Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Toast to 2011

We are busily planning and preparing for our New Year's Eve celebration at Restaurant Eugene.  For this first time ever, we've teamed up with our colleagues at Holeman & Finch Public House to deliver an incredibly thoughtful and memorable evening, full of intrigue and style, 007: The Cocktail & Dinner Event. 

Guests will begin their evening with cocktails and a spin of the roulette wheel at the Public House, which we are transforming into a casino, then proceed to Restaurant Eugene for a dinner fit for an international man of mystery.  In fact, every course will be taken from foods Bond enjoyed in Ian Flemming's novels.

Casino Royal - Caviar &; Toast
Dr. No. - Conch Fritters
You Only Live Twice - Tsukiji Market Hamachi
Goldfinger - Stone Crab Claws with Pink Champagne
Diamonds are Forever - Pheasant Roulade
Moonraker - Road Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding and Marrow
From Russia with Love - Macerated Figs, Sweet Yogurt and Crunchy Almond

You get the idea...

Of course, there is only one thing with which someone as debonnaire as Bond would toast the new year:
a recoltant manipulant (grower producer) champagne --- in this case, a  Jeroboam of Vilmart & Cie Cuvee Grand Cellier.

Cheers, indeed.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bourbon and Bon Bons --- Comfort and Joy!

It's a very happy day at Restaurant Eugene.  The Pappy Van Winkle has just arrived --- a case each of the 12, 20 and 23 year aged bourbons.

A tricky thing that bourbon.  America's native spirit is named after the French royal house which held territory in Kentucky before it was Kentucky.  There's a county in Kentucky named Bourbon which doesn't actually produce any of the stuff.  Though 99% of the Bourbon in the world does come from the state of Kentucky, the 1964 law that codified the elements of bourbon does not dictate the origin.

It does specify the mash: at least 51% corn base; the aging: at least two years in charred new oak; and the distillation; under 160 proof. 

If you love bourbon and have never had a sip of Pappy, you should avail yourself of one soon.  If you don't think you like bourbon, you should try the Pappy.  Pappy is some of the finest there is, and no drink is more perfect this time of year. 
And what could be better with your bourbon than a bon bon or two.  Pastry Chef Aaron Russell makes a new bon bon flavor almost daily.  Tonight we have sorghum walnut praline and egg nog.  Both are creamy smooth chocolate truffle perfection and truly live up to their name --- "good good!"

Comfort and joy abound at Restaurant Eugene.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Calling all Vegetable Lovers

Chefs Hopkins and Sweeney checking in the daily harvest.
It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again.  Chef Linton Hopkins loves vegetables --- eating them, as well as cooking and serving them.  Chef Hopkins is not the only cook in our kitchen with a deep appreciation of the earth’s edible flora.  Chef David Sweeney recently joined our team.  As the Chef de Jardin, Sweeney is directly responsible for working with our farmers as they deliver their harvest daily, and processing the vegetables as they arrive.  As a result of his fine work, we are announcing a nightly five and seven course vegetable tasting every night at Restaurant Eugene.  Here’s a preview of a recent menu:


5 Course
December, 2010

shaved radish salad
buttermilk, orange, caraway
holeman and finch, pink pisoni, santa lucia highlands 2008

tasting of beets
glazed, pickled, pureed and sorbet
domaine chêne colombe, macon villages 2008

crisp kale & skillet peppers
broccoli puree, pecans and vermouth onions
macrostie, sonoma coast 2008

mushrooms & farro
mustard greens, turnips, horseradish broth
domaine d’ andezon, côtes de rhône  2008


le cabrie
montchever-betin / wisconsin
luli, pinot noir, santa lucia highlgands 2009

grapefruit sorbet
champagne gelée, almond-buckwheat crumble
zefiro, prosecco, veneto, nv


7 course
December, 2010

shaved radish salad
buttermilk, orange, caraway
holeman and finch, pink pisoni, santa lucia highlands 2008
hughes beaulieu, picpoul de pinet,
coteaux du languedoc 2009

tasting of beets
glazed, pickled, pureed and sorbet
hughes beaulieu, picpoul de pinet,
coteaux du languedoc 2009

white truffles & grits
soft butter, black pepper
domaine chêne colombe, macon villages 2008

crisp kale & skillet peppers
broccoli puree, pecans and vermouth onions
macrostie, sonoma coast 2008
toasted farro
turnips, mustard greens, pickled peaches
drew, gatekeepers, anderson valley 2008

roasted wild mushrooms
rutabaga-apple gratin, skillet greens
domaine d’ andezon, côtes de rhône  2008

le cabrie
montchever-betin / wisconsin
luli, pinot noir, santa lucia highlgands 2009  

grapefruit sorbet
champagne gelée, almond-buckwheat crumble
zefiro, prosecco, veneto, nv

Friday, November 26, 2010

Meet The New Confections

We are delighted to announce that Aaron Russell has joined the team at Restaurant Eugene and is premiering his new dessert menu tonight.  Aaron's bio reads like who's who of Atlanta culinary achievement:  Johannes Klapdohr, Bruno Menard, Guenter Seeger... 

An even better read is the actual menu.  Here's a preview.  Come see for yourself soon.

green apple sorbet
       buckwheat streusel, goat cheese mousse, tarragon honey  

beet gelée
yogurt and chocolate “snow,” peppermint

warm poached pear
red wine, gingersnap crisp, brown butter ice cream

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Blur of Late Summer

Those long summer days really keep us moving. We’ve been so busy, we haven’t blogged since July. Now, tis Thanksgiving Eve, we’ve just received a very special delivery: a gorgeous box of oyster mushrooms, freshly foraged by our favorite forest food sleuth, Michael from Indian Ridge Farm, and we really want to share the joy of this special delivery with you. We want to tell you about Michael, and Ed Taylor, the biodynamic farmer who owns the farm where Michael works and forages. We want to share something of the treasures from the woods that are going on to the menu tonight, and this weekend. 

We also want to say Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for Ed, and Michael and all of our farmer friends.

Michael with his latest find.

Here is a list of a few of the things we’re thankful for from the past three months:

• Best table display at the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival to benefit Georgia Organics.

 • Lovely new tableware for Chef to plate on and play with.


• Recognition from Travel & Leisure Magazine for the Best Fried Chicken in the Country.

• Our amazing Executive Sous Chef, Jason Paolini
Chef Jason schooling the staff Holeman & Finch line-up.

• Recognition from Creative Loafing for our vegetable plate. You must try this dish!

• Our friends at Pollen.

• The Southern Foodways Alliance and its brilliant programming.

• Kat Kinsman’s Eatocracy.  Thanks, Kat.  That was great fun!

Mark Kurlansky, and everything he’s written on food, history and humanity.

• Feeding our guests and even sometimes our heroes. What an honor to serve you all, especially you, Mr. Ali.

Thanks Y’all. Look for more good things here soon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art of The Vegetable

At Restaurant Eugene, our focus is on food --- obviously. But let it be known that food at RE is all inclusive and doesn't mean just porcine protein. These days the focus on all things swine is sometimes seemingly ubiquitous. This is not to say that we don't appreciate the pig here. We most certainly do. We'd just like to make the humble point that vegetables are astoundingly delicious too. Additionally, veggies are nearly limitless in the breadth of their flavor offerings. This is why we devote an entire section of our menu to vegetables every single night. Our vegetable plate changes nightly based on what the farmers deliver earlier in the day. And, honestly, it's more than a plate. It is bundle of fresh amazing flavor served reverently in a copper pannikin featuring eight vegetables and eight techniques.

Summer is one of the most exciting seasons for vegetables (and fruits, technically speaking). July's menus have read like a roll-call of summer's bounty:

  • sweet corn agnolotti with bacon, chanterelles, and baby tomatoes
  • heirloom tomato salad with arugula balsamic gelee and parmesan
  • mixed gem lettuces with sorghum, smoked peanuts, clabbered cream and tumbleweed
  • chilled butterbean & buttermilk soup with pickled shrimp, crisp onion and parsley-pecan puree
  • butter glazed baby carrots with carrot puree, opal basil, blackberry farm's brebis, melon and smoked lardo

And every night, there's the vegetable plate featuring the likes of glazed turnips, eggplant fondant, roasted potatoes, delicata squash gratin, dressed cherry tomatoes, spigarello, tempura squash blossom, sweet and sour eggplant, creamed peas, roasted peppers and more!

Vegetables, or course, find their way on to all sections of our menu. Even sometimes desert. Join us soon to celebrate Chef Linton Hopkins love of vegetables.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peach Pit Amaretto is Ready

Barkeep Nick Hearin's amazing house-made Peach Pit Amaretto is ready to taste after a month of incorporation.

The process is a house secret, but here's a hint: roasted peach pits, rum, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and clove. The results are a perfectly delicious, nutty, sweet, smooth aromatic cordial that is as unique as its maker. Come see for yourself, and sample one of Nick's other house-made palliatives: fennel bitter and lemoncello.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Putting Up Blueberries

Blueberry season is here and it looks to be a good one. Blueberries rolled through the door today from Deep South Growers, in Douglas Georgia. They were big, sweet and bountiful. Soon, they'll be at local farmers market throughout the state.

What to do with a bounty of blueberries? Ice cream, parfaits, pies, pickles (yes!), and of course preserves. In preparation for the opening of Drovers Market, partner Kirsten Hindes (right) has been perfecting our recipes for all of the above. Try this at home.

Blueberry Preserves
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 qt. blueberries, rinsed

Combine vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Add blueberries and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until the berries pop and begin to break down.

Turn heat to low and cook until the fruit is completely broken down and the mixture is think and syrupy.

Allow preserves to cool, slightly, and pour into 2 pint jars. When jars have cooled completely, cover and refrigerate. Use within 3 weeks. Yields 2 pts.

Friday, June 4, 2010

An Historic Day

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama launched her "Chefs Move to Schools" initiative at the Whitehouse. As part of her effort to turn policies into practical solutions for America’s families, Mrs. Obama is calling on chefs to get involved by adopting a school and working with teachers, parents, school nutritionists and administrators to help educate kids about food and nutrition. By creating healthy dishes that taste good, chefs have a unique ability to deliver these messages in a fun and appealing way to the larger audience, particularly children. This is exactly the work that Chef Linton Hopkins, and Gina Hopkins have been doing, along with friend Jenna Schuh, through their Culinary Kids Club at E. Rivers Elementary. The Hopkins were honored to be invited to join leader chefs from around the country live for the launching of this historic campaign. Gina, pictured here in the Whitehouse Organic Garden, donned her E. Rivers Elementary Chef's Whites and her Georgia Organics apron, noting that she was there representing a much larger good food community. Chef Linton Hopkins is rumored to have harvested and prepared food from the garden this afternoon. More good things to come...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photos from the Beard House Dinner

We just received the photos from the James Beard House Dinner. Thanks to Geoff Mottram for these beautiful shots. What a night to remember.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chef Hopkins Showcases New Southern Cuisine at the James Beard House

Chef Hopkins recently had the honor of preparing a meal at the James Beard House on May 5th --- Mr. Beard's birthday of all occasions. So what do we serve at the birthday party for the man who the New York Times anointed the "dean of America cookery?" Nothing but the best the south has to offer. Check out the menu for the night. You'll see a celebration of farmers and artisan producers from all around the cornbread nation, which incidentally is exactly what we serve every night at Restaurant Eugene.

A special thanks to Chef de Cuisine Ryan Smith and Sous Chef Jason Paolini for personally delivering all that precious food from Atlanta to New York City.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Permaculture Applied

The goal is always fine food and impeccably gracious service. The means are sometimes unexpected. Keeping ourselves engaged and focused on our food in the context of the world around us renews our inspiration and ensures that we deliver the best to our guests every night. The last week of April at Restaurant Eugene was a boon of exploration and learning.

Staff started the week with a foraging expedition in the North Georgia mountains led by renowned Georgia forager, herbalist and author, Patricia Howell and finished with Friday's visit from Duane Marcus of the Funny Farm who provided an overview of the ethics and principles of permaculture:
1. Observe & interact
2. Catch & store energy
3. Obtain a yield
4. Apply self-regulation & accept feedback
5. Use & value renewable resources & services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small & slow solutions
10. Use & value diversity
11. Use edges & value the marginal
12. Creatively use & respond to change

It turns out we've been practicing permaculture principles without labeling them as such. It just seems like the right thing to do. Take Friday's visit from Caroline Hoogenboom, for example. The charming new winemaker from Persimmon Creek Vineyards, pictured here with Chef de Cuisine Ryan Smith, stopped by to share some vineyard prunings. A waste stream for the viticulturist proves to be an excellent cooking medium for the chef. The sweet, aromatic vines are wonderful for smoking meats and fish. Check principles 1 through 12 --- Permaculture Applied!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Feeding our Heroes

Serving food, good food, is the reason Restaurant Eugene exists. Every guest, everynight is special and sometimes we even have the opportunity to serve our heroes --- or heroines as the case may be. Ms. Betty Fussell, food writer and 2009 James Beard Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America inductee joined us for dinner recently.

If you're unfamiliar with her work, take a moment to read her brief essay Sustaining the Heart and Body. It says it all.

So what do you feed the author of Raising Steaks, The Life and Times of American Beef on her first real visit to Georgia? Why, White Oak Pastures beef of course! Tartare for starters, then the ribeye, finishing with a little Sweet Grass Dairy cheese cake. A table set for, by and with the work of our heroes --- a toast to you all!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Gifts

Spring brings many gifts to the chef and usually they come through the hands of the farmer. These sweet, piquant kale florets were delivered today by Indian Ridge Farm. It's unusually early for kale to go to flower, especially in North Georgia, where Indian Ridge is located. No doubt those 80 degree days we had in early April coaxed these brassicas into seed a bit prematurely. We are grateful for them whenever they come and tonight they will be featured with our lamb. Come taste some of the season's bounty.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chef Hopkins' Oyster Recipe in this month's Garden & Gun

Deep-Fried Oysters

Linton Hopkins
Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta, Georgia

I had just moved to New Orleans to begin my externship at Mr. B’s Bistro. I had never lived in New Orleans before and somehow got it into my head to discover the best po’boys in the city. I remember the first joint I went to—Domilise’s—on the advice of a friend. It was in Uptown, and in the middle of a neighborhood. Women were wearing dresses and flip-flops and frying oysters right where you walked in. I ordered an oyster po’boy with rémoulade and a root beer. I watched the ladies lightly coat the oysters and fry them crisp. It looked so simple (I have found out through years of cooking that it is). The oysters were golden brown with a thin crunchy coating sitting on rémoulade and crusty bread. I was in heaven. Every time I fry and serve oysters, part of me always goes back to that day.

Oyster Items
1 pint Southern oysters (usually 20 to 30, preferably no larger than a half dollar), shucked and stored in their own liquor

Breading Ingredients
1 pint buttermilk 1 dry pint cornmeal (about 2¹/³ cups); I get a crisp crust by using Anson Mills Antebellum fine yellow cornmeal
1 dry pint all-purpose flour (about 2¹/³ cups)
1 tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt

Reserve buttermilk in separate container. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well blended. Remove oysters from liquor, draining excess so oysters are still wet but not dripping. Place all of the oysters in buttermilk. One at a time, remove each oyster from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip back into the container. Toss to coat all sides in the breading (gently press the breading onto the oyster to help it adhere). Transfer to waxed-paper-lined plate or cookie sheet until oysters are all breaded.

In a heavy stockpot with high sides fitted with a deep-frying (or candy) thermometer, bring at least two inches of peanut oil to 375ºF.

Keeping the heat at a steady 375ºF and working in batches of six, fry the oysters until they are golden brown and just cooked through, about 90 seconds. (The oysters will curl slightly when they are done.) Using a slotted spoon, remove oysters and drain on brown-paper-bag-lined plate. Serve immediately with a side of rémoulade (see below).

Rémoulade Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
½ cup Creole mustard (like Zatarain’s)
2 tbsp. hot sauce (preferably Louisiana style, like Crystal or Trappey’s)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
¹/8 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. filé powder
¼ cup minced green onion

Place ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Transfer to storage container, cover, and refrigerate for up to one week.

You’ve Fried Them. Now What?
Two more recipes from Chef Hopkins

1) Fried Oyster Po’boys I fell in love with these when I was a cook in New Orleans, and I serve them on my lunch menu with a few changes. We use a Pullman white loaf, cut horizontally to get two large slices. Butter both sides of the bread and griddle to a golden brown. Lay out both slices and spread mayonnaise on one side of each piece. Top the bottom half with fresh chopped romaine and sliced tomatoes. Add fried oysters and close with the second slice of toast (mayonnaise side down). Eat with hot sauce and cold root beer.

2) Fried Oysters with Simple Greens, Buttermilk Dressing, and Bacon This recipe combines many items I love about the South: fried oysters, buttermilk, bacon, and local lettuces. I mix about a half cup of good-quality mayonnaise with a quarter cup of buttermilk, a few dashes of red wine vinegar and hot sauce, a lot of fresh black pepper, and a dash of salt. I cut some bacon into a large dice and sauté it in an iron skillet until chewy/crispy. I clean the freshest lettuces I can find. I place the fried oysters on a plate in the shape of a circle, put the greens into the middle of that circle, sprinkle with the bacon, and dress with my spicy, creamy sauce.
—As told to Francine Maroukian

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