Atlanta. It only took five visits but finally you and I have bonded. I have always loved to explore a city through its food, and I most certainly did just that on my recent trip.
My first introduction to the Atlanta food scene was Krog Bar, Kevin Rathburn’s tapas bar housed in an old stove factory. One of the most intimate dining experiences I’ve had, there are only 5 communal tables in this little gem. The highlight of my meal, pimento cheese. Rathburn’s was a bit different from the traditional recipe (not as chunky and creamy) but the flavor, out of this world. And the Krog Cocktail, a St. Germain and grapefruit libation with a hint of rose-water… how could you go wrong.
Next up, JCT Kitchen and Bar. Located in the very hip West End neighborhood, JCT Kitchen is located on the first floor with the bar being on the second. I ordered the chicken and dumplings at the suggestion of our waitress but after I saw the plate of fried chicken, I knew I made a mistake. Thankfully one of my fellow dinner guests had ordered correctly and let me try a few bites. Best friend chicken and biscuits this northern girl has ever tasted. After dinner, we headed upstairs to JCT Bar, where I was introduced to Georgia Crackers, a 3 piece soul band who pride themselves on faithfully recreating the sounds of 1920’s Georgia bluegrass. Add to that a La Fin du Monde (translation = end of the world), my new favorite beer, JCT Bar is one not to miss.
Wanting to partake in a tradition southern brunch experience, we headed to South City Kitchen. While known for their chicken and waffles, I opted for the crab cake benedict with grits, and I’m so glad I did. And I should note, their pimento cheese was sinfully good.
One thing not to miss in the ATL is the Georgia Aquarium. With its doors opening in 2005, the Georgia Aquarium features more animals than another other aquarium in more than 10 million gallons of water. Quite impressive indeed. My favorite exhibit was the Ocean Voyager, which ends in a room where you can sit and feel like you are living under sea, surrounded by sharks and stingrays and fish galore.
Needing a little afternoon pick-me-up, we headed over to The Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in, accommodating some 600 cars. Thankfully, we weren’t with 600 patrons, though. You must try the Frosted Orange. Just like an orange creamsicle but better. I promise!
As I have mentioned before, I always try to find the perfect bakery/sweet shop in any city I visit. Cacao, a delicious little chocolate shop that I had spied on Pinterest, also happens to be in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Virginia Highlands. And since the temperature was near 60 on Sunday, I decided it was only right to indulge in a vanilla gelato. Reminded me that summer is only a few months away (wishful thinking).
So Atlanta, I’m so glad we finally bonded. Your southern hospitality, pimento cheese and insane driving and traffic will be missed. After indulging in all you have to offer, this week will be a green juice diet for me!
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