Lucinda here, ex-pat from Los Angeles Metblogs! Who knew that after months of tinkering under the hood of our good ole’ Metblogs jalopy, I woulda popped my head out to find I *finally* had access to the posting tools for my sister blog here in Atlanta–the city to which I have recently relocated–only to find myself back in LA for the holidays at the very time the engine does its first reluctant, full turn-over. And leave it to an LA girl to whip out an overwrought car metaphor like that one there! I suspect you’ll be hearing much more from me in the coming months, but right now I’ll sign off from this late-night (even for the west coast!) post by saying, “Thanks for visiting Atlanta Metblogs, and y’all come back now!” Thanks MUST go to Joz & Jason, who have worked so hard to keep Metblogs a viable reality,that this here site will NOT be going silent (and for doing the high-wire Internet acrobatics required to grant me posting access to this blog). We hope for this to become not only a destination for many with thoughts about the city, but a place for like-minded folk to come together and lend their voices to the multitude of human narratives that have long sought to paint at least a partial picture of Atlanta and the south, its many different realities, its transformations and its sense of place.
I often find myself needing cheese for dinner. (Here’s a little insight into my culinary prowess: melt cheese on or into whatever it is you’re cooking, and it will taste better). I work in midtown and live just east of downtown and thus constantly curse the lack of “pick up some cheese on the way home” options. It’s tough to go a mile out of your way on a bicycle, and completely out of the question in this heat, so I plan my route meticulously. I’ve also found it’s best to minimize my “hangry” time before dinner.
Which is why I got all excited when I heard a rumor about the next tenant for the space next to the CNN Center (the now-shuttered Golden Buddha) …. a GROCERY STORE? Fair warning: there’s a chance this rumor turns out to be someone just being wishful, but I sure have my fingers crossed. Boy would another Trader Joe’s be nice.
Anyone think a grocery store can survive here? Between tourists looking for sunscreen and snacks, GSU students, and Fairlie Poplar/downtown residents for a small, basic destination for staples? Or is it destined to leave me cheeseless on the way home?
First order of business: Charlie and I are rejoining Tamra as metblogs contributors! In case you haven’t noticed, posting has been a little scant lately. We weren’t entirely sure of the site’s long-term stability following our, um, hiatus in February, but we are good to go now, in it to win it, and looking for new writers. If you are an Atlantan, live and love the city, can string together a sentence or two, and are willing to do it once or twice a week, leave a comment and we’ll track ya down!
Alright, homework’s done. Today I want to talk about food. I really like food. Georgia, that big red sea surrounding Atlanta, is just chock full of it. Farms galore. One in seven Georgians work in some sort of ag-related field. It’s what our state’s economy was built on, and yet … well, our grocery stores don’t exactly reflect it. We have WONDERFUL options for food in the city, it’s just that the local produce, the stuff from all those farms I keep hearing about, doesn’t often show up at the Hipster Kroger or the Publix on Ponce. The DeKalb and Buford Hwy “Farmers Markets” have every kind of food you can imagine, most of it exceedingly cheap, but produce at YDFM seems to always come from Chile, California, or Mexico.
So. We turn to the myriad of little farmer’s markets that pop up in every neighborhood once a week, where I end up with ramps and an onion and a jalapeno pepper, a $7 loaf of bread and a $6 pint of blueberries, from farms with names like Gaia Gardens and Love is Love. Granted, those will be the most perfect, plump, tart-sweet, incredibly delicious blueberries I will ever eat, but it’s not exactly grocery shopping for the week.
Third option: a CSA. Georgia Organics has a pretty exhaustive run-down of what CSAs are, and where they are available. I personally have subscribed to the yuppiest, laziest, pickiest option possible: this company. They allow me to request that they never, ever include beets; they deliver a box of food to my front porch; they let me swap out what I don’t feel like eating that week; and they have options for honey, yogurt, coffee, etc. I opt for local over organic produce, and, most convenient of all – you can put a hold on your order just a few days in advance. This is helpful when you remember that you’ll be out of town next week. Or if you just have more dining-out plans than usual. Or if you are still eating green beans and squash from last week.
Of course, there are much more cost-effective options, if you’re into it. Where do you shop for groceries? Does anyone actually use a CSA? Do you do battle at the Dekalb Market on the weekends? Or do you get your lil debbies at Kroghetto, Krogay, Disco Kroger, Murder Kroger? Finally, while we’re at it, what’s the general consensus on the clever name for the Edgewood (Hipster, in my house) Kroger?
Krog tunnel news source hasn’t been updated since November 27. Not sure if they’re scared of Rodney again or what, but I don’t know what to do with my weekend! What’s going on with you?
On Tuesday the first numbers from the census were released, outlining which states are gaining congressional seats and which lose them. No big surprise, Georgia gained a seat. We saw an 18% increase in population over the last 10 years, and though the state hasn’t quite broken the 10 million mark, we’re close. Check the complete state stats here, but for our fair state and city:
8,186,453: population, 2000
9,687,653: population, 2010
416,474: population, 2000
540,922: population, 2009 (details of the 2010 census will be released in the next few months)
So Georgia (Atlanta, really) earned a 14th congressional seat based on population gains, which will probably be in the northern suburbs, which will most likely mean another republican congressperson. In the summer Governor Deal will call a special session to redraw districts for state House, state Senate, and the new congressional seats based on population changes. I’m sure based solely on the population changes. Surely gerrymandering was just a vocab word from middle school. I assume everyone will behave like gentlemen and women.
Just for some more fun with numbers, congressmen in the 113th Congress will be representing an additional 63,520 citizens (going from 631,306 citizens per congressman in 2000 to 694,826 citizens per congressman in 2010).
The Peach Pundit update has more discussion than I care to follow, much less recap, but has information worth sharing…
Atlanta has a pretty serious history of street name-changing ridiculousness. A certain street on the west side of the city has gone through four names (based on some serious Wikipedia-ing, it looks like it went from Bellwood Ave to Bankhead Ave in the 1920s to Bankhead Highway to, most recently, Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. You can’t bounce on DLH. But I guess you don’t get robbed on DLH?).
Other egregious offenses that come to mind are the Lakewood Freeway -> Langford Parkway switch, Stewart -> Metropolitan, our Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and, most ridiculous of all, a stretch of Memorial Drive has already been switched back to Memorial after a brief stint as Cynthia McKinney Parkway.
The latest round of street name changes is up for a vote this week. City Council is proposing to change Harris St. downtown to John Portman (the architect behind downtown’s gorgeous atrium hotels who is often partially blamed for the neighborhood’s dearth of welcoming street life), and to change Cone to recognize Xernona Clayton, a well-known civil rights activist and close friend to Coretta Scott King. Both people are living, both people have made significant contributions to the city, and, I strongly believe, neither street name change is warranted. Creative Loafing has a thoughtful editorial about the issue here — “A surefire way not to be remembered: Note to City Council: Street signs are not chalkboards.” (more…)
Atlanta has always struck me as a place that eschews tradition. We have a young, mobile population, we tear down old buildings when they get old (or just abandon them to the point where it’s not a stretch to picture them as post-zombie-apocalypse), and generally tend to get excited about the next big thing, improving and tweaking and changing and leaving behind last year’s big thing.
Which doesn’t lend itself to a lot of tradition – even the Rich’s Macy’s tree has moved from downtown to Underground to Lenox, and the Pink Pig downgraded from mythical flying monorail
that soared through the toy department to a flat track on the ground that chugs through Christmas decorations. Bummer.
In an effort to combat this crappiness and embrace the season, my friends and I have set upon a different tradition – going to the annual Santaland Diaries performance at the Horizon Theater in L5P. This year is their twelfth production of David Sedaris’s story, a completely bitter and sardonic one of an out-of-work writer who takes a job as a Macy’s Elf. Harold Leaver plays Crumpet the elf, and guys, the man make me laugh. Pretty hard.
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.
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.
Me, I have trouble deciding what stance to take on Critical Mass. I like the spirit and the message (a fun, entertaining way to promote bicycles as viable vehicles with which to share our streets), but not the means of conveying it (blocking traffic and running lights). I’ve also been one to pretty much always do what a policeman tells me to do, especially if he is looking me in the eye and telling me to stop at a red light (yes, sir!).
All that caveat business aside, the Halloween Critical Mass is tonight. If you do just one Critical Mass, this is the one to do. It’s the biggest – I’d expect well over 300 people. The weather will be sunny, clear and cool. And I’d say 2/3 of the bikers dress up, often in preposterous costumes. Even the AJC kinda likes it.
You probably oughta check this one out. If you’re in town, you’ll probably get caught in the traffic anyway. Critical Mass is a pretty unofficial organization, but meets in Woodruff Park for a “slow and scenic” ride downtown the last Friday of every month around 6pm. If you don’t have a bike, borrow one. If you don’t want to ride a bike, go check out the costumes. Happy Friday!