In the years I’ve been doing this, at every wedding reception I attend, as I survey my options at the shrimp and grits bar and the prime rib stand, without fail someone comes up to me and hilariously asks, “Hey, are you gonna blog this?” It provides all parties a resounding fake chuckle.
So it goes when last week we had visitors at Piedmont Hospital, while Katie was recovering from being unzipped to remove a baby. No, I am not going to review the hospital food which was delivered to our room three times a day. The mac ‘n cheese was creamy, the chicken noodle soup hot and hearty, and the Jell-O as bright and jiggly as ever.
I am going to go over the options one can find in walking distance, for the man who is sleeping on a rubber couch for four nights, and may want to venture out for a spell.
Varasano’s Pizza – As pictured above and below. It was my furthest walk of the weekend, maybe ten or more minutes each way. I do still enjoy their pizza, and the meatball drowned in sauce served with chewy sourdough bread is a good snack. I’m never bloated after some Varasano’s, which is tough to say after eating pizza most anywhere else. The un-photographed Nucci pizza, with olives and Emmentaler cheese is my favorite non-standard pie. So good. If only the general vibe of this place were more welcoming.
R. Thomas Deluxe Grill – Open 24 hours. Serves beer late. Wings and the Thai quinoa bowl are solid options, as are the breakfast items served all day. The food items are varied and eclectic, and not always the best, but it’s a fun spot I had sort of forgotten about. They let me sit in the kitchen and have a Terrapin Rye while I waited on my to-go food, including a delicious fruit shake for Katie.
Chik-Fil-A – I despise their cakey sweet biscuits, but I order the breakfast burrito (with chicken or sausage) regularly. Don’t forget to ask for the hot sauce, a pureed-style tomato rich sauce with a decent amount of tangy kick. If you say you don’t like hash rounds, you’re a liar.
Jimmy John’s - Better than Subway (which is next door to JJ) for a sandwich in a pinch. Did you know that Subway ham is actually colored turkey? It actually says so on the menu in tiny print. For fast food sandwiches, Jimmy John’s bread is some of the best, always soft and pliable. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but for what it’s worth, I hate Firehouse Subs. Gross soggy sandwiches.
Ted’s Montana Grill - I forget how solid their burgers are, bison or beef, it’s a hearty mess of a burger, with decent sides, and I love the fresh pickles offered up to each table.
Black Bear Tavern – A friendly neighborhood bar, with good burgers and what seems like a crowd of regulars.
Also in walking distance, but I didn’t visit on this trip – Uncle Julio’s (next door to Ted’s), Houston’s, Cafe Sunflower (vegetarian).
There is also quite a bit within a five minute drive. I tried to stop in for a quick beer at Holeman & Finch while my food was being prepared at Cafe Agora, but the bar was full so I left and went to Umi. It was mildly annoying that I valeted my car at H&F only to find I needed to immediately leave. The valet was returning from parking my car when I handed him my ticket to go and get it again. Also eye-roll inducing, I had friends dining at H&F on Sunday who asked if they could bring me food at the hospital. They asked for a burger to go, but were denied due to “availability”. Look, it’s an excellent burger, but give me a break. They’ve been riding the marketing high of this thing for over five years now, and I get it, it’s a big deal (“Hey, can we get another Eater article on the burger, maybe break down how they make the mustard!”) But frankly, this sort of attitude/policy rubs me the wrong way.