Mary Mac's Tea Room, Atlanta, GA
To make up for wasted lunch, we headed straight for this famous Atlanta spot for supper. B and I initially argued over who got to order the chicken fried steak, and in the end, it was a good thing I lost. I ordered the fried chicken.
Man o' man - this whole time I have been fooling myself and my taste bud memories. *This* is fried chicken. Crunchy, salty, and most of all - juicy. There was chicken juice mixed with chicken grease running all over the place, and what got into my mouth made me estatic. And the collard greens. Just absolutely perfect. The mac & cheese had this custardy-like texture that was all its own and very good. Baked but not baked to death. This is what I came to Atlanta to eat.
With his chicken friend steak, B got dumplings and fried okra. He loved the dumplings, the fried okra was just meh because it was fairly luke-warm when it arrived and chilled before too long.
The meal started with a basket of bread - cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, and little cornbread muffins. Their cornbread was much too dense and dry to eat on its own, but it was perfect for sopping up pot likker, a bowl of which they brought us because we were first-timers (this is the bottom of the collard pot, mostly liquid flavored with collards and salt pork). The yeast rolls were amazing - I haven't had one in ages and it was a somewhat revelatory experience - why wasn't I making these? (I say somewhat because I'm always determining to cook things and don't really follow through.)
We were much too full for dessert. This was a problem of the south I had anticipated and actually worried over. We'd be too full, except that the south is known for fantastic desserts and pecan pie is right up there with fried chicken in my book. Haven't solved this problem yet.