Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Georgia’s Classic City-Football, Food and Fun

“What you want and what you need, there's the key
Your adventure for today, what do you do
Between the horns of the day.


ATHENS, GA- On a perfect Saturday, the smoke from the grills was rising shortly after daybreak. It’s game day in this college town, home to Georgia’s Bulldogs and the host for South Carolina’s Gamecocks. Just pondering the contest and its impact stimulates the appetite.

For as long as I can remember, this city on game day has cooked, served good drinks, set good tables and consistently extended warm hospitality.

I come to Athens where special spirits linger. The great Lewis Grizzard and the finest football play-by-play announcer I’ve heard to this day, Larry Munson, still have a presence, part of Athen’s core heritage. Grizzrd made us laugh and Muson’s radio dramatics could almost provoke a heart attack.

Such things make college football the South’s most enjoyable sport, particularly when food, cocktails, beer and wines surround all the tradition and celebration.

The main dish for today is Chef Lara Lyn’s Lamb Chops, simple to prepare but balanced nicely. You want things to be a little easy on game day, she advises, and her delights from the grill are showstoppers on this fabulous late summer day.

Wine selection for the lamb led me to Dave Mathews, the cerebral rocker whose collaboration with winemaker Steve Reeder produce Dreaming Tree. Their California North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon seemed to be crafted with Lara Lyn’s lamb recipe in mind.

Just before kick-off, all the lamb chops and wines were history. Everyone, fully satisfied, was ready for a few hours of exciting football.

Other notables served under tents were several variations of Brunswick Stew, a dish that many food historians believe originated in Georgia. Lewis Grizzard shared that conclusion Wild Georgia white shrimp marinated in lime juice and bacon wrapped for good grilling is a highly popular tailgating item here in Athens and most everywhere I visit.

Cocktails across the board were noticeably high in quality with Jack Daniel’s dominating. The late season peach cobbler, a Georgia tailgate favorite became the piece de resistance.

Enjoy Lara Lyn’s lamb chops.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Sweet Georgia Onion Sauce
Eight lamb chops cut ½ inch in thickness
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh rosemary chopped finely
Chef Lara Lyn Carter
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the olive oil, rosemary and lemon juice together. Place lamb chops in a shallow baking dish. Rub both sides of the chops with mixture. Cover the chops with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Grill the chops over medium heat turning every 5 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove chops from the grill and serve with Sweet Onion Sauce.
Sweet Georgia Onion Sauce
1 large sweet onion diced
¼ cup of olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary chopped finely
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
In a skillet combine the onion, olive oil, brown sugar, and rosemary. Cook over medium-low heat to gently cook the onions until tender and just beginning to caramelize. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar until well blended. Serve the sauce warm for wonderful flavor.displayed hospitality the right way: with smiles, generosity, and a certain flair for preparation of traditional dishes that keeps you coming back for more.

BONUS-The Datil Bloody Mary? It’s found along the Gourmet Highway:

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