Monday, 30 April 2012

A perfect holiday Saturday

Just that I'm not on holiday - I live here.

See the link below for pictures of Inman Park festival. This was my first Atlanta festival, I have heard much about these events. This was a good one, large and lively with a parade that was as bizarre as it was entertaining. Our plan for next year is to join with a Fiat500 and some Italian flags, launching spaghetti on to the crowds.

After the parade, stall browse, fried chicken, quesadillas and margheritas, we headed to Sebastiano's luxury apartment complex and its rather attractive pool. First swim of the year: April. That's a first. A few hours of lounging, a few beers, and then a short walk to P'cheen for a surprise platter of "Just trust us" and dinner.

See Flickr album.

Sunday was equally exciting. I bought the new iPad. And Draw Something will never be the same again.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I love whole milk

I live by one single food rule: There are no bad foods, only bad habits.

I've often had to listen to people go on about the perils of whole milk, in favour of 2%, or soy or a whole selection of alternate milk options. (By the way, why do people think their food preferences are some sort of life lesson rather than just their own opinion? Very strange).

Anyway this is my blog so I get to preach here. The joys of milk.

Milk Content. 1 cup (250ml) whole milk contains 8g protein, 13g carbs & 8g fat for a total of 150kcal. 1 cup also has 290mg calcium & 107g sodium. This combo makes milk perfect for lean body mass gains & recovery. Full content:
  • Casein. Slow digesting protein. Milk consists for 80% of casein, a dairy protein that keeps you full longer and helps fat loss & muscle repair.
  • Whey. Fast digesting protein. Milk consists for 20% of whey which helps muscle repair. This is the same kind of whey you find in protein shakes.
  • BCAA. Milk is rich in branched chain amino acids : leucine, isoleucine and valine. A diet rich in protein, especially dairy protein like milk, will get you plenty of BCAAs. No need to waste your money on supplements.
  • Carbs. Milk contains lactose. Your body uses this sugar to replenish your energy stores. Some can't digest lactose. Check the tips at the bottom.
  • Fat. Unless you go fat-free, milk contains 1 to 3g fat per 100ml. Fats digest slowly and keep you full longer, thus decreasing hunger.
  • Calcium. Dairy calcium increases fat loss & improves bone health. The latter is especially important if you're a woman (osteoporosis).
  • Water. Milk is about 87% water. Proper hydration improves muscle recovery and can increase strength by preventing fatigue & stalling.
  • Electrolytes. Milk contains sodium & potassium. These minerals improve re-hydration by retaining the fluids you consume post workout.
  • Nutrients. Biotin, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, vitamin K, riboflavin and many others (naturally or through fortification).

5 Reasons You Should Drink Milk Post Workout.
  1. Muscle Gains. Research shows a mix of slow and fast digesting protein is superior for lean body mass gains. Milk is 80% casein, 20% whey.
  2. Fat Loss. Dairy calcium increases fat loss. The fat in milk keeps you full longer which decreases hunger and thus helps you to lose fat.
  3. Recovery. Milk is a fluid and has electrolytes. Research shows milk is superior to water and sport drinks for rehydration post workout.
  4. Cheap. When you consider the protein (whey/casein/BCAA) and calorie content of milk, it's one of the cheapest foods available.
  5. Easy. Milk requires zero preparation. 1 quarter (1 liter) milk can be a perfect post workout meal depending on your daily caloric needs.

Read more at the link. Also read about how NO FOOD IN OF ITSELF WILL MAKE YOU FAT. 

Sounds like "mold"

I had another one of those moments yesterday when I decided to speak and the result was looks of fear and confusion.

As it turns out: gl├╝hwein is not much consumed in the US of A. So while discussing the organisation of what I think of as a Christmas Market, I added my two bits of "And of course we'll have a huge vat of mulled wine." Silence descended upon the table, as everyone tries to figure out why I would suggest we serve visitors mouldy wine.

As a side note: I find it mildly interesting that while the French call is vin chaud, the Italians use the French name vin brule'. I said it was only mildly interesting.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


My European travels for June are booked.

That's all, I have nothing to add, I'm just very happy about it.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Can I have a Segway?

Saturday morning 3 hour Segway tour of Atlanta. A tip to readers: do not wear MBTs on a Segway.

How brilliant are these machines? Although do realise that once they are on they are basically in perpetual motion, so you have to balance to stay still. Riding one however is bizarrely exhilarating.

We got a tour of DownTown Atlanta with history both recent and past. And did you know that there are not really any peaches in Atlanta at all? Apparently the name comes from a Creek village called Standing Pitch Tree (a.k.a. pine trees) and over time it transformed into Peachtree. Which is now the name of I think 13 streets in Atlanta? Maybe more?

We saw Centennial Park, Bank of America Plaza, Fox Theatre, the Varsity (sells the most hot dogs in the world I believe? Founded by a GA Tech dropout who had been told he would never amount to more than a hot dog seller), the original Flatiron building, Five Points and more.

And we looked like this:

Culinary delights

To inspire me at karaoke.

A Korean self-cooked feast of pork, more pork, a side of pork and dessert of tripe and rectum. As Friday nights go, not bad for the "try something new" checklist.

All worth it for the Karaoke follow up.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The British Invasion

Happened this week. And it was fun!

Two different friends from London were in Atlanta - and they themselves are friends as well, apparently they saw each other at the airport as they swapped places here.

Great seeing some London faces and getting all the latest news on Duke of York Square!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Chattanooga Recap

2 days, about 26 hours in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and quite a bit to do.

Downtown Chattanooga is a strange place. The water front, along the Tennessee river, is worth a visit and a stroll. Broad and Market streets are the main thoroughfares, and every few blocks they switch between overly quiet and empty, and boutiques hotels and restaurants. The Choo Choo merits a trip though, and possibly even a stay. It's a huge hotel situated in the old train terminal, and some of the rooms are - yes - train cars.

Back to the waterfront: see my photos for the area around the Aquarium. We took a river tour on the Southern Belle, complete with music and some talk of Chattanooga history. The guy giving the talk may or may not have been a random local who bought a white shirt and sewed epaulettes to the shoulders, but anyway he was great.

Chattanooga was a town of subsistence farmers who had two ways of making extra cash: make whiskey from corn and sell it to the towns in other valleys; and sell timber. For the latter they would build rafts out of their surplus logs, sail them down to New Orleans and sell as they went along. At the end, they would walk home. The town became strategic during the Civil War, as the only point at which you could cut through the Appalachians, south of NY state. As our guide put it: once Chattanooga fell to the Union army, the south had no hope.

We only had one night there but I do recommend The Boathouse for dinner. Raw bar and voodoo chicken, and a great deck overlooking the river.

Day two we drove up Lookout Mountain and visited Ruby Falls and Rock City. SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't been I recommend a visit without any prior knowledge, it made my experience a lot of fun.
How the Americans do these things is just unbeatable. It's not just a waterfall underground: it's a waterfall shown with lights and music and this big buildup in the dark. For about 5 minutes you feel like you are in The Goonies.

Both are good fun and worth a visit. The history of Ruby Falls alone is worth learning, and is quite striking when you are in the actual cave. Rock City is a walk up to a lookout point from which, apparently, you can see 7 states. But of course: it's not just a walk to a lookout point. It's a rock trail built with bridges and underpasses and climbing through narrow rocks, botanical viewings and, again, music playing. Gnome gardens, goblin underpasses and a whole Mother Goose underground passage and village lit only by black lights.

Oh and in case you're wondering what put Chattanooga on our radar to begin with, here's one for all the Italians out there.

Flickr album here.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Tradition is no excuse

"Because it's tradition" is a terrible reason to do anything, be it not letting women be members of the Augusta National Golf Club, or changing what you eat on Easter Sunday.

You know what else is tradition? Not allowing women to vote. Or rule by monarchy. Witch burning. The belief that potatoes will kill you. A pantheon of Greek Gods.

Incidentally the Augusta National Golf Club, presuming it is a private club, should allow whoever it wants and only whoever it wants as members. I may disagree with their choice, but until I'm on the board it's just not up to me. But that is because they are a private club and can make their own rules - not because it's "tradition". (And of course, how many of my female readers are part of clubs that exclude men? How many of us are part of clubs that exclude people of determined ages? etc., etc.)

More thoughts on the detrimental value of holding on to "tradition" (whatever it may mean).

Pick your music carefully

I happened in a place with an open mic night the other day. There was a guy, with a guitar, playing American Pie.


Either mix it up, pick a song that presents a challenge, or - and this is a zinger - play something original. Otherwise I just don't get it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Sweetwater Creek Park

Easter Sunday at Sweetwater Creek Park, for an easy hike along the river trail.

See pictures of our walk, and a word of advice: if you go and then want to eat in Lithia Springs, just head straight to Tiffany's Diner. There is nothing else.

Followed by pizza and Gigi D'Alessio

Saturday I attended my first ever baby shower. Interestingly: it was a women-only event. It included food cake and opening presents, and generally speaking is pretty much how I would imagine a DAR meeting.

This, followed by beers at Gordon Biersch - I recommend their Czech Pilsner and then a Pisano taking Joe and me to a rather crazy pizzeria in which you stand watch over long tables and benches, wait for somebody to get up and then POUNCE on to the available spot. Your pizza will be served within minutes and I highly recommend the salamino piccante.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

I went somewhere but I can't tell you where

And a Happy Easter.

First of all I want to thank the Korean American Coalition for welcoming me to their drinks, despite most of them knowing Ocean and that we're related. And it was my introduction to East Andrews Bar & Cafe'. It's like a Manor of bars, one building with multiple different bars and restaurants within it. And the bartender was kind enough to put some flair into our boring beer in a bottle orders, which don't afford much space for bottle-spinning-catching-behind-the-back acrobatics.

We then obtained the code and headed to the Speakeasy. Because if you are going to have a door you may as well make it fun: the entrance is via phone booth. One of those British red ones which aren't that common any more even around London. Enter, dial the secret code, and the back of the booth opens to let you in to... Prohibition.

We were welcomed by a colourfully besuited maitre who told us about their drinks and cigar bar, found seats at a table for the ladies (he even included me in the "ladies category") and at the bar for the men. Cigars, torta caprese and - wait for it - Old Fashioneds at the ready. Wonderful place, panelled ceiling, dark wood bar, bartenders in shirtsleeves and vests, with hair slicked back. And at the end of the night they will shake your hand and tell you it's been a pleasure.

And did I mention they serve Old Fashioneds?!

Next plan: Bourbon Tour anyone??

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

Who are you calling Snooki?

My father is spending a week in Atlantic City.

I am wearing blue nail polish.

Who wins the I Am Snooki wars?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The beers and tater tots

Were a winning combo, making a great weekend

The SweetWater Brewery is right here in Buckhead, and on Saturday afternoons (as well as some weekday evenings), the brewery opens to the public for what is basically a pub day. $10 gets you a souvenir glass and six beer samples. And when I say sample I mean a 3/4 pint of beer. So in other words: this is a great deal.

There is also a brewery tour, which is less a tour than it is a speech, but is in its way part of local history so worth a listen. But mainly: there is live music, great weather, and did I mention almost 6 pints for $10? Plus we got Leah and Tom and their friends Meredith and Cathy and the beautiful Louis (he's a dog).

Follow Sunday with totchos at The Nook patio by Piedmont Park, and a walk in said park, and this is a good weekend.

Pictures of the weekend.

This, by the way is what death by totchos looks like:

I even got stopped and complimented on my style, while wearing a Scooter t-shirt. Scooter as in the Muppet. Ha!