Every Monday we bring you the SL Hot List, a round up of the five latest and greatest things to hit the South. Consider it your weekly update on our region’s most buzzworthy food, culture, and style news.
1. Gemma’s Farm-To-Table Cuisine. The husband-and-wife duo of Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder have left their cushy posts in Napa Valley, California to return to their roots in Dallas. The newly opened Gemma restaurant takes cues from their previous ventures with a rustic, farm-to-table menu with seasonal dishes like Duck Two Ways over barley fried rice (duck breast and confit of leg) and Braised Veal Cheeks. Chef Stephen sources vegetables and proteins from small area farmers and keeps the laid-back and comfortable vibe following throughout with long farmhouse tables and a late-night menu available until 1 p.m.
2. Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour in Houston. With the New Year rolling on through and the holidays wrapping up, we’re starting to dream of spring. Here is a way to ease your taste buds into the promise of longer days and fresh blooms. Houston’s Fat Cat Creamery has been selling fresh, homemade ice cream to retailers around Houston for a while now. Their first brick-and-mortar parlour has swung open their doors just in time to welcome warmer days. Cooked in small batches using only fresh, local ingredients, Fat Cat rotates flavors like Figgy Pudding with Railean Gulf Coast Rum, brandy, and homemade fig preserves and the Texas 99 with vanilla and hibiscus, topped with a house-made pecan praline stick. Along with some steadies like Cat’s Meow Mexican Vanilla and Strawberry Buttermilk, Fat Cat is serving up push-up pops, ice-cream sandwiches, and Bon Bons. We don’t mind if we do!
3. Elvis’ Birthday. In 1954 the very first Elvis Presley song found a spot on national radio, and now, 60 years later we’re hailing it the 60th anniversary of rock ‘n’ roll. Graceland is welcoming visitors for a year’s worth of special events with the grand kickoff being this Wednesday, January 8. Anyone who knows anything about The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll knows that this date is when Elvis’ hips came gyrating into our world. Join fans from around the world as they gather at the gates of Graceland for a midnight song and tune to wish Elvis the Pelvis a happy birthday.
4. Maryland Wine Tasting. Break out your finest winter gear for a night of tasting the best vintages Maryland has to offer on January 10 at Winter Wine. Winos will be able to pick the brains of the winemakers as they chat about pairings, production, and the unique notes of their selections. The evening will start at 6 p.m. as VIP ticket holders ($80) gather for a wine reception and tours of the Garrett mansion, the posh digs of one Baltimore’s most famed hostesses. At 7 p.m., guests will congregate in the Carriage House of the Evergreen Museum & Library to sip at 25+ varieties of award-winning Maryland wines.
5. Bantam + Biddy expands. Atlanta chefs Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere are expanding their ever-popular Bantam + Biddy restaurant. The second location recently opened in Midtown and will stick to the same fast-casual atmosphere with ingredients from regional farmers. For lunch, go with the classic Southern “meat-and-three” with either a half chicken or pork loin and sides like grits, duck fat fries, or pickled beets and goat cheese. The daily blue plate specials will feature items like chicken and dumplings and fried catfish. The chef’s commitment to good quality and fresh food in a relaxed environment prevails; it’s just a little easier to get to now.