If you can’t tell already, I love to eat and I love supporting Black businesses, so the last two weeks in Atlanta have been something close to heaven for me. Atlanta’s Black Restaurant Week 2018 (BRW) ran from September 2 to September 16 (yes, we got a bonus week!) with 4 special events and 21 restaurants providing special menus priced between $15 and $40. Due to scheduling and budgeting restrictions, I wasn’t able to attend most of the special events, which included a culinary panel, a pop up dinner, and a culinary showcase/bartending competition. Luckily, I was able to visit a few restaurants and attend the food truck festival.
Despite the lackluster service I previously received when dining at Rosie’s, hunger and proximity to work drove me back. Their BRW special menu included chicken and waffles (or shrimp and grits) and a coffee or juice. I opted for the chicken and waffles, which came with a surprise of strawberries tucked into the chicken display. The waffle was nice and crispy and the wings were perfectly fried. The service was substantially better – faster and more attentive. The only downside was that I could not get a refill on my apple juice, but overall, I was happy with my lunch experience.
Located in Midtown, Negril Village is a Caribbean oasis. Their BRW menu included a meal complete with appetizer, entree, and dessert, with quite a few entrée options.
I opted for the warm cornbread, jerk chicken, rice & peas, and sautéed cabbage. The cornbread, which was indeed warm and melted in my mouth, came with a guava butter that added a touch of sweetness. My entree was delicious and filling that night and for lunch the next day. The chef-selected dessert was some sort of caramel apple cake situation, but I was much too full to enjoy it.
Milk and Honey
I think that Milk and Honey offered the best deal for the week. For $30,
you got an appetizer and two entrees (I mistakenly believed that dessert was included, but you could add it for only $2). I ordered lobster fritters, shrimp & grits, and crab hash. I was extremely happy the entire time that I was eating. The lobster fritters were reminiscent of hush puppies and were definitely fried well. My hash browns were just the right amount of crispy and were topped with crab meat, tomatoes, and a Cajun sauce. The shrimp and grits were also served with the same Cajun sauce. The flavors of each dish were well balanced, and I will definitely be back to try the rest of the menu.
This is my second year attending Soundbites,
the Black Food Truck Festival. Although I’m not big on the summer heat or long lines, I love that Soundbites can bring all ages and styles of Black people together with about 10 trucks, a full bar, and a DJ. Tickets could be purchased beforehand through the BRW website and Groupon or at the gate. Overall, the event had a good, cool vibe and provided a great atmosphere for hanging out with a big group of friends. Some of the lines got really long, but part of that is due to the nature of food trucks (although I would suggest that for events like these, vendors figure out how to increase their staff for the day to help service move faster). Despite my dislike for heat and lines, I was able to patronize a few trucks and stands before I left for the day:
So. Fresh Lemonade
I discovered So. Fresh Lemonade at last year’s Soundbites and was super thankful for the delicious refreshment and relief it afforded from the Atlanta heat. This year, it offered the same relief, but I was less excited about the flavor. I’m not a traditional lemonade fan, so I always opt for flavors. Last year’s mango was fantastic. This year’s strawberry was good, but didn’t deliver the phenomenal flavor I remembered. I was able to taste the peach as well, which was much more in line with my original experience. I am excited to follow their growth and see what new flavors they introduce.
I decided to try Magnolia BBQ and Fish because it had a slightly shorter line and a mounted grill outside the
truck. I only had to wait a few minutes before I was able to enjoy my rib tip meal. The meal, which was a good-seized portion, came with baked beans and white bread. While the flavor and beans were really good, the rib tips were not warm, which was odd, considering the grill set up.
Although this was by far the longest wait, it was definitely worth it. I ordered a deep dish snickerdoodle, topped with smoky mountain fudge ice cream, drizzled with chocolate caramel and sprinkles, and it was definitely the best thing I ate all day. The cookie was warm and soft, with a perfect amount of cinnamon, as if it just came out of the oven. It provided the perfect bowl to the melting ice cream, which was also quite delicious. The owner also mentioned that Not As Famous caters private events with a cookie bar, and I am so ready to host an event so that I can have them cater.
Black Restaurant Week definitely takes some advance planning and budgeting in order to take advantage of all that is offered. It is my mission to be completely ready for next year (September 1-15, 2019), and will definitely visit these companies in the meantime.