AJFF 2018 arrives Jan. 24, with 192 films screening in 23 days

by Encore Atlanta

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opens in less than two weeks, promising 192 screenings in 23 days and a slew of special events. The ambitious festival begins Jan. 24 and ends Feb. 15, and comprises narratives and documentaries representing 27 countries. For the full lineup, schedule, tickets and program guide, go HERE.

AJFF atlanta jewish film festival

The fest will be all around town. Opening and closing screenings are at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. All other screenings take place at one or multiple venues: Atlantic Station Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX, Hollywood Stadium 24, Perimeter Point 10, Springs Cinema & Taphouse, Tara Cinemas 4 and the Woodruff Arts Center.

Most screenings feature post-film Q&A conversations with filmmakers, actors, community leaders and academics. That lineup includes director Neil Berkeley (Gilbert); comedian Gilbert Gottfried; director Ofir Raul Graizer (The Cakemaker); director Amichai Greenberg (The Testament); director Astrid Schult (Winter Hunt); and director Ferenc Torok (1945).

General admission tickets are $15; $13 for senior citizens, students and children; and $12 for matinees. Ticket details HERE.

Special events include:

A still from the documentary “Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me.”

A still from the documentary “Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me.”


The documentary Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me (U.S., 100 mins) screens at 7:30 p.m. The 2017 film includes interviews with Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis and Kim Novak, among others.

A post-screening conversation with filmmaker Sam Pollard follows.

$36. Includes admission and parking. It has no other screenings.


YOUNG PROFESSIONALS NIGHT. On Feb. 3, The Boy Downstairs (U.S., 91 mins) screens at 8:30 p.m. Director Sophie Brooks’ 2017 feature, her first, is described as a “fresh take on the girl-meets-boy story, with a lightly comic and deeply touching contemplation of modern relationships, life choices and independence.” The night begins with a 7 p.m. party. $36, includes the party and the screening. Young Professionals Night is at the Woodruff Arts Center. The movie also screens at 1:40 p.m. Feb. 4 at Regal Atlantic Station and 12:20 p.m. Feb. 9 at Springs Cinema & Taphouse.


A scene from “The Last Suit.”

A scene from “The Last Suit.”


The Last Suit (Argen-tina/Spain, 86 mins) screens at 7 p.m. Feb. 15.

This 2017 feature follows an 88-year-old Jewish tailor who leaves his home in Argentina for Poland, hoping to find the man who saved him from certain death during the Holocaust. A discussion with writer/director Pablo Solarz and a dessert reception follow. $36. Includes parking, the screening and the reception. It has no other screenings.

AJFF films are generally for adults, but several selections are family-friendly, including the Israeli teen dramedy Almost Famous (three screenings, two locations) and an adventure about family titled A Bag of Marbles (five screenings, four locations).

Topical movies include The Cakemaker (five screenings, five locations), which documents unconventional relationships; An Act of Defiance, which explores race relations; and The CousinShelter and Remember Baghdad, which looks at political-religious extremism. The Cousin screens four times at four locations; Shelter screens five times at three locations; and Remember Baghdadscreens twice at two locations.





Join the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces (AFFPS) on Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21, 2018, as they celebrate the fifth annual Callanwolde Arts Festival. The award-winning, two-day indoor festival is located in one of Atlanta’s most distinctive historic properties, the 27,000-square foot Callanwolde Mansion in Druid Hills, and features approximately 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelers and more.  The festival, which is open to all ages, will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, food trucks with healthy alternatives, and live music and dance performances. Admission is $5 at the door.

Art lovers are also invited to take advantage of the ticketed V.I.P. Preview Sales Party on Friday, January 19th from 6 to 9 p.m.  Upon arrival, guests will be greeted with a glass of wine to sip on as they stroll throughout the historic home and will be the first to view and shop the artwork showcased at this year’s festival.  Guests are also invited to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres while they mix and mingle with the artists and enjoy live acoustic music.  Admission to the V.I.P. Preview Sales Party is $20 and is open to all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door.  For more information visit http://callanwoldeartsfestival.com.   


Operation Colombia for your taste buds at The Consulate Atlanta

The Consulate Atlanta travels the globe every ninety days to create authentic, international dishes to entice and seduce the adventurer's palate. Their stop this time is Colombia, following a very successful tour through Ethiopia, which was preceded by Cuba, Guam, Brazil, Russia and Denmark. The mid-century styled restaurant offers a staple menu as well, that includes grilled octopus in a sweet mango chili sauce, Korean Pulled Duck Confit and Pan Seared scallops, just to name a few.

Executive Chef Lin has once again, curated a menu of delicious traditional dishes, some which feature a modern, re-constructed twist which has become a signature trademark approach for The Consulate Atlanta. The Colombian menu, with its Ajiaco soup, Arroz con Pollo and Posta Negra does not disappoint. The menu offers a feast for your taste buds that pair excellently with their Colombian inspired specialty crafted cocktails.

The globe was spun and a new destination was chosen on January 5th - secure your visas because in three months, The Consulate Atlanta will be jet-setting to India! BUT for now, make sure and visit them for a mouthwatering taste of Colombia.

Here is a glance at their MENU: 


Ensalada de Frijol y Maiz  (Bean & Corn Salad)   7
black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, chick peas, fresh cilantro, red and green pepper,  scallions, light vinaigrette


Sweet Plantains   7       mojo mint garlic sauce

Chef Lin’s Empanadas           
 Teriyaki ground Beef   (2)      12        
onion, red pepper, sesame seeds, scallions        
V - Teriyaki Trio Mushroom   (2)     10      
 (white button mushrooms,  Oyster mushrooms, Bunapi mushrooms)        
Empanada Duo   11
1 beef, 1 mushroom

ATL  Arepa    10          
Avocado, Tomato, Artisan Lettuce,  Quesito Colombiano

BLT Arepa    12
Hickory Smoked Thickcut Bacon, artisan Lettuce, Tomato, Quesito Colombiano

Ajiaco   14    ( Chicken and Potato Soup )
pulled chicken breast, red and purple potatoes, corn, guascas, avacado, capers.

Arroz Con Pollo   22
beer marinated, Springer Farms chicken quarter, jasmine rice, carrots, red and green peppers, corn, onions, cilantro, ginger.

Posta Negra    23
14 hour marinade Eyeround Beef, Worchestershire Coca Cola Sauce   



The barbecue is bountiful at 4 Rivers Smokehouse near Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown. Photo: David Danzig

The barbecue is bountiful at 4 Rivers Smokehouse near Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown. Photo: David Danzig


WITH THIS COLUMN, we salute brilliant brisket and new brews news, take a look at former strip-club/dive-bar the Clermont Lounge and its plans to go upscale (!!!), and report the brick-and-mortar demise of corn dogs and boozy milkshakes in Avondale Estates. Grab a snack, and read on.

Well done

The banana pudding at 4 Rivers comes with a graham-cracker crust, fresh banana slices and Heath Bar crumbles. Photo: David Danzig

The banana pudding at 4 Rivers comes with a graham-cracker crust, fresh banana slices and Heath Bar crumbles. Photo: David Danzig

That waft of smoldering hickory you smell near downtown’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium comes from 4 RIVERS SMOKEHOUSE, a Florida export from pit master JOHN RIVERS. Rivers retired as president of a multibillion-dollar health-care company to perfect his love of Texas-style brisket.

With 13 locations now running in Florida, Atlanta now gets its own version, in a refurbished 1915 firehouse on the West Side. The smoker produces brisket, chicken, St. Louis ribs, burnt ends and even brontosaurus-size beef ribs.

The sides — sweet potato casserole, fried okra, baked cheese grits and Brunswick stew — are bona-fide barbecue stuff. Sandwiches like the Texas Destroyer (made with brisket), barbecue brisket tacos and a smokehouse Cuban sandwich show that 4 Rivers can crank out the meats and put them together in amazing ways. For dessert: banana pudding made with Nilla wafers.


Suburbanites continue to demand restaurant excellence and get it. The latest example: FROM THE EARTH BREWING CO., a smart new brewpub in Roswell. It pairs house-brewed craft beers with a menu of sophisticated yet approachable comfort food and pulls it all together in a cozy but hip environment.

You’ll probably want to start with a flight of house drafts from brewmaster JAMIE PARKER. Golden ale, hefeweizen, IPA and double IPA, imperial stout and Belgian tripel are among his creations. The brews also are available to-go.

Earth Brewing Company


Take a flight at From the Earth Brewing Co. on Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell. Photo: David Danzig

From the Earth’s one-page menu changes often but generally includes a house-made pretzel, crispy Brussels sprouts, a double-stack cheeseburger, barbecue brisket tacos, fried chicken, seared salmon and an iron-skillet pork chop. All are simple plates served beautifully with locally sourced ingredients. Owner TIM STEPHENS has an impressive intown restaurant pedigree and is now on his own on Holcomb Bridge Road.


At Donetto, the Fritelle Donetto is made with fresh Pecorina Romana and cured prosciutto. Photo: David Danzig

At Donetto, the Fritelle Donetto is made with fresh Pecorina Romana and cured prosciutto. Photo: David Danzig

A bull named DONETTO has charged into West Midtown. The gorgeous Italian restaurant is named for the heaviest Italian Chianina bull ever weighed (3,800 pounds).

Chef MICHAEL PEREZ makes fresh melt-in-your-mouth pasta like tagliatelle with clams, fusilli with smoked fish, or ripiena stuffed with quail.

A 45-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye, a half-smoked chicken and octopus plated with white beans pair nicely with inventive cocktails. The “Netspritz and Chill” is made with house limonata, rosemary, aperol, prosecco and lemon; the “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” is made with 229 gin, honey and absinthe.

Donetto, on Brady Avenue, holds its own nicely in a neighborhood chock-full of heavy-hitters, award winners and a city brimming with standout Italian cuisine.


Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu Matsuhisa

Big names keep bubbling onto Atlanta’s culinary stage.

Now comes international Japanese superstar NOBU MATSUSHISA, who’s building on the rubble of what was the Belk store at Phipps Plaza.

The project includes a Nobu Hotel and a restaurant called NOBU ATLANTA RESTAURANT.

Look also for MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK by well-known Miami-based chef MICHAEL SCHWARTZ.


A new steakhouse named ARNETTE’S CHOP SHOP joins Apple Valley Brookhaven, a 70,000-sq. ft. mixed-use complex a bit farther north on Peachtree Road. Arnette’s comes from MICHEL ARNETTE, who runs HAVEN RESTAURANT AND BAR (New American), VALENZA (Southern Italian) and VERO PIZZERIA, all on Dresden Drive.  Look for an opening by Valentine’s Day.


Four more eateries have signed on to HALCYON, the 135-acre mixed-use development in Forsyth County: MidiCi NEAPOLITAN PIZZACOCINA & TAQUERIAPITA MEDITERRANEAN STREET FOOD and poke restaurant SWEET TUNA, as reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. They join GU’S DUMPLINGSTACAYOBUTCHER & BREW and CO-OP COMMUNITY KITCHEN & TABLE. Expect openings throughout 2018.


Restaurant mogul FORD FRY has commandeered an old tattoo parlor at Piedmont and Cheshire Bridge roads, and is working on a new Tex-Mex concept (not an El Felix or Superica). Fry says it will be a “super-casual joint with wood-roasted ‘chicken al carbon’ at its core.” Plan on breakfast tacos, a Texas staple, to be prominent as well. The 3,500-sq. ft. space should open in the summer.


The Hotel Clermont and Tiny Lou’s team (from left): Alan Rae, chef Jeb Aldrich and Nick Hassiotis. Photo: Heidi Geldhauser

The Hotel Clermont and Tiny Lou’s team (from left): Alan Rae, chef Jeb Aldrich and Nick Hassiotis. Photo: Heidi Geldhauser

And finally, if only the walls could talk.

The CLERMONT LOUNGE, one of Atlanta’s more infamous landmarks, is being reborn. The 1920s building, longtime home of a strip club/dive bar, will re-emerge in the spring as HOTEL CLERMONT, a boutique hotel with an all-new restaurant called TINY LOU’S.

It’s named for a 1950s stripper who pranced in the Gypsy Room, as it was called then. Legend has it that  Lou was notorious as “the girl who refused to dance with Hitler.”

The in-house restaurant will be an American-French brasserie led by executive chef JEB ALDRICH, who plans a French-American menu with Southern accents.



gordon biersch

It survived the Great Recession, but Buckhead’s BrickTop’sdid not survive 2017. The steak-seafood-sandwich spot planned to shutter on New Year’s Eve. It opened in late 2007 in the Terminus 100 development on Peachtree Road, along with several other high-profile pre-recession openings, and outlasted most of them. It’s moving to Birmingham. Other BrickTop’s remain in North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Missouri. … Midtown’s GORDEN BIERSCH said danke shoen and auf Wiedersehen and closed in mid-November. The 18-year-old restaurant opened before development in the neighborhood spiked. The Buckhead location is still serving. … The deep-fried and delightfully kitschy PALOOKAVILLE FINE FOODS has battered its last corn dog and poured its last boozy milkshake in Avondale Estates. Happily, the food truck edition of the carnival food emporium lives on.


Food for Thought, Encore Atlanta’s bimonthly dining column, keeps you up to date on openings, closings and what chefs are up to in one of three categories — well done (reasons for praise), simmering (what’s in the works) and toast (what’s closed, etc.). Email kathy@encoreatlanta.com.


CUBA 2017

In 2014 I returned to Cuba, forty-three years after coming to the USA. I reunited with my father in Havana and I have done my best to visit him every year since then... In mid-December of 2017 I planned a trip to Cuba with my partner Alex Page - his first visit! While I made sure Alex got to see Old Havana, El Malecon and the Morro Castle, it was important that he/we also toured through small towns. If you want to experience the "real" Cuba, then you must travel beyond the glamour of classic cars and hand-rolled cigars. We were in Cuba for only five nights, but we packed in a tremendous amount while still enjoying quality time with family. Photos by E. Vincent Martinez and Alex Page.


Where to Rise and Dine on New Year's Day

new years dinner

After a night of popping champagne, it’s time to say “hello” to National Bloody Mary Day on Monday, January 1, 2018. Imbibers can cure those pesky post-NYE hangovers with Bloody Marys and brunch, lunch and dinner options on New Year’s Day at a myriad of local haunts around the city. From a football-inflused brunch, complete with an expansive build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar at Dantanna’s, to a hearty, traditional brunch in bustling Inman Park at PARISH, and a not-to-miss Party in the Park at Park Tavern, there’s plenty of ways to feel replenished for the New Year. 

Dantanna’s Serves Football-Infused Brunch  

The perfect place to catch the full line up of college bowl games, football fans are invited to visit all three locations of Dantanna’s, in Buckhead, Downtown and Sandy Springs, as all locations will all be open on New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1, 2018. In addition to serving up New Year’s Day traditional favorites like blacked-eye peas and greens, Dantanna's Buckhead will delight all tastes with signature brunch dishes including: Shirred Eggs in Tulips - two eggs baked in crepes with Maine lobster, shrimp and crawfish in brandy-lobster cream sauce; served with asparagus; Three Little Pigs - fried Niman Ranch pork scallopine, griddle honey ham and apple wood smoked bacon on toasted Kaiser bun with dijon aioli; and Oysters Rockefeller and Eggs - two poached eggs on flash fried oysters and Sambuca creamed spinach topped with sauce hollandaise and chopped apple wood smoked bacon. Dantanna’s Buckhead will be serving a Bloody Mary Brunch on New Year’s Day featuring an expansive build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Dantanna’s Sandy Springs will also be hosting a special Bloody Mary Brunch on New Year’s Day, in addition to the regular menu. Available from 11 a.m to 4 p..m, Sandy Springs' favorite brunch dishes include: Pesto-Egg Sandwich - scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, basil pesto, provolone cheese and a eelera bun served with potatoes and asparagus; Dantanna’s “Super” Bowl - Texas toast, grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, house made chicken sausage, potatoes and a jalapeno cheese sauce; and shrimp & grits - andouillie, onions, peppers, Sriracha cream, and thyme infused logan turnpike grits. 

The Neighborhood Café and Brasserie at PARISH Extends Weekend Brunch: 

Brunch lovers can recover from New Year’s Eve festivities at The Neighborhood Café and Brasserie during PARISH’s brunch on Monday, January 1, 2018. Featuring a hearty and flavorsome menu, brunch lovers can celebrate the New Year with favorites like the American Breakfast - scrambled eggs, a choice of country sausage or applewood smoked bacon, grits or potatoes and a biscuit; The Burger - grass fed beef, benton’s bacon jam, dijonaise, grilled onion, cheddar and house cut fries; Chicken and Waffles - fried chicken, blueberry waffle, Sriracha butter and peanuts, and much more. With inspired, familiar American food, an inventive beverage program, and warm hospitality, The Neighborhood Café will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and The Brasserie will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PARISH will be closed for dinner. For more information or to make reservations, call 404.681.4434 or visit parishatl.com.  

Park Tavern in Piedmont Park Presents New Year’s Day in the Park

Football fanatics are invited to visit Park Tavern in Piedmont Park, located in the heart of Midtown, on Monday, January 1, 2018, for a special New Year’s Day Party in the Park. The perfect place to catch the full line up of college bowl games, Park Tavern’s renovated covered patio boasts plenty of seating, stone fire pits, hi-definition, flat screen TVs, a 20' x 10’ big screen, private cabanas and much more, where sports enthusiasts can cheer on their favorite teams.  Beginning at 11:30 a.m., revelers recovering from New Year’s Eve can take advantage of Park Tavern’s 'Hangover Helper Bloody Mary Bar' and celebrate National Bloody Mary Day in style. Patrons can also cozy up and watch their favorite teams go head to head while noshing on fan favorites including: burgers, wings, chicken baskets, and Park Tavern’s fresh, seasonal oyster bar. Guests looking to take on challenges of their own are welcome to enjoy games of corn hole. Free to attend and with no reservations required, fans can enjoy open seating. For more information, visit www.parktavern.com.  

Open for Dinner on New Year’s Day

Atlas and the Tavern at Atlas at the St. Regis Atlanta will be open from 4 to 10 p.m on New Year's Day, Monday, January 1, 2018. With a kitchen headed up by Executive Chef Christopher Grossman, New Year’s Day diners are invited to revel in a fine dining experience in the dining room or relax in The Tavern featuring chef-driven small plates menu and hand-shaken cocktails. With a focus on curating fresh ingredients from local farms, this chef-driven restaurant brings unparalleled culinary experiences to the capital of the South. For more information, visit atlasrestaurant.com.   

New comers and local diners alike can continue the 2018 New Year celebrations by visiting ONE. midtown kitchen, a Midtown staple known for its impressive wine offerings, craft beer selection, handcrafted cocktails and high energy, American cuisine created by Executive Chef Matt Weinstein.  For more information or to make a reservation, call ONE. midtown kitchen at 404.892.4111 or visit www.onemidtownkitchen.com. ONE. midtown kitchen is located at 559 Dutch Valley Rd, Atlanta, GA 30324

TWO urban licks will be open for New Year’s Day dinner. From 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. patrons can enjoy fiery creations by acclaimed Executive Chef Michael Bertozzi, including his seasonal and classic favorites. To make a reservation, call 404.522.4622 or visit twourbanlicks.com. TWO urban licks is located at 820 Ralph McGill Blvd. Atlanta, GA 30306.  

ROOM, located in the TWELVE Centennial Park hotel in Downtown Atlanta, is open on New Year's Day for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 10 p.m. ROOM will also be serving Executive Chef Juan Carlos Huerta’s $4 select sushi rolls from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., including fresh favorites like the Spicy Tuna Roll, California Roll, Sakura Roll and more. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.roomattwelve.com or call 404.418.1250. ROOM at TWELVE is located at 400 W Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30308.  

ALLORA, the newly opened Italian concept at TWELVE Hotel Midtown, will be open on New Year’s Day for breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Celebrating the flavors of Italy, guests are invited to slip into ALLORA where the art of dining and drinking is rediscovered. Blending Italian classics with modern techniques and seasonal ingredients, Executive Chef Chris Maher offers an impressive menu filled with house made pastas, specialty pizzas, creative insalatas, small plates and more. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.alloraatl.com or call 404.961.7370. Complimentary valet up to three hours and two hours free parking in the parking deck are available. ALLORA is located in Atlantic Station at 361 17th St NW Atlanta, GA 30363.