Tuesday, June 4, 2013

visiting atlanta: let's do that again, or sorry, we're closed

We visited Atlanta last week. My sister-in-law, Jennifer, lives there and we have visited twice before. In addition to seeing her, we love to eat in Atlanta. Their food scene is so, so good.

And, as I have mentioned before, I don't tell my real life people about my blog. I'm just not ready for that. So I didn't take a ton of pictures because I didn't want to have to explain why I needed to photograph everyone's entrees.

We Andrew decided that driving overnight would be better than during the day. It was pretty rough as I don't function well on little sleep, but attempting to listen to the entire DMB catalogue (only made it through three albums, oops) helped push me through.

We arrived early and we wanted to go to breakfast at the Bakery at Cakes & Ale in Decatur. We changed clothes and drove to Decatur... only to find that the restaurant was closed on Sunday. In Andrew's defense, they did have a Sunday breakfast menu posted on their website.

Decatur had lots of bars, restaurants, and shops, and a festival was setting up in the area. We ignored all that and trusted my sister-in-law as a local (who had never been to Decatur) and followed her into a pub... at 11 a.m. Immediately upon entering I wanted to leave but they decided it would be too awkward and we proceeded to eat literally one of the worst meals in recent memory, complete with gristly chicken and a side of spinach I was calling salty spinach water. Ew. Waste of tummy space, if you ask me. Strike 1, Atlanta food scene.

No, we did not go to the taco place. We are from Texas, afterall.

The festival was a Decatur Arts Festival and there were artists from all over the country selling their art. If I had unlimited funds and an eye for decor, I would definitely have bought something. Since I have neither, we just looked around a lot. We went to a place on the edge of downtown for coffee in hopes that it would keep us awake. But, it didn't -  we had family nap time while trying to watch Arrested Development.

Snapshot of the festival

Chalkboard sign outside of the coffee place

Latte art

For dinner, Andrew gave me a choice of two places and I chose Murphy's. Its menu didn't really appeal to me, but the other place's appealed to me less and I was hopeful that the website's menu was just an idea of their food. We got there and nope, that was it. I was a little bummed at the get-go, but thought it would be good. Jennifer said their brunch was good. I ordered a peach cocktail, as is my habit in ATL, but I am dumb and didn't realize it was a whiskey drink. That's a no-go for this wuss of a drinker. Jennifer ordered an appetizer and an entree, and they were out of both. The flatbread Andrew and I shared as an appetizer was the best thing we had (give me anything with figs and cheese and I am sold, though). I went with chicken as the other two things I would have eaten seemed sweet when I was hungry for savory, and basically... it was boring. The potatoes were over-salted, broccolini was okay, and the chicken, while solid, was nothing special. No one else particularly loved their meal, either. Strike 2. We did speed away from dinner in time to run to Morelli's for dessert. It's an ice cream place with really unique flavors. I had chocolate with salted caramel and Andrew had banana biscoff (which is the brand name of the cookies in Trader Joe's cookie butter) and it was good. Kind of made up for a so-so dinner.

My peach cocktail. 

The next day, Jennifer wanted to take us to Roux in Roswell for lunch. The area was really cute, but Roux was more of a bar and less of a restaurant. I ordered something from the "salads" section of the menu - it said it came with cucumbers, tomato, onions, and blueberry goat cheese topped with a vinaigrette. I naively assumed these things would be served on a bed of lettuce. Umm, no. I received a bowl with just the named ingredients. It was more like a snack I would have made myself to clean out the refrigerator and not like something on a restaurant menu. Strike 3, Atlanta. I did make up for it by going to a nearby cafe for a white mocha and chocolate chip cookie, though. So at least there's that.

The coffee place also sold wines, cheese, olives, and meat. I was kind of obsessed with the decor.

I think this was a jukebox. Either way, I liked it.

Atlanta has two huge attractions in the downtown area - World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium. Last time we visited, we went to World of Coke. I thought it was pretty cool but the rest of the family didn't love it as much. This time, the Aquarium was the only thing I had to do. Jennifer's friend and fellow teacher volunteers a lot of her time at the aquarium and hadn't been as a guest in a long time, so she offered to meet us there. She was so sweet and so, so knowledgable. It was like having our own private tour guide. She had all these great stories about spending one on one time with the beluga whales, how the sea dragons are the most expensive animals to keep up with because their food must be live, and where the best photo spot is in the entire place. We also watched the dolphin show, and even though it was cheesy and the storyline was created for five year olds, the trainers and dolphins were so interesting to see that we loved it! The aquarium is pricey ($35 each, ouch!) but I do recommend it if you have some time in the city - besides sea life, there are penguins, otters, frogs, and lots of things you can touch!

The hugest crab I have ever seen.


Giant rays

For a large fee, you can scuba dive through the largest tank and your friends and family go in the exhibit and wave to you and take pictures.

This is a grouper. Apparently they can't reproduce until they are 25 years old and humans put their population in danger. For the record, this fish was huge.

Hard to see, but the belugas. They were going right up to the glass and almost interacting with people. So cool!

This is where our dining experiences took a turning point - hurray! I'll save the good stuff for part two.


  1. I've been wanting to go to ATL for a long time! I'm sorry your first food experience sucked. I hate feeling like I wasted a whole meal. Like I could've eaten somewhere cooler and now im not hungry. If you get what I mean. It happened to me in Portland.

    Kudos on driving over there though, its far!

  2. You find the best latte art, I'm jealous!! And how fun that you went, I've only been to the airport before, and then driven from the airport to a small town outside. You found a lot of great stuff in the aquarium too, great pics!

  3. ugh, bad foodie experiences are the worst! better luck next time! i try and use the urban spoon at and hit up places that have good reviews, most times the people that review food on urban spoon aren't lying to you!

  4. What a fun road trip! I just love stumbling upon art festivals, or any festivals for that matter. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't tell IRL people about my blog :) yet!

  5. Yum, your desserts sound like they made up for the the food...maybe a little?
    Next time I'm in ATL I have to go to the Aquaruim! I love sea life. Wow, I didn't know that about the grouper. Cool fact!

  6. It took me forever to start telling people that I blog, and I feel totally awkward about it and end up being very self depreciating. I haven't been on a road trip in a long time; I think I'm overdue!


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