Well Played, Atlanta

…and here’s why:
-Both taxi drivers were originally from Ethiopia and recommended the same Ethiopian restaurant – that bodes well. Apparently there is a 45,000-person Ethiopian community in Atlanta, and a huge aquarium, and a restaurant that serves mostly buffalo (this has something to do with Ted Turner. Please feel free to decide for yourself what that ‘something’ might be…) Henceforth, I will imagine Ethiopia as a land of many fish and big heap bison.
-I had some of the best Mediterranean food that I’ve had ever, although I do have some doubts about the authenticity – there wasn’t goat soda on the menu anywhere. We had baba ganoush, a roasted eggplant dip that wasn’t baba ganoush, cabbage rolls, and a moussakka that was dynamite. The server was young and friendly, and had terrific suggestions. He also spoke German and ‘some Dutch’. Glargh, if a 20 year old Turkish kid in Atlanta can speak German, why can’t I?
-The lovely receptionist at the administrative office had worked there for 43 years, and told some great stories about what things were like at PP back in the day.
-So much shrimp. And so many grits.
-There is an exceptionally stylish hotel called the Glenn which has:
• A rooftop bar with its own special elevator, futuristic pink lighting, a good background d.j., and a great open-air lounge feel with a sparkly view of the city. When we walked in a friend said, ‘I’m Irish. I thought these bars only happened on TV.’ That killed me for some reason – the bar did look a little CSI-Miami, and in fact there WAS a Criminal Services Investigation conference in a neighboring hotel, and I guess I could have made that connection… if I was Irish.
• A server who was probably 18, and whose enthusiasm for the things on the menu almost overcame his awkwardness in describing them: he said that the mixed drinks were ‘really great’, that they were made Depression-style (um, so far so good, right?) and that Depression-style meant that most of them had egg whites in them for texture. He also said that they infused their own liquors in-house so that the liquor wouldn’t get overwhelmed with the other flavors. (Oh, you mean the egg-white flavors?) He did, to be fair, bring me a gin, elderberry, blackberry, lemon-meringue drink that was fantastic and which cured my cold overnight. (Which was a relief. It’s an either-or proposition, drinking Depression-style gin when you’re sick. Either you get better or you get much, much worse.)
• A restaurant with pretty decent salads, which is impressive given that they had on special a 3-piece fried chicken plate that came with succotash and biscuits. And the biscuits came with gravy, ya’ll.

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