Barbecue and “Cuppycakes,” Around Athens GA

I’ll try not to get too detailed with silly backstory with this one, but I can tell already that it might be tempting. Y’all bear with me.

I was supposed to go to Athens on Labor Day weekend, but I picked up some extra hours instead. I hadn’t decided where I was going to eat, but I was looking forward to a nice, long, relaxing day. I put it off two weeks. Then we had a daycare crisis. They kind of shut down and moved on us. So my mother volunteered to watch the baby until we found new arrangements. I felt it would be wrong to spend a day playing in Athens while my mother watched the baby, so he needed to come with me. Then he started being a real handful, evidently not enjoying the routine change while simultaneously beginning serious teething. I figured I could use some help, and my daughter had spent four weeks not getting in any trouble, so she could take a hooky day and help out. Continue reading “Barbecue and “Cuppycakes,” Around Athens GA”

Johnny’s Bar-B-Q and The Collegiate Grill, Gainesville GA

Well, here’s a trip that did not go as planned at all. Somewhat off my radar – as he’s not an Urbanspoon blogger yet – is a very good barbecue writer named Buster Evans. A few weeks ago, I found his blog and read an entry, from February, about a restaurant in Gainesville called 3 Li’l Pigs. They serve chicken mull! Marie and I had not been through Gainesville in a very long time, and our baby had not met our friends Matt and Kelley, so I suggested we meet up there for lunch a couple of Saturdays ago. Continue reading “Johnny’s Bar-B-Q and The Collegiate Grill, Gainesville GA”

Stonewall’s BBQ, Braselton GA

When I planned our eight-meal, 600-mile trip through South Carolina, I also divided up the driving chores, optimistic that Marie and I would each handle about half of the load. However, I noticed that she was really getting tired while I was driving back down I-85 from Charlotte. She passed on a snack at Spartanburg’s Del Taco, was so beat by the time we arrived at The Beacon that she wasn’t sure whether she wanted lettuce on her hamburger, and, taking the wheel for what was planned to be the 120-mile leg from Spartanburg to our final restaurant destination in Braselton, Georgia, she took a deep, deep breath and gave it her best, but still pulled over before we left the state, completely exhausted and unable to stay awake. She did a terrific job, but this road trip took an awful lot out of her. I took over the driving and she closed her very patient eyes for another well-deserved nap. She missed a really pretty sunset. Continue reading “Stonewall’s BBQ, Braselton GA”

The Smith House, Dahlonega GA (take two)

Okay, so we’re driving up Georgia 400 to the wonderful little town of Dahlonega, and a few miles past that first, always-surprising, traffic light a few miles into Forsyth County, there’s a billboard for the Smith House that encourages traveling diners: “Now, more than ever, rediscover the tradition.” Continue reading “The Smith House, Dahlonega GA (take two)”

The Smith House and Connie’s Ice Cream Parlor, Dahlonega GA

Last week, my son phoned down from Kentucky to tell me something that was probably critically important at the time. He asked what we were doing that weekend and I told him that his sister and I were going to lunch at the Smith House in Dahlonega while Marie drove up to Athens to run over bicyclists at the Twilight Criterium. My son whined – he does that – that he wanted to come, too. I told him he’d better get a move on, then. The call ended disappointingly for each of us; we both wanted him to come to the Smith House with us. I’d never been; he enjoyed a school trip up there in fifth grade. Oddly, my daughter had figured that would be her fifth grade trip as well, but instead she went to Chattanooga to visit Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium, and they fed her class Cici’s Pizza. That’s budget cuts for you. Continue reading “The Smith House and Connie’s Ice Cream Parlor, Dahlonega GA”

Hawg Wild BBQ & Catfish House, Clarkesville GA

Suddenly, as the Flaming Lips once put it, everything has changed.

We got back from the coast with a slightly depleted bank balance, so we ate at home for a week. The following Saturday, we drove up to Tallulah Falls. The gorge, where we enjoy a couple of hours hiking, is one of my favorite places in the world, and an absolutely perfect getaway. Over the course of our visits, we’ve discovered a favorite roadside market and some good barbecue in the nearby town of Clayton, but this time, I wanted to find something new. Continue reading “Hawg Wild BBQ & Catfish House, Clarkesville GA”