Baby, it’s cold outside.
So, what better way to warm your hands than by the fire of your own food (or drink)?
There are several spots in and around Atlanta that create some heat — with a side of theatrics — by adding flames to their dishes tableside before serving them to customers.
Check out some of the appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks that will set your holiday ablaze with spirit.
This classic Greek side dish is delicious, but it wouldn’t be half the fun to order without the “Opa!” that comes with it as it’s set on fire.
Kasseri cheese — a Greek cheese made with sheep’s milk — is first lightly fried in a pan before getting a squeeze of lemon juice and a shot of brandy, which is set afire as the waiter shouts the celebratory declaration.
“(The fire) gives the cheese texture and a different flavor,” according to Roozy Dehgahi, a cook at Messina’s Mediterranean Cuisine in Lawrenceville.
Indeed, starting with the chewy-without-being-gooey cheese is a surefire way to set a festive tone for the rest of the meal.
Nutella and burnt marshmallow milkshake
Yes, there’s a nip in the air, but is it ever not milkshake season, especially with this Flip Burger version that delivers some smoke and heat?
Made tableside, the shake is topped with marshmallows, roasted with a torch and covered with liquid nitrogen, which creates a cloud of smoke as it freezes.
“Everybody loves the smell of burning marshmallows, and they love the experience of watching the smoke,” said Kristopher Barker, general manager of the restaurant’s Buckhead location.
Add more heat of the adult variety by asking for a shot of Kahlua.
Flip Burger Boutique,3655 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-549-3298. 1587 Howell Mill Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-343-1609. flipburgerboutique.com.
An oldie but a goodie, this dessert with New Orleans origins has been on the menu at Viande Rouge for several years, and has made a comeback “after being passe for a long time,” according to Executive Chef Brian Thomas.
The decadent dish sees bananas sauteed in brown sugar and butter, then lit with high-proof rum and topped with a dash of cinnamon. The heat is tempered with a scoop of gelato from Marietta-based High Road Ice Cream & Sorbet.
Looking for other dishes with a spark? The restaurant also offers up Steak Diane, a flambéed filet made tableside and covered in porcini mushroom sauce. During peach season, look for peach Louie, similar to the bananas Foster, but using peaches flambéed in bourbon.
Viande Rouge,9810 Medlock Bridge Road, Dululth. 770-623-4959, vrsteakhouse.com/vrs.
Another old-school steakhouse favorite is this dessert that dates back to the 1800s and incorporates ice cream and cake covered by a meringue. Chrysta Poulos, the pastry chef at Ford Fry’s Marcel, changes the dish’s ingredients seasonally — right now, expect a black forest chocolate cake base with chocolate crumble ice cream and meringue, finished with a warm cherry compote and set on fire with kirsch, a fruit brandy. (In the fall, Poulos uses ingredients such as graham cracker ice cream and browned marshmallow meringue.)
The whole shebang is set up tableside, making for a bit of a show after the main event of steak and cocktails.
Marcel,1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-665-4555, marcelatl.com.
Hot buttered rum and black stripe
Trader Vic’s, which has been keeping the tiki party going at the Hilton Atlanta since 1976, has not one but two drinks with fire components. The hot buttered rum and the black stripe — Jamaican rum, honey, crushed cherries and spices, served hot — are both served up with a flaming spoonful of Bacardi 151 on top.
If you’re looking for something else with a little flair, the tiki lounge also has its own version of bananas Foster with caramelized bananas, macadamia nuts and vanilla ice cream flambé, made tableside.
Trader Vic’s,255 Courtland St. (inside the Hilton), Atlanta. 404-221-6339, tradervicsatl.com.