Monday, May 16, 2011

Southern Comfort - Atlanta

*** warning *** Long post!
Earlier this month I took a bit of a random trip and fled the country in hopes of finding warmer weather, maybe a beach and some good eats. After very little research I decided to go to Georgia; a state I have never really thought about. A place where I know no one. A place known for southern hospitality and gooood food. I never go anywhere with out a bit of research and really the only searching I did was once to google Atlanta and once to look up the vegan scene on Happy Cow.
Olympic Park
Let me start by saying, southern hospitality is alive and thriving as is the vegan scene in Atlanta. Everywhere I when I met really nice people ate amazing food and saw a small piece of what Atlanta has to offer a weary tourist.
Not really knowing much about the city, I wasn't very sure where I wanted to stay. So, I did what any indecisive person would do and I used Hotwire to find a hotel. There is something about not knowing where you are going to be until commit that is really exciting to me. I ended up with a nice spot in Buckhead, a quiet neighbourhood that was close to transit and seemed pretty safe to wander around on my own.
I only had a couple days to see what a city of five-million had to offer. The first day was practically a write-off as I hadn't slept the day before. I did manage to go and trek around in the neighbour hood. I ended up find a fun little cafe called Cafe Sunflower. I met a nice guy and possibly the only Hockey fan in the city and had an amazing vegan feast.

Vegan Pizza, no cheese required
Sunflower Cafe, Atlanta
The best Quinoa and Tofu dish I have ever had!
Sunflower Cafe, Atlanta

I must say that the south know their food. I started with a tasty appetizer of vegan pizza. It was made without cheese, which I think it my favourite type. Non-vegan, please listen up - you don't need cheese for a good pizza! Following my appetizer (at home, this would have been the meal), I had this amazing quinoa pilaf with almond crusted tofu and lime aioli. It was incredible.  Why do we not have this sort of stuff in Edmonton?? It made me think, that I really should just learn to cook professionally and open my own cafe. To finish my meal, I had chocolate peanut butter cream pie. Words cannot describe the flavour of this thing. I could not believe it was vegan and I have had lots of good vegan desserts.

Proof that vegans don't miss out on good dessert!
Sunflower Cafe, Atlanta

I went to the world of Coca-Cola because... well... how could I not go! I have to say for a tourist attraction, it was a lot of fun. I didn't even know if was the 125th anniversary and that just made it better. I think beyond the tasting room, my favourite place may have been the commercial room. They have a theatre that just places commercials all day. Watching the reel of Coke commercials reminded me how powerful commercials really are. I can sit here and say I am not effected, but I'd be lying. I think we are all effected by the powers of advertising. It may have also been the air conditioning and comfy couch!

Coke Harp, Atlanta

They also had a very cool art room that featured art made with Coke or of Coke. There were pieces that I wish I could have taken home. Then there is the tasting room! Organized by continent and with my flip flops glued to the floor from spilled soda I can proudly say I tried every single one. I then had to go lie down for half an hour or so. It was a lot of pop!

Coke Art, Atlanta
The tasting room, Atlanta

After I recovered, I headed out to check out CNN. I wasn't really planning on going, but it was right there. I have to say it was interesting, but not totally memorable. You get to watch broadcasting and learn a bit about how they got to be where they are. I would definitely recommend going in the building because it is pretty funky inside. Take a tour if you want a nice walk and a picture at a CNN new desk.
CNN World Headquarters, Atlanta

Giant escalator built from a roller coaster?
CNN Headquarters, Atlanta

Rhett Butler, KIA
Cycolrama, Atlanta
Downtown Atlanta was fun, I got lost a few times, and even had to pay a homeless guy to help me find a train station. He was not impressed when I would only give him Canadian money. The next place I went to was Cyclorama. I found it very odd that no one seemed to know what this place was. When I got there, it turned out only elementary school kids and elderly people really go to see it, but I think it was still worth it. Cyclorama is a painting from 1885. It is 42' tall and 358' in circumference. In the 1920's it was brought to the location it is in today and a diorama was built on the bottom to make it a very cool 3-D piece of art. You sit in a theatre and your move around the painting while hearing the history of the civil war and battle of Atlanta. Very cool, and I highly recommend.

Vegetarian Soul is a funky little restaurant in highland. I found it on Happy Cow and it had a lot of mixed reviews, however the consensus was they have possible the best vegan mac 'n cheese in the country, so I could not pass this up. I went in a very nice lady came and found me a table, read through the menu with me and eventually came to the buffet with me and pretty much ordered my dinner. She was so nice and I think they maybe don't get a lot of Canadians their way. Her, the other server and one of the guys from the kitchen all watched as I tried the vegan corn bread. So, so so good! I didn't take pictures because honestly, the place isn't much to photograph, but the food and the people there made it more than worth while. I left feeling fuller than I have in a long and with an offer to franchise a restaurant in Canada.

After this I called it a day and headed back to the hotel. There was a huge storm and crazy people on the train which we had to call 911 on eventually. All in all, I think I got a decent taste of what Atlanta can offer.

After a nice long sleep and a good breakfast at the Hyatt (Soy Milk and lots of fruit and vegetables with the free breakfast as well as bagels and cereal) I picked up my rental car and was off to the next stop - Savannah!


  1. Great post! YEG needs a vegan cafe, I'm thinking along the lines of d'lish but full-on vegan Dooo it :)

  2. Whoddah thunk? Vegetarian choices in the Deep South? This is most terrific news. Perhaps our world is indeed changing for the better.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. No problem. If you are even in Atlanta, check-out They had a lot of vegan and vegan friendly options.

    I can't wait to go back for more!