages 5-17, and children under 5 are free. 
404.961.7370 
www.lobbyattwelve.com

ROOM at Twelve 
Guests at ROOM at Twelve will enjoy a modern, American buffet with a holiday twist. The buffet’s main features, roasted brined turkey with cranberry-apple relish, mustard and brown sugar glazed ham and prime rib of beef, accompanied by a variety of options including trimmings, salads, sushi, seafood, and desserts, are sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Menu is subject to change.
Buffet will be served from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost is $49 per adult, $17 per child ages 5-17, and children under 5 are free. 
404.418.1250 
www.roomattwelve.com. 

Briza at Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel Make your way over to Briza (pictured at right) to dine on a fixed menu that includes choice of an appetizer, a main dish, and dessert. Main plates include beef tenderloin served with crispy brussel sprouts and potatoes au gratin, as well as roasted duck breast, and seared scallops. Finish your night with a choice of figgy pudding, egg nog panna cotta or fruit cake. 
Dinner will be served from 5–8 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. Cost is $55 per person.  
678.41 2.2402
www.brizarestaurant.com

Compiled and written by Teresa Tobat. 

 
 
This is the second installment of our "Home for the Holidays" series, featuring cherished family recipes from our Atlanta media friends. Here, Atlanta & Company's Christine Pullara shares her mother Violet's recipe for Red Velvet Cake (you'll enjoy her fun extra details and advice, peppered throughout the recipe!). 
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In our house, it's not Christmas without my mother's RED VELVET CAKE. She has been making it for years and so many friends and family members love it that she makes 7 additional cakes for people to have at their own homes for dessert on Christmas Day. Believe me that is no small task! She is a warm, thoughtful, generous person and she puts all that love and caring into making the most delicious and festive cake. I've had other tasty Red Velvet Cakes before, but there is just that intangible, special something that makes my mother's stand out from the rest. 

It is always moist and creamy and no matter how full you are after your holiday meal.. there is no way you could pass up a slice! I dare you!!! 

I hope you enjoy your holidays as much as I enjoy my mom's world famous cake!


Violet Pullara's FAMOUS Red Velvet CakeIngredients: 
2 1/2 cups Cake flour (use Swan's Down brand, usually in the cake mix section) 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups cooking oil (mom says use Mazola brand)
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs (leave out for awhile until eggs are room temperature) 
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt 
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
1 tablespoon of cocoa
1 tablespoon of white vinegar 
2 ounces of red food coloring 
 
Icing: 
1 large cream cheese, softened (Philly brand block of cream cheese.. do not use LOW FAT.. sorry.. no losing weight with this recipe)
1 stick butter, softened
1 box of confectioners sugar (xxxx) 
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
 
Directions: 
Pour all cake ingredients into large mixing bowl.  It will be VERY SOUPY.  Mix thoroughly.. no lumps ladies! 
Spread butter onto bottom and sides of 9 x 13" pan and add some flour and shake off so cake won't stick. Preheat oven to 350. Bake 30 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test center.  If wet, test every five minutes until tooth pick is no longer wet.  Do not overcook!
LET IT COOL COMPLETELY! 
 
Mix icing ingredients with mixer.  Mix butter and cream cheese, then little by little.. add the whole box of confectioners sugar. Add vanilla.. a couple of extra dashes are fabulous!  Lastly, mix in pecans... then spread over cake!!! 
 
ENJOY!!!!!!
 

Fresh Bites

12/15/2011

 
The holiday season is in full swing, so here are a few tidbits of news from our friends to make the season even more merry and bright! 
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Christmas & New Year’s Eve Prix-Fixe Dinners
December 24th & December 31
Davio’s Italian Restaurant


A holiday delight will be available on Christmas Eve at Davio’s! Their 4-course, prix-fixe menu will include marinated mussels and eggplant caviar, Maine lobster bisque, seared diver scallops, and seared swordfish tagliatelle with black truffle cream sauce. Dessert is a triple chocolate cheesecake with Zinfandel marinated raspberries and Chantilly cream. This seafood feast is $58 per person and $78 with wine pairings. The regular menu will also be available.

If you’re looking for delicious plans for New Year’s Eve, visit Davio’s for a five-course menu of fantastic winter fare. Executive Chef Bennett Hollberg’s menu will feature an amuse bouche; roasted beet salad with winter orange dressing; chestnut soup with a brioche crouton; butter-poached Maine lobster and organic polenta, seared endive and coconut broth; grilled beef with Yukon Gold-celery root puree and a red wine blackberry reduction; and for dessert – a champagne sabayon parfait with fresh raspberries and frosted almonds. Cost is $75 per person and $35 for wine pairings.  

If you’re still shopping for presents, Davio’s gift cards make a great gift for your foodie and can be purchased at the restaurant or on their website at www.davios.com. Please call 404.844.4810 for reservations and holiday hours.

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Southern Delights & Daily Specials
Nancy G’s


Nancy G’s presents fabulous Southern foods in a relaxed and homey attitude and, even better, they have daily specials at fantastic prices.

Here are just some of the great deals you can find at Nancy G’s:
Sundays: A special menu featuring southern comfort foods
Mondays: $2 domestic beers
Tuesdays: ½ price wine by the bottle
Wednesdays: Steak Night
Thursdays: Wine and Dine; enjoy a three course dinner and a glass of wine for $25
Saturdays: Any flavor or style of Smirnoff Martinis for $5

Learn more about Nancy G’s at www.nancygscafe.com or by calling 404.705.8444. Nancy G’s can be found at 4920 Roswell Rd, Suite 55 in Atlanta.

 
 
From now until Christmas, we've asked some of our media friends to share one of their treasured family recipes for the holidays. Here's one from Q100's Jenn Hobby. Residents of Atlanta, Nashville and Indianapolis (the show has recently syndicated into the two non-Georgia markets) know her as the fun, sweet, friendly newlywed on The Bert Show. Learn more about her at www.jennhobby.com. 
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My family loves this holiday recipe so much that it doesn't even need a name. The Hobbys call it "The Cake" - nothing fancy, no need for a description of which one, it's just "The Cake". My mom, Nancie, makes it with love for Thanksgiving, Christmas, my dad, Eddie's birthday and if she's feeling moved on the high holy days (as a good Episcopalian does), we get an extra one at Easter.

I knew this beloved recipe came from my grandmother, DeDe, but had no idea about the funny way it came to our family until writing this for you today.

My grandmother, Dorothy, and my grandfather, Graham, moved to Florida from South Carolina in the early 50s with their daughters. My grandfather worked for a company called Belk Lindsey as their advertising manager. They were apparently pretty social back in the day – even with the country club set –and went to his boss’s house for a dinner party.


Mrs. Quattlebaum (that was really their name) served this cake as the dessert. It was her mom’s recipe. My grandfather always loved it and that is why my grandmother always made it! My mom and dad have picked up on the tradition and it's now my dad's favorite too. I hope to continue the tradition with my husband, Grant, and our future family. It's more than "The Cake" - it's a slice of our family history. That warms my heart every holiday.

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The CAKE
3 1/2 cups of plain flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
½ cup of butter (no substitute)
6 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 pounds white raisins
1 quart pecans chopped
Dash of salt

Method: 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Soften the butter for about 30 minutes out of the fridge. Cream the butter and sugar. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, to butter and sugar. Sift the dry ingredients together, and add to butter mixture along with the heavy cream and vanilla. Slowly fold in the raisins and the pecans. Then spoon mixture into a greased and floured tube or Bundt pan. Cook about 2 1/2 hours. Check with a long toothpick. Cool before turning out onto a plate. Cover and store after cooled. (I love it for breakfast! Toasted with butter!)