Food Review: The South is sweet, not spicy

On Sunday night I flew to Athens, GA for MSCNE 2009, a conference for editors of student news media. Well, after the first 12 hour day of classes I realized this would be a long week of hotel food, college cafeteria fare and fast food.

It was a rough start to my foodie week. It started Sunday night with dry chicken, bland honey mustard sauce and over-cooked broccoli that will never make a good dinner even if it is catered by a hotel with a trained chef.

As for the offerings in the UGA cafeteria, it was pretty yuck. Georgia does not know how to do Mexican. The state loves their sweet and for some reason the salsas and guacamoles I sampled were sweet. There is also an overabundance of mayonnaise on nearly everything including in guacamole from the student cafeteria. I do have to praise their sweet tea though, it was yummy.

Friday afternoon Rikki, Jenny and I went to Don Juan in the CNN center in Atlanta. Once we got the mayo-guac with our chips and salsa we knew we should be afraid. Don Juan also advertised serving enchiladas with gravy. I mean really guys? Are there no Mexicans in your state? American food and Mexican food can mix and work, but brown gravy should never be the sauce to a spicy corn wrapped meat.

The end of the week brought the yummy to my week of food.

Thursday night Melissa, Rikki, Jenny and I went to RA Sushi. For mysterious reasons the menu described nearly every roll with cream cheese. Luckily they also had all the basics like caterpillar, rainbow and California rolls so I was a happy camper. The sushi was fresh and delicious. Melissa was terrified to try the raw fish, but she seemed pretty happy with the chicken terriyaki. I was proud of her for being brave enough to try the veggie roll Rikki ordered.

After days of deep-fried and mayo covered food, it was nice to eat something as fresh and light as the sushi at RA. The restaurant is very lounge-y and super cool as it caters to the young professional night life of Midtown Atlanta. After RA I think everyone felt ten times better about six days of living in hotel rooms and duffel bags.

Around midnight Friday, Melissa and I went to Taco Mac for some munchies. I ordered the original buffalo wings with french fries. Taco Mac was voted “Best Wings in Atlanta” at one point in their history because it says so on their menu. And I can see why.

The wings looked a little dry when they made their appearance. Thankfully appearances are misleading and the chicken was tender and juicy. The flavor was a nice blend of sweet and hot. Our server Louis said his favorite is the habanero spicy, but I stuck with medium. The blue cheese dressing on the side cooled the heat nicely. The fries were salty, crispy and fresh. I had them with a decent ranch dressing, but I missed fry sauce.

Louis also pointed out that Georgia is the home of Coke so asking for Pepsi is not wise. If you like soda, you will only find Coke products in the entire state. Nice little tidbit for you.

Saturday morning started off with my favorite breakfast at the Midtown Cafe. I started off with coffee and water. The coffee like most in my Georgia experience was weak, but it was definitely the best cup I had in Atlanta. The two eggs over-medium came out a little closer to over-easy and without any salt or pepper which I quickly remedied. Toast is toast and I don’t really have anything to say other than yays for real butter. The hash browns suffered the same fate as the eggs and had no salt or pepper. But the potato was cooked all the way through and crispy on the outside so I dug right in and was happy to pay the $7 for a full breakfast.

After that it was back to airports and mass transit, now I’m off to enjoy some down home Salt City food.

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2 thoughts on “Food Review: The South is sweet, not spicy

  1. Thanks, Stevi. Yeah, I think the gravy with enchiladas was the most shocking combination of Southern/Mexican cuisine. Maybe I'll make a crusade out of teaching Gerogia the awesome that is spice.

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