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.

a wing, a leg, a thigh, and a breast, with collards and mac&cheese, plus rolls - $11.95

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.

chicken fried steak, fried okra, and dumplings

pot likker and more cornbread for soaking it up

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.)

yeast rolls in the foreground, pepper vinegar in the background

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.
First Atlanta Meal

We were starving after the plane. We needed something right away. It was near our inn. B had never eaten there. That's my defense, but it was a total waste of stomach space, as you might have already guessed.

Overheard at Zoo Atlanta

mom to two kids, ages 3 and 4 maybe, "come on, let's go"

the kids don't respond

mom, "let's go see the next animal"

no response from kids

mom, "ok, pirate's code."

mom walks off and kids, without a second's hesitation, follow.


Lent, take 5

B and I do lent. We aren't Catholic, but we enjoy the process of focusing on what we do or don't eat and the benefits it gives us mentally, spiritually, and health-wise. Year 1 we gave up potato chips and soda, which was a very big deal at the time and now would be nothing - thanks to lent we changed that habit pretty much forever. Year 2 was red meat, year 3 was all meat. We over-boca'd, but we learned about some new foods and were pretty happy with the results overall. Bacon was hard. Our trip to San Diego last year fell in the middle of lent, and there was no way in hell I was giving up anything that I might potentially possibly eat in San Diego. So we tried adding - 5 fruits and veggies a day. B did well by starting each day with 5 bananas and then continuing to eat whatever for the rest of the day. I pretty much failed, which dissapointed me after 3 years of doing so well.

So - for Year 5 we are giving up American food, except breakfast. There has already been much debate, much dragging out of the Oxford Companion to Food, to determine what is and isn't American. The debates will continue, I'm sure, but thus far: no potato chips, burgers (ow!), hot dogs, soda, pizza, buffalo wings (double ow!). It is more about looking at other cuisines, especially cuisines of developing countries, and experimenting with new ingredients and preparations. No being lazy about food, in other words.


The French Chef with Julia Child Drinking Game

take a swig:
  • everytime she says 'butter.' Everytime.
  • everytime she forgets something in the oven, it burns, and she pretends nothing's wrong.
  • everytime she makes a flimsy argument about calories or dieting. Like letting you know potatoes have only 70 calories each then adding two cups of cream and 6 tbl of butter to said potato dish
  • everytime she almost injures herself in demonstrating some safety thing. Like putting her knife over her wrist or waving her arms around boiling pots of oil.
We've had this dvd series on our Netflix queue for a while, but we saw it at the local library so decided to get it there instead.

Please don't get me wrong. I adore the woman. I worship her. And she did what is really never done now - a non-stop cooking show, without even commercial breaks, in one take. Before cooking shows were a dime a dozen. God love her.

Just make sure no one needs to drive home after.


New Location Open - Joe's New York Pizza

Their fourth location is now open, on Lafayette in Portsmouth, where Seacoast Pizza used to be, next to the cigar store, and not more than a stone's throw from my house. Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

I like Joe's NY pizza - sometimes I am craving other pizza, Gepetto's and Savario's come to mind. But sometimes this exactly hits the spot. Especially if I'm driving home and starving and food has to happen NOW! There's always a good selection of slices ready to go.

This new location is already delivering, though it is still waiting for its fry-o-later. Yep. Once said fry-o-later comes in, there will be wings! Let us all get our hopes up that they will be great and they will be new yorker wings. (On a side note, I ate fairly decent wings at Jack Quigly's in Portsmouth last night. Good. They've moved up to the not-at-all-competative spot of best in the seacoast.)

open 11-9 (later on Friday and Saturday)
2968 Lafayette Road