Eating has become one of my favorite free time activities. Why? Besides the fact that food is delicious? Well, people suck, so why bother wasting your time at Olive Garden drowning in a sea of bad conversation and bottomless pasta fagioli, when you can gorge yourself sick away from the judgmental and comatose eyes of others. Feeling as I do, it’s no surprise that during some recent time off my husband and I went to a city full of good eats; Atlanta. Since my return, many have asked “What did you do on vacation?” and my answer is, “I ate.” Yes, we drove all around the city looking for neighborhoods to move into next year, and yes we went to the Aquarium (despite my protesting), but mainly we ate. So here are a few highlights of the places we went, so when you visit the ATL, you too can enter what I call: beast-feast mode.
A few Saturdays back, I found a series on Netflix named something like “Good Eats”. The calming voice of John Goodman took me through on a tour of many cities, one of them being Atlanta, and told me where to eat. I quickly grabbed my phone and jotted down some of the spots that looked good enough to wear stretchy pants too, and Highland Bakery was one of them. Particularly a French Toast dish. They use challah bread, slather rich and creamy peanut butter between two thick pieces. Caramelized chunks of banana are topped upon the mountain of carbs along with maple syrup. A woman at a neighboring table asked me what I was about to eat when she saw the plate arrive. I told her, and then stated that I would probably be barfing momentarily. With that, she stopped talking to me. I couldn’t finish this half of it, but I did my best. It’s worth the experience, and I would recommend to anyone not worried about going into sugar shock, or as Andy from Parks and Rec calls it: Sugar SLAM!
This is not a new place for me, but rather my breakfast nook away from home. You can’t go wrong with anything on their breakfast menu. Even something as simple as their Blue Plate, which is just eggs, a meat, and the fluffiest biscuit this side of the Mississippi. What makes me omit weird pleasure food noises though, are their lattes. I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried three different flavors in my travels to the not so dirty south, and this time the pumpkin latte was up. Oh. My. Stars. Worth. Every. Dump. Speaking of dumps, my traveling tip to you is that the best way to eat your way through any city is to consume a lot of coffee to keep your “movements” regular. Nothing else can get in, when nothing is coming out, but I digress.
In case you haven’t heard, the cupcake is out, and the donut is in. We aren’t talking Dunkin Donuts. We are talking your local independently owned donut shop that isn’t afraid to have wierd toppings and flavor combinations. Having been to VooDoo Donuts in Portland, I was eager to see how these southern pastries could stack up. It isn't enough just to be different, these donuts have to be nothing short of a delicacy and Sublime Donuts met this criteria. There is nothing alluring about the outside of Sublime. It’s in a mini strip away from the hustle of the city, but close enough to Georgia Tech, that I can only assume college students maybe living on these sweet circles of goodness. The name isn’t even on the marquee, it simply says “Donut”. When you walk in a colorful haven awaits, complete with a picture of Mr. Donut himself, Homer J. Simpson. The staff was very nice and patient and we took our time choosing our half dozen donuts. Feel like Salted Caramel & Reduced Balsamic Vinegar donut? They got em! How about a Sweet Potato Cake? Or an Oreo Ice Cream Burger? You can see why it took us so long to choose only 6! No matter how full you are, make sure you stop by, even if it’s just for one. Their motto is “Eat one that’s worth it”, and I couldn't agree more.
When it’s time to spice up your life and mouth, head to a “hole in the wall” that takes the food/taco truck craze to a brick and mortar location at Hankook Taqueria. Off the beaten path, in what could be described as an industrial part of town, there are no frills here. Just good food. Korean-American fare is what you can expect with fast service and really, really amazing sesame fries. The day we visited I hadn't had a real breakfast, just left over donut bits from Sublime, and the plan was to meet my brother for lunch, as this is one of his favorite spots. Well, he couldn't meet me until 2pm, so needless to say my stomach, which had gotten quite use to its regular feedings, was ravenous once 2pm rolled around. I ordered a bounty before he even got there. Pork Belly sliders, dumplings, and the sesame fries. GOOD GRAVY, those fries were on point! They are tossed in sesame oil and red pepper flakes, which doesn't sound like it would be so amazing, but it is. Once my brother had arrived I was moving on to round two and got some Korean BBQ pork tacos. The man behind the counter seemed amused by the amount of food I ordered, but this was no time to feel shame. This food was good, cheap, and fast. It reminded me of our own Tako Cheena here in Orlando. Although I wish Tako Cheena could get some sesame fries on their menu.
Just a hop and skip, or pimp walk down the street from West Egg is Jeni’s Ice Cream. I don’t know who Jeni is, but I love her and I want to be best friends with her. Or at least her friend that samples all her concoctions. This boutique style parlor has some amazing flavors. Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Brambleberry Crisp, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Sweet Potato with torched Marshmallow! I mean, this woman is a scientist! OK, maybe not, but she is a genius. This is a must stop, even if you already ate a half dozen donuts. It’s vacation – YOVO! (you only vacation once) Well, once in a while.
We ate at a few more places, but my stomach is getting jealous while I write this, since I just ate some very disappointing Chipolte for lunch. Yet another reason chain food is just not worth it. Listen to Mama Sublime, make it worth it!