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Good things to eat in Atlanta, GA


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#1 CheeseMonger

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 05:41 AM

I realize that I may be the only poster on this thread, but I've come to terms with that. Somewhere, sometime, maybe a MF member or reader will be stuck in Atlanta and wonder- where's a good mouthful? I'm here for you.

Best cuban sandwich (my #1 craving while in CO)

1) Havana Sandwich Shop. 2905 Buford Hwy. Just south of N. Druid Hills Rd, just west of I-85. The sandwich is the thing. Skip the beans, rice, etc.- get the sammie, shake on some mojo and enjoy. Thin sliced roasted pork and ham, melted cheese, and bread that's tough enough to hold the ingredients together, but falls apart when you bite it- it's magic bread.

2) Kool Korner Grocery. (14th and Atlantic, west of the Connector) You look at the place from the outside, and think- no way am I getting food from that place. It has the appearance of a run down bodega. But yet, inside is a man who makes the best cubanos I've ever had. It's to-go only, because it actually is a run down bodega, after all. In college, I lived 2 blocks from this place, and I thought all sandwiches were this good. Then I was cast out into the cold hard world.

Best "meat and 3" (or 2, depending on the place)
This is what people want to experience when they come "south", but the "meat and 3" concept is a hotly debated one in these here parts. You'd think it was self explanatory, but it isn't. My definition of a "meat and 3" is that there is a list of "meats" and a list of "sides", of which you mix and match. Any meat and 3 worth it's salt must- MUST! have good fried chicken- no flabby skin, no dry meat, and no overwhelming grease- you want a crisp skin almost like a potato chip. The sides are usually mac-n-cheese, collards, turnip greens, fried okra, mashed potatoes, etc.

1) My sentimental pick- The Colonnade on Cheshire Bridge. Classic southern food, who's waitstaff can best be described as "gays and grays". Where else will you find so much haircolor on one place? You think I'm making fun, but you haven't been there. A perfectly lovely place, and the juxtaposition of the servers is part of the charm. Also, one of the few meat n 3s with a full bar. My Dad and I used to go here every Sunday- arrival timed to just before the church crowd. He always got the wedge of lettuce with blue cheese- so when I see it at the high end steak houses for $8+, I laugh.

2) Busy Bee Cafe. here's the website Down by Clark/Morehouse colleges, has on the menu some things that most don't carry anymore- actual chittlins (fried pig intestines), oxtails, beef neck bones (bone sucking good!), etc. This is the real thing.

**more categories later**

#2 Chad Ward

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:02 AM

Whee! Perfect timing. I'm going to be in Atlanta for the Blade Show May 30 through June 1. I haven't been to Atlanta, except as a layover, for about 10 years, so I'm really looking forward to it. Anything worthwhile near the Cobb Galleria/Renaissance Waverly?

Chad
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#3 CheeseMonger

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE(Chad Ward @ May 19 2008, 02:02 AM) View Post
Whee! Perfect timing. I'm going to be in Atlanta for the Blade Show May 30 through June 1. I haven't been to Atlanta, except as a layover, for about 10 years, so I'm really looking forward to it. Anything worthwhile near the Cobb Galleria/Renaissance Waverly?

Chad



Hi Chad- what are you looking for, and I can narrow it down a bit. There's an awesome Sichuan restaurant up in Marietta called Tasty China that is amazing- and can really turn up the heat, if that's your thing.

Anyway, give me an idea of what types of things you might be looking for or craving, and I'll make some suggestions.

#4 little ms foodie

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:55 PM

I go to Atlanta a few times a year for business so I totally appreciate this, thank you!


Wendy.....Seattle, WA


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#5 Chad Ward

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:18 PM

QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ May 19 2008, 01:49 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Chad Ward @ May 19 2008, 02:02 AM) View Post
Whee! Perfect timing. I'm going to be in Atlanta for the Blade Show May 30 through June 1. I haven't been to Atlanta, except as a layover, for about 10 years, so I'm really looking forward to it. Anything worthwhile near the Cobb Galleria/Renaissance Waverly?

Chad



Hi Chad- what are you looking for, and I can narrow it down a bit. There's an awesome Sichuan restaurant up in Marietta called Tasty China that is amazing- and can really turn up the heat, if that's your thing.

Anyway, give me an idea of what types of things you might be looking for or craving, and I'll make some suggestions.


Well, let's see. It's a trade show, so I'm going to be on my feet all day and am probably going to be beat. If there's something high-end nearby that simply can't be missed I'd love to know about it, but otherwise I'm looking for a great beer & burger joint or something like your Cubano place above, or a small, locally owned neighborhood place with great food. Really, I'm open to suggestions. Italian, French, Cajun, nouveau (or even old-veau) Southern, whatever.

Hmm, now that I think about it, I might be helping out with a VIP dinner on Saturday night. Know of anyplace with a meeting room or private dining room nearby?

Thanks!
Chad
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William Morrow Cookbooks
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#6 CheeseMonger

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 12:53 AM

QUOTE(Chad Ward @ May 19 2008, 09:18 PM) View Post
Hmm, now that I think about it, I might be helping out with a VIP dinner on Saturday night. Know of anyplace with a meeting room or private dining room nearby?

Thanks!
Chad


Hi,

I'll address the other places in a day or two, but if you want a private room, you should be moving on that pretty soon. My first reccomendation for a good restaurant with a private room is Canoe in Vinings- not far from you at all, and a great setting and food.

http://www.canoeatl.com

If I think of other places with rooms, I'll post them when I follow up.


#7 Daniel

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 12:37 PM

Whats that Cuban spot thats down the street from Mary Mac's? I thought good things about the place judging from the sign and the restaurant itself.. I spoke with the owner who said she couldnt find any good Cuban Bread in town so, she makes her own...

I ordered a Cortado (sp?) and buttered Cuban Bread.. Coffee was terrible, the bread was eh..
Ason, I keep planets in orbit.

#8 CheeseMonger

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE(Daniel @ May 21 2008, 12:37 PM) View Post
Whats that Cuban spot thats down the street from Mary Mac's? I thought good things about the place judging from the sign and the restaurant itself.. I spoke with the owner who said she couldnt find any good Cuban Bread in town so, she makes her own...

I ordered a Cortado (sp?) and buttered Cuban Bread.. Coffee was terrible, the bread was eh..


Papi's? I've never been, given my love for the Havana and the Kool Korners.

Are you still coming down in July?

#9 Chad Ward

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE(CheeseMonger @ May 19 2008, 08:53 PM) View Post
Hi,

I'll address the other places in a day or two, but if you want a private room, you should be moving on that pretty soon. My first reccomendation for a good restaurant with a private room is Canoe in Vinings- not far from you at all, and a great setting and food.

http://www.canoeatl.com


Thanks for that! I'll definitely look into Canoe. Anything else casual but good in the Cobb Galleria area?

Chad

Chad Ward
An Edge in the Kitchen
William Morrow Cookbooks
www.chadwrites.com

#10 CheeseMonger

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 10:39 PM

Chad- sorry I was out of town for the past week- somehow I thought that your visit was end of June, as opposed to now.

I don't live in that area, but.... Most of the better places are over in Vinings- very close to you. Good things have been said about South City Kitchen. I've been to the intown location, and enjoyed it alot.

Muss and Turners is very close to you, and is a nice deli, as well as a "gastropub" with interesting beers, and an excellent burger.

Sorry I'm so late getting back- I hope that these can help.

#11 racheld

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 03:36 PM

I know only one Cuban sandwich shop in Atlanta, the above Havana, beloved of our son who lives there.

And I'm not versed on Atlanta Meat 'n' Threes, but I can wax rhapsodic on M 'n' T's just on general principles. They're a GOOD thing.
Fairy Tea has its own Magic, for it never does run out,
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
So each person at the table conjures up her favourite kind---
Lemon, Thimbleberry, Moonbeam---what the drinker has in mind.


LAWN TEA

#12 OTB

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 06:00 PM

There's only one phrase you need to know as it pertains to Atlanta and good food.



"Buford Highway"
Jason Perlow
Food Blogger, OffTheBroiler.com
Sr. Technology Editor, ZDNet / CBS Interactive
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#13 foodfancier

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 08:04 PM

Having lived in Atlanta for some thirty years, I can tell you that the vast number of dining options from simple to fancy have increased exponentially ... the posts on Off the Broiler do an axcellent job of showing the full array of foods on Buford Highway which are cheap and plentiful as well as tasty ... higher end options are also increasing and there are so many places to dine well now, it is quite difficult to make a choice ...

#14 CheeseMonger

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:53 PM

Whew- sorry I haven't been keeping up, I have been traveling non-stop.

yes, that link to Off The Broiler goes to what has become for the past few months my favorite Mexican joint- El Rey del Tacos. I am fortunate to live about 5 minutes away, and I'm over there at least once a week when I'm in town. I'm a fish taco junkie, and these are the best I've found since I was last in coastal Mexico.

#15 racheld

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:27 PM

We were in Atlanta for a hurried weekend of family visiting, and seemed to drive for hours in rush-hour traffic in pounding rainstorms.
Scary.

We also drove in search of Dreamland Barbecue, which DS had seen "somewhere" along one of the Peachtrees. I had, by coincidence, Googled it because of something in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa topics, so I was game to try it. We gave up and settled for (operative words) a place called J.R's Barbecue. Well, it had a good whiff of real smoke in the parking lot, and the heavy-wood booths were appropriately grimy.

Our server was an obviously new hire--a young woman named Reeka, whose eyes disappeared up into her skull when the guys mentioned "on tap"---she struggled to name them, deep high eye-roll between each as she slowly quoted "Corona" and "Michelob Light" as they marveled that a so out-of-the-way-place would have Corona on tap.

She corrected herself when they questioned. A little arm waving toward the back, and a "that's what we have---it's all in bottles, but you can have any of it in a glass."

No pulled on the menu, but of sliced and chopped, they recommended chopped. So we ordered: Order of dry ribs for Chris, beans and slaw. Half order of Lion Ribs for DS, Brunswick and fries (he'd told us before we went that they had the "best Brunswick in Atlanta." Child's plate of chopped, fries for Granddaughter, with a teensy dipping-bowl of sauce on the side. She daintily pierced each tiny piece with just the far-left-tine of her fork and dipped gingerly, each and every bite. A chopped sandwich, with sides of slaw, beans and potato salad for me. It came with two, but I always like to taste the three standards.

Sandwich came in a foil-backed paper wrapper---opening revealed a very soft bun spilling little chunks of pork coated in VERY red sauce. Very red means danger in more places than CNN---a bright barbecue sauce is the Kiss of Death. It needs the depth of the smoke and the long-cooked tang of good vinegar and a bit of brown sugar and some roasty peppery additions. Bright red is for Ketchup Ribs, of which there are legion up here and from which I flee in anguish at the waste.

I forked on slaw, maneuvered the soggy item, took a bite. The pork was tender, but could have been turkey or tofu, for bright sauce carried the day, obscuring everything but its Heinzy beginnings. The beans were anointed with more of the same, with no discernable additions of onion, peppers, meat, but they HAD been baked/simmered long, into that unctuously thick lumpy gravy which passes for baked beans late on Saturday night.

The slaw was a vinegary sort, but very yellow, and not in the good way that Smokehouse slaw is golden and rich and sweet and mysteriously wonderful, despite its common beginnings. The potato salad, however, was another story. It showed the wispy skins of freshly-cooked baby reds, with just a nip of minced onion and good rich mayonnaise---a dish worthy of any picnic, family reunion or Church Supper anywhere.

The guys' ribs were wonderful---smoky and richly porky, with a wonderful mouth-rip as you bit, and the little torn shreds evident on your tongue. Fall-off-the-bone is WAY over-rated---that happens when even pit-smoked ribs are confined under foil and steamed in their own heat, let alone those travesties STARTED in the oven. You should have to work a little on good ribs---a gentle rip bringing the bites loose, having to maneuver the last shreds from the bone by baring your teeth and doing a little mouth-work, as age-old a ritual as the first stick-and-a-fire kitchen.

We'd been told that Dreamland offers RIBS and nothing but ribs. This place should have such a a reputation---those ribs would do Memphis proud. I wish I'd ordered those instead.

And the tea---sweet or not---came in quart glasses. Tiny Granddaughter ordered "sweet" and drank one and a half. I guess she'd missed the South.

And then next day, we drove for miles through drenchy streets and neighborhoods to get to a "Greek Pizza" place the kids like. It was called simply "Chris's" and had the simple blue-and-white decor of a Mediterranean kitchen, bright and warm and filled with wonderful scents as we ran in drenched from the downpour. We were seated at an enormous banquette affair, the whole gaggle of us, with children all intermingled around the table. I sat between two Grands, feeding the happy, chirpy little boy bite after bite of noxious-looking prunes and then some tapioca-granola concoction from those clear plastic boxes which upstaged baby food jars not long ago. He ate neatly and eagerly of the bland goo, as if he were enjoying whatever created those enticing scents which hovered all around us.

We ordered enormous pizzas and crisp cold salads of lettuce and tomato and sweet red onion, with kalamatas and feta strewn in. Chris tasted his, asked for "some of that good cucumber dressing" and they brought delicious little bowls of tzatziki, all around the table. The calzones looked and tasted wonderful, with crispy crusts and the weight of meat and sauce within, and the "everything" pizzas were shared out---but not Chris' version of the personal pan---his fondness for anchovies is not shared by anyone else, and his was ALL his.

Our little Gracie's penchant for dark olives was indulged by the second order of Kalamatas, and my "veggie plate" consisted of a great pile of lettuce, tomato, onion with accompanying dish of tzatziki, as well as a cushiony, small quartered pita for dipping, a small, crusty square chunk of spanakopita, and a pile of so-crisply-fried onion slices and mushrooms that were so good, I shared tastes around the table.

I had recommended Galactoboureka to everyone, just because of my fondness for it, and several ordered it, some of them sharing. It was not the tall, proud, three-inch cube of gleamingly thick custard, cut neatly with the crisp phyllo top and bottom crusts that we order in our favorite Greek restaurant here. It was a tiny plate with a little package the size of a ring-box, phyllo-wrapped around a spoonful of undoubtedly-eggy custard, microwaved to a melty-steam that soggened the crust and made a lethal, molten flow of the filling within. It was soggy and too-sweet and butter-drippy, and having to blow every bite for fear of the super-hot insides---not fun at all.

But that was the only disappointing note in the rainy day---we ran laughing in out of the rain; we laughed all through lunch, and hugged damply as we all made our way home.
Fairy Tea has its own Magic, for it never does run out,
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
So each person at the table conjures up her favourite kind---
Lemon, Thimbleberry, Moonbeam---what the drinker has in mind.


LAWN TEA