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Wednesday November 26, 2008 12:04 AM EST

"Is it OK to use religion as a decorating theme?" I asked Wayne.

"It certainly wouldn't work if the images were Christian," he told me, "but this works."

We had just taken our seats before the 10-feet-tall brass Buddha at Aja (3500 Lenox Road, Suite 100, 404-231-0001), Tom Catherall's newest member of his Here to Serve Restaurants group.

"So," I told Wayne, "you don't think a 10-feet-tall...

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Wednesday November 19, 2008 12:04 AM EST

Talk about your déjà vu all over again. When I heard that a crêperie had opened in Smyrna, I became immediately nostalgic.

Not for Paris, but for Lenox Square in the 1970s. Back then, one of the mall's most popular spots was the Magic Pan, where I got my first taste of crepes. The place, part of a chain that went bankrupt in the '80s but was recently revived, featured a weird machine that...

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Wednesday November 12, 2008 12:04 AM EST

It's been a long time since I visited a restaurant that had much of a wait. But I drove to The Original El Taco (1186 N. Highland Ave., 404-873-4656) three times before I actually got a table.

During my first two visits, there were 40-minute waits, so I left. On the third try, I called ahead as we were leaving and put Wayne's name on the waiting list. That way, we only had a 20-minute wait...

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Wednesday November 5, 2008 12:04 AM EST

Over a year ago, I described Edgewood Avenue as undergoing "gentrification." A reader of the online version of my column left an enraged comment about how much she hates the word "gentrification."

I had never really given the word much thought. In ordinary usage, it refers to a formerly poor urban neighborhood that is overtaken by upwardly mobile types. They end up pushing out the poor folks....

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Wednesday October 29, 2008 12:04 AM EDT

They just keep on coming, the gastropubs. And they just keep getting better, too. As I noted in a column about the Porter earlier this month, gastropubs are the perfect restaurants for our economic times. They allow restaurateurs to exploit the higher profit margin of booze sales and they give diners good food at relatively low prices.

The latest to open is the BookHouse Pub (736 Ponce de Leon...

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Wednesday October 15, 2008 12:04 AM EDT

Dining out is spooky these days. I walk into one empty or near-empty restaurant after another. If I comment on how lax business seems to be, I'm usually chastised with a superstitious reply.

"Shhhh. Don't say there's a recession, or people will start to think there really is one and they'll stop going to restaurants" is a typical response.

"But many people have already stopped going," I...

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Wednesday October 8, 2008 12:04 AM EDT

Now it can be told – the true story of my feelings about Shaun Doty's cooking.

Don't worry, there's nothing really negative about it. I have enjoyed Doty's work ever since he was chef at Mumbo Jumbo. That restaurant, you'll recall, had Guenter Seeger on board as consulting chef. Doty had worked for Seeger when he was chef of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.

After Doty left the...

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Wednesday October 1, 2008 12:04 AM EDT

Remember when it first occurred to you that you were sick of eating tapas? And yet you couldn't resist. One cool place after another opened and you kept going. You knew you were spending too much money by eating "light." But you couldn't stop yourself. You love tapas. You hate them.

Well, one way to break a habit is to develop a new one. Say hello to the gastropub. From East Atlanta to...

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Wednesday September 24, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
I've been re-reading Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's The Physiology of Taste, published in France in 1825 when restaurants were first making their appearance there. The book is a series of meditations on what it means to be a "gourmand" in every aspect of one's life. In other words, it's about the celebration of pleasure in relation to food and goes to great lengths to discern the gourmand from... | more...

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Wednesday September 17, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
Sampling Atlanta's mole at Zocalo, Rosa Mexicano and El Huachinago Taqueria | more...

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Wednesday September 10, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
Navigating Midtown Restaurant Week | more...

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Wednesday September 3, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
A new Chinese/Vietnamese spot on Buford Highway | more...

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Wednesday August 27, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
And a trip back to Top Flr | more...

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Wednesday August 20, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
Edgewood Italian finally open | more...

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Wednesday August 13, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
The ups and downs of a meat-free week | more...

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Wednesday August 6, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
The food of Africa's eastern horn | more...

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Wednesday July 30, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
The fallacy of luxury | more...

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Wednesday July 23, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
New Ethiopian in the Williamsburg Shopping Center | more...

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Wednesday July 16, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
A Q&A with the founder of Lusty Monk | more...

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Wednesday July 9, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
Newbies off North Avenue and in the Westside | more...

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Wednesday July 2, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
Gastropub overload sinks in | more...

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Wednesday June 25, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
A new Vietnamese spot from the owners of Lee's Bakery | more...

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Wednesday June 18, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
New chef Peter Golaszewski shakes things up | more...

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Wednesday June 11, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
A daily changing menu in Glenwood Park | more...

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Wednesday June 4, 2008 12:04 AM EDT
New life for the former Sweet Lowdown location | more...