Atlanta Trip: Here I Go Again!

Well.

I am kind of concerned that I have now turned this blog into a travel blog more than it is a food and recipe blog. Suanne sure had a good time off blogging for the past 2 months and I had been sort of hogging the lime light. She’ll be back with her recipes and all … after another week or so of travel blog. Her cooking club starts again this week after taking the past two months off in summer.

Shortly after our vacation, I made two trips to Atlanta for work and training. You know, after so much travel, I still kind of enjoy the travelling. I find that a time that I can really catch up on my work, emails and such on long flights … weird I know.

On my first trip, I flew via US Airways. They are not exactly my choice of an airline. My favourite had always been Delta and United. There are only one airline that operates direct flights between YVR and ATL.

_MG_8956_edited-1

US Airways operates a hub in Phoenix and so, when I travel the YVR-ATL sector, I transit in Phoenix, Arizona when I travel on US Airways. I had an one hour layover and since it was about lunch time, I went scouring for food. I enjoy checking out the food outlets at airport. So when I have the time to burn, I will check the airport map and then go check out places to eat. This time, I decided to grab some pizza from ASAP California Pizza Kitchen. ASAPs are the part of the California Pizza Kitchen chain which serves primarily passengers at airports.

_MG_8963_edited-1

They serve non-traditional pizzas. With names like BBQ Chicken Pizza, or BLT Pizza, Thai Chicken Pizza and Jamaica Jerk chicken Pizza, I could not resist trying them. The pizza was great. How I wish they have these kind of pizzas in Vancouver.

_MG_8964_edited-1

So, here’s the start of a 10 day blog on my two trips to Atlanta.

Atlanta Trip Report: Mary Mac’s Tea Room

This is it … my final post on this series of my trip to Atlanta.

Right after the visit to the World of Coca-Cola, it was time for lunch. Rob and I wanted to try something different this time — we wanted to try “Southern Cooking”. We walked around the Atlanta Underground but could not find a place we liked. So, we walked over to the Visitor Centre asking for recommendations. Without hesitation, the gentleman at the visitor centre recommended Mary Mac’s. Never heard of it and it involved a drive from where we are now. We were rather hesitant to go but then faced with the lack of choices around, we went anyway. It was a great recommendation.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room is a well-known and historic restaurant in Atlanta. Located at the corner of Ponce de Leon Ave and Myrtle St, Mary Mac’s had been operating since 1945. The food here has stayed the same since day one.

IMG_0092_edited-1

The Tea Room wall is lined with framed autographed photos of some famous customers — including presidents of the US. It was interesting looking at them. The decor was really old fashioned and homely.

IMG_0093_edited-1

The wait was short although there were many people coming for lunch. We were seated and in front of us is the menu, and order form and pencils. We are supposed to pencil in our orders and pass it on the waitress.

IMG_0097_edited-1

For drinks, I ordered something I had never tried before — buttermilk. Yucks! It was sour and tastes horrible. Price: $1.75.

IMG_0099_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: The World of Coca-Cola

Rob and I had at least three hours to kill before heading to the airport. Rather than hanging around the office, we decided that we should just go to downtown Atlanta to do some sightseeing and lunch. It was a toss up between CNN, the Georgia Aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola. For me, I was sure where I would want to go … the World of Coca-Cola.

Atlanta is the headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company. Did you know that Coca-Cola and Coke is the most recognizable brand in the world. Go to anywhere in the world and you will find that people will know what a Coke is.

The World of Coca-Cola is located in downtown Atlanta and just next to the Atlanta Underground. This place exhibits the history of Coca-Cola. I understand that this place will be moved to a new location sometime in 2007 next to the Georgia Aquarium. The entrance sports a huge rotating Coke logo.

IMG_0068_edited-1

There was not many people when we got there. Entrance is $9 — expensive. I had expected that they at best charge a token entrance fee.

IMG_0069_edited-1

The displays were displayed in a chronological order starting from the year when Coca-Cola first started operating in 1886. The Coca-Cola name is made up from the two basic ingredients: a stimulant of Coca Leaves and caffeine from Kola Nuts.

In those days, Coca-Cola was served from Soda Fountain like those below.

IMG_0071_edited-1

Coca-Cola bottles underwent many generation of changes over the years …

IMG_0073_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: Maggiano’s Little Italy

One last dinner before I get to go home. It has been a long week and personally, I am all tired and weary. This time, Mark and Mark joined us at the newly opened Maggiano’s Little Italy in the Cumberland Mall.

Maggiano’s Little Italy is a casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian food. This restaurant chain is operated by the same company which operates the Chilli’s, On the Border and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

IMG_0060_edited-1

It was a busy night at Maggiano’s that day. Rob volunteered to go early and make reservation while I pop over to the nearby Circuit City to grab NHL07 game for Arkensen (it’s cheaper by $10 here in the US). Despite making a reservation early, we still had to wait for quite a bit.

IMG_0061

These American chain restaurants are really something. We don’t have many close to these types of restaurants in Canada. The decor, the experience, the menu, the staff … they were so well designed to entice people to these places.

Once seated, the bread came quite fast. So tell me, do you prefer your bread with butter or olive oil? I have not really gotten used to having bread with olive oil (and balsamic vinegar, is that what the black blob is?). Not that I don’t touch it or that it tastes awful but I’ll take butter anytime over this.

IMG_0062_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: Waffle House

I got tired of the buffet breakfast in my hotel. I asked the Atlanta project team for breakfast recommendations — preferably a place where Atlantans have their breakfast. Susan D recommended that we must try the Waffle House. I recall seeing their huge bright yellow signboard from my hotel.

Waffle House started their first restaurant 50 years ago in Atlanta, GA. Today they have grown to 1500 restaurants in 25 states. Too bad they have not have a presence yet in WA or OR, otherwise I would bring the family to try this. Anyway, they open 24 hrs a day and 365 days the whole year — yes, even on Christmas Day.

Frankly, Rob, Chix and Vince does not really care where they go for their breakfast. It was I who tried so hard to convince them to take that short drive to the Waffle House 1 block away. Anyway, driving into the carpark, we were rather hesitant going in because, hmmm … some of the customers look like roughnecks. Instead of turning around, we decided to just go in — I was glad we did.

IMG_0059_edited-1

The thing that really drew my attention was the many different type of sauces on each table.

IMG_0051_edited-1IMG_0052_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: Olde Mill Steakhouse

Updated: 20th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Tonight I had to eat alone. Rob wanted to hit the mall for some Christmas shopping and I really did not want to go shopping. Moreover, I wanted to just have a quick dinner and for once get back to the hotel early and relax.

So for dinner, I decided to take a longer walk a block away. I came up to this place called the Olde Mill Steakhouse. The place looked like a good old fashion steakhouse and the car park was full of cars. I figured that I won’t go wrong with this place.

Walking in, I saw some signs that says that they serve aged and handcut beef. They are supposed to be better and more flavourful right? I still can’t taste the difference between these gourmet beef and normal beef.

_MG_0035_edited-1
For a change, I decided to order an appetizer even though I know it’s probably too much food for me. Anyway, I got their Seafood Sampler which costs $12.99. The Seafood Sampler consists of Fried Shrimp, Crab Cake and Fried Calamari.

IMG_0041_edited-1

The Fried Shrimp was awesome. The shrimp flesh was plump and was lightly battered.

IMG_0042_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: The Cheesecake Factory

I know Suanne would have gone into a frenzy if she was here with me today. With place that looked like a Las Vegas upscale restaurant and a name like Cheesecake Factory, she would have been absolutely delighted — she adores cheesecakes.

Mark, my counterpart in Atlanta, hosted this dinner for Rob and I. This restaurant is popular judging by the crowd milling outside waiting for a table. We had to wait over 30 minutes too for our table. The decor in this place is lavish and really upscale. They had high ornate ceilings, decorative columns, marble floors.

Of course, their centre-piece is their cheesecake bar. They made us mill around this area before showing us to our tables! Although I was never much of a cheesecake fan, all the cheesecakes they had were very tempting and mouthwatering. Some of the cakes were 10 inches tall!

_MG_0016_edited-1

For drinks I ordered that most southerners would — Iced Tea … and sweetened. I found out that Iced Tea is really popular in hot weather of the southern USA. It is also known as the Southern Table Wine.

_MG_0022_edited-1

The Cheesecake Factory has an extensive menu. Sometimes, it’s mind boggling deciding what to order. Wished that these menus had pictures, makes the ordering much simpler right? Anyway, these days I will just scan for dishes that were highlighted, is a combination or a sampler.

I found what I wanted from their Factory Combination menu — the Steak Diane and herb Crusted Salmon. This is served with three scoops of mashed potatoes, flavoured but not sure with what. I just know it tasted good. Costs $19.95 … not bad.

_MG_0024_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: Stoney River Legendary Steaks

Landed in Atlanta at about 4pm and was beginning to feel hungry. I only had a snackbox in the plane the entire day. I will be in Atlanta for the rest of the week. This time, I told myself that as much as there are work to be done, I really need to also enjoy myself. No more room service, nor any more walking across the street to the nearby mall’s food court.

The Cumberland Mall, just behind my hotel, had just underwent a complete makeover. The Mall had included a stretch of more upscale dining options along one side of the mall. This is so timely as I only have a short walk from the hotel to these places.

Stoney River Legendary sounded like a great place to start my culinary adventure in Atlanta. I have never heard of Stoney River before but looking in from the outside, I can see that this place is a tad bit upscale. Looks like a great place and the ambiance terrific … so Rob and I decided to give this place a try.

_MG_0011_edited-1

We did not have to wait long for a table and the service were prompt and attentive. The waitress recommended their Coffee-Cured Filet. I liked the description and ordered that — more of it later.

The meal started with an excellent basket of hot bread just off the stove. The butter just melted in the bread as it was spread. It was so good, I could just have my fill of bread alone.

_MG_0004_edited-1

Despite the name, the Coffee-Cured had only a very slight hint of coffee. This steak is found on their Specialty Steaks section. The meat is supposed to have been only grain-fed, aged in the restaurant and trimmed by hand — in other words, expensive. This plate costs $29.99.

While the food was great, the presentation could have been more creative. For that price, I would have expected a prettier arrangement.

_MG_0005_edited-1 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report: United’s Snackbox

A few weeks back I had to make another trip to Atlanta on business. Having just came back from Malaysia just the week after, I really dreaded another change in time zone. Man, I had so many trips this year, I must admit that I am really sick and tired of all these travelling.

I flew United from Vancouver to Atlanta. I had flew the same airline on the same sector before and had blogged about the United Airlines Snackboxes here. Back then I had the one of their four snackboxes called the Mini Meal.

For a change, I ordered their Quick Pick Snack Box. All their snackboxes costs $5 cash. Snackboxes on United Airlines are available only for flights 3 hours or longer. There are four snackboxes to select from: Quick Pick, Mini Meal, Smart Pack and Right Bite. This blog is about the Quick Pick Snackbox.

_MG_9983

The Quick Pick is plainly described as comfort food and had a really wide selection packed into the box. As I opened it, I know that Nanzaro and Arkensen would certainly love to have this box, so would Suanne — it does look that appealing. In the box there are … Tortilla Chips and Salsa, Cheese Snacks, Trail Mix …

_MG_9987

… Smoked Dried Beef Chunks, and Cookies. I normally like cookies crunchy but the Chipper Gourmet Cookies is really something else. This chocolate chip cookie is soft, moist and fresh — very nice.

_MG_9988 Continue reading

Atlanta Trip Report Day 1

We thought we will take a break on blogging about recipes and such — and will instead blog for the next two weeks of my business trips to Atlanta and London. There’s going to be a total of 34 hours of flying time in all! However, so not to turn off our blog readers, I will continue to blog about food.

_MG_5748_edited-1

So, for the next four days, I will be in Atlanta, Georgia. You know what I hate most about going to the States? It’s getting thru US customs and immigration. Those guys have a perpetual scowl on their face. Treats everyone as either potential illegal immigrants or terrorists, if you ask me. Why, while queuing up to clear immigration, there was this young woman with her cute 5-year girl ahead of me. The little was bubbly and tried chatting with the immigration officer. You know what happened? The immigration officer upgraded his scowl to a growl — poor girl.

_MG_5753_edited-1

I have always been proud to live in best city in the world (OK, the 3rd best city in the world this year but for a long time we were No 1). It’s so beautiful. We have everything within minutes from downtown — the sea, the mountains. The setting is just beautiful. Vancouver is about the only place in the world where you could sail, golf and ski on the same day.

In the foreground is the University of British Columbia. In many other cities, this piece of land would have been prime real estate but no, the forefathers of Vancouver had the foresight to reserve this for an university. Unless you are a Vancouverite, I bet you don’t know that there is a nudist beach right smack in the university. Never been there because they insists on fair-play.

_MG_5755_edited-1 Continue reading