Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things to Do in Atlanta When You're Hungy: To Eat and Drink in the ATL

I've often said that Atlanta is a nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there.  I say this because Atlanta is indeed a pleasant city to inhabit---the climate is mild though a bit hot, there are many trees, the cost of living is low, there are numerous good restaurants, and so on---but there's very little to do as a tourist---after you visit the CNN Center and the Georgia Aquarium, you're done. 

Of course, my cute little assertion is only partly true.  On the one hand, Atlantans must cope with the traffic in that city, which is terrible.  On the other, even tourists can enjoy all the restaurant diversity, too.  Thus, I'd like to present a few distinctive restaurants that you might be interested in checking out if you visit the ATL, or even if you live there.

R. Thomas' Deluxe Grill  

Alison and I agree that R. Thomas' is our favorite restaurant in Atlanta, and possibly worldwide.  Apparently, we are not alone.  But be warned.  R. Thomas' is not for the culinarily conservative.

First, let's consider the structure itself, as well as its the decor.  Only the kitchen and restrooms are inside the building.  The dining room is under a tent.  Don't worry;  the tent is well sealed against the outside world and is climate controlled for your comfort.  The tent is decorated with pinwheels, whirlygigs, and other such paraphenalia, both inside and out. Additionally, there are beaded curtains, mirror balls, tiny fountains, and so on.   You cant' miss this place.  Oh, and there are birds.  Tropical birds, large and small, are caged inside the dining room and outside the building.  It seems that R. Thomas himself loves birds, and, if he's there, he may bring one by to show you its tricks.  I should mention that you will sit and dine on lawn furniture.  It seems that there is a minimum number of piercings and tattoos required of the waitstaff, but they don't look down on unmodified folks wearing khaki pants and button-up shirts.

The menu offers what I like to call kooky food.  There are plenty of meat substitutes for vegetarians, but numerous meat dishes are also offered.  You'll also find a large number of "alternative" grains, vegetables, and dairy products not often seen in the States:  quinoa, hiziki, other sea vegetables, kiefer, and so on.  You'll also see "normal" foods prepared in interesting ways.  The raw walnut and sunflower pate springs to mind as an example.  Don't be too worried if this all sounds a bit crazy;  there are several more mainstream dishes, too.  Alison loves the French toast---breakfast is served anytime---and I always enjoy the mini fajitas.

If this restaurant sounds interesting to you, I'd suggest you order a number of small dishes, so you can maximize the variety available to you.  In addition to the aforementioned fajitas and nut pate, I'd recommend the Crazy Trails salad, Dr Joe's mango salad, and the 4-vegetable plate, loaded up with curried quinoa, Dijon hiziki, sesame seawead salad, and the lil' bits of nori rolls. 
Plus, you simply must try the PBJ Plus smoothie, even if it is probably 800 kcal;  it's like drinking a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.  Mmmm.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe

The Biscuit, as locals call it, has several locations now, but I always go to the original location, just east of Little Five Points on McLendon.  The cuisine at the Biscuit is what you might call Southern ex-fusion.  By that, I mean it is Southern, but with influences from other cultures and cuisines.  For example, my usual order is the Southern-style vegan BBQ burrito.

The Candler Park location has some advantages associated with it.  You can check out the adjacent Flying Biscuit Bakery while you are there.  Also, if you are planning to have any holes installed in your body, you can simply stroll across McLendon to perhaps the best piercing facility in the Southeast, The Piercing Experience.  Just be sure not to try to go to the Candler Park location for lunch on Sunday;  it's always slammed at that time. 

Hmm.  It appears that the Biscuit has been bought, and there are plans to franchise it.  Can one franchise quirky?  I'm skeptical.

Madras Chettinaad

Madras Chettinaad is the latest location and evolution of Alison's favorite Indian restaurant.  It's also a favorite of her former roommates, Leah and Melinda, as well as the readers of The Loaf.  Madras is located in Decatur, and it offers South Indian cuisine, in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian incarnations.

Well, that's my list of the restaurants I think any visitor to Atlanta should try.  I hope those of you in the readership who've never lived there--perhaps 3 people---benefit from it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I think I've been to all of these places...! I'm glad I read your post after I ate lunch ;)