Looking for something different other than the best foods of Atlanta 2010? Search no further - as the year comes to an end, here's some of the tastiest foods I ate in Athens, GA.
While this college town lacks diverse, ethnic options and the hype many Atlanta restaurants possess, Athens has its fair share of good eateries enough to keep any college student or local happy with a full belly for 365 days. From the hip White Tiger Gourmet, the rustic Farm 255, town favorite Last Resort, to the dainty 5&10 - there's something for everyone in this town.
Here are some of my favorite foods I ate in Athens this calendar year:
Most Surprisingly Delicious and Best Tapas at Speakeasy
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my experience at Speakeasy because of iPhone issues. Their paella, flavor wise, is tasty and well cooked. The duck confit risotto is very good as well with an excellent confit that's crispy on the outside and so very tender on the inside. I enjoyed the watermelon salad special they had going on during the summer. Other notables include the steak frites minus the frites with a perfectly cooked hanger steak and the barbecue duck with an excellent barbecue sauce.
Did you know? It's a great place for a romantic dinner for two. Kudos Speakeasy!
2 Eggs Breakfast with Bacon at Big City Bread
I love the red mule grits (read - not instant grits) that come with the 2 egg breakfast at BCB. The grits are creamy but they still have some resistance giving it a great consistency. I get mine with over easy eggs, sourdough and bacon. That buttered, toasted sourdough and those grits are enough to bring me back to this place over and over again for breakfast.
Burger and Butcher's Block at Farm 255
Clocked, Last Resort, Trapeze, Royal Peasant, White Tiger...I've had them all but when it comes to burgers, Farm 255 tops my list in Athens. Here's my thing though with the burger at Farm 255 - it's inconsistent. When it's good it's a really tasty, juicy burger that's worth every penny. When it's "bad" (relative to good), it's still decent but I can't justify spending ~$18 plus tip on it when there's a Five Guys right down the street on Broad Street. The whole burger can be bland or too salty at times although the meat itself is delicious every single time.
Also worth getting at Farm 255 (if it's on the menu) is their butcher's block. What comes on the block may differ on a nightly basis but that pork confit at the top right corner has been there every single time and it's so freaking good. The sweet pork fat melts in your mouth and the meat itself is so tender that it pretty much disintegrates on its own. I'm pretty sure I could eat a whole platter of that by myself. Get some!
Tacos and Sope (not Tex-Mex) at Sr. Sol
Great Mexican food is pretty hard to find here and while Sr. Sol might not be as good as establishments you'll find on Buford Highway, it's one of the best places you'll be able to find real Mexican food. Two corn tortillas hold together tasty meats of your choosing topped with diced onions and cilantro. Cheap, simple, yummy and no frills attached. I also enjoyed the sope that's pictured on the right priced at about $2.50 - cheap for Athens standards.
Pub Food and Bangers&Mash at The Royal Peasant
I really enjoy all the foods that The Royal Peasant has to offer but if I have to pick one out of all the rest, I'd have to go with their bangers and mash. The buttery mash makes a perfect pillow for the 2 British bangers and turmeric cabbage. The tomato gravy that accompanies the dish is excellent with its sweetness and slight acidity. It kinda reminds me of a better version of Heinz 57 sauce. Did I mention that the food's cheap too? Win, win - go now and catch the Man U game!
P.S. - Hi Tanya!
Lunch Specials at Farm Cart
Lunch item, chips and water at a flat price listed on the chalk board. Made to order and delicious. What more could you want?
Big Butt Sandwich at Butt Hutt
When the barbecue pork craving hits me I drive up Baxter street past all the freshmen college dorms to the Butt Hutt. I don't care too much for the sides but that pork sandwich is delicious. Smoky, tender and juicy - yum!
Curry Chicken Sandwich at Marti's at Midday
You gotta love a sandwich that has two slices of toasted bread, made on premises, with a curry chicken salad filling the size of an ice cream scoop. The curry flavor isn't too strong so you won't go back to work or school breathing curry out with every breath - always a positive. Aside from the sandwich, you get pita chips that's made in house with some fruit. The $9 or so you spend up front may seem like a lot at first but once you see the portions Chef Marti is giving you, there shouldn't be any complaints. Simple, clean and generous portions that everybody can relate to.
You'll see Chef Marti expediting like a champ and doing everything else at the same time. Say hi if you catch her on a break!
Late Night Munchies - Choo Choo
Ok. I know this isn't real Korean food or Japanese food. Can I make this clear again? Say it with me everyone - Choo Choo is not Korean or Japanese food! But there comes a time when your stomach growls in the midst of extreme studying that craves fried rice and meat. Enter - Choo Choo. Open till ridiculously late hours (like 2am or 4am) you can get enough friend rice to feed an O-lineman and your choice of protein for about $6-8. People love that yellow sauce but I personally find it disgusting and only use the soy sauce with ginger for my meats. Don't judge - just eat.
By the way - their kimchi is absolutely hideous. It makes me ashamed to be a Korean. Stay away from it at all costs when they offer it to you as a side for your bibimbap.
What were some of your favorite foods in 2010? Have a happy new year everyone!