We Tracked the Food Trucks to Smyrna

If our previous chapters about Atlanta’s food trucks have suggested that I’m still a little confused by them, that’s reasonable. As much as I wish to like the idea of them, something about the way they’re wrangled and rodeoed in Atlanta has left me stumped. It doesn’t help that not a month goes by without some bizarre bit of weird press, usually related to the city of Atlanta or one of the properties upon which the trucks park finding some new reason to inconvenience the trucks’ owners with some new permit or requirement. Continue reading “We Tracked the Food Trucks to Smyrna”

Pure Sodaworks, Chattanooga TN

One day early this summer, one of those little recommendations on the right-hand side of Facebook actually proved useful. It suggested that I look at something called Pure Sodaworks, and I’m glad that I did. Last year, Matt and Tiffany Rogers and their friend Shawn Clouse opened a little storefront on Chattanooga’s River Street, and also put a cart together to go join the food trucks, wherever they roam. They’re making some very clever and very tasty soda concoctions from an old-fashioned jerk pump, squirting the syrups and mixing them with bursts of soda water. They use natural cane sugar along with “organic ingredients, locally sourced fruits, and focus on funky flavors,” and are in the process of attracting investors to get their bottling operation up and running. Continue reading “Pure Sodaworks, Chattanooga TN”

The Starlight Cafe, Marietta GA (CLOSED)

Growing up, I remember a restaurant on the Marietta Square called Jimmy the Greek. At the time, I was aware that CBS Sports had a commentator who went by that name. It’s not like ten or eleven year-olds pay that much attention to who provides commentary and picks before the games or the fights, but Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder (born, according to Wikipedia, Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos in Steubenville, Ohio in 1918) was so well-known that, like his peer at ABC, Howard Cosell, he was parodied on many of the sitcoms, variety shows and Saturday morning programs that I watched as a kid. And, as a kid, using child-logic, I concluded that the real Jimmy the Greek must have not only owned the restaurant by that name in Marietta, but also greeted guests and cooked all the food. I vaguely recall being disappointed to learn that was not the case. I really wanted to meet another celebrity. By the age of eleven, I think the only celebrities that I had ever met were behind tables at car shows. Continue reading “The Starlight Cafe, Marietta GA (CLOSED)”

CamiCakes, Vinings GA and Sugar Shack, Atlanta GA

Sweet stuff! Normally, Marie tackles the little chapters about snacks and desserts, but in today’s post, I wanted to share about a couple of treats that we enjoyed a couple of Saturdays back.

Cupcake boutiques have been growing in popularity a lot lately, probably led by the success of the Gigi’s chain. It’s led to a few other locally-owned places that we have visited once or twice, and a few other small chains. One of these is CamiCakes, which has two stores in Florida and two in the Atlanta area. The second of these opened up in Vinings, and a part of me swears that they moved into a space that, until recently, housed another cupcake place. Then again, I’m so old that I remember when the ground that this strip mall occupies was home to a Majik Market.

Marie and I took the children over to my mom’s house, and she watched the baby while the three of us and Neal, whom we had not seen in a few weeks, had lunch at Vinings’ Figo Pasta. We then walked over to get some desserts here. This was not very easy, as Vinings is really, really pedestrian unfriendly.

I think that these probably do the job better than anyplace else in town. They are just terrific, and so rich that a single cake is perfectly satisfying. I had a “black and white” of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, Marie had the chocolate raspberry almond cream – yes, you read that correctly – and Ivy had mint chocolate. We brought one back for my mom as thanks for watching the baby while we ate, because we’re even sweeter than cupcakes, we are.

So, some hours and one heck of a great football game later, we came back down I-75. This time, we were without my daughter, who went over to a friend’s house to stay up all night and drink lots of soda, as tween girls do. We had supper with friends, as you’ll see in the next chapter, and as we were leaving, I started thinking about some place we could get a late-night treat. I recalled that we passed a place called Sugar Shack in the strip malls across the street from the Brookhaven MARTA station, and hoped that it might be open.

This appears to be the only Sugar Shack around at this time, but it is looks to be corporate-designed by an ownership group, Metrotainment Cafes, for easy exporting into other locations should the demand arise. I have to say, though, that when we stopped by, things were pretty slow and there wasn’t a lot of demand for their cakes and treats.

Marie had a slice of one of their extremely good chocolate cakes, but my eye was taken by a great big round red thing. It was a red velvet Whoopie Pie. I had never heard of these treats before, although, in a really weird coincidence, my friend Natalia, who’s from upstate New York, mentioned literally three days later that she had just tried to bake one for a friend and failed. Whoopie Pies are two big “cookies” of cake surrounding an icing. The layers are softer than cookies yet firmer and less crumbly than cake and, in the case of the red velvet variety, the icing is cream cheese. It’s apparently more traditional to see them as chocolate cakes surrounding vanilla frosting.

I looked up Whoopie Pies on Wikipedia and was amused to see that Pennsylvanians and Mainers are in a long-running war of attrition as to which state can claim the delicacy. Each side has my sympathies; as a Georgian, I’m not about to cede the origin of Brunswick stew to anybody who thinks it came from some county in Virginia. The idea!

The other Camicakes store in town, on Peachtree, was where I snuck off to find myself a banana cream cupcake, and it was wonderful. I’m conspiring to stop by one or the other location again really soon for another.

Other blog posts about CamiCakes:

Amy on Food (May 7 2010)
Pandas and Cupcakes (Oct. 5 2010)
Cupcake Crusade (May 14 2011)

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”

Gigi’s Cupcakes

When Grant was planning the itinerary for an afternoon together, he included Gigi’s because of my taste for sweets and our daughter’s more specific adoration of cupcakes. Sadly, neither of us showed much enthusiasm. The girlchild was under the weather and wanted to sit out this food trek, asking only for a comfort snack of Krystal to be borne home to her after we were done. In my case the problem was the memory of another dedicated cupcake store in Nashville. When I reminded him of that visit, Grant diplomatically replied that he understood I had been “underwhelmed” by that place. So I figured I would hold my enthusiasm until we went to his selection. More on that later. Continue reading “Gigi’s Cupcakes”

Dreamcakes, Birmingham AL

This is Marie, contributing a very small chapter about some very small cakes.

As any reader of this blog knows, desserts are well-nigh irresistible attractions for me. Generally, therefore, I don’t work very hard to locate places that serve chocolates, sweets, cakes and pies because they tend to creep up on me and drag me in all on their own. That’s what happened with Dreamcakes. Continue reading “Dreamcakes, Birmingham AL”