I think Laurel’s idea of having Food Fridays is awesome, because food is a huge part of travelling and discovering the local culture – in my humble opinion 😉 When I am on the road, I want to try local dishes and bring home ideas for new recipes that I can try out in my own kitchen. I always try to find local places that offer dishes I can’t find at home. Makes travelling that much more fun!
I just got back from a conference trip to Atlanta, and when I wasn’t busy staring at all the underwater life in the biggest aquarium in the world, I was plotting where to have my next meal. Obsessed? Maybe a little! But I did manage to have some really good food, so it was all worth it.
When I was getting ready to leave, I searched all the travel blogs I follow about Atlanta tips for sightseeing and restaurant recommendation. Thank you Globetrotter Girls for recommending Mary Mac’s Tea Room! It was so good! Ana recommended Buckhead Diner and I would have loved to try it, but it was a little further from downtown and without a car… Next time! Since I was in Atlanta for a conference, I ate a lot of hotel food as well. It was good though! One lunch they served a really great salad: apples, fennel, bell peppers, vinaigrette. I’ve never liked fennel, but in that combination it was great. A lady who was from the area told me that the more typical dish would be cucumber with bell pepper. Doesn’t sound bad either.
Southern Food vs. Soul Food
I also searched Google for general tips on what dishes Atlanta is famous for. The result? Southern and soul food. What’s the difference? I tried to find out online, but I am still not sure. Many people say that soul food is a category of Southern food: All soul food is Southern food, but not all Southern food is soul food. From what I can tell, it sounds like soul food has the reputation of being cheaper, spicier, greasier, and more home-cooked-style than Southern food. I also read that some people say the distinction is that soul food originated in the African-American community. I’m still not sure which is what because both soul food and Southern food in Atlanta seem to include the same dishes: black-eyed peas, collard and turnip greens, corn bread, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, mac and cheese, peach cobbler, and ribs. The drink of choice is the same as well: (very, very) sweet tea. Based on some more research online I found that Mary Mac’s Tea Room (www.marymacs.com) is known for serving the best Southern food in Atlanta and Gladys and Rons Chicken & Waffles (www.gladysandron.net) is known for serving the best soul food in Atlanta. Of course I had to go to both 🙂
Mary Mac’s Tea Room – Southern Food in Atlanta
This is the place I had my very first fried green tomatoes ever. And I liked them! Even though to me they tasted more like pickles than tomatoes. 😉 Our waiter informed us that as first timers my friend and I would get a free pot likker with cracklin’ bread. I had a hard time understanding our waiter, so I didn’t get the description of what that was supposed to be. When the food arrived, I realized it was a broth with some greens and cornbread on the side. We were told we had to put the corn bread in there. I have a suspicion that we weren’t supposed to dunk the whole thing in like I did as you can see in the pic below. Tasted ok. I preferred the pork chops, fried green tomatoes, and apple sauce I ordered as a main dish. Yummy! The peach cobbler looked just as messy as all cobblers look, but tasted delicious. And, the sweet tea is called sweet for a reason – a little too sugary for me. One little oddity at Mary Mac’s? You get a little notepad and write down your order yourself.
Gladys and Rons Chicken and Waffles – Soul Food in Atlanta
More delicious fried green tomatoes! And chicken and waffles – what a combination. But it works! I ordered cheese grits along with a fried chicken breast and a fried chicken wing and of course a waffle. The breast was a little dry, but the wing was amazingly good. The waffle was kind of like a dessert (and tasted great), but I still couldn’t resist ordering an actual dessert: sweet potato cheesecake. OMG! That’s something I want to try to make at home. Sounds like a weird combination, but tastes so good!
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