We started our day in the Krog Street Tunnel. It’s a local tunnel in Atlanta were artists go to express themselves. I’m not entirely certain this is all legal, but the tunnel is COVERED in graffiti. It is largely ignored by police and graffiti task forces. It’s really incredible. There is an endless amount of talent displayed in that tunnel. Both sides are covered, and the art spills into the streets of Atlanta. We started to walk around the streets to see all of the graffiti along the roads, but we didn’t have much time to spare. I’ll get to it later, but we had a food tour to get to by 10:30 am. Anyway, if you enjoy street art, you need to check out Krog Street tunnel. Shortly into our walk through the tunnel, we could smell fresh spray paint, which only leads me to believe that some of the art was added the night before. Also, as a little side note, if you truly want to experience Atlanta, events and such are also posted here. There were plenty of signs for farmer’s markets and open mic nights. We couldn’t we visit anything, but if you’re spending more than a day there (unlike us), you should really go check out Krog Street.
Our next stop was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Site. Yesterday we spent some time at Juliette Low’s home, and so today it felt right visiting another home of an influential American. Not to mention, it would have felt weird visiting Atlanta and not visiting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthplace.
There are various historical spots all within walking distance of one another. We started by the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on the corner of Auburn Ave and Jackson Street NE. This place was just as important to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s story as his home. He was baptized here as a child. At the age of 19, a young King gave a trial sermon to the congregation, and was ordained as a minister. After getting his PhD in theology from BU in 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a co-pastor of Ebenezer with his father in 1960. He was a co-pastor until his death in 1968. As a final goodbye, Dr. King’s funeral was held in this church. I regret not walking inside.
After the church, we headed down Auborn, and stopped in front of Dr. King’s childhood home. We didn’t go inside, but it was still breathtaking to stand in front. To think that a young Martin Luther King, Jr. probably stood in the very same spot I was standing at some point in his lifetime… I honestly can’t describe it. I was humbled – and then upset. Upset because a man was murdered. Upset that despite all the advances we’ve made as a nation, there are still people risking their lives daily just to get equal rights. Upset that there are still ignorant people here. Upset that history is repeating itself.
Our last stop before heading back to the car was the fire department where the King kids used to play basketball with their friends. The first black firemen were hired in 1963, however, it wasn’t until a few years later that stations were integrated, and Fire Station No. 6 is the first station. This station is also the oldest station in Atlanta, although, it currently serves as a museum.
After experiencing a little bit of history, he headed to mid-town Atlanta for a food tour. We arrived a couple minutes early for our tour with Mr. John Hannula of Peachtree food tours. Atlanta is home to good football and great music, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much; I’ve never heard of any particularly delicious foods from Atlanta. I was pleasantly surprised! He took us to 4 delicious stops, and allowed us to go shopping at a fifth. That fifth stop actually provided us with breakfast the next day.
Stop one: Cypress Pint and Plate
This place would totally be my new favorite bar if I lived in Atlanta. It’s not a sports bar, there are no under-aged kids, no old drunkies. It’s a quaint spot, hidden in mid-town. There’s a patio, and it’s just a relaxing spot to visit after a busy day. This place also serves a burger served between two donut halves. When I first heard we were going to be eating this, I was a little skeptical. The Big E has the Craz-E burger, which is essentially the same thing. It is greasy and sugary. But then, they brought the dishes out. This was such an amazing burger. It practically melts in your mouth! The donut is soft, and light-weight. The burger was cooked perfectly. Everything about the burger was delicious! (P.S. The photos taken of Dina, Kristina, and I above were taken by John. He takes pictures of you throughout the tour so you have little mementos of the tour.)
Stop two: Einstein’s
Our next step was Einstein’s on Juniper. We ended up sitting here for a while, which allowed us time to sit and chat. I learned a couple new things about my friends. I mean they’re my best friends, but we never actually sit down and explain our day jobs to one another. I know Dina loves baking, and Kristina works in human resources, but we’ve never actually discussed what we really do for a living. It was nice. And to be fair, when the food came out, it was piping hot! It was a creative rendition of the Southern classic, shrimp and grits. The grits were cheesy, delicious, and smooth. The shrimp was obviously amazing (I love shrimp); I wish there was more. They paired this delicious entree with a classy drink. They call it “The Mississippi Mule” – it’s ginger beer (thus the mule) mixed with honeysuckle infused vodka (from Mississippi) and a splash of lime juice. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I also have learned recently that I like mules, so I’m a little biased. I feel like this restaurant would make a great place for a lunch date, or a first date, or even happy hour. It is extremely versatile, and delicious.
Stop three: Princi Italia
Our third stop was Princi Italia. Here they served us bruscetta paired with Prosecco. It was very Italian, but didn’t really strike my fancy. This place would be a perfect date night. Maybe, I was just starting to get a little full. My favorite part about this place was actually a special little treat. As mentioned above, Dina is a baker. I thankfully told John this before our tour, and he hooked us up with the tiramisu at this stop. This is hands-down the best tiramisu I’ve ever had. As you can see from the photo, it’s not a traditional tiramisu. It was extremely light and airy. Normally, the cake is drowning in espresso. I hardly tasted espresso in this delight. I loved it! And it paired beautifully with the strawberries on the plate. This tiramisu saved my Princi Italia experience.
Stop four: Cafe Intermezzo
Our last sit-down stop was Cafe Intermezzo, for some after meal coffee and dessert. John scared us when we went in. We were starting to get quite full, and those pieces of cheesecake, yes cheesecake, were huge. We stepped up to the cheesecake bar, listened to the various flavors, and had a difficult time choosing the one we wanted to try. All the flavors of cheesecake and cake looked phenomenal. Ultimately, I chose the Boston Creme Pie Cheesecake. Generally, Boston Creme Pie is dense and a lot to handle, and then my slice was put in front of me, and I instantly regretted my decision. It was huge. I knew I was taking this home. But then, I took my first bite. It was DELICIOUS and light. I wish I had more business trips, where I have connecting flights in the Atlanta. John said they have a little shop in the Atlanta airport. This cheesecake would totally make flying so much more enjoyable. As I posted above, I also had a coffee here. I felt like I was in Europe. I’m used to very sweet coffee, so my first sip was a little disappointing. But, as I continued to sip, I started to enjoy the drink. I actually really loved this coffee!
Our last stop: The Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe
This is where John let us shop for treats to take home with us. On our tour, we actually mentioned we were headed to spend the night at Kristina’s sister’s place. He had Kristina pick 4 pastries – two for her, and two for her sister. I loved the atmosphere at this Chinese / Asian influenced bakery. There were people worked quietly, sipping bubble teas and munching on butterfly buns. Again, as mentioned above, the pastries at this place provided us with breakfast the next morning. I was apparently in a pineapple mood, as I picked a pineapple pastry (dense, candied pineapple paste baked into a crumbly pastry crust) and a Hing Kong Polo bun (a bun filled with salted butter topped with a crunchy pineapple crust). Both were absolutely delicious, not necessarily breakfast foods, but delicious.
All-in-all, this food tour was perfect. We were all extremely glad we took this tour with John. I’d love to visit Atlanta again, and try all the restaurants John suggested that we didn’t try.