Monday, March 17, 2014

Headed Down South...

Well, I've kind of been keeping a secret for the past few months. But now, the cat's truly out of the bag, so I can fill you all in! On account of my dad's work, my parents are relocating from Boston to Alpharetta, Georgia! My dad's been down south since January, and my mom has been splitting her time between Massachusetts and Georgia. However, they move into their new house at the end of this month!

Since it's my spring break, I figured I would fly out to spend a few days with my parents in their current digs in Alpharetta, and to see what the town's all about. I flew out on a red-eye on Friday night, and landed in Atlanta ready to boogie. Dad picked me up from the airport, and we spent a quiet morning at home with mum. Then, off we went for a busy afternoon!

We started off by walking the Big Creek Greenway. The Greenway is a trail system through the towns of Alpharetta and Roswell, meandering about eight miles through the woods along Big Creek. Apparently, we went at a pretty quiet time--however, we still saw tons of walkers, joggers, rollerskaters, and bikers traveling both ways on the trail. We only walked a few miles, but took our time enjoying the beautiful weather.

After our walk, we headed into downtown Roswell and parked along Canton Street. Downtown is a short, bustling bit of the street, packed with restaurants and little shops.

We poked around in stores like The Chandlery and The Painted Monkey, pictured above. While we didn't leave with anything, it was fun to explore some of the different things they had to offer!

We then headed across the street to Roswell Provisions, where we poked around the deli (so much cheese) and decided on a little afternoon treat! It's not a vacation without a mid-afternoon afternoon ice cream, let's be honest. My parents each got Moose Tracks, which was apparently good, but could have benefitted from more chocolate and peanut butter. I ate the coconut ice cream, which I really enjoyed. I love coconut, so this was an unexpected surprise. It was creamy, sweet, and perfectly coconut-y.

After our ice cream, we drove back home and I promptly took a nap on the couch, then groaningly rose to do some laundry, then headed off to dinner. My parents have sampled many of the local restaurants, and decided on Spice, a tapas-style restaurant. To take advantage of the nice weather and to escape the too-loud live music, we enjoyed our meal outdoors.

We started by splitting the spinach salad, which featured sun-dried tomatoes, onion, crumbled walnuts, and blue cheese. The bacon was omitted for obvious reasons, and it was dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. It was pretty darn nice! Nothing too special, but executed well. There was a minor debate over whether the nuts were bacon or not, but they turned out to just be nuts.

My parents then ate the blackened tilapia fish tacos, which were quite good, but could have done with more fish and slightly less seasoning. They both agreed that they enjoyed the tacos, which is sometimes a rare thing.

They then had the mussels fra diavalo, which were mussels in a spicy pomodoro sauce served with toasted focaccia. I nibbled on some of the focaccia, which was buttery and awesome, but mom and dad said that the mussels were somewhat drowning in the sauce.

Finally, finally, the grilled vegetable flatbread came out of the kitchen. Crispy flatbread topped with zucchini, onions, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, and goat cheese, this was exactly what I wanted. It just worked really well and all of the vegetables held their own flavor-wise.

And in a surprising move, we ordered dessert! We generally don't order dessert at restaurants, but we were told that the tiramisu was the kitchen's specialty... sadly, it wasn't that good. It could have done with less cream, more liqueur, and more powder atop.

We rolled on home and I immediately fell asleep, exhausted after a long day.

On Sunday, eleven hours later (yikes), I woke up to pouring rain outside of the window. We spent the morning inside watching a few Premier League matches and doing various work, and then mum and I did a spot of grocery shopping at the local Publix. I almost had a bit of a freak-out because I couldn't find any hummus in the whole store, but at the last minute, we found some tucked away in a small display. Phew, am I right?

Later in the afternoon, we went to see The Monuments Men. It's a movie based on the true groups of art historians and scholars rushing to save stolen European artwork during WWII and the fall of Nazi Germany. While it may have been a bit lacking in terms of historical accuracy, it was certainly a fun watch! I would definitely recommend it--there's some serious acting talent represented and the true story it's based on is absolutely fascinating.

We're cooking dinner on Monday to avoid the St. Patrick's Day crowds, so we ate out at PURE tacqueria following the movie. It's this cool little converted gas station, and it now has five locations throughout Atlanta. Ours is the original though!

We were greeted with some really dang salty chips. Nevertheless, we inhaled the first basket and were immediately given a second basket without question... unnecessary, but the second batch were fresh, hot, and less salty, so they were a lot better.

I thought I ordered one of the specials, the vegetable quesadilla, but I'm pretty sure this was the vegetable enchilada. I didn't realize it wasn't what I had ordered until about halfway through, but I had thought about the enchilada anyways, so whatever. It was filled with cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and onions, and had a pretty serious kick to it! The corn salsa atop was also a nice touch. It wasn't what I had wanted, but I'm glad I got it!

Mum ordered the chicken burrito, which was easily larger than her head. It came with black beans and rice on the side, and the (apparently tasty) burrito was topped with green sauce, onions, lettuce, guacamole, and cheese. She said the guacamole was nothing special, but she did get the uneaten half of the burrito wrapped up for lunch tomorrow, so I'm assuming she liked it quite a lot!

Last but not least, my dad ordered the fish tacos. I'm not sure he thought it would be a DIY operation, but he said they were alright. He didn't like the tortillas, since they allegedly tasted "like cardboard" and had a bit of a strange texture, but the fish and vegetables were nice.

A huge part of the charm of PURE was definitely the atmosphere. It has a funky, almost Los Angeles vibe to it, and the restaurant proudly proclaims their reliance on sustainable and organic ingredients. The restaurant felt like it could have been in Venice, not the South!

So that's a little summary of the weekend! I'm here through Wednesday morning, so expect a few more posts from the south detailing our various shenanigans. I'm making dinner tomorrow, and on Tuesday my mom and I are exploring Atlanta itself, so stay tuned!

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1 comment:

  1. I can't believe I saying this but I am so excited to visit you all in Georgia!