Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random thoughts from the ATL

I just returned from a business trip to Atlanta. It was my first time there, and I'm sure I didn't get to see all of the kewl places but I did have some pretty good food. Here are some random thoughts from the trip:

  • What sucks more than work travel? Work travel over the weekend. I left on Friday (during work hours) and returned on Monday (during work hours), so it's like I never had a weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to take off work a little early on Friday for some well-deserved Boulevard Wheat.

  • Talk about urban sprawl! Atlanta takes urban sprawl to a whole new level. That city makes Overland Park look like downtown Manhattan.

  • I'm not a connoisseur of grits. I barely know what a grit is. My last experience with grits was in New York, and I remember it was merely okay. But even the worst grits I had in Atlanta (at the hotel restaurant) were amazing. They served them plain, with butter, or in the case of the aforementioned restaurant, with a cream and cheese sauce and jumbo shrimp. Delish!

  • Speaking of food, we dined at the restaurant of Iron Chef vanquisher Kevin Rathbun. You might remember when he and his brother totally flayed Bobby Flay. Anyway, I had the lobster taco with the charred corn on the side and a desert of 20-year-old Tawney port and Bailey's Crème Brulée.

    It was all excellent. Then Mr. Rathbun himself came out to our table to talk. Great guy, not at all arrogant or egotistical. Plus, he was at least 6'2" and north of 300 pounds. It's always a good sign with the chef is a big fella. It shows that he knows what he's doing when it comes to food.

  • Speaking of food again, one of the people in our group read that Taqueria Del Sol was pegged by Bon Appétit magazine as having the best tacos in the FRIGGEN' NATION! So you know we would check it out. I don't know about best in the country, but the tacos were damn good. I had a one each of the fish, brisket and carnita tacos as well as a Memphis taco ("Chopped smoked pork with a spicy jalapeños cole slaw and tequila BBQ sauce.")

  • I've decided that there are few things more dehumanizing than air travel. I was scheduled on a 11:30 a.m. flight out of Atlanta. I arrived at the check-in gate at 9 a.m. after returning my rental car. I then spent the next HOUR waiting in an unholy security line with 1,200 of my closest friends.

    It was so bad that the woman behind me actually left to see if there was a shorter security line down the concourse. She came back to report that the other three lines were worse. We let her have her place back in line because you have to do small things like that to maintain your humanity in such circumstances.

    Seriously the only difference between those of us in line and a flock of sheep being led to the slaughter was that we weren't as noisy and we smelled (slightly) better. Atlanta International is now my second least-favorite airport (nothing can be worse than Dulles).

  • I'm not sure who first coined the term "Hotlanta" but I'm pretty sure they didn't coin it on a Saturday in early March. I had checked the weather forecasts before I left on Friday, so I had packed long-sleeved shirts and even a sweater. When I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, I couldn't find the weather channel on the hotel TV.

    Luckily I realized I could open the curtain and see whether it was sunny or rainy. I was a little afraid that I had packed "too warm." Well, when I pulled the curtain back my fear was gone. It was SNOWING like crazy. It barely got above freezing the rest of the day, which sucked because we spent most of the day outside. Luckily, Sunday was much nicer.
That’s about it for now except for this bitchin' video I found (that Shane probably saw two years ago). If you've ever been to the capital of the Peach State, let's compare notes in the comments.

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  1. I got to spend the night in Atlanta just last January during all of those times I was to and fro the Bahamas. It was nice, I had dinner at some groovy little roadside bar that had philly cheese steaks and man were they good!!

    People were a ton of fun and the bed was soft!

  2. Hartsfield airport is a circle of Hell. Toss in Delta Airlines, and just thinking about the place makes me want to do a Buddhist-Monk-in-Saigon-Circa-1965 self immolation. I think the place just screws with me because of my last name.


  3. I imagine that the Atlanta airport actually IS Hell. Only you can't get on the MARTA, it just keeps you in a continuous loop with nothing but the smell of human waste.

    The city itself...it smells better than New Orleans, but so does my new niece's dirty diaper. The downtown is decent and the MARTA is a nice way of getting around (DO YOU HEAR ME KC?) but I was utterly underwhelmed by most things. I did, however, see a 7'9" man when I was there. I've been there twice now. I'm in no rush to return.

  4. I used to travel to ATL on business occasionally, back in my telecom days.

    One time, I rented a car a drove myself around. One time. Never again. After that it was taxis, limos or MARTA.

    My first time coming into Hartsfield, I thought the train that runs through the airport only took you downtown.

    I didn't know no better. I ain't never seen no airport with a train in it before!

    So I wound up walking from the farthest fucking terminal (which is where the Continental flights from KC always seemed to land) to the baggage claim area.

    It had to be 17 goddamn miles! That airport is huge and busy. I think it is generally a delicate teeter totter between Hartsfield in Atlanta and O'Hare in Chicago as to which one is the busiest and has the most delays. Pilots hate both of them.

    Atlanta has some GREAT strip clubs. Used to be a place called The Gold Club. It was HUGE. They had something like 20 strippers up on stage at one time. We got there right around shift change. We were only there an hour and saw 40 naked women. That's like, what, 79 titties? I don't know. I've never been good at math.

    Turns out the owner was later slapped with a bunch of charges including prostitution and did 16 months in prison. Seems he was farming strippers out to professional athletes.

    If I had only known. I'd have worn shoulder pads.

    Ah, good times.

  5. XO, when we went to Taqueria Del Sol (the first location) we saw that it was surrounded by "gentlemen's clubs," which we all thought was really convenient until we saw that the restaurant was closed for lunch. We went to the other TDS location to eat but alas, no strip clubs.

  6. I've been to Atlanta twice. First time, my visit coincided with the death of Coretta Scott King. I know this because I was reminded of it every five minutes.

    It also snowed then, too...but it didn't amount to anything.

    The second time was for a nurse conference. My hotel was right next to Olympic park and the Georgia Center. I thought the MARTA was pretty handy, but there is no way KC could support a rail line like that. We just don't have the population density.

    And I agree with the Hartsfield hate. I've had multiple layovers there. The place sucks big wet assholes.

  7. I've only been to the airport a few times. Enjoyed some Krystal burgers.

    I hope you at least went to pay homage to the Big Chicken.


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