A gas-station fruit stand On Ponce de Leon Avenue

While the rest of the East Coast (including the lovely Jessy!) was enjoying the Cherry Blossom festival in my hometown, I dodged traffic and allergies by taking a short trip to Atlanta to see some of my best friends from college. I have to say that I love Atlanta more than almost any place on earth- its funky, diverse, full of weirdos from all over, and spilling out all over with its own brand of music, art, fashion and food. This weekend I was thrilled to see some of my favorite people and places... and not that much has changed since I lived there!

Cabbage-town, home to delicious food and lots of dogs and chickens

When I arrived, my pal B. and her shy and retiring girlfriend Kiki (hehe) met me fresh off the MARTA and carted me off to the awesome East Atlanta Village taqueria, Cantina La Casita. The menu here has expanded a bit since the last time I was there, but they still have awesome guacamole and salsa, killer mushroom tacos, and a new treat: peanut butter plaintain tacos. They also have a variety of tamales and other options. (And did I mention margaritas?) We happened to be there on trivia night: did you know  that Australia has no active volcanos? (Me neither!)

The next day, while my hosts were at work, I met my darling friend Maggie to hike around and find sustenance. Atlanta is many things, but its not particularly friendly to people with no wheels. No matter though, since most of the things we wanted to check out were in walking distance. We had lunch at the less-vegan-friendly-than-I remembered Radial on Dekalb ave, got coffee at Java Monkey (which also has delicious vegan rasberry-fudge cake), and much later a few beers at Twains, all in my college-aged haunt Decatur (properly pronounced "DeeKaaaaaayter".)

                                           Yours truly at Twain's in Decatur

While we were pretty tame our first night all together, the second evening we had a little retro-style dancing and debauchery in mind. So of course we hit up the Cabbagetown favorite 97 Estoria, location of a variety of scandalous evenings in our past, and also home to some damn good food and beer. I got the vegan riblet sandwich with caramelized onions on ciabatta bread, while my girls split the awesome falafel sandwich.

The music was rocking at Estoria, but for oldtime's sake we had to head over to MJQ, a converted underground parking lot that often has the best dance party in Atlanta, if you can catch it on a good night. Sometimes its just riddled with hipsters and the music sucks, but we had decent luck, and it was pretty much hilarious to see my rather strait-laced, adulty friend B. transform into her wild college-era self, dancing for hours and beating off the boys that flock to her like flies to honey. A real heartbreaker on the dancefloor, that one. :)

Nursing a hangover we headed out the next morning to one of my all-time fave's: Ria's Bluebird, on Memorial ave in spitting distance of the cemetary. This brunch-heaven has inspired plenty of my own breakfasts since I moved away, so it was great to experience the original! I got the "bionic breakfast"- a vegan hash packed with potatoes, mushrooms, corn, sprouts, and a killer spicy tofu sauce. I think this breakfast gave me super-powers.... if only I could have it every weekend!                    
There are also plenty of other vegan options, 
including a killer tofu scramble and options for subbing tofu for eggs in other recipes.

                                 Bionic Breakfast at Ria's Bluebird in Grant Park

Aside from visiting a handful of my favorite institutions, I was also lucky enough to experience some of B's own delicious cooking: Oat- pecan pancakes with berries and bananas. Here's the recipe, courtesy of B!:
B's Vegan Oat Nut Pancakes

Serves 4.

3/4 c. white flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon & nutmeg, each
1/4 c. toasted & chopped walnuts (or pecans!)
1/4 c. quick-cooking oats
1 1/3 c. soy milk (vanilla is good)
1 T. veggie oil
1 tsp. maple syrup

Mix wet. Mix dry and add the wet to the dry. As a bonus, caramelize some bananas or apples, or spread the pancakes with PB (the one time I'll eat PB any way other than straight out of the jar). I adjust the spices and baking powder according to my taste that morning, so if you want 'em fluffier and spicier, add a little extra.

I was so happy to be able to even briefly hit up my Atlanta before the end-of-semester madness really kicks in. And now I'm looking forward to a few weeks free of traveling and/ or visitors to get my act together and finish up this law school bullshit!

Song of the Day: Lil' Mama- Lip gloss


Mihl said...

Thanks for this virtual tour of Atlanta! The Bionic Breakfast looks yummy and healthy as do B's pancakes.

jessy said...

i loved the tour, T! and thanks for the shout-out, too! you rock! good plan on get'n out of DC while all the craziness was go'n on. traffic wasn't as bad as i expected there, but i think that's because i was too darn excited about the race & vegan cuppies to give a shiz about the traffic. aahahahaha! i had no idea ATL had so much gloriousness to offer! hooray for dancing, drink'n, and grub'n with friends! peanut butter plaintain tacos sound like heaven, and vegan riblet sammie?!? sweet jeebus! that bionic breakfast bowl looks damn delicious - spicy tofu sauce - yeah! B.'s pancakes look super scrumptious! thanks for the recipe! i love the idea of caramelize'n some naners to top them along with some peanut butter. that sounds so freak'n gooooooood! mmmmmmmmmmmm!

superw00t for getting to enjoy a rock'n weekend with friends and relax for a bit before all the madness starts up again!

thanks again for the tour! :)

pixiepine said...

Nice tour!

veggievixen said...

awesome! i've only been to atlanta once but i am tempted to go back and explore the veggie/vegan scene. those pancakes look awesome! will definitely try.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Gosh, I wish we had a corner falafel shop!!

River said...

How fun! I love the picture of you sitting back and relaxing, you look so happy!

I want those Oat Nut Pancakes!!

Anonymous said...

Great tour - I've never been to Gorgia, other than driving through it when I was little. Sounds cool - and seeing old college pals is great, too.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I went to Atlanta (from Arlington, VA) during the same week you did! I really wasn't stalking you! I was also amused by the sign at the gas station! I saw it on my way to Sevananda to get some vegan blondies to bring home to the family!

Jenny said...

These pancakes were delicious. Thank you for posting the recipe! I had not thought of caramelizing bananas before either. So good!!