The Dish – Openings and closings, food news, reviews and rankings from others, and my mini-review from GA

Hosie Thurmond and Adam Kado in the new Frogtown location of Slice

By Debra Keefer Ramage

Content warning

A while back I reviewed a place that was not only a chain (small and local, but still a chain) but it was in Rochester, Minnesota. Nobody complained, so this month I am going to push the envelope even more with a mini-review of a Persian restaurant in Johns Creek, Georgia.

Openings and closings and other changes

Tracy’s Saloon on Franklin Avenue will be closed (probably) by the time you read this, due to the retirement of its owner. Tiny Diner is temporarily closed, and expects to reopen in March after a rest and a reset. A Burnsville businessman has bought the former Vo’s site on Lyndale Avenue and has plans to open a Mediterranean restaurant there. Harry Singh’s Original Caribbean on Eat Street reopened after nearly a year. The Band Box in Elliot Park reopened after nearly four years. The third Slice pizza place has opened – on University Avenue in Frogtown. The fourth will open soon at the Mall of America.

The Band Box Diner has reopened in Elliot Park.

State Fair beers ranked by Minnesota-ness and a review of Vegan Chef Challenge dishes (both from

Racket doesn’t have a regular food column but when they venture into food news and reviews, they like it quirky, hyper-local, and personal, just like I do. Two cases in point.

  1. In August, freelance writer Dustin Nelson ranked State Fairs “beers” by their “Minnesota-ness” which he claims is determined by a top secret “algorithm.” (He also did it last year.) The “beers” ranged from Superior Shiver Cold IPA from Bent Paddle at #1 to Birramisu from Indeed Brewing just squeaking by on its deliciousness at #25. Why do I put “beer” in quotes? Because this “beer” list included two ciders, a shandy, a hard seltzer and a wine. com/DKRatSSP-Beer
  2. In September, another freelancer, Aprill Emig, who says she moved here for the vegan food, attempted to taste and rank all 19 Vegan Chef Challenge dishes but only made it to six. Hi Flora! got a 10/10 with its house made wild rice burger, mac-and-cheese eggrolls and a kava lemonade. Reverie (carbonara arancini) and Parkway Pizza (spinach-artichoke dip) tied for next place at 8/10. But a last minute stop at Book Shop  trumped them all with a modest entry of a carrot bao which Aprill said was the best vegan dish she‘d ever had and awarded 11/10. com/DKRatSSPVegan

Carbonara arancini at Reverie

Controversial reports: maple syrup is healthy, climate-friendly beef is a scam

A piece in a non-professional medical news publication (i.e. for the general public) reports on recent studies that have shown an amazing array of health benefits in maple syrup. According to this rather technical and jargon-y article, maple syrup seems to:

  • Protect the liver
  • Help to control blood glucose in diabetics
  • Contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds
  • Contain significant vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Lower LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Contain antioxidants and other anti-aging chemicals

Meat-producing giant Tyson claims that it has found a way to produce beef with 10% less environmental damage due to carbon release. Among the problems with

Spinach artichoke dip at Parkway Pizza

this claim is that they don’t say 10% less than what, let alone provide even a single figure of the results of their several methods of carbon reduction. Also the USDA is giving their project its approval and allowing them to label it climate-friendly. And in the final insult, or injury, or whatever, both Tyson and the USDA tell journalists who ask for these figures to “file a Freedom of Information Act.” Is it just me or does this scream scam for you?  “But even if we give Tyson and the USDA the benefit of the doubt, there’s a stubborn truth about beef: It’s so high in emissions that it can never really be ‘climate-friendly.’ “ concludes.

Mini-review : Persian Basket Restaurant and Market (Johns Creek GA)

We don’t have any actual Persian restaurants here, as far as I know. That’s how I justify going to a north Atlanta suburb (where my son just happens

Persian Basket’s saffron and cardamom ice cream

to live) to enjoy a Persian repast. I sampled two entrees, a very interesting dish that consisted of a rice cake, larger than a pot pie in size, with a hollow in the middle containing roasted artisanal chicken, and a whole roast trout. I liked the trout a bit more, but both were very different and very fun. Even better is the delicious appetizer platter containing the most creamy eggplant spread, plus scrumptious flatbread, hummus, olives, fruits and vegetables. But the best thing there is the house made ice cream, flavored with saffron and cardamom. It’s a beautiful golden color, sweetened with honey and restraint, with a thin drizzle of honey cardamom syrup.

They also have a small market attached that sells fresh Persian bread along with pantry staples used for Persian cuisine. Persian expats across the US order their bread, which is shipped frozen to be baked at home.

Persian Basket Market in Johns Creek, Georgia

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