I travel through Atlanta quite a bit and I’ve been a little frustrated that I haven’t learned or discovered the things that people love about Atlanta. I’ve been stuck in the airport, at lame hotels or at some chain restaurant. I don’t have time on my trips to plan to discover a new area and it takes too much effort while I’m there to try to figure out where the real people hang out.
This time around though, I stumbled onto some places that I really liked. If I lived in Atlanta, these are the places I would really enjoy.
In a desperate search for vegetarian food (that wasn’t a chain resto) I found the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. I loved all the fresh produce and eatery options. I chose to eat at Arepa Mia a Venezuelan spot with the friendliest staff and yummiest plantains. An arepa is flat bread stuffed with your choice of stuffery. It reminded me of a torta or a pupusa.
In another desperate search, this time for coffee (that wasn’t Starbucks), I found Octane on the westside. It felt like everyone there was meeting for something cutting edge and important – closing a startup deal, fundraising for non-profits, or writing their thesis on the next big thing in social innovation. It just had that vibe.
I don’t think Octane is an Atlanta one-and-only because I think they have one in Birmingham. In any case, they don’t have one in Indy so it counts for me!
Just outside of Octane, there was this little nook of a place. With the traffic buzzing all around, there is this one spot where you can sit and the meditative sound of falling water takes you somewhere else. I stood there, like a stalker, and watched a guy read his book in peace and quiet like he wasn’t in the middle of a city. It was a nice moment and I really appreciated Atlanta for making that nook for that man.