Julie Darling Donuts, Chattanooga TN

Two weeks ago, we got on the road again for our third trip out of town in three weeks. This time, our destination was the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, about which more in the next chapter, with secondary stops in Chattanooga that I will come back to next week. The most direct route to Scottsboro from Marietta is through Rome and across Lookout and Sand Mountains, but I decided to make this as much of an interstate trip as we could so that we might get there and back quicker. We even thought that we might be home before sundown. Heh. I heard a radio spot at a restaurant in the morning that said, “From Soddy-Daisy to Sand Mountain…” and darned if that wasn’t precisely the range that we covered on this trip. Continue reading “Julie Darling Donuts, Chattanooga TN”

Dough in the Box, Marietta GA

I continue to be pleasantly surprised to find successful restaurants in the suburbs that mostly avoid online notice or raving. Now, it’s certainly true that I do have one of my fellow bloggers, Blissful Glutton Jennifer Zyman, to thank for bringing Dough in the Box to my attention when she gave it a writeup for Creative Loafing last year, but, heck, everybody should be talking about this place. Marie and I drove over there to bring home some breakfast last Saturday and these are really excellent doughnuts. Certainly, Sublime Doughnuts does everything oh-so-right with their carefree and vaguely ridiculous creations, but these basic and simple no-frills creations, quite reminiscent of the Great American Donut Shop in Bowling Green, Kentucky are just about as good, and really nicely priced at $7 for a dozen. Continue reading “Dough in the Box, Marietta GA”

Starkville, Mississippi – part two

So I’ve been talking about our trip into the Deep South and finding some pretty good food along the way. Nothing in Mississippi had really completely knocked me for a loop, but Starkville might just not be the right place in the state. All the evidence points towards the Delta region, or Hattiesburg, being full of interesting places to eat.

But that’s not to say that Starkville is completely without charms. We certainly didn’t have any bad meals here, although the stunning number of crummy national fast food joints on Highway 12 will make anybody slowly shake their head. The first full day was pretty good, but the discoveries of the second day were even better. Continue reading “Starkville, Mississippi – part two”

Donut King, Snellville GA

One of my favorite foodie blogs is the “increasingly-inaccurately named” (as Douglas Adams might have termed it) Food Near Snellville. I noticed his work several months ago – he and Jennifer Zyman’s Blissful Glutton have been in a war of attrition for the top spot on Urbanspoon for the Atlanta region – and even though he’s based in one of this region’s many traffic-clogged, sprawling messes, he gets out to plenty of good restaurants and writes with a sense of infectious fun. To celebrate his finally claiming the number one spot from Blissful Glutton, we headed over to his turf.

Okay, that’s a complete lie. To be perfectly honest, Snellville, nothing more to me than that oft-gridlocked, badly traffic-managed corridor between Stone Mountain and Loganville, just happened to be on the road back from Walnut Grove, which we visited a week ago for our roadfood tour. Well, since we’re never in that neck of the woods, I wondered whether there might be anything we could grab for a snack after lunch at Kelly’s, just to try something a little different. And as for finding a new thing to try, I did this little trick: I zoomed in really close on US 78 in Google Maps until the names of restaurants started showing up. Donut King stood out, so I figured we’d each grab a treat there.

Yeah, sometimes here, you get lovingly-told stories of our life spent eating well and the wonderful histories that we have with favorite restaurants, and sometimes you get this. Anyway, there’s some really good doughnuts in Snellville.

Honestly, other than food, I’m hard-pressed to come up with a single reason to visit Snellville. Well, fair’s fair, food is, you know, second to friends as the best reason to visit anywhere, but the town is seriously lacking in bookshops and record stores. Several years ago, the kids and I were coming back from Athens this way just to have something different to see and we stopped into this utter craphole of a CD store where my son bought a VHS copy of the awful film Space Jam and the idiot behind the register wouldn’t let my daughter use the restroom. Even that place is gone now.

Food-wise, Snellville looks to be a chain paradise, with only a few standouts. Sri Thai sounds very promising, and FNS gave that place a good review. Actually, doing a little research, the most interesting thing that I’ve learned is that the national chain Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has one of its three Georgia locations in Snellville*, only it’s not listed on the corporate website, while four forthcoming restaurants are shown as “coming soon.” That’s just lovely, I say sarcastically. There’s no such thing as a good nationwide chain of barbecue restaurants. (*note: a commenter has informed me that this store has already closed.)

As for Donut King itself, I’m glad we made it an early start for the day, because this place closes at the unfortunate hour of 1 in the afternoon. It’s in a strip mall with a Provino’s and a Philly Connection and sixty thousand cars. It’s not particularly easy to get into, and a downright pain in the neck to get out of. But the dougnuts, well, they’re wonderful. Marie puts on airs of not actually liking doughnuts very much, but she found her chocolate frosted to be incredibly yummy, and the girlchild in the back seat was making happy “mmmmm” sounds as she wolfed down her eclair.

Despite their early closing time being a little inconvenient for curious eaters, the business clearly does a good job anticipating demand and bakes and fries accordingly. As you see in the photograph above, I had Marie hold her doughnut out for me to shoot. The last few times we’ve gone into a dessert place, I’ve had good results from shooting the display case showing off all the treats. Here, we arrived so late that most of their food was gone, and while my food composition skills are still admittedly meager, there’s no way any photographer could bring that decimated display to life. Thus said, the community must clearly love this place to have cleaned it out so thoroughly by 12.30 that only slim pickings were left for us. They were really good slim pickings, but it left me curious what Donut King looks like at five in the morning.

Great American Donut Shop, Bowling Green KY

Marie and I enjoyed a nice weekend visiting friends after dropping the girlchild off for a week with her mother. It was a five and a half hour haul from our place in Marietta to Owensboro, where we had lunch, and then we made our way back down the William Natcher Parkway. This is an amazing seventy-mile stretch of absolutely nothing, through farmland and… well, nothing. There are exactly two exits on the whole road with gas stations, and they’re one right after the other, 25-odd miles northwest of Bowling Green. Make sure both you and your car are ready for this drive before you get on the parkway! Continue reading “Great American Donut Shop, Bowling Green KY”

Sublime Doughnuts, Atlanta GA

About six months ago, a regular guest where I work brought in a big box of Sublime Doughnuts as a thank-you for the front desk. The treats were duly sliced into bite-sized samples for all the staff to try. Allegedly, a couple more boxes have come this way for Wednesday afternoon birthday celebrations, but, criminally, I don’t work on Wednesdays. I recall thinking that my sample was just wonderful and resolved that I needed to get back to have a lovely little breakfast from them as soon as it was feasible.

Six months went by and I finally thought to stop in for an afternoon snack. I need to try harder, don’t I?

The business was founded by a local fellow, Kamal Grant, a couple of years ago. He picked a career that’s for morning people: he’s there, in a shop on 10th Street once occupied by some other doughnut baker who chose to misspell the word the way that those dunkin’ people do, every morning at 4 am getting his doughnuts and pastries ready for a hungry audience. I really like the way that many of his creations don’t look like hockey pucks. Some, like his red velvet cake, do, but his version of a Boston creme, for example, is called the A-Town Cream and is shaped like a letter A. Elsewhere on the racks, you’ll see little hearts, stars, twists and ribbons, all of them decadently delicious.

Earlier this summer, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Sublime as their favorite guilty food pleasure in the city, singling out their A-Town Creams and their Reese’s peanut butter doughnuts. It looks like my peers in the food-talkin’-bloggin’ community are similarly sold on the place.

We – Marie, my daughter and my parents – stopped by on Saturday after our lunch a few miles south at Harold’s. After a quick detour to look at the federal pen and the requisite teasing of my daughter that this is where she’ll end up if she doesn’t straighten up, we drove north up Pryor and Central, up avenues where my dad, navigating and reminiscing, used to work, while we listened to the Dogs beat up on Vandy. Left on Marietta and right on Spring / West Peachtree as Vandy caught a break and had a field ruling of a fumble overturned as an incomplete pass, we started passing $10 and $20 lots for Tech fans coming into midtown to tailgate. Tenth Street, which borders one side of the Tech campus, was full of yellow and navy and black and gold. Apparently there’s now a Petro’s Chili and Chips outpost actually inside Bobby Dodd Stadium. It’s a little aggravating to be within walking distance of a Petro’s and know that the most convenient one is still three hours’ drive north.

My dad was talked out and tired and didn’t want to get out of the car when we arrived, but the fellow behind the counter at Sublime had an awful lot to say. He showed off and described all the treats on display. I got a different pastry for Marie, Ivy and my mother, and while they all came with different flavors, they all shared a wonderfully light and fluffy touch. Grant’s trick in the kitchen, reported by John Kessler in the AJC, is to fry the doughnuts at a very high temperature for a shorter period; that apparently gives them the most puff.

These are absolutely wonderful pastries, and although with prices this low and a profit margin so slim, it will certainly take a long time for Grant to grow this business, he’s got an awful lot of goodwill backing him up. I hope that Sublime thrives and becomes a destination for everybody in the city. Even all those Tech students lining up 10th need something to eat.

Follow Marie Let’s Eat! on Twitter!


Other blog posts about Sublime:

Amy on Food (Mar. 26 2009)
Eat it, Atlanta (Sep. 7 2009)
The Food Abides (Nov. 16 2009)
Atlanta Restaurant Blog (Apr. 12 2011)