Archive for November, 2010

Woody’s Revisit

Struck by an unusually specific desire for a cheesesteak this weekend, Mr. Abby and I headed to Atlanta’s cheesesteak … um, champion … Woody’s. This is the longstanding shack perched in the triangular spit of land by Piedmont Park, traditionally plagued with crappy parking and crappy hours but blessed with delicious cheesesteaks. Funny, Ben posted about a Woody’s visit about this time last year – wouldn’t have thought that we’d gravitate towards even more heavy, greasy food around the holidays. This time around I had completely forgotten about the old hours situation (I swear they used to be open Tues-Sat 11-3) and went in blind, but was rewarded with a new owner, a slightly updated menu that featured the addition of a turkey cheesesteak, a 2-time 100% health inspection streak, and what appears to be an entirely different approach to doing business.

The cheesesteak was the same: well-cooked meat, onions and gooey cheese on soft fluffy bread. All that it ought to be, fully devoid of health benefits and full of deliciousness. It came out in less than 10 minutes, and I got the chance to chat a bit with the supereager guy working the counter. When I mentioned that I hadn’t eaten at Woody’s for a few years, he ran through all the changes the new owners (which may or may not have included him?) were taking on. Things like scooter delivery within a 4-5 mile radius, and cheep and local beer (well, one cheap and one local). He’s working on an iPhone app, too, that would (hopefully) allow them to deliver to picnickers in the park using GPS. Oh, and they take credit cards now, too!

My verdict is that Woody’s is the place to get a cheesesteak and a milkshake. In the wake of some really outstanding Atlanta eateries closing, it’s nice to support our locals. Especially when it tastes so good.

Happy Thanksgiving (night)!

I don’t usually go in for “family fun”-type events, but there wasn’t much else going on and I wanted to see what the big deal is.

Let us now observe a moment of silence for the spindly rose bush that I trampled in my haste to take these.

Another home team

GSU - Alabama last week... a 63-7 loss for Atlanta's newest home team. Photo: Todd Drexler/Sideline Sports

Though I refuse to even DISCUSS the upcoming game on Saturday, I’m still going to post on football as if I know what I’m talking about. Georgia State’s football team ended their inaugural season last week after what could not have been a very enjoyable game against Alabama. While they did lose by a significant margin, they also did (a) score a touchdown off a kickoff return against last year’s national champions and (b) make $400k+ in one painful ass-whooping.

This CL article and its comments sum it up pretty succinctly. The team’s first season was immensely successful in many respects – a winning season (6-5), 30,000 fans at the first game, average attendance almost 17,000, and a bunch of optimistic fans looking forward to next season. I didn’t make it to any games this season but would really like to check one out next year. Did any of you go to a game in the Dome? What was the atmosphere like? Ticket prices? Family fun? Worth a look-see?

Any predictions for pedicabs’ prospects for profitability?

NYC pedicab

Flickr photo by J. Yung

District 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall wants to see pedicabs back on the streets in Atlanta.

The three-wheeled people-pullers disappeared from the city in the 1990s, according to Sunday’s AJC story, after running afoul of the already highly competitive taxi industry.

But with pedicabs now operating in Decatur and Marietta, and a prominent council member behind the effort, things could work out differently this time.

Compact and pollution-free? Yes.

Cheaper than a taxi to go just a few blocks? Almost certainly.

But, will touists or locals take to them? They certainly didn’t seem to have any use for the Circulator bus routes several years ago, despite the effort and expense MARTA went to with buying new redesigning buses and heavily publicizing the new routes.

Horse-drawn carriages still manage to eke out some business, though. Maybe novelty is more of a draw than speed sometimes.

Has anyone lived anywhere that had a long-standing pedicab business? Ever used one? Would you?

On Zombies

Love this shot, zombies or no - Freedom Parkway going into the city

For all my enthusiasm about all the movies and tv shows filmed recently in Atlanta, I’ve got to admit I haven’t really been interested in watching most of them.  Drop Dead Diva and Vampire Diaries, I’m sure they’re funny and/or cool, just not anything I’d normally watch. Same goes for that Miley Cyrus movie, most of the horror movies shot around here, and most of the Tyler Perry movies – just not for me.

MAJOR EXCEPTION: This new AMC miniseries the Walking Dead, which has just been renewed for another season. Filmed in – and set in – Atlanta! Love this. In my opinion, a good zombie movie generally gives us a little bit of social commentary, a little bit of survival story, and a little bit of gore, but zombies are just too slow and shambly to be terrifying (unless they’re the 28 Days Later sprinting rage-zombies which scare the living bejeez out of me).  This show fits my definition and is right up my alley – throw in my city and I’m a big fan. Tonight is the third episode. Last week was the big downtown scene, when main character Rick fights his way through throngs of zombie extras (and Abby repeatedly pauses the dvr and strains to identify familiar graffiti and pawn shops).  I got a little kick out of the fact that a lot of the “desolate” shots didn’t have to be altered – the closed-off bridge going to Elliot Street, the vines growing up along some of the buildings near 5 Points , abandoned storefronts – all look as they normally do.

Directed by Shawshank director Frank Darabont, based on a comic book series, I found the show exciting, well-paced, dramatic. Plus two of the main actors are British, and didn’t fuck up the Southern accent (a bad Southern accent makes me turn the tv off in a heartbeat, ATL zombies or no). And the more I talk about it, the more I hear about friends of friends who are working on it in some capacity, which means employment and income for Atlantans.

Have y’all seen this? It’s on tonight at 10 on AMC. Check it out. You missed the first couple episodes but I’m pretty sure you can catch up.  Zombie apocalypse. Pretty self-explanatory.

Metro migration: You ain’t from around here…or are you?

“Everyone is from somewhere else.”

That phrase, along with “Everything is so spread out,” has a way of cropping up in descriptions of Atlanta, whether from new arrivals or decades-long residents.

While it’s true that “somewhere else” is often another state, another part of the country or another hemisphere, most of the time it’s somewhere else in Georgia, probably just a county or two away. That’s the pattern that emerged in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s latest “Regional Snapshot” report on local migration, published in March.

ARC analyzed IRS data that tracks moves in and out of the commission’s 20-county planning area from 2000 through 2007 for the report.

Michael Carnathan, the ARC researcher who produced the report, said it took about ten days of “pretty intense crunching” of the IRS data, plus about three weeks of writing to wring a user-friendly presentation of the numbers out of the 500,000-row spreadsheet he started with.

Of the approximately 3,128,896 people who moved into one of the 20 Atlanta metro counties between 2000 and 2007, nearly 60 percent came from within Georgia, and more than 52 percent moved from one metro county to another.


Tomorrow Cabbagetown will host what is inarguably the city’s best festival of the year – that’s right kids, it’s Chomp and Stomp time! As the website says, what’s better than chili on a sunny November afternoon? Oh – chili and beer and music in the coolest, most welcoming neighborhood in the city, that’s what.

Things will get kicked off in the morning with a 5k (my participation in this will be sitting on my porch drinking coffee and blasting music for the runners), then chili starts being served exactly at noon. You’ve got about an hour to taste the individual entrants’ chili, a few more for the restaurants. Spoons are $5.

This year it’s bigger than ever before, which means more celebration, more chili, more vendors and volunteers and revelers, and more street closings. So if you’re headed our way, I’d say don’t bother driving. They’ll be running free fur buses between the MLK Marta station and the festival, and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will have a bike valet. You might be able to park in Inman Park, but honestly, after all that chili you might want to go for a little walk or bike ride anyway.

Every year it's the most gorgeous fall day. Thanks to jramspott on flickr for the photo.

One more change this year: thanks to Milltown Arms, we are finally able to stop using the Styrofoam chili cups and plastic spoons! They provided compostable alternatives, which is huge, but the organizers are asking for help because no one ever puts things in the correct bin. So I’m helping spread the word – CHILI SPOONS AND CHILI CUPS GO IN RED BINS. Red. Bins. Thanks.

Here’s a map with all the details, or you can check out the Chomp and Stomp website.

I will be pouring Sweetwaters in Esther Peachy Park (the little one at Powell and Wylie) at 3:00, so swing by and say hello!

Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde and Baseball

What do these three things have in common? Well, I’m glad you asked. It just so happens that the lovely import from the North and Maxim’s Hottest Woman of 2009 are filming a new movie, The Change-Up, in Atlanta. And, they want you to be a part of it. This weekend, at Turner Field, the production needs extras…and lots of them. Extras get free parking, a free lunch and a chance at some raffle prizes. But, here’s an even better reason to check it out. For every extra that attends, the production company will donate five dollars to the Atlanta Braves Foundation Charity on their behalf. Check out the details here and register here. Someone say hi to Ryan for me, eh?

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