Saturday, August 6, 2016

Top 25 Best Eats in Atlanta

Today is one of my favorite kinds of Saturdays--I got up early (who knew that one day I would get up at 7am even on the weekends?), had coffee with a friend this morning, went to the gym, came home and cleaned, and caught up on my emails. Now I'm sitting on the couch with a load of clothes in the wash and the dishwasher humming in the background. And I have a few minutes to blog.

I've been wanting to share with you all my list of some of the absolute best foods in Atlanta. Now that I've lived here for two years, I feel like I can speak with at least some authority on the subject! I'd also like to write about the absolute must-do activities in Atlanta, but that's for another time. Every item on this list I have had the chance to try personally. Fair warning that most of these foods are not necessarily the healthiest, but if you're really wanting to try the restaurant scene in Atlanta, you can't be too worried about that. It's all about balance. So without further ado, here's the list:

1. Salted caramel cupcakes from Sprinkles. This cupcake place absolutely nails the "cake" part of the cupcake--they are dense and moist and flavorful. And that salted caramel icing is the best.
2. Butterscotch bacon doughnuts with Mexican hot chocolate from Bon Glaze. Yes, they're as good as they sound, with real, delicious pieces of bacon on top of the doughnut. This is my every-once-in-awhile Saturday morning treat.
3. Chicken biscuit with Frim Fram sauce from Hop's Chicken at Ponce City Market. For only $4, you can get a perfectly spiced chicken biscuit with an irresistible sauce that tastes like some sort of tomato mayonnaise. And dare I say it? It's better than Chick-Fil-A.
4. Anything at Daddy D'z BBQ. Somewhat sketchy surroundings in a not-so-great part of town, but this hole in the wall serves some great barbecue.
5. The chicken coconut soup at Little Bangkok. This is another hole in the wall (with very limited parking, so you might want to use Uber if that stresses you out as much as it does me), but this is some excellent Thai food.
6. Anything from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. This is the best ice cream I have ever had, with a menu that changes seasonally and is always adding new and innovative items. You can't go wrong with anything you order here, and any ice cream flavors that you mix up will be good (i.e., don't shy away from mixing salted caramel ice cream with lemon sorbet and topping it all off with strawberry sauce--I promise it will taste great). My recommended order is a scoop of brambleberry crisp ice cream with a scoop of Savannah buttermint ice cream, topped with bitter hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. You have to try the fudge sauce--it is slightly bitter while still tasting great, if that makes any sense.
7. This place called Juice Bar in Suwanee. All these smoothies and juices are incredibly healthy and taste great.
8. The lime fries from Tex's Tacos food truck--these are sweet, tangy, and salty all at once.
9. The award-winning cheeseburger from Kaleidoscope. Think pimento cheese, slaw, and sweet pickles on a burger cooked to perfection. The cocktails are really good here too.
10. This list is not complete without some brunch! Especially since Atlanta does brunch really well. My favorite brunch here is from West Egg Cafe. What to order? The pulled pork benedict and coconut iced coffee. Also, the garlic grits are NOT messing around.
11. If you're in the mood for pizza, DaVinci's is the place to go. It's pretty simple, and the surroundings are nothing special, but the pizza is delicious. I've also had several amazing multi-hour conversations with friends here, which makes the food taste even better. This is a great place to go if you want to eat and talk until 1am.
12. The butternut squash and walnut pizza from True Food Kitchen. This is only offered seasonally, but it's a pretty masterful combination of flavors.
13. Tamarind Seed. Order the Kai-Pad-Prik-Kingh. A deliciously different take on Thai food.
14. The best cocktail in the city from Minero at Ponce City Market. It's called the Estrellita: vodka, hibiscus, cinnamon, lime, mint. So refreshing. And the chilaquiles are great too.
15. The pimento cheese omelet from Buttermilk Kitchen. I'm a big fan of pimento cheese, and this is the best pimento cheese omelet I have ever had. It's savory with noticeably sweet undertones. And it has bacon. The biscuits and jam and coffee are great too.
16. This may be the best cheeseburger in the city--the cheeseburger from Fred's Meat and Bread at Krog Street Market. Very basic, nothing fancy, but this is a cheeseburger done right.
17. The pear and pepper sangria from Tavernpointe. Spicy and refreshing at the same time.
18. The pulled chicken sandwich from Memphis BBQ. Try the incredibly spicy Squeeler Sauce (or just dump it all over your sandwich, if you're like me and like spicy food as much as I do). This sauce will make you sweat/ cry, but that's the mark of a good spicy dish.
19. Indian-style sloppy joes (and other Indian street food) from Chai Pani.
20. One more great brunch place: Sun In My Belly. Try the PBLT, which is basically a BLT with--you guessed it--pimento cheese. Also, there are lots of wonderful coffee options here, and this is a great place to come for a satisfying brunch and a hot drink on a freezing winter morning.
21. I would be remiss not to include Mary Mac's on this list. This is the best Southern comfort food in the city. Try the meatloaf and sweet potato casserole, and do not miss the Key Lime pie. It's so creamy and tangy and flavored perfectly.
22. The potato soup at Shillings on the Square. Great for a cold day.
23. Just about anything from Red Pepper Taqueria. Get the queso. Get watermelon margaritas. And definitely get the poblano corn soup with habanero oil and the fried chicken tacos.
24. The Memphis taco, the veggie taco, and the fried chicken taco (yes, another one) from Taqueria del Sol.
25. The Rise and Shine smoothie from Dtox Juice. Coffee, banana, almond butter, and some other great stuff. This is a good and healthy pick-me-up.

Are you hungry yet?