There are just a few days left of 2012, and 2013 will be here on Tuesday. To help you ring in a brand new year, consider dining out at these restaurants to start 2013 off with a great meal. Cheers!


By Teresa Tobat
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Photo by Simon Law from Montréal, QC, Canada
Davio’s
The Phipp's Plaza Italian favorite is serving up a five-course prix fixe menu starting at 5 p.m. Embracing classic Italian flavors and original culinary flair, Executive Chef Robert Lee creates dishes such as medjool date, grilled asparagus, marinated zucchini with Chardonnay-blood orange sauce and roasted scallop and Jerusalem artichokes soup with winter black truffles. End your meal with Prosecco poached pear with guanaja semifreddo and dried cherries.
 
The five-course prix fixe menu costs $75.00 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Reservations are required. 

3500 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
215/563-4810
davios.com

F&B Atlanta
For New Year's Eve, guests may order off of F&B’s regular menu, or choose from special festive dishes. If you're still lingering at the restaurant at midnight, enjoy a Champagne toast before  heading out to celebrate the advent of 2013. 

3630 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30326
404/254-1797 
fandbatl.com

Firenze
Celebrate the dawn of a new year in Norcross, at Firenze! Choose from a two-course meal for $38, a three-course meal for $46 or a four-course meal for $54, each packed with delicious regional Italian specialities. Enjoy some complimentary Prosecco while you're there. 

6025 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 9
Norcross, GA 30092
770/817-8733
firenzeristorante.net

Imperial Fez
Enjoy a five-course Moroccan feast at Imperial Fez. Dinner seatings are offered at 5, 6, 7 and 9:30 p.m. For $55 (kids under 10 are $30 each) during all the seatings before 9:30 p.m., you’ll receive lentil bean soup, Moroccan salads, filo dough stuffed with Cornish-hen, almonds cinnamon and spiced eggs, choice of a main course including lamb, hen, tilapia or couscous and dessert. You’ll be treated to a complimentary glass of Champagne after dinner. At 9:30 p.m. for $85 per person ($40 each for kids under 10), you’ll enjoy the aforementioned food with expanded main dishes to choose from, belly dancing starting at 10 p.m., party favors and all-you-can-drink Champagne at midnight.

To make a reservation (required), please click here

2285 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30309  
404/351-0870
imperialfez.com

Ray’s on the Creek
This restaurant will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. The bar is open until 1 a.m. The eatery will serve its regular appetizer menu and several prix fixe packages.

1700 Mansell Road
Alpharetta, GA 30009
770/649-0064
raysrestaurants.com/raysonthecreek 

Ray’s on the River
Ray’s on the River will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and the bar will be open until 1 a.m. The restaurant will offer its regular appetizer menu and a handful prix fixe packages. Plus, Ray’s on the River is having an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve party in its tent area for $125 per person. Attendees will enjoy an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, an oyster shucking station, a live band, a balloon drop and a Champagne toast at midnight.

6700 Powers Ferry Road
Sandy Springs GA, 30339
770/955-1187
raysrestaurants.com/raysontheriver
 
Ray’s in the City
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The bar will be open until 1 a.m.

240 Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
404/524-9224
raysrestaurants.com/raysinthecity

SEED Kitchen & Bar
Seed Kitchen & Bar will be offering a four-course tasting menu (in lieu of the regular menu) to ring in the New Year, along with a Champagne toast at midnight and a balloon drop. Please call 678/214-6888 for reservations and click here to view the menu of Chef Doug Turbush's creations. It’s $69 per person and $89 per guest with wine pairings.

1311 Johnson Ferry, Suite 504
Marietta, GA 30068
eatatseed.com

Southern Art
Enjoy a five-course prix fixe dinner from 5:30 to 11 p.m. for $75 per person. Guests can add optional wine pairings for an additional $25. Guests can partake in a Champagne toast and listen to live New Orleans style entertainment at Bourbon Bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

3315 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
404/946-9070
southernart.com

Vinny’s on Windward
Vinny’s will be open for New Year’s Eve. Make your reservations today.

5355 Windward Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30004
770/772-4644
sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com/vinnys.html

 
 
The holidays are almost here, and we’d like to wish all of our readers a fantastic holiday season. To commemorate this special occasion, enjoy a holiday-themed edition of Flavors NOW.

By Teresa Tobat

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Art Glass at Vinings Gallery 
For a present that no one else will have, consider purchasing glass pieces inspired by fine art at Vinings Gallery in Smyrna. An oval platter, bowl, rectangle tray and square plate emblazoned with bright, colorful landscapes are available for purchase. The gallery also has many other pieces, from paintings to sculptures, for sale. Please visit viningsgallery.com for more.

4686 South Atlanta Road, Suite F
Smyrna, GA 30080
404/794-7762

Cook’s Warehouse has the Perfect Gifts
If you’re searching for great gifts for the cooks in your life, Cook’s Warehouse has some good options. The Warehouse stocks kitchen electrics like cordless wine openers, Breville smart ovens and water bath ovens. For more, visit cookswarehouse.com.

Sedgwick Restaurant Group’s Holiday Special - 20% MO
Looking to give the gift of food without cooking? Sedgwick Restaurant Group has the answer. From now until December 30, when you purchase a Sedgwick Restaurant Group gift card at one of its restaurants, Sedgwick will add 20 percent of your original purchase onto the gift card’s total value.

To view a list of Sedgwick’s restaurants, visit sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com.

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Theo’s Brother’s Bakery Serves Sweet Treats
Good gifts can be hard to find, but few will say no to baked goods. If you won’t have time to make them yourself, leave the work to Theo’s in Alpharetta. Enjoy tasty cellophane-wrapped gingerbread and Christmas sugar cookies. House and tree cookies are for sale for $4.25 each. Please place your holiday baking orders by this Friday.

12280 Houze Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004
770/772-4644
sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com/theos_alpharetta.html

Vinny’s Taking New Year’s Eve Reservations
If you need somewhere to ring in 2013, Vinny’s in Alpharetta will be open. Make your reservations today.

5355 Windward Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30004
770/772-4644
sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com/vinnys.html

 
 
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It's the season for homemade sweets (heaven help our waistlines!), and these delicious truffles are rich, sweet and even a little caffeinated. They would make a decadent addition to any holiday We hope you'll enjoy this recipe from our friends at VSOP Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom. 

Ingredients:

1 pound 70% Dark Chocolate, chopped
8 ounces Heavy Whipping Cream
1⁄4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
2 tablespoons VSOP Espresso Aged Dark Balsamic Vinegar
1⁄3 cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder, high quality


Method: 
Place chopped chocolate in a wide, heatproof bowl. In a heavy bottom pan, bring the heavy cream and salt to a boil. Turn down the heat, and let the cream simmer for a full minute. Stir often, making sure the cream does not burn. Immediately take the cream from the heat and pour evenly over the chopped chocolate. Resist the temptation to stir. Allow to sit for 2-4 minutes in order to melt the chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, stir the ingredients together with a heatproof rubber spatula. Use the spatula to stir any larger pieces of chocolate into the warm cream to dissolve. You should end up with a smooth, glossy mixture referred to as ganache. Add the Espresso Balsamic to the ganache and mix thoroughly. The ganache will thicken as it cools. When it reaches room temperature, it can be piped. To make traditional truffles, pipe small portions (approximately 2 tsp.) of ganache onto parchment paper or another non-stick surface. These portions will continue to cool and solidify and can then be rolled in to small balls. Dredge the balls into cocoa powder. If used while warm, the ganache can be poured over cakes or used to dip fruit.

 
 
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By Teresa Tobat

Beverly Bremer Carries Gorgeous Ornaments
Searching for a gift for that friend or relative that is impossible to buy for? Then consider buying a silver sterling ornament from Beverly Bremer. This year’s ornaments include a cross, snowflake and baby’s first cup. The store also has ornaments from previous years in limited supply.

3164 Peachtree Road
Atlanta GA 30305
800/270-4009
www.beverlybremer.com

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Ray’s in Alpharetta Celebrates New Name, Renovation 
Big changes are in store for Ray’s at Killer Creek. To start off with, the restaurant is debuting a new name Ray’s on the Creek. Guests can also look forward to new signs displaying a more prominent Ray’s logo, a brighter interior with a new coastal- inspired blue façade and a revamped bar. The restaurant will host a grand reopening party in January.

The restaurant also recently launched a new dinner menu featuring a wide selection of dishes under $30 and more sharable plates. This Alpharetta haunt is also offering a new lunch menu with most dishes and sandwiches under $20.
 
“I want to create a fun and lively atmosphere at Ray’s on the Creek, making it a place diners can visit more often, not just on special occasions,” says Founder Raymond Schoenbaum. “Expect about half of the menu to be completely new and the other half to consist of Ray’s dishes that are customer favorites.” 

1700 Mansell Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004
raysrestaurants.com/raysonthecreek
770/649-0064

Holiday Dining at Ray’s Restaurants
Ray’s on the Creek in Alpharetta will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. for Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day. The restaurant is open from 5 to 11 p.m. for New Year’s Eve, and the bar will remain open until 1 a.m. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, please call 770-649-0064.

On December 24, Ray’s on the River is open from 5 to 9 p.m. and closed on Christmas Day. On December 31, the restaurant will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. for New Year’s Eve, and the bar will remain open until 1 a.m. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call 770/955-1187.

Ray’s in the City is celebrating New Year’s Eve from 4 to 11 p.m., and will be open on New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call 404/524-9224. Please visit raysrestaurants.com for more information on all three locations.

South City Kitchen Midtown Open for Christmas Eve
For $42 for adults and $21 for children under 12, South City Kitchen Midtown will serve a three-course prix fixe menu on December 24. Each guest can choose one appetizer, entrée and dessert. Menu highlights include fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and sweet pepper coulis, smoke-roasted filet of beef with celery root potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and truffle jus and Southern chocolate pecan pie. 

1144 Crescent Avenue Northeast  
Atlanta, GA 30309
404/873-7358
southcitykitchen.com  

 
 
'Tis the season for gift-giving, so we asked one of our favorite bloggers to tell us what's on the list for all the foodies on her list. The following is compiled by Atlanta-based food fan and blogger Allison Palestrini. Connect with her through her blog, Time Machine Taste Tester or on Twitter @allipal.
  1. Mario Batali Spoonula $10.95 A little hard to find. I received one of these a few years back at a trade show and it has been one of my favorite kitchen tools ever since. You might not realize the ease of having a two-in-one spatula and spoon now, but I’ll bet if you prep any recipe with it you won’t go back.
  2. Kiehl’s Orange Flower & Lychee Hand & Body Lotion $26 Not just a light fruit scent, but a thoughtful gift for anyone who spends a great deal of time in the kitchen. Between the hand washing, prep in the sink and dish washing, 24 hours of moisturizing power is the gift that keeps on giving.
  3. Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball Ice Cream Maker $39.99 Ice and Rock Salt, cream, sugar and flavoring and you’re off! Play with it for 15 minutes, stir, play 15 minutes more and it’s icecream time! Mega makes one quart. There is a smaller size, but why bother? The more icecream, the merrier. Either everyone will play with it together OR you’ll run all over with it and burn off those binge calories (okay just a few of them).
  4. Cook’s Warehouse gift certificate towards Knife Skills 101 hands on class $65 What I love about this particular class is that the skills taught can be applied towards ANY style of cuisine. I recommend a gift certificate for the recipient to pick out their own class date and location.
  5. Rachael Ray Tools and Gadgets Blue 3-piece Suction Lid Set $28.99 I first spotted these on QVC (currently sold out there) and everything in my being wanted to not want them. Another gadget? Is that really necessary? And then I saw them on TV and was mesmerized. Turning ANY serving dish into a storage dish for the fridge? It’s like the read my mind – my lazy clean up mind! This is for your foodie home cook friend who thinks they have everything.
  6. Eat Cake for Breakfast 1.75" Badge / Button $1.75 – why not?
  7. Artichoke Lemon Pesto $12.95 Made in Georgia (squeal)! I love this on bread toasted with a little cheese, and it would make a lovely hostess gift. It's also available at Whole Foods in Buckhead.
  8. Jellybean Wines Candy-Apple Red Cabernet Sauvignon – Generally between $10 and $15
    Beautiful labels – could match the color to any other gift item you’re giving. Not sure about the recipient’s favorite wine? Try the red blend! (I’ve found at the Buford Highway Farmers Market.) 
  9. Hola! Jalapeno $6.99 Ages 1 – 3 world snacks board book series. Author Amy Wilson Sanger also penned First Book of Sushi, Let’s Nosh!, Mangia! Mangia!, Yum Yum Dim Sum, A Little Bit of Soul Food and Chaat and Sweets. Something for every family’s palate.
  10. Orville Redenbacher's Hot Air Popper By Presto Regular $29.99, on sale for $19.99
    We go gaga for air popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil and ground sea salt in my house. A customizeable big time step up from anything in a bag in the microwave. Also available in a bright happy yellow. 
  11. Cuts of Beef ornament on sale for $17.96 – adorable and educational.
  12. Bowser Beer six pack – with a custom label featuring the recipient’s dog! $29.99 Don’t worry – this beer is primarily stock and hops. My pups LOVED it poured over their dry dog food.
  13. Kids Chef Hat $9.95 AND 5% of sales through Dec. 31, 2012 on foodie toy items go back to help kids through the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Click here for a full list of items.
  14. Ikat Nesting Bowls (Set Of 3) $58.00 I’ve had my eye on this ever since I stepped foot in the new C-Wonder (at Lenox) store for the first time. Beautiful set. You could give all together or split up and give to different friends with a handwritten favorite recipe.



 
 
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'Tis the season for entertaining guests and filing your family with delicious, hearty meals. We think you'll really love this simple, rich recipe for Wild Mushroom & Sage Chicken. It's easy enough to make for a weeknight family dinner or upscale enough to server when you're having company. The specialty oil and vinegar can be found at VSOP Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom (www.vsoptaproom.com) in 

Ingredients: 
4 strips Bacon, diced
2 tablespoons VSOP Wild Mushroom & Sage Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or vsop porcini oil
1 1⁄2 pounds Chicken, boneless, skinless thighs or breast
pinch Fine Sea Salt
pinch Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
1 large Sweet Onion, sliced thin
8 ounces Wild Mushrooms, sliced, (cremini mushrooms will work in a pinch)
4 inches Fresh Thyme, stem discarded
1⁄4 cup VSOP Traditional 18yr Aged Dark Balsamic Vinegar
1⁄2 cup Heavy Cream



Method: 
In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown the diced bacon to a crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add the olive oil to the pan, place it back over the heat, and allow it to heat for a minute over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides liberally with salt & pepper. Saute the chicken for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides, in batches if necessary. Do not over-crowd the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve. Add the onions to the drippings in the pan. Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become a soft golden brown. Add the mushrooms. Saute for approximately three more minutes over medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned and slightly caramelized. Add the fresh thyme leaves and balsamic to the mushrooms and onions, de-glazing the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook to reduce for a minute. Add the cream and stir to combine. Add the bacon and reserved chicken. Allow the pan to come to a simmer. Cook for another two minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens. Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve over pasta, rice, or cooked whole grains.

 
 
By Teresa Tobat

20% More Dining Dollars from Sedgwick Restaurant Group 
If you’re not sure what to get your friends and family this holiday season, why not give the gift of a good meal? Lucky for you, Sedgwick Restaurant Group is selling gift cards. And better yet, when you purchase a Sedgwick gift card before December 30 at one of its restaurants, Sedgwick will add 20 percent of your original purchase onto the gift card’s total value. That means, you (or some lucky recipients) can enjoy 20 percent more food and beverages at Vinny's on Winward, Aspen's Signature Steaks, Bistro VG, and Theo's Brother's Bakery. 

To view a list of Sedgwick’s restaurants, please visit sedgwickrestaurantgroup.com.

Seed’s New Sunday Brunch Menu
If you’re looking to try a diverse brunch menu, consider going to Seed Kitchen & Bar on Sundays. Menu standouts include caramelized banana pecan waffles, lump crab eggs benedict and strawberry crème brulee French toast. Brunch begins at 10 a.m.

1311 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30068
678/214-6888
eatatseed.com

The Taco Stand Reopening as Chadwick’s
Alpharetta’s popular Taco Stand restaurant is closed and will reopen as Chadwick’s on New Year’s Day. Chadwick’s will be home to The Tap Room, a bar and grill open for lunch and dinner, and The Oak Room. The Oak Room is a 4,000-sqaure-foot space for on-site catering and is ideal for wedding and rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, meetings, events and other celebrations. Trent Chadwick will continue to be the personality at the front and Chef Marcus Small will run the kitchen.

10595 Old Alabama Road Connector Road
Alpharetta, GA 30022
404/754-4500