Georgia on my mind

This past weekend we headed down to Georgia for a quick adventure.  The main purpose of our trip was to attend a Military Ball.  We were invited to attend the US Army Marksmanship Unit Ball in Columbus Georgia.  This was a terrific honor, and we were very excited to attend.  I got to Laguardia to make my 11 am Delta flight and was met with a huge tangle of passengers waiting to board the flight to Atlanta.


They finally got everyone sorted out and we boarded in a somewhat orderly manner.

I was greeted at my business class seat by this wrinkled and stained pillow.


Major yuck.

The one highlight was being able to catch Bohemian Rhapsody in anticipation of Sundays’s Oscars.


It was great! Not as good as A Star is Born, but that is only my opinion.  The flight was battling some major winds, so much so that they couldn’t take out the drinks cart at all during the flight.  They were afraid of the turbulence.  Thankfully we landed on time, and in one piece.

I navigated the airport (HUGE) to find the gentleman who would drive to me Columbus Georgia, where the ball was being held.  It was a straight shot down south- from 60 degrees in Atlanta to 80 in Columbus, only about an hour and a half away.

We pulled up to the Columbus Marriott, which I believe is the nicest game in town.


The people are beyond friendly in Columbus.  Truly.  It helped make up for the accommodations.  The hotel was sold out, so our travel agent had to be very persistent, and we were finally able to secure the Azalea Parlor.IMG_3560.jpg

I am not sure, but it may be one of their nicer suites.


You get the idea.


We dressed, and headed off to the Ball.  It was in  a lovely party space called the Rivermill Event Center.  Columbus is very close to Fort Benning, which is where the Marksmanship Unit is based.


The table decorations were consistent with the event… and yes, that is a live Beta Fish in the centerpiece.


There was a lot of tradition, ceremony, and Fun!


We were so happy to have attended!  We called an Uber to take us back to the hotel, and again experienced some real Southern Hospitality.  Our Uber driver had a companion in the front seat who acted as DJ.  She was playing songs (and singing along) according to our musical preferences.  It was the perfect way to end the night.

In the morning we woke up and walked around Columbus.  It is a Civil War town, right across the Chattahoochee River  from Alabama, and a stones throw from Fort Benning.

The Chattahoochee River

A little local history…


Much needed coffee at Iron Bank Coffee 


We enjoyed Columbus, but it was time to move on.  We were going to spend 24 hours in Atlanta for some good food and fun.  We picked up a car at the Columbus airport and headed north..  Unfortunately it was a grey wet day, and cold!  About 45 degrees.  We skipped breakfast in anticipation of some good Southern BBQ. We pointed the car right towards Fox Bros.


Fox Bros. opened at 11 am, we were hungry, and it smelled great.


We studied our menus.




We got right down to business. We ordered some Smoked Wings, a Pulled Pork plate, and a Half Rack of Ribs plate.  The sides, which to me are always the most exciting were Baked Beans, Collard Greens, Fried Brussel Sprouts tossed in BBQ vinaigrette and topped with Feta  Cheese (outstanding!) and Mac & Cheese topped with Brunswick Stew (Fox-a-Roni).

Smoked & Spicy Wings

The Wings were finger licking good, and left a nice burn .  The ribs were tender and succulent, but the collards were outstanding.  My husband said the Fox-a-Roni was a winner.


The pulled pork benefitted from a dousing of their homemade sauce- the regular being tastier than the spicy.  As mentioned, the fried Brussel Sprouts were greasy, tangy cheese bombs- sublime! The baked beans were also winners.


The desserts were tempting, but we were stuffed.  Fox Bros. BBQ was worth the trip.  We jumped in the car and took a very short drive to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.



Not getting too deep into politics, I was pretty stunned to learn about  the positive legacy both Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter left behind.  The Library and Museum is definitely worth a visit if you are in Atlanta.


After our little bit of history, we set forth to the Ponce City Market.  This spot was created by the folks who developed the Chelsea Market in NYC, so we had high expectations.  We were not disappointed.

The Ponce City Market is the Sears Roebuck site reborn.  It has breathed tremendous  life into this historic area of Atlanta, it was literally teeming with visitors when we arrived at about 2 pm.


Architecturally the destination is fabulous.


There are lots of rules.


One big attraction is Hop’s Chicken , which really was tempting, but we were still full from Fox Bros.  The line  consistently wrapped around the restaurant all through our visit.


There were many alluring spots, and the energy of the crowd was infectious.  We decided on  a Tisane from Spiller Park to rehydrate us.


It was an iced Rooibos tea with honey and bee pollen.  Very refreshing.


The Macarons tempted us as well, but we decided to hold out for dinner.


We needed to check in to our Hotel and get washed up.  We had reserved at The Four Seasons Atlanta as my travel agent thought their renovated rooms were the nicest that Atlanta had to offer.  We pulled up, and were met by an attentive Doorman.  We  checked in quickly, and were greeted by a quirky Polar Bear.


The actual physical Lobby is quite massive, and very brown.  They really must have cornered the market on brown marble.


We took an elevator up to our room on the 6th floor.  It was a corner room, and had recently been totally redone.  The color scheme is a more modern blue.  It was quite pleasant.


The room was spacious, very clean, and bright.


A nice little spot to recline.



The bathroom was a bit utilitarian, but clean.



I love a nice welcome snack.


One thing was certain, the room was much more my style than the Marriott in Columbus.

We had a couple of hours before dinner, and I had read about a fashion exhibit at  SCAD FASH


SCAD is the Savannah College of Art & Design’s campus in Atlanta, and SCAD FASH is their Museum of Fashion and Film. In anticipation of the Academy Awards on Sunday, we thought it would be fitting to go to the Cinematic Couture Exhibit.  It was small, but wonderful.


I was especially enchanted with the dress Eva Peron  (Madonna) wore in the movie Evita.

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina

We had logged a lot of miles during the day, and were finally ready for dinner.  We had been working on getting a reservation at the perpetually booked Gunshow and our persistence finally paid off.


After calling daily and hoping for a cancellation- Diedrick (we were on a first name basis) finally came through with two seats at the Chef’s table.


Gunshow is a Dim Sum concept.  The seating is at communal tables, so there is lots of interaction.  The energy level is high. There is a printed menu which serves as a road map.  Throughout the course of the evening the chef that actually created the dish comes by and presents it to you.  You can either take it or refuse it.  Each dish only comes by once.  It is a great opportunity to connect with the Chefs, as well as get a chance to see all the different creations on the menu.  The waitstaff (in our case Melissa) is in charge of drinks, and making sure everything is progressing smoothly.  There is a space along the side of the menu for fool allergies so there is no chance of a mixup.  The chef takes a look at that before he presents the dish.

There were so many dishes that looked outstanding.


There is a cocktail cart as well as drinks mixed in the kitchen.


Since we were almost killed in the Uber ride over (he crossed 4 lanes of traffic on the highway to get to the exit) I felt it was most definitely a Tequila kind of night.  The Tres Palomas was outstanding. It came complete with an environmentally correct metal straw and a multicolored large ice cube that turned slushy as you drank.

Just what the Dr. ordered
Roasted Carrot Salad with Tahini and Cashews
Sweet Potato Latke with Grape Butter, Ramp Chow Chow & Pecans
Tempura Smelt – a little fishy

The Szechuan Maine Lobster tail was the most expensive item on the menu, and the most disappointing.  It was excessively spicy, and the cabbage salad was mushy.  When I asked the Chef who brought it over if it was really terrific, he defensively said- What do you want me to say, I’ve spent the last ten hours cooking it.  Hmmm- he may need a bit of help in the customer service department.  In any case, we ordered it, and were disappointed.


The Chourico was outstanding.


The Octopus was also very good, though the plate looked a bit sad.


The dessert I received was not on the menu.  It was a gluten free offering.  A green tea cookie  coconut ice cream sandwich with a cherry ganache and grapefruit marmalade.  It was light and very delicious.


We loved this restaurant, and would most definitely recommend it if you are heading to Atlanta.


We headed back to the Hotel, watched a movie in the room, and fell asleep.

Our flight Sunday wasn’t until 1:30, so we had a leisurely breakfast at the Hotel.  The dining room was a little somber.  The food was fair, the coffee was lukewarm, but the service was friendly.


We were pleased to see the sun was shining and the skies were blue, so we headed to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.


This was the perfect way to end the weekend.  We were there when it opened, so it was nice and empty.  We could really enjoy the exhibits.  As we were leaving, it was filling up with families all intent on enjoying the gorgeous day.


The Chihuly Fountain


The perfect way to brighten our weekend, the exhibits at the Botanical Garden were amazing.


Whimsy abounded
A bonus to see a Kusama installation


Reflecting on a great weekend
When this Earth Goddess installation is in full bloom it must be spectacular

The Gardens are laid out in such a way that you wind your way through every area.  It isn’t so big as to be overwhelming, but each exhibit is a thrill.

Upon leaving the Gardens, we knew there was just one more stop to make our trip complete- The Varsity. The Varsity just celebrated their 90th anniversary as an Atlanta institution.  It occupies a massive spot downtown.  There are several outposts (including one in the airport), but to get a true sense you need to go to the original.


People are lined up all day long for a taste of a true Atlanta gem.


The limited menu speeds things along.


My husband got a plain dog, and a dog with slaw.  He thought the one with slaw was much better.


The frosted Orange Shake was a real hit.  Like a creamsicle. The onion rings also looked outstanding,  but we were trying to be virtuous.


We had a great excursion to Georgia, and felt like we hit a  lot of worthwhile sites.  We had been before and visited Coke World, The Aquarium, The High Museum and many other restaurants, so we could be a little quirkier this visit.  The morale of this story is there is a ton to experience in Georgia, its well worth a weekend visit!





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