Hey ya'll! I just got back from Georgia. This weekend we went to a wedding in Pine Mountain, GA. It's a small, vacation town about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta. It was my first time visiting this part of the south, and I took with me a whole bunch of stereotypes and expectations, all of which were completely dissolved by the end of my trip. Let me start by saying, the people are incredible. So nice, so friendly. I swear I made like 15 friends in the span of two days.
But speaking of stereotypes, I have to be honest and admit I packed a bag full of nuts & zucchini bread and prepared myself for a weekend of not eating much, since I figured my options would be fried chicken, steak, grits and mashed potatoes. I figured vegetarianism hadn't quite caught on yet and the chance of finding salads and vegetable-based entrees on menus was slim to none. But what I thought could not have been more wrong. The first day we arrived my sweet husband got in about 2 hours ahead of me, found a raw vegan cafe right in the heart of Atlanta and picked me up one of the best salads I've ever had. Have I mentioned he's the best? Have I mentioned the salad was fresh and not deep fried? Yeah, pretty cool. Atlanta is totally up on the times and totally cooler than I ever expected it to be.
We drove through Columbus then eventually made it to Pine Mountain. A super cute little vacation town, home to Callaway Gardens, this massive garden/resort destination where the wedding was held. Upon entering the hotel I realized that much like visiting another country with a different language, everyone here would tell we were from out of town because we lacked their fabulously thick, yet wonderfully endearing southern accent (which I later learned varies from other parts of the south). Within about 5 minutes I had be-friended the woman in the gift shop and when I told her this was my first time visiting Georgia and I was a little out of my element , she leaned over and whispered in the most fantastic Georgian accent "okay, first thing: get bug spray!". She was wise and I should have headed her advice.
The weekend was filled mainly with wedding festivities. I learned how to be a good wife and stand by my husband as he talked engineering and ships with his college buddies. I cried during the couple's vows. And I went antique shopping! This town doesn't have much, but for what it lacks, it makes up for in antique shops. While my husband was doing groomsman stuff, I took myself on an afternoon date and spent 4 hours exploring them all. I think the fact that whatever I bought had to fit on an air plane the next day seriously spared my credit card, because I only ended up with this fantastic old copper kettle from 19th century England that I'm completely obsessed with it. I ate strawberry goat cheese salad and strawberry vinaigrette and toured the property's huge vegetable garden. It was all pretty fantastic.
The final day we headed back to Atlanta and thanks to yelp (seriously how did people choose restaurants before it?) we found the most fantastic bakery ever. If you plan a trip to Atlanta you must go to Highland Bakery in the Old Fourth Ward. It is home to sweet potato pancakes with brown sugar maple syrup and pecans and it is the best pancake I have ever eaten IN. MY. LIFE. No exaggeration. But if you can't make it to Atlanta, don't worry, I've already began the process of recreating it at home and I assure you I won't rest until it's perfect.
After brunch we walked around the belt line, this awesome board-walk type pedestrian/cyclist road way complete with photography from local artists, freshly planted trees, and surrounded by the quaintest old brick buildings lined with ivy. Who knew Atlanta was so progressive, modern, and beautiful? Not me.
This trip pretty much made me re-evaluate every snarky comment I've ever made about the south, because my three-day excursion to Atlanta could not have been better.
And because I didn't get to spend the weekend in my kitchen, and I don't have a fresh new recipe hot off the press, I bring you links to inspire. Enjoy!
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting from Half Baked Harvest make me ready for it to be Fall asap.
Same with Bon Appetit's Brown Butter Apple Tart
OMG. And this Chai Spiced Apple Cake with Mascarpone Frosting by Foodess
On the healthier side, check out Joy the Baker's Apple + Fennel + Pistachio + Apricot Salad
If you're like me and need another reason to buy a Vitamix, check out Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk
Nothing says Fall like Alexandra Cooks' Butternut Squash with Crispy Sage Pizza
I've made The First Mess's Simple Grilled Sweet Potato + Black Bean Burrito Bowls (with spicy cumin garlic drizzle) three times in the last month and they are so freaking good.
I'm dying to make Green Kitchen Stories' Baked Herb & Pistachio Falafel
If you've still got late-summer zucchini laying around make Flourishing Foodie's Zucchini & Corn Parmesan Fritters or my Simple Vegan Zucchini Bread