WE MADE A FRENCH SOMMELIER DRINK THE GIRLIEST-LOOKING WINES WE COULD FIND (MUNCHIES)

Surely amidst the products targeting we wine-swilling ladies (not to mention all our cash), there must be something decently drinkable in this lot. Could a wine called “Party Girl Pink” actually be … good? I didn’t know the answer. But I was willing to set aside my feminism, my cynicism, and a tiny bit of my own self-respect to find out. MORE


malicious, maligned malort is chicago's most beloved & disgusting liqueur (munchies)

This stuff packs a bitterness that keeps going for long after that shot first bare-knuckles its way down your esophagus. It is Chicago’s greatest inside joke with itself: a liqueur that no one likes but everyone loves, thanks to being both a good way to prank out-of-towners and an excellent measure of one’s mettle. It is so inherently vile that, in a modern-day capitalist society, it does not belong on the market. And yet, after decades of producing “Malört face” in unsuspecting drinkers, it continues to be sold—and consumed—to this day. With my first taste of Malört under my belt, I issue Greg Best a challenge: make us a drink with it. One that’s actually potable, perhaps even enjoyable. He’s game. MORE


meet the female fitness competitor who traded weights for cake pops (munchies)

Six years ago, Shirley Hughes Tubbs was living and breathing fitness. She was prepping 20 pounds of cod each week, sticking to a militantly strict diet prescribed by a trainer, and clocking upwards of 15 to 20 hours a week in the gym. At the peak of her training, her body fat percentage hovered somewhere around 11 percent, and mealtime was signaled not by hunger or cravings, but by an alarm clock that rang out every few hours. But nowadays, Tubbs spends her time dipping cake pops and assembling cheesecakes smothered in white chocolate. Which begs the question: how the hell does someone go from practically living at the gym and subsisting on baked cod to shilling red velvet cheesecake for a living? MORE


cheap eats: el progreso #14 (creative Loafing)

Perhaps it's the bars on the windows or, you know, the sprawling and slightly menacing prison complex right across the street, but there's something a little eerie about this particular corner of Boulevard. Don't chicken out, though: Inside El Progreso, taco nirvana awaits. To find it, you'll walk past a pastry display case stocked with bolillo and pan dulce the size of your face, past the shelves of queso fresco and crema, and past the cooler full of Jarritos and Tampico. Hang a right at the butcher counter until you get to a tiny grill, equipped with one very busy cook — maybe two, on a good day — dishing out some of the most legit Mexican fare this side of Doraville. MORE


Q&A WITH EMERALD CITY BAGELS (CREATIVE LOAFING)

Atlanta's apparent dearth of "decent" bagels is a common gripe for pretty much every New York-to-Atlanta transplant. This is the predicament Deanna Halcrow, a native of Queens and current Cabbagetown resident, wanted to change with her scrappy bagel start-up Emerald City Bagels. "I wanted to prove that it wasn't the water that makes New York bagels what they are," she says. Today, they have more than 15 bagel varieties including Emerald City's popular Everything and jalapeño cheese bagels. Perhaps more impressive than the company's rapid growth, Emerald City's bagels seem to mollify even the most kvetching of Atlanta palates. Creative Loafing recently caught up with Halcrow to find out what exactly makes these bagels different from your average supermarket bagel, and to see what's next for Emerald City. MORE


CHEAP EATS: PALACSINTA (CREATIVE LOAFING)

Armed merely with a griddle, a few cooking implements, and a cooler stowed away in a closet-size back nook of the art gallery several yards away, Nagy is constantly bustling about: whisking, pouring, hustling back and forth from her tiny cold storage unit to her crammed cooktop setup, and sending her homemade Hungarian crepes somersaulting in the air with a well-timed flick of the wrist. Palacsinta may have a kitchen that's barely a notch above camping, but Nagy knows how to make do. She's been doing it for four years, after all: loading up her minivan with prepped ingredients and baked goods, driving down from the north suburbs, and camping out at 1404 McLendon Ave. until the goods run out. MORE


Next-level mocktail recipes (NYLON)

If December is basically a marathon cocktail party, then the month of January is most definitely the lingering hangover. Going off the sauce for a month or so is a time-tested way to start the new year on the right note (and combat any residual dietary, financial, and general self-worth-related repercussions of too much liquid holiday cheer). But, unless you really dig club soda, teetotaling can be terribly boring. Fortunately, you don’t have to resort to Shirley Temples or cranberry juice for an alcohol-free tipple—and in fact, some of the best mocktail makings may already be in your home bar. MORE


First Look: Spice to Table [Creative Loafing]

Before shuttering earlier this year, Cardamom Hill was unlike any other restaurant in Atlanta. It portrayed an often-unexplored dimension of Indian food, with many of its dishes inspired by the meat-centric cuisine of Gomez's native Kerala. Was Atlanta ready for Indian fine dining? Maybe not. But that hasn't stopped Gomez from pushing forward. Through her newest venture, the Indian-inspired bakery/cafe Spice to Table, Gomez once again invites guests to expand their knowledge of Indian food (an ancient, geographically vast, and incredibly diverse cuisine) beyond buffet tikka masala. But this go-round, she's serving it up on vintage-looking enamelware instead of fine china. MORE


Elements of a Spring Cocktail [Creative Loafing]

"Spring is the time to be bright and vibrant," Mayo says, "but it's also a time to be playful and push boundaries." Boundaries like, say, sweetening a gin drink with sugar snap peas (but more on that later). To mark her inaugural beverage menu, and to celebrate the general deliciousness to be found in a perfect spring drink, we caught up with Mayo to chat about what goes into an ideal spring sipper. MORE


food ink no. 2: kevin clark, home grown [creative loafing]

Scattered between a Volkswagen bus, a doodle of a chicken, and an illustration of his dog (the latter two both drawn by Clark’s four-year-old niece) is a veritable cornucopia of produce: a parsnip here, a Brussels sprout there, broccoli, okra, a lone carrot, and so on. Clark’s inspiration behind each? Basically, whatever seasonal goodness Kevin happened to be picking and harvesting in Homegrown’s gardens when his appointments at Memorial Tattoo rolled around. MORE


Food Ink No. 1: Sarah O'Brien, The Little Tart Bake Shop [Creative Loafing]

If you've ever indulged in one of The Little Tart's slices of quiche, sweet galettes, or (God help us) flaky, buttery croissants, you have Sarah O'Brien to thank. The French-trained baker opened the bakery in October 2011, and after six months of being in business, she figured it was about time to pay a tribute to her labor of love in the form of ink. MORE


Cheap Eats: Aviva By Kameel [Creative Loafing]

Aviva and Kameel grew up in Nazareth, Israel, and learned the culinary ropes from their mother. Nowadays, Aviva runs the show in the kitchen, while Kameel posts up at the counter taking orders. He greets each and every customer, often with a bellowing "Hello, my brother!" or "Welcome, gorgeous!" or even an "I love you!" If you're lucky, he'll reinforce his affection by slipping a free, unsolicited falafel or two on your plate. MORE


Cheap Eats: Panbury's Double-Crust Pies [Creative Loafing]

English cuisine has a bad rap. For years, Brits have endured insults and mockery for their spotted dick, their black puddings, their toads-in-the-hole. But one culinary epiphany for which we have the British to thank? Buttery, flaky pastries stuffed with savory stewed meats. In other words: meat pies. MORE


The Southeast's First Belgian Brewery Just Launched in Decatur [Scoutmob]

For entrepreneur and home-brewer Brian Purcell, the idea of opening up his own brewery didn’t come in the form of a cartoon-like epiphany. Like stepping stones spread out over the last decade or so, one “first” led to another: an adventure through Europe that led him to his first experience with Trappist beers; his first taste of home-brewed beer in Portland; the first batch of beer he brewed on his own; the first time (of many) a friend told him he should start selling his brew. "Brewing beer satisfied something inside me I didn’t know was missing," Brian told us. MORE


Buford Highway Marathon: We Came, We Ate, We Got The Meat-Sweats [Scoutmob]

When we decided to embark on an eating tour of the revered, beloved, venerable Buford Highway, we had a plan. Chef Will of Bookhouse would lead us from hole-in-the-wall to hole-in-the-wall, guiding us through a handful of cultures while we sampled bites here and there over the course of, oh, a couple hours. We’d learn, we’d laugh, and we’d be on our merry way by mid-afternoon, skipping off to our respective Saturday night plans with nary a care in the world. That is not how it went down. MORE


The Mustard Seed [Scoutmob]

Faith: it’s not just the stuff of George Michael songs. For this Cascade Heights barbecue joint, it’s also a key ingredient—”right up there with the brown sugar in the pulled pork and the mustard in the South Carolina-style sauce. MORE