GUEST BLOG: ATL Food Debates – An Atlanta Newcomer Shares Her Favorite Eats
I recently moved from Missouri to Atlanta for a new job. I grew up and attended college in small cities, so I knew that living in Atlanta—the 9th largest city in the nation—would take some getting used to. And honestly, when I first arrived, I wasn’t quite sure how to get my bearings. I found big city life a little intimidating to say the least.
It was on a phone call with my mom that I realized how I could learn more about Atlanta while also overcoming my fear of traversing (and living!) in a big city. I was telling her about feeling overwhelmed and not really knowing where to go or what to do. And in true mom form, she asked, “Well, honey, what have you eaten today?” As if eating a good meal would solve all my problems!
Well, once again, mom proved to be right. I decided the best way to get to know Atlanta was to try some of the foods and flavors for which it’s best known. And ever since that fateful call, I’ve been trying a new food, beverage, restaurant, or other eatery at least once a week.
As I’ve been eating my way around town, I’ve picked up on some local food debates (all friendly, of course!), so I thought it might be fun for me—an ATL newcomer—to add her opinion to the mix. For better or worse, here are my thoughts:
Brunch vs. Lunch. How about both! I live in Westside/Home Park, and I like to kick off the weekend by hitting up my local gym on Saturday mornings. One Saturday after a tough workout I was looking to treat myself to a good brunch, but it was already 2:00 p.m.—well after most restaurants’ normal brunch hours. Then an Internet search brought me West Egg Café, a cool spot right in my own ‘hood. What’s the most awesome thing about West Egg, you ask? Well, on the weekends, they serve their brunch menu well into the afternoon. On my visit, I opted for brunch and had their Peach Tree Plate with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheesy grits, and fried green tomatoes (a first for me!). It was the perfect way to refuel after my morning workout.
St. Louis-Style BBQ vs. Carolina-Style BBQ. This debate is perhaps the greatest dilemma facing Atlantans. In fact, according to this fun article on the 30 signs you live in Atlanta, if you’ve had this argument with a friend or loved one, it just means you’re being a true Atlantan. And on this point, I have to admit I’m a little biased. After all, I did grow up in Missouri. And in fact, one of the first places I sought out for some comfort food was a restaurant that served St. Louis-style BBQ. I’m sure Carolina-style BBQ has its good points, but for now, I’m staying loyal to my roots!
Peanuts vs. Peaches. I’ll have to call this one a tie. Since moving to Atlanta, I’ve taken full advantage of the farmers markets located around town. And at each one, I’ve eaten (and bought) my fair share of peaches. And ever the food adventurist, I also recently tried boiled peanuts for the first time. They were homemade at a coworker’s backyard barbecue. I have to admit I was pretty reluctant, but after the first one, I was hooked.
In fact, when I got home I started looking up recipes so I could try making my own, and I came across some great news: boiled peanuts are actually quite good for us! As Prevention.com notes, they’re a power snack of sorts because they have “up to four times the disease-fighting phyto-chemicals of its dry-roasted, oil roasted, and raw peanuts counterparts.”
Coke vs. Artisanal Sodas. One of the only things I knew about Atlanta when I decided to accept my new job is that Coca-Cola is headquartered here. And that’s because my dad is a loyal Coke drinker. So, growing up I enjoyed many ice-cold Cokes, while watching the Cards and the Rams. But I confess my loyalty here has been swayed.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of trying one of the all-natural sodas sold around town, and I have to say it was pretty refreshing and delicious. I tried the Sparkling Apple Soda at True Food Kitchen. I lucked upon the restaurant while doing some shopping and exploring in Buckhead, and I was very happy I did. The soda really hit the spot after hoofing it around Buckhead all afternoon. After talking with a coworker about it, she told me some of the local farmers markets have vendors who sell a wide variety of homemade sodas—so now that I know to seek them out, I’m looking forward to trying those the next time I visit one of the farmers markets.
I’ve only been in Atlanta for a short while, but I’ve already eaten so many delicious foods. I can’t wait to see what my food exploration of the city serves up for me next. Whether you’re a long-time local or an ATL newbie like me, I highly recommend spending some time enjoying the delicious food and drink the city has to offer…your taste buds will thank you for it!
Brooke Thompson is an adventurer, health nut, fitness fanatic, and dog lover. She recently moved to Atlanta from the Midwest for a new job, and is thrilled to be living in the active, vibrant city. She’s writing about all of her ATL adventures on her blog.