Tag Archive | "Joshua John Russell"

Gay Cake Artist Sweetens Atlanta’s Food Scene


Influenced by his father’s love for cooking, Joshua John Russell pursued a culinary arts degree at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. For the past 10 years the Mississippi native has created cakes and desserts, with his most recent gig as a cake artist for Highland Bakery. One of 31-year-old’s new projects for the year is leading an online cake class for Craftsy.com, which launches in early May.

Here’s what Joshua had to say about his passion for making sweet stuff.

Fenuxe: What do you like most about making cakes?
Joshua: I love the science behind it. I think, for me, it’s the collaboration between science and design. I’ve always been creative so this is the best way for me to express myself artistically inside the cake and out.

Fenuxe: What are some of your career highlights?
Joshua: Well, being on Food Network Challenge for four years and “Last Cake Standing” helped spread my name. But the coolest thing I was able to do was make the cakes and cupcakes for the movie “Life As We Know It.” I got to teach Katherine Heigl how to decorate a cake!

Fenuxe: What is the most memorable cake you’ve ever made?
Joshua: It changes from time to time. Right now I’m most excited about the wedding cake I made for Kim Zolciak from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” She was so fun to work with.

Fenuxe: Have you made cakes for any celebrities?
Joshua: At Highland Bakery we make cakes for celebs all the time. With all of the filming happening in the city, we have had the opportunity to make cakes for Cameron Diaz and Chase Crawford, just to name a couple.

Fenuxe: What’s your personal favorite flavor of sweet stuff?
Joshua: Anything with salted caramel! Actually, I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. So I tend to go for the salty sweet dishes.

Want to keep up with Joshua? Become of fan of his on Facebook by clicking here.

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Fenuxe’s Top Picks for Dining in Atlanta


Do you find yourself frequenting the same restaurants every week? Need a break from the same menu item you order on every visit? It’s time for you to explore Atlanta’s vast offering of dining options. Luckily, we’ve already done all the legwork for you with our second annual Food Issue.

We risked our pant sizes for you as we tested some of the city’s well-established restaurants, as well as some of its newest eateries.  On the following pages you’ll find our ten highly recommended dining establishments.  Some only opened their doors within the last few months and have already earned a respected rep within the local cuisine scene.  Others have been dishing out delicious meals for years and simply deserve our respect. 

Whether you crave a sizzling steak or a decadent dessert, we’ve found scrumptious selections that will satisfy meat lovers, vegetarians and sweet junkies alike. We’ve also graded these restaurants on price, gay quotient and ambiance.  Please don’t fret over a low score on the queer scale.  There may not be a group of gay guys playing trivia at every table, but the restaurant can still become one of your regulars.

And, now we present our favorite selections, for this year’s Restaurant Roundup.

BOTTLE ROCKET, Restaurant That Rocks Your Roll
 
Tucked away in a cozy space near No Mas Cantina in Castleberry Hill, the fairly new Bottle Rocket is quickly becoming a neighborhood hot spot.  With a hip, low-key rock vibe, the sushi joint features a young, friendly staff working the floor and colorful photos of truckers adorning the walls.
 
But the shining star that makes this place truly pop is the menu.  Two of their self-proclaimed “comfort cocktails” made us warm and fuzzy on the inside.  The Dark N’ Stormy packs a delightful punch with its combination of ginger beer and dark rum, and the Georgia Boy appeals to the inner child with house-made almond milk, chocolate liqueur and Mexican Coke. Some of the sushi standouts include the Shrimp Tempura Roll, Bulls Eye and Happy Ending.  We’ll refrain from making any childish jokes about that last name. Ahem.
 
If you’re looking to add a firecracker to your restaurant regulars, Bottle Rocket is the perfect addition.
 
STATS
Price $$$
Gay Quotient 2
Ambiance 4
 
180 Walker Street Southwest
Atlanta, GA 30313
404.574.5680
www.bottlerocketatl.com

****
BURKHART’S PUB, Restaurant Where You Can’t Swing a Bread Stick Without Hitting a Man or Drag Queen
 
You’ve cruised guys there. You’ve elbowed your way into a spot upstairs to watch drag queens strut their stuff.  And you’ve no doubt stumbled out of there at three in the morning.  But have you ever eaten at Burkhart’s, and we’re not talking about the complimentary popcorn at the bar.
 
The wildly popular gay landmark features a full menu that includes everything from crisp salads to lip-smacking hamburgers. We recommend the seafood platter, which offers shrimp, scallops and filet of grouper.  Also try the New York strip, paired with the spectacular tater tots or fries.
 
When the weather is ideal, the outdoor courtyard provides the perfect setting for an incredibly affordable meal with friends.  You can man watch, mingle and munch for easily less than $20, and that’s including a tip for the cute server.
 
STATS
Price $$
Gay Quotient 5
Ambiance 3

1492 Piedmont Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
404.872.4403
www.burkharts.com

****

DOUBLE ZERO, Restaurant That Will Have You Dreaming of Gondola Rides in Venezia

By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento, Fenuxe Contributor
 
Contemporary Southern Italian cuisine thrives in Atlanta with Double Zero—finally a little bit of Italian heaven in the Deep South. The pizza, pasta and seafood abound with flavors and textures that are sure to start a party in your mouth; their wine selection is extensive and the desserts—oh the desserts—are probably some of the most original in Atlanta.

I recommend expanding your horizons with this eclectic menu and try the Polipo (grilled octopus, sunchoke-pancetta hash, asparagus puree and salmoriglio sauce). Excellent! For those with less adventurous pallets I say try the Lobster Pappardelle, which features butter poached whole live Maine lobster, black pepper pappardelle, seasonal mushrooms, pearl onions, caramelized fennel, long stem artichokes, fresh basil, lobster white wine sauce.

This gem is located in Sandy Springs not too far off 285 and well worth the drive. It is family-owned and operated by the Castellucci Hospitality Group.  Kudos to Federico Castellucci for bringing us authentic Southern Italian to the heart of the South.

STATS
Price $$$
Gay quotient 2
Atmosphere 4

5825 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30328
404.991.3666       
www.doublezeroatl.com

****
 
FARM BURGER, Restaurant That Will Have You Licking Your Fingers

By Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture
 
Juicy burgers always conjure up memories of my childhood in rural Mississippi, and this Decatur joint made the country boy in me feel right at home.  From the wood accents and the indoor picnic tables to the brown paper place mats and photos of moo cows, Farm Burger lives up to its name.
 
Admittedly I don’t often eat red meat but I wrecked the menu’s No. 1 burger with grafton smoked white cheddar, caramelized onions and Farm Burger sauce.  I also indulged in the hand cut fries with spicy garlic, herbs and parmesan. Another unique offering includes the Burger Banh Mi with pickled carrots, daikon radish, jalapenos, cilantro, house-made pork pate and mayo. If you’re scared of meat, there’s a veggie burger, fresh salads and homemade soups.
 
There’s nothing particularly “gay” about this bustling eatery, but the cute server with the sweet disposition and tatted arms makes for good eye candy.

STATS 
Price $$
Gay Quotient 1
Ambiance 3
 
410b West Ponce de Leon
Decatur, GA 30030
404.378.5077
www.farmburger.net

****

HIGHLAND BAKERY, Restaurant Most Likely to Tempt You and Win
 
By Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Indecisive eaters might find this Old Fourth Ward eatery’s menu a bit torturous.  Every scrumptious item makes the mouth water, which makes a decision on lunch nearly impossible.  I often toil over the shrimp and grits and the curried chicken salad.  Lately, the former has won because it comes with grilled jalapeno focaccia bread, which makes me want to slap someone’s mamma.
 
Often I’ve considered a plate piled high with the peanut butter French toast or sweet potato pancakes but I can’t justify eating those sweet delicacies because I always want a pastry after lunch.  Oh, sweet baby Julia Child, do they have pastries!  Their cakes are literally art.  Joshua John Russell and Karen Portaleo, both gay, run the cake department and have flaunted their mad skills on Food Network.
 
Seriously, if you haven’t visited this Highland Avenue restaurant, you haven’t experienced some of the finest food and delectable desserts Atlanta has to offer.
 
STATS
Price $$$
Gay Quotient 4
Ambiance 4

655 Highland Avenue, #10
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
(404) 586-0772
www.highlandbakery.com

****

THE LAWRENCE, Restaurant That Brings a Slice of Heaven to Earth
 
Buzz built up for months prior to the opening of this new restaurant, and so far The Lawrence has yet to disappoint.  With a name inspired by the Catholic patron saint of chefs, the upscale eatery is on a crusade to bring fine dining to the heart of Midtown.
 
Executive Chef Shane Devereux of Top Flr and The Sound Table brings his culinary training in French cuisine to the table, while Chef de cuisine George Brooks taps into his experience with Rathbun’s Restaurant.  With Devereux and Brooks running the kitchen, the menu offers unique dishes geared toward sophisticated foodies. Their divine offerings include duck tongue carnitas, wild striped bass and heritage pork cheeks, while the potted shrimp is worthy of worship.
 
Kneel in praise of the dessert menu with the fallen chocolate rum souffle with butterscotch eclair ice cream and pretzel dust; golden raisin butter cake with salted caramel and parsnip milk; and the Thai tea crème brulee.
 
STATS
Price $$$$
Gay Quotient 3
Ambiance 5
 
905 Juniper Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.961.7177
www.thelawrenceatlanta.com

****

RADIAL, Restaurant That Will Make You Love Mother Earth
 
By Ryan Lee, Associate Writer, News & Current Events
 
Given how renowned the vegan and vegetarian options are at Radial, I was almost breathless after taking my first bite into one of their burgers, which had all the juiciness and flavor that you can only get from an open-flame grill.  Although our visit was a little too early to be considered brunch, I was able to enjoy my bacon cheeseburger while my dining mates tore into a Cap N’ Crunch-crusted French toast special and blueberry gluten-free pancakes.
 
The breakfast specials are always creative at Radial on the weekends, and now the same can be said about dinner.  The eco-friendly eatery has incorporated a “Supper Club” approach to its nighttime menu, with freshly imagined entrees and desserts each Thursday through Saturday.  With most of Radial’s ingredients coming from local growers, whatever combination they cook up is sure to be delicious, healthy and sustainable.

STATS 
Price $$
Gay Quotient 4
Ambiance 3

1530 DeKalb Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30307
404.659.6594
www.radial.us

****

SERPAS TRUE FOOD, Restaurant That Will Transform Any Yankee Into a True Southerner
 
Not far from the famous Krog Street Tunnel lies one of the city’s hidden gems.  Located in Studioplex in the Old Fourth Ward, Serpas showcases distinctive cuisine from Executive Chef and Owner Scott Serpas.  The South Louisiana native infuses his personal style into a menu that will make you a repeat customer with just one bite.
 
We suggest starting your meal with the crispy duck rolls, followed by a meal of jumbo sea scallops with spaghetti squash and panang curry or the trout stuffed with crab and mushroom.  Other best bets include the crispy duck confit and the grilled veal porterhouse.
 
Not only is the food delicious, but the presentation is simply stellar.  And you can sit for hours in the contemporary yet unpretentious restaurant with friends or a special someone.  Serpas definitely sets the stage for a perfect first date.
 
STATS
Price $$$
Gay Quotient 2
Ambiance 4
 
659 Auburn Avenue, #501
Atlanta, GA 30312
404.688.0040
www.serpasrestaurant.com

****

STK, Restaurant Well Worth a Day’s Paycheck
 
If you LUV a high-energy dining experience, then STK is for you.  With its contemporary design and comfortable atmosphere, the classy steakhouse at the corner of Peachtree and Twelfth encourages long conversations with your dinner companions.
 
Don’t fret if you run out of gossip, the menu offers plenty to talk about.  You can’t help but discuss some of the appealing appetizers, such as the shrimp rice krispies and foie gras french toast.  The chatter may come to a temporary halt, however, once the entrees arrive.  The 14-ounce bone-in filet topped with a medallion of truffle butter or the 34-ounce cowboy rib steak demand your mouth’s full attention. 
 
Do set aside a few hours to truly enjoy everything this restaurant has to offer.  An evening at STK will easily run you $100 per person, but it’s well worth it. It’s the perfect setting if you’re looking to impress or simply crave a romantic evening with the one you love.
 
STATS
Price $$$$$
Gay Quotient 3
Ambiance 5
 
1075 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.793.0144
www.stkhouse.com

****

Taqueria Tsunami, Restaurant That Makes You Feel Better About Stuffing Your Face
 
As you bite into a taco at this Latin-Asian fusion kitchen, you can take comfort that some of the proceeds from your meal goes to charity.  A portion of the proceeds from the Aloha, Pacific Rim and Garden tacos are donated to tsunami relief and natural disaster efforts around the world.  Who knew dinner could have such a global impact?
 
With an open, modern design, the Buckhead restaurant offers plenty of space for groups.  Or you can leave the friends behind and chow down alone on a variety of specialty tacos.  No one needs to know you ordered four or five or six delicious menu items.
 
The Thai chicken taco with Thai peanut dressing more than pleases the taste buds, and the Aloha taco featuring teriyaki chicken topped with pineapple pico de gallo and spicy mayo offers quite the kick.  A side of jalapeno cheese tater tots might seem out of place, but trust, it works!

STATS 
Price $-$$
Gay Quotient 2
Ambiance 3
 
2293 Peachtree Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.963.5049
www.taqueriatsunami.com

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