Heat aside, it was another lovely weekend in Atlanta (that being said- AUGUST ARE YOU OVER YET?) I lazed away most of my weekend, save for one work appearance Saturday night, and stuffed in some fabulous film re-screenings. I made some time in my schedule for some solid noshing, one to a place I regularly frequent and the other to a place I’ve been dying to try.
I’ll start with my tested-every-thumb-up spot for a quick sandwich, the recently re-opened under-new-management Little’s Food Store in Cabbagetown. My friends who live in the neighborhood had a running joke of the previous incarnation’s description as an “inconvenience” store, with spotty hours and trouble with health codes, but the steering of the new captains show no same signs (they’ve actually been extending their hours due to popular demand.) Walking in, the place is uber retro and maintains most of the charm of the previous establishment (started in the 1920′s to nourish the workers at the defunct Fulton Cotton Mill,) with a counter to dine at and shelves of kitchen staples to accommodate for the local crowd. The owners and chefs are always friendly, and Chef Kym is a Jersey transplant with some killer cooking chops. Their burgers are awesome (and the sliders reasonably priced at $1.50,) and made from store ground and hand-packed, grass-fed beef. They are savvy enough to endorse the huge local food movement in our fair city, and keep the cheeses and produce from in-state sources. Talking with the owner several visits ago and trying to get a grilled chicken sandwich, he quite apologetically told me that it was found out that their organic chicken producers were utilizing some inorganic methods, and they were in transition from a new farm. Absolutely everything I’ve eaten there is fabulous, from the vegan burger (blend of black eye-ed peas and garbanzos) with fresh cucumber and cilantro sauce, to the delicious warm roast beef sandwich I chose Friday. Fresh baguette, beef, grilled onions, white cheddar, and horseradish mayo? Please, and thank you. It was large and hearty enough to sustain two meals for me.
It was just a beefy weekend, I guess, despite my recent reticence to dig on cow (thanks, E.Coli scare.) I was convinced when the suggestion to visit Farm Burger in Decatur was presented to me. Logging some years in Athens, I was well aware of Farm255, and enjoyed their food and regular live patio music. When I heard that the owners were branching into the Atlanta burger scene, I had to schedule some time to check our their grub. Alas, this Fulton Countier rarely makes it to Decatur, but made a special trip when making a late Sunday night decision for dinner (open until 10 on Sunday.) The menu is packed with as much local and organic as they should with the word “farm” in their name, and include a plethora of in-house accents to keep things close to home- go for the house-made pickles on your burger! Now, the burger craze has subsided somewhat, being taken over by the pizza war and posthumous hot dog take over (which I follow but do not stand behind,) and having worked in burgers, I’ve sampled plenty across the city. Hands down, best burger I’ve tasted in Atlanta (bear in mind, I have yet to have the mythic 25-made-per-night at Holeman & Finch, but it’s too gimmicky and not my style- I like consistency without an air of pretension in my restaurants.) Maybe it has to do with the high quality, grass-fed beef (hold the hormones and antibiotics in my dinner, thanks) or perhaps it was in the preparation. Perfectly seasoned, the griddle the patties are sizzled upon is well maintained, and a gorgeous crust was formed on the burger to cut into a perfect medium temperature. I highly recommend adding the sauteed local muchrooms to the mix.
Browsing Creative Loafing’s site, I was quite excited to see this competition announced by Major Reed to design an urban farm downtown. The locavores are gaining ground, and it is monumental to see a city once notorious for it’s greasy soul food spots to take such a healthy turn, especially with an eye toward sustainability.