Day one of an epic road trip to Washington DC, begins in Atlanta, Georgia. We have a 9 AM flight to Toronto and then on to Atlanta. Quite civilized. After many teary goodbyes to my furbabies, some kitty disdain and big brown eyes and a licorice nose in a cocked head staring plaintively as we turned the key in the door, we are off. Road trip 2014, The Chicken and Waffles and Civil War Tour, is officially under way.
We arrive in Atlanta on schedule. 90 degrees at 1:00. It takes one hour from touchdown to sitting in a rental. That’s without having to go through customs as we cleared in Toronto. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is massive. I normally would not notice so much but ya do with a bum knee.
NOTE to Avis: A seven seat Explorer is not in the same class as an Escape. This is the second time we have rented an Escape and been switched out for a behemoth. Gas costs will be through the roof. Oh well, c’est la vie. Won’t get caught on that again.
3:00 has us settled into the Hotel W, one of the nicer W’s we have stayed at. A little unpacking and it is time to hit the hotel bar for a cocktail. The W has a little bar on the 16th floor with a nice view of some of the city. Attached to the pool, the bar is noisy with a DJ. We have a cocktail and peruse dinner possibilities. There are endless possibilities in Atlanta.
Tonight we chose Aunt Pittypat’s Porch based on my love for Gone With The Wind and because Pittypat’s made Thrillist’s list of best fried chicken in Atlanta. We walked the several blocks in a still hot sun, blistering and unforgiving even at 6pm. Opting out of the porch to dine due to the oppressive heat, we head inside. Greeted by friendly staff and live piano music tinkling such classics as This Diamond Ring, we head downstairs. Pittypat’s keeps the Gone with the Wind theme in check. Aside from some themed menu items and a life sized Scarlett, the dining room is all old South charm and grime. A large brick fireplace graces one end, pheasant wallpaper and china racks decorate walls, tables are dark wood, a bit of faux paneling and basement chic round out the room.
Our server arrives with the bread course, a delicious sweet potato chocolate muffin, a decent wedge of cornbread and a passable biscuit. We order cocktails, a mint julep for me and watermelon punch for Rob. Both are somewhat disappointing, the julep watery and the punch outrageously sweet and in no way resembling watermelon.
For starters we decide to share Pittypat’s Fried Green Tomatoes. The order is surprisingly sparse, just three well made slices and an excellent, spicy remoulade dip.
For mains we both order the famous fried chicken. All mains come with their famous sideboard, read salad bar. The bar has cold items only, featuring a rather pathetic green salad selection but offering a really nice Hoppin’ John (rice and black eyed peas, spicy with jalepeno), pickled water melon rind, sweeter than a classic bread and butter pickle, with a nice texture, and one of the best cold macaroni salads I’ve had.
The chicken arrives. 3 LARGE pieces, hot, steamy, moist, crisp. Perfectly fried and not greasy. Ah the south. They do know how to fry food. An ice cream scoop of mashed spuds covered in the whitest yet very tasty gravy I’ve seen completes the plate and collard greens and black eyed peas come separately. Both sides are excellent. The collards are sweet and sour, and the peas are stewed with a little onion and tomato, naturally a little sweet and lightly smoky.
Once again we forgot about portion sizes in the United States, particularly the South. I hate to waste food. We have a huge breast, thigh, and leg boxed up. We have no fridge. I offer it to our cab driver and tell him if he doesn’t want it maybe he knows of a person who may. He is happy to take it.