With not evening two weeks of Atlanta living under my belt, Drew and I have had some pretty great dining experiences. While we love cooking in and preparing dinner together, as busy as we’ve been unpacking and settling in, sometimes dining out is a welcome reprieve. While I would hardly consider us “foodies,” Drew and I certainly know how to appreciate a delicious meal when we see (and eat) it.
Known to most of Atlanta-ites as one of the city’s greatest southern cooking institutions, Mary Mac’s Tea Room was the first restaurant we ate at since arriving back from the honeymoon. Being a first time guest, I received a complimentary potlikker from our waiter. Our breadbasket came with the traditional fare, plus these miniature cinnamon rolls that were pure heaven. Drew and I both enjoyed our dinner immensely-I ate grilled chicken, southern-style vegetables and a baked potato. Drew had the roast turkey with cornbread stuffing and gravy, collard greens and black-eyed peas. We both decided right then and there that Mary Mac’s would definitely be at the top of places to take my parents when they come for a visit.
Prior to our trip to North Carolina for the honeymoon, Drew and I spent a night in Atlanta, unpacking wedding gifts and starting to get settled. Famished after hours of trying to fit our new gadgets in our small kitchen, we headed over to Nancy’s Pizza. Drew explained that Nancy’s started out in Chicago before spreading to Atlanta. While we waited for our cheese pizza, I looked at the wall filled with photos of famous people who’d dined at Nancy’s. I was excited to find a photo of Criminal Minds’ Shemar Moore and had to text my college roommate Chelsea. We’d both had a crush on him while watching Criminal Minds episodes, both old and new, during our senior year at WKU. Once we got back to the apartment, Drew opened the box to find the pizza had slid to one side and become one cheesy albeit yummy mess. We laughed as well sat in the living room floor, eating our pizza and toasting with champagne.
Besides Mary Mac’s, I got to eat at another Atlanta staple restaurant less than a week after moving to the city. We met Drew’s grandparents at OK Café, a place that I’d been hearing about ever since Drew moved to Atlanta back in the spring. Drew, his parents and grandparents kept insisting that I would have to go there for more good southern cooking. Inspired by Drew’s meal at Mary Mac’s, I ordered the collard greens and black-eyed peas, along with a baked sweet potato and cole slaw. Drew had country-fried steak with macaroni and cheese and cleaned his plate. I found it unique that our waitress, clad in an old-fashioned waitress outfit, gave us Tootsie Rolls along with the check. I can’t wait for my next OK Café adventure. I might just have to get that infamous banana split Jackie usually orders!
Last Thursday, Drew invited me to his office at Engauge to meet some of his coworkers and then head to the Midtown food trucks to grab a bite to eat. This little adventure was two-fold; not only did I have my first food trust experience, something that quite typical in Atlanta, but we also ended up being extras in the background of an NFL commercial for the Falcons. While Drew was waiting for his Sweet Auburn BBQ plate, one of the commercial producers flagged us down (probably because we were wearing matching green shirts and white shorts-definitely not planned). Not a bad way to kick off my first week in the city! I also had may first King of Pops, the peach flavor Drew recommended that tasted dead-on like fresh Georgia peaches. Yum!
Finally, last night Drew and I had our first double date with another young Atlanta couple. We met Josh and Allie at Holeman and Finch Public House for drinks (and also ended up ordering a late-night dessert). Drew and Josh had previously met at a networking event and they decided that they’d have to bring the wives to our next get-together. We had a great time with Josh and Allie and discovered we have a lot of things in common. It was exciting to meet some new people in the city, especially a young couple that reminded us so much of ourselves. It was extremely crowded for a Tuesday night and it took us a while to snag a place to sit down. As for the eats, I had Strumpy Cider, a drink that came in a HUGE bottle. Drew had a couple beers from H&F’s extensive international menu. After seeing countless dishes coming from the kitchen, we decided to split the brown sugar cake with cream cheese frosting and blueberry compote while Josh and Allie split the fried peach and blueberry pie. We all agreed that this was some good dessert! I definitely think H&F has made it on our list of “must return to” places.
All this dining out combined with some great meals that Drew and I have shared in at the apartment together makes me highly susceptible to the “newlywed weight gain.” I’ve heard from countless sources that it’s typical for a couple to put on a few pounds after the wedding; probably a combination of less stress from the wedding planning as well as discovering new restaurants like we have. This doesn’t make me nervous; I look forward to continue our foodie adventures together, even if it comes with the need for a wider belt! Then again, there is a strong calling to be active in Atlanta, with great weather lasting throughout the fall and countless local parks. In fact, Drew has convinced me to run in a 5K at Piedmont Park on October 1st. I’ve always stuck to running on the treadmill or doing a short job outdoors, and this will be my first official race since running track in high school. Here’s the way I look at it: I’m experiencing a lot of firsts this year, graduating, getting married and moving to a big city just to name a few. Running a 5K just seems like par for the course. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go lace up my running shoes!