Have a second Sip

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Sip Wine and Tapas Bar opens new location at Collection at Forsyth

STORY & PHOTOS BY

KATIE VanBRACKLE 

katie@northsidewoman.com

The holiday rush is here and busy elves are dashing to and fro, searching for just the right gift for each person on their list.

All of that shopping can lead to exhaustion, not to mention hunger. Even elves need to relax a bit, right? Maybe with a light meal and perhaps a sip of wine?

Just in time for harried elves everywhere, Sip Wine and Tapas Bar is opening a new location this month at the Collection at Forsyth (formerly known as the Avenue), moving into the old Firkin and Crown location next to Chick-fil-A.

Already a popular spot in Milton’s Crabapple area, Sip offers a variety of $6 to $12 tapas-style plates paired with an extensive wine list sold by the bottle, glass, half-glass or – as the name implies – just by the sip.

New head chef Greg DeMichiel brings a hip urban flair to Sip’s menu and an entertaining personality for the customers.

Food Network fans may recognize DeMichiel from his appearance this fall as a contestant on “Cut Throat Kitchen,” a new show hosted by Georgia’s own Alton Brown. On the show, chefs compete to cook delicious dishes under extreme circumstances, all the while plotting to sabotage their competitors.

Needless to say, the kitchen conditions at Sip are much friendlier. Diners can get a glimpse of DeMichiel in action at special chef’s table dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. Four to six diners sit front and center at Sip’s bar, talking with DeMichiel as he prepares a special off-menu five course meal for them, complete with wine pairings – in addition to handling his regular head chef duties.

DeMichiel calls the chef’s table atmosphere “action-packed.”

“You get to hear me yelling and catch a glimpse of my regular Friday night pain in the kitchen. It’s all good fun,” he said.

DeMichiel grew up in New York where he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He then lived and worked through Europe and in Los Angeles before moving with his former wife to Georgia, where he fell under the charm of North Fulton’s relaxed, suburban vibe.

He calls his cuisine at Sip, “Southern inspired, but with a strong global influence.”

“When I first started experimenting with Southern cooking, I was told that I should never make biscuits again in my life,” he said with a laugh. “I had to work on that a bit. But I love braising. For a Yankee, I can get down on some braised items.”

Where does his creativity come from?

“I eat, sleep, breathe, smell and dream this stuff,” he said. “I love the challenge of blending flavors and finding new ways to use ingredients.”

Owner Foster Smith also adds flavor to Sip’s menu. A native of New Orleans, Smith created several of Sip’s Louisiana-inspired items such as chocolate beignets with banana mousseline and praline sauce. Paired, of course, with the perfect dessert wine.

Smith is a certified wine specialist who enjoys talking with his customers and answering their questions. Sip offers 50 wines by the glass and 250 by the bottle. Smith’s wine pairing suggestions are listed on the menu next to each food item.

“It’s like receiving a wine education with your meal,” said regular customer Mike Gill of Milton. “The tapas menu allows you to try a wide variety of dishes, especially things you might not order normally.”

Gill and his wife Cherie frequent Sip’s Milton location with friends Craig and Allison Carrow. Their favorites? Tuna Tartare, Nam Sad Lettuce Cups and the Carnitas Tacos – slow-cooked pork in a flour tortilla with Granny Smith apple slaw and peach chipotle barbecue sauce.

Sip also features a full Sunday brunch and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Wine tastings are held every Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with proceeds benefitting local charities.

When you visit Sip, be sure to notice the wine bottle candles on each table, handcrafted by Smith’s wife Amy, who also creates bowls and plates from melted wine bottles. Her creations are sold at each Sip location.

Just a little shopping tip for all you busy elves out there.

Sip Wine & Tapas Bar

Milton: Downtown Crabapple, 12635 Crabapple Road

Cumming: The Collection at Forsyth, 440 Peachtree Parkway

www.sipwineshop.com

Holiday Leftover Turkey Salad

Chef Greg DeMichiel of Sip Wine and Tapas Bar shares this original recipe as a clever way to make good use of that leftover holiday turkey – and those leftover sweet potatoes. At Sip, he serves this colorful salad inside little cones fashioned from wonton wrappers. Pictured above in photo 8.

  • ¼ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 4 Tbsp. sweet potato (cooked and chilled)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey

Combine dressing, vegetables and cranberries in a large bowl. Add turkey and mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

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This month's issue

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