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Georgia a Foodie, Music and Garden Heaven

Last month we had the pleasure to travel to Statham, Georgia which is 15 mins from Athens (well 15 mins from everything according to my cousins).

While we knew we would have an amazing time hanging out with MAS and Pat we didn’t realize how much the southeast had to offer. To say it was a foodie heaven is a bit of an understatement.

From the moment we arrived and dove into some sweet potato fries, to mouth watering chicken and biscuits, shrimp and grits, and of course boiled peanuts our taste buds were doing back flips the entire week. I can’t stop thinking about the biscuits and gravy or MAS’s peach cobbler recipe.

Our first day out we headed to The Varsity for their world famous hot dogs.  Pat ordered for us (he was a UGA football player and has his picture on the wall at The Varsity so we certainly were going to trust his judgement 😉 and he did us right with the chili cheese dog, french fries and some of the best onion rings I’ve had in a very long time.

Later in the week we headed back to Athens for one of the most delectable dinners at Top Chef Master’s Hugh Acheson’s original restaurant, 5 & 10.  Wow, wow, wow!  The food here was truly amazing. 5 & 10 does southern food with a modern twist.  I started with the Oysters Rockefeller which added leeks and bacon to the spinach.  Seriously you add bacon to anything I’m hooked.  For my entree I enjoyed crisp panko dusted catfish with lemon emulsion, spicy tomato chutney, red mule grits, fennel slaw, and arugula. Grits o grits o my!  The dinner was fantastic and teaching us that Athens had a lot of little foodie surprises up her sleeve.

Of course you can’t go anywhere in the South with out a little bbq can you.  Living on the West Coast we are probably most accustomed to more ketchup based spicy sauces like Texas. Georgia surprised us a little with their mustard and vinegar twist.  It was a good surprise though especially on Big Al’s rib plate.

Of course we could go on and on about Georgia (pronounced GEORGE-A) cuisine for posts and posts but there are lots of other wonderful things the Athens area offers like music.  We were visiting a few weeks before AthFest, think of it as a mini version of Austin’s South by Southwest festival. Now if you don’t think of Athens and music then you need to go play some of your B-52 and REM CDs as both groups are originally from Athens. We did have the opportunity to hear some of this year’s Athfest performers during a preview concert at the Melting Point.   Our fave was probably “Terrapin Beer” by The Welfare Liners.  We’ll admit it…this song made the BHH 2011 Summer Mix.

We also had the pleasure to go to the Georgia Wine Country..yes GA has a wine country.  Montaluce winery is not only beautiful but boasts some wonderful wines–shout out to their Viognier–and they have a great restaurant.  The day we were there they had a fried green tomato that was so wonderful I could almost hear Idgie Threadgoode whispering in my ear.

Visiting University of Georgia was an amazing experience as well.  The campus is so beautiful, nestled in the heart of Athens.  Of course you can’t visit UGA with out visiting the Sanford stadium and in a single word “awesome”.  I mean seriously I can’t imagine even a non football lover watching a game in that stadium and not be impressed.  UGA takes up quite a bit of land in the Athens area including a beautiful botanical garden, which in fact serves as the state of Georgia’s botanical garden.

So what’s not to love about the Athens Georgia area…great food, awesome music and a college that adds both culture and some darn good sports teams.  Oh and of course there is the sweet teaboiled peanuts and fun rounds of golf we had at The Georgia Club :).

Our hosts MAS and Pat were amazing and showed us what Southern Charm was all about.  Below are a few photos from our trip to tide us over until our next Southern Adventure!

 

 

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