Food Carts, Meet Athens, Athens, Meet Food Carts: The Athens Food Cart Festival

Well it was about time!

If one could only imagine the nights I’ve had ‘tossing and turning’  and dreaming of Athens becoming a food cart destination, à la Portland and New York City, only to wake and realize that instead of food carts and trucks, we’d be getting a Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and a downtown Waffle House.

Welcome to Athens!

But actually, this really hasn’t kept me up at night – what has is my job search and boy(s) that don’t text back, however I was ecstatic to learn a couple of weeks ago, that food trucks and carts (many from the Atlanta-area) would be coming to Athens for the Athens Food Cart Festival held this past Saturday.

Students from UGA’s College of Environment and Design hosted this first-ever festival, with the idea stemming back from a graduate course in Spring 2011. According to the festival’s blog, “the street food festival is designed to raise awareness of the many benefits of mobile food vending for the Athens community.”

Vendors such as La Fonda Dawgs (a UGA campus staple), Farm Cart (Athens) King of Pops (gourmet freeze pops), Nacho Mama’s Taqueria, Honeysuckle Gelato, Nana G’s Chik-n-Waffles and Yoli’s Street Food (Cuban) were at the festival, just to name a few.

My time at the festival was brief do to another obligation that same day, however I managed to go to La Fonda Dawgs (one of the few vendors with a reasonable line) and finally try something I have wanted to taste since freshman year: the BBQ chicken sandwich. Tender grilled chicken with a tangy, sweet sauce, and a steal for $4- it was worth it.

Of course  I should have gone to an Atlanta vendor and try something out of reach in my day-to-day life, but this was one last thing to cross off my Athens bucket list.

One to-do crossed off, 99 more to go.

Let’s do this.

Honeysuckle Gelato: Flavors include Bourbon Pecan, Moon Pie,and Snacks on a Plane (biscoff, peanuts & pretzels)

Yoli's Street Food

Pressed for Time Paninis

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I Consider Myself a “Classy” Foodie: Cracker Barrel and All

As soon as I tell people I have a food blog, they either ask me one of two things:

1) Can you cook? (See title of blog)

OR

2) What are your favorite restaurants?

This one is a little bit trickier and after a couple of milliseconds batting my eyes and having a glazed look come over them, I manage to stutter out The National in Athens.  I like The National and I would kill to go back there and have their banana bread french toast just one more time (let’s not go there), but is it my absolute favorite restaurant?

No.

My favorite restaurant is actually a pizza place called Monicles Pizza in Peoria, Illinois; the town I grew up in. To non-Peorians, Monicles would be nothing special. Pepsi, not Coke (we’re north of the Mason-Dixon line ya’ll) is served in pitchers, the salad consists of shredded iceberg, American cheese, and bits of tomato chunks which you drown in their  French Dressing which God himself must make, and then you have the pizza, which is as thin as cardboard.

But oh my goodness is it all so, so good.

My point is, when you claim yourself a “foodie” people expect you to name a five-star restaurant manned by a  James Beard award- winning chef as your favorite place, not restaurants that have had a health-code violation within the past year (and I’m not talking about Monicles or Cracker Barrel here).

So yes, I still claim myself a foodie because I love food. I will try anything once, and so far my most adventurous eats have been octopus, curried goat, escargot, and my mother’s casseroles. Make no mistake, I am no Anthony Bourdain.  I think restaurants that serve Pan-Asian-Dutch-Brazilian-Samoan fusion cusine can be wonderful, but so far, none have rocked my boat…yet.

I’m still trying to figure out my own likes and dislikes when it comes to food. What I do know, is that right now my palette is craving Hot Cheetos.

Fancy food at its finest.

P.S. I go to Cracker Barrel for three things and three things only: Pancakes, biscuits and corn muffins.

Sue me.

A List for Santa: 20-Something Cook Edition

Sigh…

I don’t get presents anymore, unless it’s from a secret Santa.

When you get to be my age, you get socks for Christmas and six months of your iPhone’s data plan payed for.

True story.

But if I had to make a list for what I wanted this Christmas, it would include a number of items conducive to my budding culinary skills.

Budding – Culinary – Skills. That’s a laugh.

So Santa, if you’re reading this, this list is for you. Below are 5 of my culinary wish-list gifts that would make my life in the kitchen a heck of a lot easier.

Extra cookies and milk will be provided.

Samoa cookies.

WISH LIST 

Monogrammed Mugs

Anthropologie: $8.00 each

Because even though I don’t drink coffee, tea or anything that would be appropriately suitable for a mug, I am a sucker for monogrammed things. Plus the prints are so cute!

Polka Dot Apron

Sugar & Spice Aprons: $30.00

Purchase on Etsy

Is it a dress or an apron? Or both? Well…not exactly. The back is open with ties at the waist and neck. But fooled you didn’t? This is something I need in my life because when I’m in the kitchen baking, I look like I’ve had a full-out war with the flour. The flour usually wins.

5 Ingredient Fix by Claire Robinson

Amazon.com: $16.68

Because homegirl can make dishes out of five ingredients or less. I’m sold.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Walmart: $179.00

This does everything. It mixes, whips, processes, makes breads, milks goats. Whoah…you get the point. Every cook should have one.

Rolling Pin

Anthropologie: $18.00

I’ve turned into a 1950’s housewife.

And I like it.

The World’s Ugliest Pancakes

I didn’t mean to make them ugly.

It just happened that way.

Okay, so maybe I could have put in the egg that the mix had called for (I forgot!) and they would have turned out like the perfectly symmetrical pancakes IHOP makes.

After making macaroni and cheese I decided to “cleanse” my palate and make pancakes…whole-wheat pancakes with bananas topped with Cracker Barrel syrup.

Oh no she didn’t.

To be fair, I didn’t make them from scratch. Instead, I used a whole-wheat pancake mix and added mashed bananas, cinnamon, vanilla extract and vanilla soy milk.

You can obviously see I’m attempting to be healthy with the soy milk.

And with the pictures below, you will see that any health benefits that these pancakes may originally have had are gone with the addition of  syrup.

Good riddance.


NYC & CT Eats: Part Deux

Here we go again….

Wafels and Dinges

NYC

Belgian Waffle with Spekuloos Spread

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana 

New Haven, CT

Penelope

NYC

Ellie's Spinach Pie

NYC Eats: Part 1

I have officially become one of those annoying people who snaps pictures of their food at restaurants and then asks their friends to delay eating in order to snap a picture of their meal as well.  I’ve become a cliché.

Shoot me.

This summer I went a little crazy and snapped photos of just about every unique meal/snack  I had outside of what I made at home.  My photography skills are not the best (that’s an understatement) but the food is droolworthy. Therefore, instead of writing reviews for each establishment, I thought I’d post only photos and let them do the talking.

You’ve been warned.

il laboratorio del gelato

NYC

Sweet Cream and Peach Gelato

10 Downing Food and Wine

NYC

Red Shrimp and Anson Mills Cheddar Grits with jalapeno and fried leeks

Curry Spice and Coconut Pot Pie

 Eataly

NYC

Gelato

I’m Alive…I swear!

I have entered hell week. Finals are beginning early next week and there are not enough hours in the day to study and prepare. With that said, my blogging has been less than consistent. To the three people that actually read my blog, one being my mother, my apologies.

I am not one of those peoples, who during finals hold themselves up in a room and never come out. Home girl has to eat, and I do. I promise that once this week is over with, I will have written a ton of blog posts encoutering my food adventures around Athens, including Gigi’s Cupcakes, Clocked Diner, and Big City Bread. 

So get ready.

But for now, I leave you with a little food porn. A little something that I am dying to eat.

Chow!

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