Saturday, December 11, 2010

All You Can Eat

A statewide organization I belong to coordinates a professional development day once a year. The annual professional development day revolves around a different event every year. Mostly it's an opportunity to have fun with colleagues from elsewhere in the state.

For no particular reason I haven't participated in the professional development day for a couple of years. A month or so ago they announced the 2010 day would be a walking food tour in downtown Athens. Since it was close I decided to sign up.

The day of the event I had second thoughts. The temperature was a chilly 40 degrees. As it was too late to back out, I told myself at least the sun was out and headed out to the University of Georgia Arches to meet up with the group.

Our tour guide originated the Athens Walking Food Tours. She also runs a dog sitting service and teaches several spin classes. For her real job she works at the State Botanical Garden. Did I mention she's only 24? This kid is clearly going places.

The walking tour started at 11:00. Over the next three hours we hit six different locally-owned establishments for tastings. I worried about getting enough to eat.

We started off at Jittery Joe's with coffee samples and an interesting coffee-roasting demonstration. Our coffeemaker at home uses whole beans (Eight O'Clock in the brown bag because it's cheap and Consumer Reports says it's the best). I'm going back to Jittery Joe's soon to start the process of identifying my own favorite.

Our second stop was Whiplash Cafe on the ground floor of a new high-rise. We had pizza (artichoke and asparagus) and a nice Caesar bow-tie pasta salad. I'd never even heard of this place but definitely plan on going back.

The third and fourth stops were familiar to me. We had a salad and two pasta dishes at La Dolce Vita--all better than what I recalled from an earlier visit shortly after they opened. I want to go back for more of the penne and sausage. Yum!

At Casa Mia we had a glass of Sangria (available in red or white) and pigged out on a variety of tapas. I've been to Casa Mia several times. The food is good but the dishes are hard to share--the key reason for going to a tapas restaurant.

Clocked (no web page) was the fifth stop on our tour. Though primarily vegan, the burgers have been voted Athens' Best more years than not. They served a fourth of a burger (topped with peanut butter and bacon), their famous sweet potato fries and a blueberry milkshake.

The last stop on our tour was Yoguri Ice Cream (no web site). I've heard great things but unfortunately, was too stuffed to even think about dessert. In fact, I skipped it, waddled back to my car and didn't eat again until lunch the next day.

There are several different tours available here in Athens. I definitely want to check out some of the tours for parts of Athens outside of downtown. It was fun and the time flew by.

Walking food tours are popping up all over the country. If they have one where you live, check it out. If not, come to Athens and take ours. I highly recommend it.

Though fat and happy, I'm still...

The Crotchety Old Man

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