Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Atlanta Road Trip Part 4


With Mark's test behind us and since we were on the road anyway, we took a few days for a family vacation. All the fun exploring we'd already done in Atlanta was bonus for the business part of the trip (and I think we did a great job having fun in Atlanta)! The next part was the true "vacation" highlight. And what a highlight it was -- a dream come true! But that will be in the next post. :)

So, we drove to our next destination (which I will reveal in our next post) via Macon, GA. Why Macon? Because it was on the way and one of Mark's really good friends from high school lives there. We got to visit Steve Moretti at his home and then enjoyed lunch with him afterward at a great little restaurant there.

Steve is a professional drummer and he is married to a concert violinist. We're bummed we couldn't meet Amy, as she was working when we were there (she is a concert master and also the music director of a college there), but we did get to meet his two cute boys and see his studio.

Thing 2 gave us a mini concert.

Steve gave him some tips and pointers and played for us, too!
We really enjoyed visiting with Steve. He and Mark picked up right where they left off years ago. We hadn't seen Steve since our wedding, but it was so good to reconnect. The time went by WAY too fast. Steve is a SUPER nice guy and we all really enjoyed talking and catching up. He kept saying that he wished they lived closer to us so we could hang out and I couldn't agree more. It was really such a good visit!

Steve and Mark - 20 year reunion! :P

It was a bright, hot day, so we hung out in the shade afterward while we stood outside the restaurant and kept talking - it was so much fun talking, that we adults, in particular, were having difficulty pulling ourselves away!

After leaving Macon, we made another stop in the state of Georgia at one of those highly-publicized roadside places. You know the kind. You see about 37 billboards advertising pecans and peaches, so you pull over and find a dinky tourist trap? Pure awesome (if you ignore the "depressing" part).

This place wasn't so bad. They took what used to be a gas station and turned it into a pecan, ice cream, and peanuts kind of place. You walk in and there are copious amounts of bags of various nuts for purchase - praline pecans, spicy pecans, cinnamon pecans, plain pecans, roasted pecans. You get the idea. They have a counter where you can sample them all.

Thing 1 is a big fan of boiled peanuts (which we first tried on our 2009 road trip to Florida), so we got some of those as well as a couple of different kinds of pecans. We also tried Blue Bell Ice Cream. We'd heard a lot about that kind of ice cream from Mark's brother Greg (who enjoyed discovering it when he lived in Texas), so we wanted to try it. It was creamy and delicious! Glad Greg mentioned it. :)

Classic road trip picture, eh? I can totally see us laughing at that one in 20+ years.

After our GA stops, we kept on driving and arrived at the place where we would be spending the next two days. It was pretty late when we got there, so we literally RAN to our dinner reservation at Emeril's Tchoup Choup. The food was DIVINE. We were so tired and it was so late, that I think we all felt a bit woozy. But just the same, the food was amazing.

I started with a wedge salad (yes, partly because of the Modern Family mileage we get from it) and, being someone who usually eats salad sans dressing or with just Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles, I was AMAZED by the deliciously light and creamy dressing - I don't know what his base was, but I can tell you that it was not disgusting mayonnaise. It had to be Greek yogurt or sour cream or . . . I don't know what, but it was the antithesis or everything I don't like about salad dressing. I looooooved it.

Me with my wedge salad. Also pictured, our appetizer of braised pork belly - also delicious!

The kids' food was incredible, too.

Roasted pork shoulder wrapped in banana tree leaves - TENDER!

Amazing Dessert
This place was CLASSY. Okay, so we got a free dessert, courtesy of the manager and chef, because they were concerned that they had inadvertently rushed us when they brought out our meals before we were quite done with our salads and appetizer. I hadn't been perturbed at all (I was simply enjoying the tastes and smells and trying to let it sink in that our vacation had begun, since it wasn't hitting me yet with all the driving and packing and testing and getting checked in and nighttime - we were where we REALLY wanted to be, but it didn't feel real yet), but they were insistent on making it right, so they gave us a free dessert. I'm so glad they did. To be honest, we probably wouldn't have even ordered dessert, but since we had to, we chose this and OMG, it was sooooooo good. They were some kind of guava-papaya dumpling that were served soooo warm with an accompanying mango-lolakei (?) sauce that was also warm. Oh. My. Tastebuds. It was so good. And I'm not even a big dessert person. Just wow.

But that's it for that day. We got back to our room and hit the hay because our true adventure awaited us early the next morning. Get ready for giddddddddddddddddddddddyyyyyyyyyyy!!


Dr. Mark said...

OK. Now I want that meal again! So. Awesome.

Oh. Oh. Where did we go next? I am in serious suspense! ;)

Thank you for posting this. It's so fun to be reminded of all the fun we had.

Emily Foley said...

Wow. That looks incredible! I am all about food and now I need to go to there. NEED. (the extra "to" is on purpose, from 30 Rock)

I could totally spoil the surprise and tell everybody where you went because I KNOW. But I'll leave the big reveal for you. :)

I told Dave he should try to go to Harlem and go to Red Rooster for a real NY experience but he said he wasn't sure he wanted to go to Harlem alone at night. He'll be sorry after he sees this post and realizes what the Food Network guys can do with a meal.

Boquinha said...

Heheheh, I know that you know and yet I can hardly WAIT to show you the pictures and describe it all just the same! You will be amazed!

Can't say that I blame Dave on the Harlem thing. Sounds like you guys need to make a trip out here. Can't you just move to the East Coast? You loved Boston. You will love NYC and you will love DC. And you'll be near us! :)

Jagged Rocks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jagged Rocks said...

Looks like you guys had such an awesome time & yummy food! I am a little jealous!

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Kim! It was really fun (and very yummy). If you guys ever want to come visit, we're happy to host and we'll cook you some really good food, too! :)

Jagged Rocks said...

I would love to come see you guys sometime, however it may be a while before we are able to do that. C'est la vie!