Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In 1971 Hard Rock Cafe opened its first location in London in a former Rolls Royce showroom. A char-broiled burger cost 50 pence (about 80 cents). Londoners were fascinated by the noisy American music and the all American burgers. Fast forward forty years and Hard Rock is global and I’m just learning that this all American legend had its start across the pond. 

To kick off a year of anniversary celebrations, Hard Rock has rolled out a bevy of new menu options boasting kicked up flavors and dialed back calories. To introduce the new foods in the house, Hard Rock Atlanta threw a Media Dinner for those of us (supposedly) in the know.

The food was very good. It was carefully and creatively presented. The servers (one has been there 15 years!!) and the bartenders were pros. Lovelies Dina, Jennifer and Elise treated us like stars (thank you so much ladies).The Chef came out before each course to give a quick summary and answer questions. 

Now, if a smiling, charming, personable Chef equals excellent food we were definitely dining on superb. Chef Anna is a college educated attorney from Argentina with Italian parents and a passion for what she does. It shows. She was a delight to listen to and I am convinced the force of her lovely personality made the food taste better. 

(This brings to mind a scene in Like Water for Chocolate when Tita discovers that her emotions---love or sadness--- could affect her food and the people eating it)

Okay, on to what we ate....some highlights:

Chopped Roma tomatoes, basil, shaved Parmesan on ciabatta. Light, fresh tasting and a perfect bite.

Smoked Salmon crostini---
Lovely slices of silky orange salmon with a tiny bit of dill. Bring me the whole fish next time and I'll sit in the corner and be happy.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps---
Lots of finely sliced raw veg with minced chicken, garlic, and ginger all wrapped in a crispy lettuce leaf. Peanut dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was definitely the star with this one.

This next one gave me a laugh which was actually a laugh at me. It's called the Anti-Cobb salad and I wrote Aunty Cobb until someone saw my notes. I'd like to call it Aunty Cobb but that won't tell you what this is. A lightened version of the traditional Cobb with grilled chicken, fresh grapefruit, fresh apple, sliced strawberries, mango, avocado, dried cranberries and a lighter than air dressing. Anti-Cobb, Aunty it whatever you will but do make sure you order it.

The Legendary Angus Burger---

A burger cooked slightly pink, a slice of rosy red tomato, gooey melted cheese topped with a fat crispy onion ring set inside a warm soft roll. The all American burger at its very delicious best. I am pleased and relieved that Hard Rock's legendary burger is still a very good burger indeed and has only been gilded by the addition of that lovely crunchy ring of deep fried onion . My only complaint? I wanted more of those  rings. One will just not do.

Sweets are usually not my favorite. I'm a carbo loader (pass the bread and butter!) and will usually pass on dessert. Not this time. A white plate was put in front of me. On it, four tiny glasses sporting four tiny spoons, each glass filled with not too sweet versions of chocolate mousse, strawberry cheesecake, creme brule and chocolate peanut butter topped with chopped fresh peanuts. Accompanying the tiny glasses was one tall martini glass holding fresh berries, fresh mint and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. My favorite? The creme brule. I just enjoyed the idea of creme brule with a perfectly caramelized crust presented in a glass. But I also liked the strawberry cheesecake and the fruit and the mousse.....

Hard Rock.....ya don't look a day over thirty! Thanks for a great time!

A note:

Hard Rock Cafe is committed to a wide variety of philanthropic causes and charities around the world. As they celebrate their 40th year they will be launching new initiatives and events. For information on their charities and upcoming events,  please email Atlanta Hard Rock Cafe at

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