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Food in Atlanta


MelissaH
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Hi everyone,

I'll be in Atlanta for the national meeting of the American Chemical Society during the last week of March. My schedule for this meeting is working out such that I'll need to find dinner on Sunday and Monday. I'll also have Monday morning and early afternoon (including lunch) to myself, unless something comes up in the meantime. I'll probably have a few people with me on these days, since I've somehow (can't imagine how :wink: ) gotten a reputation as the person on my committee who always knows the good places to eat.

I'm definitely on a budget, and I like to try and find things I can't get at home (which doesn't rule out much). My transportation will be limited to my feet and whatever public transit is available. The meeting will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center, so that's where my activities will be centered around.

Any suggestions for restaurants? Or my morning to myself? Historically I've gone to a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, if there's one in the area, to get the stuff I can't get at home for a reasonable price. I know there isn't a TJ's in Atlanta, but is there a Whole Foods or other fun or ethnic shopping within reach? At that point we'll also probably be finalizing the plans for our kitchen renovation project so if there's somewhere I can get to that has fun stuff, that's an OK substitute for food this trip.

Of course, if any other eGulleteers are also chemists who will be attending the national meeting, please yell!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Hi, Melissa!

Bad news first: there is no Trader Joe's here in Atlanta, a fact I have often been too sad to mention :sad: ... but as for dining out? :rolleyes: You are coming to the best authority on the subject: the Southeast Forum of eGullet ... let us begin to offer you our insights:

one discussion on dining in Atlanta

another discussion .. look for restaurant items in this thread

After you look through the discussions, just ask for something more specific to where you will be staying here in town ...

Melissa

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Well, after reading through the two threads, it sounds like I'm going to be in less of a culinary wasteland than either Orlando or Anaheim. I'm relieved.

As far as specifics: I think we're going to be downtown. At least, that's what the GWCC Web site keeps referring to the area as. And I think we'll be near a MARTA station.

I'm happy to hear that Watershed is accessible by public transit. They've been on my radar for a while, and I'm thinking that may be a good option for Monday, possibly at lunch. Would I need a reservation for either Monday lunch or dinner? I never know how many people I'll be eating with until we actually walk in the door of wherever. But I'd like to hear other options, since I'll have other meals and I don't think the budget will support more than one meal there.

I should probably mention that while I don't mind walking, I've been accused in the past of leading people on death marches. The food's usually good when we get there, but my short distances obviously don't match other people's short distances.

Keep it coming; eG hasn't steered me wrong yet!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Well, after reading through the two threads, it sounds like I'm going to be in less of a culinary wasteland than either Orlando or Anaheim. I'm relieved.

Not even remotely a culinary wasteland. Metro Atlanta's got great stuff of all sorts.

As far as specifics: I think we're going to be downtown. At least, that's what the GWCC Web site keeps referring to the area as. And I think we'll be near a MARTA station.

Unfortunately downtown is a culinary wasteland. And although Atlanta's got great food, it doesn't have great public transit.

I'm happy to hear that Watershed is accessible by public transit. They've been on my radar for a while, and I'm thinking that may be a good option for Monday, possibly at lunch. Would I need a reservation for either Monday lunch or dinner? I never know how many people I'll be eating with until we actually walk in the door of wherever. But I'd like to hear other options, since I'll have other meals and I don't think the budget will support more than one meal there.

No, no reservation needed for either Monday lunch or Monday dinner at Watershed, though if you've got a big group it would be cool to call them en route so that they can get tables together.

I should probably mention that while I don't mind walking, I've been accused in the past of leading people on death marches. The food's usually good when we get there, but my short distances obviously don't match other people's short distances.

At the south end of Midtown, right at the edge of downtown (so just north of Ponce de Leon) are some restaurants that you might want to consider: Baraonda (Italian pizza), Enoteca something or other (same owners as Baraonda, brand new, nearby), The Globe, and Eno (this web site is being renovated, and last time I drove by it looked like they were working on the building as well, so call ahead of time).

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Here is a listing of some great dining opportunities in downton:

NICHOLI'S ROOF at the Atlanta Hilton hotel.

THE ATLANTA GRILL at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta.

THE FOOD STUDIO at the King Plow Arts Canter.

THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

PACIFIC RIM-Asian fusion cuisine-in Suntrust Plaza.

CITY GRILL on Peachtree Street.

Edited by micropundit (log)

100% right 50% of the time.

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Here is a listing of some great dining opportunities in downton:

NICHOLI'S ROOF at the Atlanta Hilton hotel.

THE ATLANTA GRILL at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta.

THE FOOD STUDIO at the King Plow Arts Canter.

THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

PACIFIC RIM-Asian fusion cuisine-in Suntrust Plaza.

CITY GRILL on Peachtree Street.

But not exactly budget dining, though I suppose that depends on the budget in question. :wink:

Can you pee in the ocean?

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THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

Actually, though I wouldn't personally recommend the Sundial for a meal, the bar is a great place to visit, particularly at sunset: the bar rotates (about 45 minutes for a complete turn, if memory serves) and offers great views of the city and surrounding area. You have to buy a drink, of course, but it's a pretty good deal considering.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Unfortunately downtown is a culinary wasteland. And although Atlanta's got great food, it doesn't have great public transit.

Hey, if it's got great food, it's miles ahead of either Anaheim or Orlando as a conference spot, in my book! Those two have nothing remotely interesting within easy walking distance: just Chain Food Hell.

No, no reservation needed for either Monday lunch or Monday dinner at Watershed, though if you've got a big group it would be cool to call them en route so that they can get tables together.

Fair enough. I usually try to do that in any case if there's more than just a couple of us, and we have a destination in mind.

At the south end of Midtown, right at the edge of downtown (so just north of Ponce de Leon) are some restaurants that you might want to consider: Baraonda (Italian pizza), Enoteca something or other (same owners as Baraonda, brand new, nearby), The Globe, and Eno (this web site is being renovated, and last time I drove by it looked like they were working on the building as well, so call ahead of time).

These all look possible. But Baraonda gets marked down in my book for gratuitous noise on their Web site, with "on" as the default!

Here is a listing of some great dining opportunities in downton:

NICHOLI'S ROOF at the Atlanta Hilton hotel.

THE ATLANTA GRILL at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta.

THE FOOD STUDIO at the King Plow Arts Canter.

THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

PACIFIC RIM-Asian fusion cuisine-in Suntrust Plaza.

CITY GRILL on Peachtree Street.

While these are all probably great dining opportunities, they're out of the budget. I'm no longer a graduate student, but I still tend to eat like one at a conference. Many of my likely dining companions are graduate students. Quality is important, but most of us would like to be able to afford more than one meal every two days.

THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

Actually, though I wouldn't personally recommend the Sundial for a meal, the bar is a great place to visit, particularly at sunset: the bar rotates (about 45 minutes for a complete turn, if memory serves) and offers great views of the city and surrounding area. You have to buy a drink, of course, but it's a pretty good deal considering.

This is a definite possibility. You're ordering good weather for us, right? :wink:

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I would find my way up to Atlantic Station- a new uber hot complex in midtown. Rosa Mexicano-amazing upscale mexican, Lobby at TWELVE- good eats and awesome bar, Strip-an affordable steakhouse and a handful of chains mix it up with shopping, movies, apartments and a park.

Near the colleges Globe is a great lunch spot and my favorite- Spoon-is killer Thai on a budget and with a twist. Taqueria del Sol is great Taqueria with a loyal following and yummy fish tacos!

Many good options, but stay away from the tourist traps like Sundial, City Grill and others cause they will kill your pocket and leave a bad taste in your mouth about Atlanta dining.

Gifted is right, Atl is at its best in springtime.

Edited by blueapron (log)
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One place worth a vist, and convenient to downtown, is Rolling Bones BBQ on Edgewood Avenue. You will have a modestly priced meal that you would probably never find around home. This is definitely one of the better bbq places in metro Atlanta - and it is convenient for you.

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One place worth a vist, and convenient to downtown, is Rolling Bones BBQ on Edgewood Avenue.  You will have a modestly priced meal that you would probably never find around home.  This is definitely one of the better bbq places in metro Atlanta - and it is convenient for you.

Any chance this might be suitable for a group (30ish people) dinner? I'll be subjected to one of those, and the last few haven't been anything to write home about.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Hi everyone,

...

Of course, if any other eGulleteers are also chemists who will be attending the national meeting, please yell!

MelissaH

Chemistry eGulleteers...represent! :laugh:

Heh....saw the title of this thread and immediatly thought...hey! Maybe they're going to the ACS meeting! Thanks for starting the thread! I'll be back to check it out in more detail when I get done grading! :hmmm:

See you in atlanta!

Take care,

Anne

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One place worth a vist, and convenient to downtown, is Rolling Bones BBQ on Edgewood Avenue.  You will have a modestly priced meal that you would probably never find around home.  This is definitely one of the better bbq places in metro Atlanta - and it is convenient for you.

Any chance this might be suitable for a group (30ish people) dinner? I'll be subjected to one of those, and the last few haven't been anything to write home about.

MelissaH

I have only eaten at Rolling Bones at lunch time. I have no idea how busy they might be during the evening hours. Perhaps you would want to ask them specifically about a particular number of people, time of day, day of week, etc. Rolling Bones Barbecue, 377 Edgewood Avenue, Atlanta, phone 404-222-2324

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GWCC is most definitely in downtown, but not exactly in a great location foodwise. The closest decent restaurant for hosting a large group is probably McCormick & Schmick's at CNN Center, which is a block from GWCC.

Rolling Bones is a good choice, though not very fancy. Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a good choice to experience "real" Atlanta. Serving up plenty of soul food, but it's not really a restaurant.

I would highly recommend avoiding Sundial for a meal. Very, very overpriced. You should definitely go for a drink and the view, though.

As mentioned before, to get to quality restaurants, you pretty much have to leave downtown.

For truly cheap food, some of the best places in Atlanta are Rolling Bones, Fat Matt's, Taqueria del Sol, Vortex, Ted's Montana Grill and Fellini's. Gourmet shops with takeout food like eatZi's, Alon's, and Star Provisions also serve up great food cheaply. With the exception of Ted's and Rolling Bones, none of these places are in downtown.

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THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

Actually, though I wouldn't personally recommend the Sundial for a meal, the bar is a great place to visit, particularly at sunset: the bar rotates (about 45 minutes for a complete turn, if memory serves) and offers great views of the city and surrounding area. You have to buy a drink, of course, but it's a pretty good deal considering.

After lurking for a long time, I finally "applied" to post here after reading all of the negative comments that Sundial has been getting. I am in no way affiliated with the restaurant, but I wonder when the last time folks who are not recommending it have visited the resto? My husband works downtown and knows someone who knows the "new" chef, so we went late last year. It was actually pretty good. I think the chef is a former employee of Canoe. I'd suggest that people try it before dismissing it as a tourist trap only worthy of a drink at the bar. It certainly was better than a lot of other similarly priced ATL restos. Especially if you don't have a car and are staying downtown.

Thanks.

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GWCC is most definitely in downtown, but not exactly in a great location foodwise.  The closest decent restaurant for hosting a large group is probably McCormick & Schmick's at CNN Center, which is a block from GWCC.

Rolling Bones is a good choice, though not very fancy.  Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a good choice to experience "real" Atlanta.  Serving up plenty of soul food, but it's not really a restaurant.

I would highly recommend avoiding Sundial for a meal.  Very, very overpriced.  You should definitely go for a drink and the view, though.

As mentioned before, to get to quality restaurants, you pretty much have to leave downtown.

For truly cheap food, some of the best places in Atlanta are Rolling Bones, Fat Matt's, Taqueria del Sol, Vortex, Ted's Montana Grill and Fellini's.  Gourmet shops with takeout food like eatZi's, Alon's, and Star Provisions also serve up great food cheaply.  With the exception of Ted's and Rolling Bones, none of these places are in downtown.

Ted's is cheap? For what you get, it is good, but hardly a bargain. Same with eatZi's, Alon's, and Star Provisions.

Also, I like Rolling Bones, but as far as I can see, no one has mentioned that this is still a sketchy neighborhood. If I was coming from out of town, and looked at a map, I might conclude that I could walk there from my hotel. Not the best idea.

By the way, I live near that neighborhood, so I am just saying...

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THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

Actually, though I wouldn't personally recommend the Sundial for a meal, the bar is a great place to visit, particularly at sunset: the bar rotates (about 45 minutes for a complete turn, if memory serves) and offers great views of the city and surrounding area. You have to buy a drink, of course, but it's a pretty good deal considering.

After lurking for a long time, I finally "applied" to post here after reading all of the negative comments that Sundial has been getting. I am in no way affiliated with the restaurant, but I wonder when the last time folks who are not recommending it have visited the resto? My husband works downtown and knows someone who knows the "new" chef, so we went late last year. It was actually pretty good. I think the chef is a former employee of Canoe. I'd suggest that people try it before dismissing it as a tourist trap only worthy of a drink at the bar. It certainly was better than a lot of other similarly priced ATL restos. Especially if you don't have a car and are staying downtown.

Thanks.

The only reason I said to avoid the Sundial was purely on price. 8 of 10 entrees were well into the $30+ range, While the food sounds better it is still overpriced and she is working on a budget- so its out.

How about adding a suggested place snce you haven't agreed with ours... remember cost is a factor on this one.

Help us out here since you live in the neighborhood you gotta know some good places that can fit the bill

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THE SUNDIAL at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel. (a long time tourist fave)

Actually, though I wouldn't personally recommend the Sundial for a meal, the bar is a great place to visit, particularly at sunset: the bar rotates (about 45 minutes for a complete turn, if memory serves) and offers great views of the city and surrounding area. You have to buy a drink, of course, but it's a pretty good deal considering.

After lurking for a long time, I finally "applied" to post here after reading all of the negative comments that Sundial has been getting. I am in no way affiliated with the restaurant, but I wonder when the last time folks who are not recommending it have visited the resto? My husband works downtown and knows someone who knows the "new" chef, so we went late last year. It was actually pretty good. I think the chef is a former employee of Canoe. I'd suggest that people try it before dismissing it as a tourist trap only worthy of a drink at the bar. It certainly was better than a lot of other similarly priced ATL restos. Especially if you don't have a car and are staying downtown.

Thanks.

The only reason I said to avoid the Sundial was purely on price. 8 of 10 entrees were well into the $30+ range, While the food sounds better it is still overpriced and she is working on a budget- so its out.

How about adding a suggested place snce you haven't agreed with ours... remember cost is a factor on this one.

Help us out here since you live in the neighborhood you gotta know some good places that can fit the bill

Fair enough! I don't want to come off as negative. :biggrin:

Not sure if there are open for dinner, but these places come to mind, especially for lunch:

Rosa's on Broad St for pizza

Calypso Cafe on Walton near the court house, Jamacian

Fleur de Lis (not super cheap, but probably do-able for lunch, at least) in the Healey building. French

Landmark Diner for Greek food (have not been but have heard good reports)

Ted's is actually not too bad for lunch. Delicious clam chowder and good house salad. Folks also like their burgers.

Loaf and Kettle, also in the Healey building, for soups and sandwiches

Gibney's Pub on Peachtree Center for chili-slathered burgers and dogs (yum)

Busy Bee, 810 MLK Jr Drive, for classic southern soul food

Might also be fun to head down to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market on Edgewood. There are a lot of individual vendors and some snack foods/sandwiches.

As for the Sundial, I didn't remember them being so very expensive (entrees $30+). If that is the case, I agree that it is overpriced for what you get. Heck, that is more expensive than great places like Joel. I tried to look on the Sundial website but the "menu" link is broken. What an awful website, by the way!! I still think lunch there would be affordable. My main point with them is that they are (or were) trying to shed the "tourist trap" image and do some more interesting food. The chef is Chris Hall, formerly of Canoe.

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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions! It looks like I won't be short of ideas, at any rate.

I do have one more question, which hasn't been addressed before because I didn't mention it in the first place: what about breakfasts, or late® night? I'll be leaving home on Friday evening in the late afternoon, and supposedly arriving on the ground a bit after 9. My committee is feeding me breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, but I'm fending for myself on Monday and Tuesday mornings. My flight out is a bit after noon on Tuesday, and I'd like to get enough food in my system that I won't need to worry about anything else until dinner.

You guys are amazing!

MelissaH :smile:

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Thumbs Up Diner (Inman Park), Flying Biscuit (Inman Park and Midtown) and Crescent Moon (Decatur) are some of the best breakfast places around town.

I think that Landmark is open late maybe even 24/7. As I said though, not sure since I haven't been there.

With all due respect, the breakfast places that Voodoo mentions are not at all within walking distance of downtown, even though they are very good. Sorry.

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An update re Nikolai's Roof, mentioned upthread as a possible (though outside of Melissa H's budget) option for dining downtown.

We went last night and had the Chef's Tasting Menu (similar to the version presently posted on the web site) and were thoroughly underwhelmed. Not terrible, and we ate everything, but nowhere near the level of execution of other high end restaurants in Atlanta like The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead or Bacchanalia or Seegers, and actually not even as good as many second tier restaurants like MidCity Cuisine or Woodfire.

Service at dinner very good, if perhaps a bit more familiar than seemed quite appropriate, but the bartender in the bar afterwards (where a swing band was playing, a great surprise) was positively surly.

Decor verges on surreal, possibly unchanged since the restaurant opened 30 years ago. Bathrooms up two narrow flights of stairs covered in very worn carpeting, where you're greeted by an attendant who squirts soap on your hands, turns on the water, and hands you a towel when your done. It feels you're about to do some sort of clandestine surgical procedure. I drink a lot of water, so in the end probably dropped close to $10 just visiting the WC.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Atlanta is horrible as far as public transportation goes (in case you didn't know). But if you don't mind walking a bit after getting off your stop, some things are reasonable.

Watershed is very good - great Southern food. Also, someone mentioned Taqueria del Sol, which is awesome cheap food. And one location is across the street from Watershed. Also in the area is the DeKalb Farmer's Market (the website seems to be down for some reason) which is really aweome. It's not a true farmer's market - it's more like an international market. Even if you can't buy stuff, it's great to look around and people watch. And they have a little cafeteria, too. I haven't eaten there, but I have heard good things about it. Also in Decatur (which is where all of this is), is Figo Pasta. Probably not the best pasta you've ever had, but it is good and you can't beat the prices.

Personally, I wouldn't go to Ted's. The food is really good, although not exactly cheap. (And whoever mentioned it above, the Friday clam chowder is awesome! They use bacon in the soup. :smile:) But it's a chain. If there isn't one close to where you live, at the rate they want to expand, there will be soon.

Landmark Diner is open 24 hours and has a pretty big menu. They have multiple locations, one of which is downtown close to Georgia State. There food is pretty good, but not incredible. But I've never had a good dessert there. If you want dessert, I would suggest Cafe Intermezzo (the Peachtree street location is closer to downtown, although the Dunwoody one may be close to a Marta station). The dessert selection is huge, and usually very good. Not mindblowing - but good. They also have a full bar (their drink menu is very cool - lots of European liquers, sodas, etc.) and serve food until late (3 am?). Diagonally across the street from Cafe Intermezzo is R. Thomas, which is open 24 hours. The food here is really good (in my opinion), but it can be on the strange side. They have macrobiotic stuff (or something like that - I forget what it's called - but a lot of their menu is based on some 'wholistic' diet), lots of vegetables (including Japanese things like wakame), unusual grains like quinoa. And it's an awesome place to people watch - you get all kinds of people in there, especially late at night.

Lastly, I love playing 'tour guide' and would be willing to do it for you (and friends/colleagues) if you want. Driving to the DeKalb Farmer's Market, late night chauffeur, going to a restaurant that isn't close to downtown, whatever. (I have met a few people here, and they can vouch that I'm not a serial killer.) Just let me know if you're interested.

-Greg

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Well, it sounds like there's definitely going to be no shortage, and it's a good thing I enjoy walking around cities, especially if I'm with a friend or two since it looks like I'll be doing a fair amount of that.

Now, as if I don't already have enough to do at the conference, I just added one more errand to my to-do list: pay the local IKEA store a visit. The background: as some of you are aware, we're planning a kitchen renovation. For quite a while, we've been agonizing over one issue in particular: whether to get our cabinets locally, or to use stuff from IKEA. I'll spare you the details here, but the short story is that local cabinets would be maybe a little bit better in quality, give us a little more flexibility particularly in the corners, avoid distance-related issues, and cost about 40% more than ones from IKEA. But there are a few things I need to check out, and that's going to have to happen either on Monday morning before lunch or on Monday afternoon/evening after my last meeting. I looked on line and discovered that the Atlanta IKEA store's a little unusual in that it's not located near the airport, as many of them are.

Can I get to IKEA by public transportation? Or should I just keep telling myself that no matter how ridiculous cab fare is, it's still cheaper than a mad dash weekend trip somewhere?

Thanks,

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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