Dan and my dad have been best friends for millions of years. I’ve always known him as “Uncle Dan,” and he even performed my parents’ wedding ceremony in the 80′s. Yeah, they’re THAT kind of best friends. We lived near each other for awhile, and then my dad got a promotion and we moved away, and, until last year, I hadn’t seen him in at least 10 years. I don’t remember spending a whole lot of time with Dan’s wife, Barb, when I was younger, but she’s totally awesome. She’s also been a great Facebook cheerleader for me and my running, and she’s running her first half marathon in a few weeks.
They live in an Atlanta suburb, and we were heading down to go to my favorite food-related store in the world, the DeKalb Farmer’s Market, and we’ve been having a spoon shortage in this house, so we also needed to stop at Ikea. Yes, we planned an entire trip to a city two hours away so that we could get spoons from Ikea, because apparently there aren’t any acceptable spoons available for purchase in Chattanooga. I let Barb know that we were planning to come down, and she invited us to hang out and go out to lunch with them, and I, in turn, invited her to run a mile with us and the kids for 100 Miles for Mercy Project. Busy day!
We ended up leaving about 45 minutes later than we had planned, but, well, that’s life with three kids and a mom who is the antithesis of a morning person. Bill knows to start waking me up an hour before I ask to be woken up, because I have to ask him for 5 more minutes at least three times.
So we got to the Farmer’s Market an hour after it opened, on a Saturday, which means it was mayhem. The aisles are tight in there to begin with, for 9am on a weekday, but on the weekends, it’s just crazy. We ended up skipping most of the produce department, because our cart was already full of spices (I like to stock up when I’m there; their prices for spices are ridiculously low, we go through spices like they are water, and their selection is awesome), a huge bag of jasmine rice, some wine (again, crazy selection and prices), beans and Indian dal (kind of like lentils) and some other random things. The people next to us at the checkout asked if we were stocking up for the apocalypse. What? The beans and dal and popcorn and quinoa will be gone in a month, and the spices will only last us six months, at best!
They did NOT have the big item I had hoped for, though. I’ve been watching entirely too many videos from Manjula’s Kitchen, and have made a couple of her recipes. She uses asafoetida, an Indian spice that I have yet to be able to find in Chattanooga. I was shocked that I also couldn’t find it at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market, but for all I know, it was there and I couldn’t see it over the 14 billion other people there. Bill ordered it on Amazon as we were leaving the parking lot, and the UPS man delivered it yesterday.
Let’s just say, based on the smell, that it had better make a measurable difference in the taste of my otherwise-perfectly-fine-tasting Indian food. Like wet metal. It’s currently stinking up my dining room, because I’m not sure how to hermetically seal it so that the smell doesn’t permeate my entire kitchen.
Afterward, we headed over to Uncle Dan’s house, where we hung out with the kids for about an hour and then had lunch at Enzo’s Pizza, a nearby restaurant. Sorry, no pictures, but we had a huge salad with balsamic dressing, a cheese pizza and a nancy pizza (veggies) and it was all delish.
Then we stopped back at their house to pick up their beagle, Shorty, and followed Barb to Mountain Park, where there is a one-mile track. Perfect!
After doing our full mile, the kids spent some time burning energy on the playground while the adults sat around chatting. Ellie napped. Then Ellie gave us this evil looking side-eye when she woke up.
We headed back to Uncle Dan’s to say our goodbyes, and, after all the talk about Barb’s first race, it looks like we’re going to find ourselves in Atlanta in a few weeks. Bill and the kids need some cheerleading practice before my first marathon, and Barb is one of those people who will totally appreciate the encouragement.
On our way out of their area, we passed by this church with these funny signs outside.
As someone with a marketing background, I sometimes wonder what people were thinking when they come up with stuff like this. But hey, it worked; we looked, we commented on it, and we snapped a picture.
Next stop was Ikea, which was another zoo. But we got 12 more spoons for our spoon-loving house, along with a couple of other things, and hightailed it out of there. We normally grab some cinnamon rolls to go, but the line was 30+ people long, and I wasn’t in the mood. We were still full from lunch, and thought it would be a good idea to kill a little bit of time before dinner. So we found a Trader Joe’s to invade.
We don’t have a Trader Joe’s in Chattanooga, and it makes this girl very, very sad. I put Trader Joe’s in the same category as Whole Foods: a “health food” store with a lot of processed, not-actually-healthy food. Our focus is on eating real food, stuff that grows out of the ground, but an occasional treat is okay in my book. Bill usually picks up some coffee there, and I can generally find a bottle of wine I’d like to try at any store. A couple of odds and ends and we were on our way.
No trip to Atlanta is complete without a stop at Sweet Tomatoes. I had my very first job at a Sweet Tomatoes in Florida when I was in high school, and I still love the place, more than a decade later. I’ve eaten at more Sweet Tomatoes (and their sister restaurant, Souplantation) more times than I care to admit to. We joke that if they ever decide to build one in Chattanooga, I will be first in line to work there.
They have a 55-foot salad bar with just about every topping you can imagine, six soups to choose from, a baked potato bar, a bakery with things like cornbread (which was in high demand this night; every time we went up there, they were out!) and pizza and brownies, a pasta station, fresh fruit, and ice cream. I normally hit two rounds of the salad bar (I LOVE their caesar salad – always have – and then I have to do a round of building my own massive salad) and supplement with fresh bread. Yeah, I know, we’re lessening the gluten this year, but all bets are off when we eat out.
Ellie ate like she had never seen food before. I swear, this girl has a hollow leg. Don’t try to get between her and her cukes.
A two hour drive home and we were in bed before 10. I’m kind of glad that our next trip will be for a whole weekend; it is exhausting trying to fit it all in, and I should be able to wake up extra early and load up on produce when the DeKalb market opens on Sunday without being surrounded by 47 million of my closest friends!
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Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: | 100 miles for Mercy Project, Atlanta, DeKalb Farmer's Market, eating out, family, food, friends, kids, shopping, souplantation, sweet tomatoes, Trader Joe's, travel