This year’s Astricon took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, the only thing that I know about Atlanta was: it’s at the southern part of the United States, the Atlanta Asterisk Users Group is one of the biggest users’ group for Asterisk in the world, Bryan Johns of Digium is from the Atlanta area and that Southern Cuisine is considered to be very good.
Now, Southern Cuisine is really good (I’ll get to that shortly), but Southern Hospitality is something different altogether. Till today, I’ve been to several parts of the US. I’ve been to Manhattan, Boston, Phoenix, Washington, Denver, San Fransisco, San Jose, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Miami. Now, I have to admit, in none of the listed states had I ever been approached by the owner of the restaurant to check how the table is. In every “non-chain” restaurant I’ve been to, the owner just stepped over to our table to check out how we are doing. And this is not your ordinary “How’s the food? – good, bye” conversation, each time the owner seems to be genuinely interested in our well being, how we feel and even more.
So, southern hospitality gets my two thumbs up – there’s something to learn from it.
Now, regarding the cuisine. I didn’t have much time to enjoy the local cuisine, however, being in Atlanta with my colleague Eric (and his parents the came to visit all the way from Florida) surely helped to narrow things down in that respect. According to the information we had, one of the best places to eat authentic southern cuisine would be Mary Mac’s Tea House. Now, putting aside the multitude of pictures on the walls, depicting various movie starts and various public figures eating at Mari Mac’s, I have one thing to say: They know why they are eating there. Ranging from their crispy “Mudbugs”, through the amazing Sweet Potato Souffle up to their juicy Fried Chicken – what can I say, an experience to be remembered and hopefully experienced again in the future (gotta take my family there at some point in the future).
Earlier that week we’ve eaten at the “White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails” – it’s a brand new place and the food is amazing to say the least. We were a group of 6 people, including Eric Klein (GreenfieldTech), James Body (Truphone), Randy Reznik (vuc.me) and Tim Panton (Voxeo Labs). Each one of us had something else – we all enjoyed our food very much. The place isn’t on the “low cost” range, but definitely worth a visit, their steaks are awesome. In addition, I drank a beer, which I don’t recall its name, that resembled a HeffeWeiser in some form, although, it was tangier and slightly sour – which was very refreshing and new.
All-in-all, Atlanta gets the two thumbs up from me 🙂