1. The Brisket Breakfast at Ria's Bluebird
I seriously underestimated this spot. It was on my list as an 'Eh, if you can make it go, but don't go out of your way.' Man, I was so wrong about this classification and so lucky that the Airbnb I stayed at was only a 5 block walk. This place absolutely blew me away. I did take the recommendations of other reviews and ordered the Brisket Breakfast. The description sounded amazingly strange, how can 14 hour slow cooked Angus beef, shredded in its own spicy tomato broth, with two eggs poached and served with baguette be breakfast?! I wanted to bathe in the broth. The brisket melted in my mouth and the creamy yolk of the poached egg added the perfect neutral flavor.
I was super lucky that I went solo [I landed in Atlanta the day before the rest of my family] because I was able to walk in and immediately be seated at the bar. The space is cozy and it is definitely popular so if you are going with a few people do plan on waiting for a spot. I promise it is definitely worth it. After eating stretch your legs and walk through the Oakland Cemetary, it is BEAUTIFUL.
2. Pork Zhong Style Dumplings at Gu's Dumplings
(and everything else at the Krog Street Market)
I had a list of everything else I wanted to try at Krog Street so I only ordered the Zhong Style Dumplings. I am always on the hunt for a good dumpling and Gu's definitely did not disappoint. The spicy, garlicky sauce covering the dumplings was by far one of the best chili sauces that I have eaten. This was also a sauce that I wanted to bathe in (I'm seeing a theme with my desire to bathe in Atlanta sauces). I went with the pork dumplings and was glad that my family doesn't enjoy spicy foods because I definitely wasn't sharing any of these.
I've got pretty big plans to head back to Atlanta and will be making another stop at Gu's. There were several other menu items that I've still got to try; including the Dan Dan Noodles and Schezuan Po'Boys.
3.Pappardelle with Bolognese Gravy at BoccaLupo
I took myself on a hot date to a romantic Italian restaurant and it was wonderful. I recommend everyone take themselves on a romantic date every once and a while. This was another spot that I had already decided what to order before getting there. The menu does change throughout the year, but I knew that I had to order the 'Wide pappardelle, bolognese gravy, and American parm.' My plan was almost derailed after I was given an amazing 3-course prix fixe menu, but I am so glad that I stuck with my original choice. IT. WAS. AMAZING. I also ordered the Antipasto Bruschetta. Had Andrew come with, I would have had to share, and I'm so glad I didn't. The spicy salami, bright olives, and smooth olive oil were the perfect start to dinner.
If you're up for adventure after your dinner I also recommend taking a walk down the Krog Street Tunnel. The graffiti in the tunnel is ever-changing and a great chance to view some of the work by local street artists. If you keep walking at the south end of the tunnel you will also run into all the amazing Cabbagetown murals. I walked pretty much everywhere while I stayed in this area and always spotted something different on each trip past the murals. This was definitely one of my favorite spots in Atlanta.
4. Chicken with Frim Fram Sauce at Hop's Chicken (Ponce City Market)
675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Atlanta, GA 30308 There are plenty of chicken options in Atlanta, but our favorite was Hop's Chicken. Hop's is located in Ponce City Market so we tried dishes from several different restaurants and only ordered tenders, a side of biscuits, and frim fram sauce. The frim fram sauce is essential, even if you've never heard 'The Frim Fram Sauce' by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
But, don't just go for the sauce. The breading on the tenders was thick, crispy, and had just the right amount of seasoning and the biscuits were to die for. We got them piping hot so the butter melted perfectly, they flaked apart easily, and I was happy to make my own chicken biscuit with Frim Fram sauce. And while you're there definitely visit the rest of the Ponce City Market, we spent two days in the area and I still don't think I saw everything.
5. Fruity Pebble Shake from Cheesecaked
If you're looking for a sugar rush to end (or start) your day, incredibly creative desserts, and cheesecake that will convert any non-cheesecake lover like myself, you need to go to Cheesecaked. I am a self-proclaimed sugar addict so when I found this Fruity Pebble Milkshake on Instagram (and yes, the food and the storefront were built for Instagram) I knew we had to stop. Our group got a range of shakes-my Fruity Pebble, Andrew's Shakin' the Cookie Jar, my sis-in-law's S'more Please, and my parents Strawberry Sundae and Ice Cream Sandwich and we were all BLOWN away. Yeah, they look amazing, but it was one of the best shakes I have ever eaten and the cheesecake bar on the top was enough to make me wish I lived in Atlanta so I could celebrate everything with one of their cheesecakes.
Plan ahead, because these shakes are elaborate and definitely take time to make! Also, go with an appetite or plan on sharing with someone. We all ordered our own because we hadn't eaten yet that day and had big appetites, but all of my toppings and some of my shake went into a to-go cup to eat later, luckily we were close to our Airbnb!