I have been completely remiss in posting any trip reports, but I have been traveling and accumulating photos and stories. So, one day, when my life becomes my own again, I may be able to post a few memories from the summer/fall of 2009. Thanks to Tony Bad
, who gave me some quick Picassa tutorial advice when we last saw one another, I was able to get some photos edited and uploaded this week. This trip occurred earlier this summer when my buddy, DoubleDeadGuy
, was doing his summer law internship in Atlanta.
Most of the trip was not really photo-worthy. We went to a couple of places near his Buckhead apartment. Primarily, those "other" stops involved more the consumption of beer and the watching of college baseball than the acquisition of Roadfood. Atlanta is, apparently, a notable beer bar town. One of my previous favorite stops, Three Dollar Cafe
, appears to gone from the Atlanta food scene, but there were plenty of alternatives. Our first stop, which I think was recommended by noted beer connoisseur, Poverty Pete
, was called Taco Mac
. They have a couple of locations around Atlanta (and further in the southeastern US). I do remember enjoying the place - all of the servers are very beer-knowledgeable, and I recall the food being better-than-average pub fare. IIRC, I may have had a decent burger there. DDG was a semi-regular there, so perhaps he will feel the need to chime in further.
One other stop included the Cheyenne Grill
. I thought that I remembered it being part of a local "restaurant group" - which, at the very least, adds some element of differentiation to what might otherwise seem corporate-chain-like. Their web site says that they are under new ownership, but so long as the new owners keep things similar, I would make a return visit. We were there on a Saturday afternoon and the place was pretty empty. But, the staff was friendly and the TVs were easily tuned to what we wanted to watch - which, again, was more important than the food. My understanding was that the location changed in the later nights to a hangout for the younger crowd - and they usually drew a pretty good number of folks. Hopefully, they will work out the ownership situation and remain a strong option.
The highlight of the weekend, though, from a food stand point was Mary Mac's Tea Room
in midtown Atlanta. I know that Mary Mac's is highly thought of around here, but this was my first visit. Getting DDG out early to beat the crowds was a bit of a challenge, but we did arrive just about the time they opened the doors.
In the south, is there any more appropriate beverage than what Mary Mac's calls "The Table Wine of the South?"
Our bubbly server, Dee Dee, immediately recognized us a newbies. I am not quite sure what gave it away - but, it truly could have been any number of things. Poker players would identify these are serious "tells." At Mary Mac's, all first-time patrons are welcomed with a gift of an appetizer-sized portion of pot likker, a small cup of greens soaked in a delicious broth. It comes with cornbread, and you are encouraged to break up the cornbread into the broth.
Due to our early arrival, our bread basket came with most of the included choices still warm. Clockwise, from the center: a yeast-y yeast roll, cornbread, and wonderful cinnamon rolls.
To order the family-style meals, you need to have at least three people seated. Since there was just the two of us, we had to order the standard fried chicken plate, which was served as half of a fried chicken (breast, wing, thigh, drumstick) with two sides. I opted for the mashed potatoes and the macaroni and cheese. There wasn't a dud on the plate. It is obvious that the mashed taters were freshly prepared and the mac and cheese was flavorful, but not gooey - just the way I like it.
I guess I forgot to mention the fried chicken. Ummm....it was REALLLLY good. This may be sacrilegious, but I might like it better than Stroud's
DDG opted for fried okra and tomato pie; a house specialty, made with tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, and Ritz crackers.
I sat dessert out. My plan was to head south after lunch, and after gorging myself on chicken and sides, I felt that a dessert would make me want a nap more than a drive home. DDG opted for the homemade banana pudding, which I promptly compared to his Mom's. I hope Mom ain't reading this, because my boy would be in deep trouble if his Mama ever found out that he claimed that Mary Mac's 'nanner puddin' was ALMOST as good as Mom's. I am pretty sure that is the highest praise anyone is ever going to get from a true Southern boy.
Did I mention that DDG liked his dessert? REALLLY liked his dessert?
There are a few more photos in my Flickr account
, if anyone is interested - including close-ups of the tomato pie, mac and cheese.
I did make a return trip later in the summer. I went with a larger group, so we did order the family-style dinner, which provided more choices on sides and allowed for split entrees. I didn't take photos, but we did get the chicken and dumplings and some of the other sides. The only problem is that they have a strict "no doggie bag" rule on the family dinners. I guess this was a misunderstanding on my part, as I have never been denied taking food home from the initial serving portion. Since you do have the opportunity to order seconds, I can see them not allowing doggie bags on the seconds. In this case, they could only be throwing the food out anyway, so I am not sure why they wouldn't allow folks to take home the leftovers from their initial meal? Still, this policy is clearly stated on the menu, so it was obviously not a point to argue, but I did feel bad about wasting so much good food. I would have been tempted to wrap some of it in napkins and put it in my camera bag and carry my camera out on my shoulder.
All in all, Mary Mac's is a winner, though I would recommend ordering the single meals instead of the family dinners, if there is even a chance you might have some leftovers, as they do allow you to wrap up the individual meals.