Day One In Atlanta

Athena ScalziHello, Atlanta, I am in you! For the first time, in fact (unless you count tons of layovers in the airport).

After hitting the road at just past 8am yesterday, I ended up arriving a little after 5pm. Immediately, parking was a bitch. The hotel I’m staying at says it has “self-park”, and a public parking garage right next to it. I pulled into it and it had two machines, one for the public where you could take a ticket, and one for the hotel guests where you swipe your keycard for entry. I hadn’t thought to get the keycard and whatnot first, so I just took a ticket, parked, and went inside to check in.

I’m staying at the Georgian Terrace, which actually looks pretty cool from the outside.

A shot of the outside of the Georgian Terrace.

And the inside isn’t half bad, either.

The lobby of the Georgian Terrace. There are decorative trees in yellow pots with string lights around them, grey chairs, and white marble-esque flooring.

Okay, so, for some reason I thought I had to repark my car now that I had the keycard. I should’ve just thrown the ticket away, but my brain doesn’t work right sometimes, so I gave the ticket to the machine and paid ten dollars to exit the garage, then went around the block to re-enter with the keycard. I pulled up and swiped it, and nothing happened. It didn’t work. I tried it every-which-way I could, but to no avail. So, I reversed and did a 3-point turn to park in front of the hotel, then went in and asked about it.

Apparently, I needed a parking pass keycard, which is separate from your room keycard. So, I obtained a parking pass card, got back in my car and pulled back into the garage. Upon swiping the parking pass, nothing happened. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t working, and I was just about to reverse again when a car pulled in behind me. The panic set in as two more cars immediately pulled in behind that one. So now I had three cars behind me and a non-working parking pass. So I took another ticket.

I went back inside, said it wasn’t working, and was given a different parking pass. This time I had the common sense to throw away the ticket. Before moving my car again, I stood in front of the machine and swiped the parking pass. Instead of doing nothing, it said “no car on lot”. Okay, so it worked, it just didn’t sense a car. But I wasn’t fully convinced yet, so I decided to try exiting again, and if it didn’t work I would just reverse (hopefully).

Finally, it did work, and I exited, circled the block, and entered successfully with the parking pass keycard. SHEESH.

Also, if you stand in the middle of the lobby and look up, you see this:

An upwards shot of the inside of the glass tower. It looks like a fifteen story high spiral of metal.

And here’s the shot of it once you get off on your floor (depending how high up you are):

A shot down into the lobby from high up.

I’m not sure if every room comes with cookies, or if it’s just because I got a deluxe suite, but there were cookies in the room!

Two lemon sugar cookies in a plastic package.

They tasted just like lemon cheesecake.

Speaking of the deluxe suite, I hate to be that bitch but you would think if you stay in a suite in what is claimed to be one of the nicest hotels in Midtown, that you’d get a mini fridge, or a microwave, or a bath tub. But there aren’t any of those things. And the bed is honestly pretty small even though I specifically got a king. Also, one of my towels had holes in it. So far, I’m not terribly impressed for the price. (Also the art is ugly, but that’s subjective.)

After settling in and relaxing for a bit, I set out for dinner. I was in the mood for anything, so I just looked around on Maps until I came across a ramen place that sounded bangin’, so I started on the twenty minute walk to E Ramen.

It was pretty crowded, which makes sense considering it was peak dinner time. The inside was open, sleek, minimalistic, and way too echo-y for how many people were there. It was uncomfortably loud (it got better after it cleared out a bit, once there were less people it wasn’t painfully loud anymore).

I ordered gyoza first, and it came out within about three minutes.

A black plate with six pieces of gyoza dumplings on it. There's a silver sauce cup with brown liquid in it.

These gyoza were super delicious, some of the best I’ve ever had, and the sauce was really great, too. And there was plenty of the sauce as well, so I didn’t have to skimp on each dumpling.

I ordered The Dark Knight ramen, which is basically just black garlic tonkotsu ramen (my favorite kind). It came out in under two minutes!

A white bowl filled with ramen. There's half a soft boiled egg, spinach, pork belly, sesame seeds, and noodles visible amongst the brown broth.

The ramen was seriously delish. The noodles were really good, the egg was cooked perfectly, the broth was incredible, and honestly my only complaint is that the pork was a little on the dry side. I like a super tender pork belly, but I know some people don’t like the texture of pork belly when it’s all fatty and soft, so maybe they’d prefer this style.

I managed to stop before I got too full (just barely), and saved room for panna cotta for dessert:

A white plate with a glass jar sitting on it. The jar is filled with white panna cotta topped with brown crispies.

This panna cotta was odd to me because it had a layer of what I can only assume was Rice Krispies on top. Between the crispy layer and the soft panna cotta was maple syrup. I thought it to be a strange combination, but it worked super well together!

A spoonful of the panna cotta, with the maple syrup and crispies.

It was really yummy, and was the perfect finish to a great meal.

On the walk back to the hotel, I saw some really neat stuff, like this frog!

A frog made out of plants.

And this very interesting stretching studio.

A business's front window, with a logo of two people stretching, like yoga. The words say Kika Stretch Studios.

There was sign in the window that said “first stretch free!” How could one resist such a great deal?

And finally, I passed this church that I have dubbed “the gay church”:

A large, stone church flying a pride flag. There's white steps with black railings leading up to three red doors with black handles. There's an arch shaped window above the doors.

After some more chilling, I decided it was high time for some Insomnia Cookies. If you don’t know what that is, Insomnia Cookies is a chain that is usually only found in cities and college campuses. They serve cookies until 3am, and even deliver. They’re quite pricey, with the deluxe ones being around five dollars a cookie, but so damn good.

The delivery guy got here quickly, and I’m convinced that he must’ve been driving like a maniac, because my cookies were wildly askew when I opened the box.

A box of cookies, some chocolate chip, a sugar cookie, a peanut butter cup cookie, a rainbow sprinkle cookie, a white chocolate macadamia cookie, to name a few.

(My eyes were way bigger than my stomach, I ate half of one of the big ones and decided that was plenty for the time being.)

Also, I only ordered cookies, but somehow ended up with two cups of cookie dough and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

A small paper bowl of cookie dough ice cream.

The delivery guy handed me my box of cookies and a brown paper bag and drove away before I could question it. Upon opening it, I found the ice cream. So if you’re in Atlanta and ordered Insomnia last night and did not receive your cookie dough ice cream, I’m sorry. It was very tasty. Especially the strawberry cheese cake flavor, would highly recommend.

Then I went to sleep because it had been a long, pretty tiring day!

Not such a bad first day, I think.


20 Comments on “Day One In Atlanta”

  1. Holes in the towels? Wow. I wouldn’t even expect that at Rosebud Motel.

    That ramen looks delicious. The one ramen restaurant in our little town closed during Covid. I miss it.

  2. Love your travel escapades. First, on the parking fiasco. Ha, not that, but reminds me of things happening like that to me. One issue after another. You start wondering if the very universe is breaking all around you!

    Hotel architecture looks interesting and nice. Surprised also about the smallish bed and the lack of a fridge?! You get one of those in a motel…

    Lastly, the food and your cookie/ice cream look wonderful. The desert I miss so much. I have to watch my sweets (diabeties) but in my younger days, 3 of the cookies would have been eaten before deciding to leave room for the ice cream.

    Have fun!

  3. Welcome to Georgia!…or more specifically, Atlanta (which is basically an oasis of sanity in the lunacy that is Georgia).

  4. Welcome to Atlanta! You’re staying about 2 miles from where I live.

    Most of Atlanta’s in town neighborhoods went WAY down as a result of white people being scared of black people in the 50’s and 60’s. It was largely the gay community that brought them back. So there are quite a few churches more inclusive than the rest of their denominations.

    Contra Chuk, steer clear of Fox Bros. That is not Georgia barbecue. It is Mid-Atlantic, with the nasty vinegar sauce that implies. I also find it pretty dry.

    I’d say try B’s Cracklin’ but he’s still rebuilding from a fire. Try Daddy D’z on MLK or Anna’s in Kirkwood if you want to sample Georgia style. Georgia style is more an attitude than a recipe and the attitude is responsive to the tastes of the local community.

    You’re also pretty close to Papi’s if you want to try some Cuban. You could walk from where you are. It is not the best Cuban in Atlanta, but it is pretty decent. And you aren’t terribly far from Tamarind Seed, one of the two best Thai restaurants in Atlanta. It’s on 14th street in Colony Square.

    If you want to venture down to my neck of the woods, Grant Park, you can’t do better than Carroll Street Cafe or La Petit Choux. Or for breakfast/brunch, Ria’s Bluebird or Home Grown.

    Have fun!

  5. Ah you’re in my town (sort of – I live in Alpharetta, which is a north suburb).

    The Georgian Terrace is a wonderful historic hotel but it’s not luxury. The price is for the location (across from the Fox Theater) and the history, more than the amenities. The Intercontinental or the Plaza in Buckhead is more luxury, IMO.

    How long will you be here for? If you have time, the Atlanta History Center is pretty cool (and in a really nice part of town with pretty drives through expensive neighborhoods). I also highly recommend the MLK Historic site – both the museum and the church across the street.

    I hope you have fun in Atlanta and the surrounds. It is a really nice city.

  6. Give Mary Mac’s Tea Room just down the street from you a try, the fried chicken and sweet tea is really good but the atmosphere is the reason to go.

    Loud restaurants are a thing here, they do all sorts of things to purposefully make them loud, its suppose to make them feel fuller, busier, and more desirable. It just makes me get food to go.

  7. re: hotel amenities — fridges and microwaves appear to be more of a mid-range hotel thing. I’ve made a few stays at Holiday Inn Expresses where those are automatically present, but the WorldCon Hyatt has no microwaves in regular rooms and charges a fee for a minifridge.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind a shower-only room if the shower is a decent size. Too many hotel tubs are so slick that I always feel like I’m about to slip and fall when I’m trying to shower.

  8. I think I remember that tower from the Atlanta Worldcon way back in 1986.

    As you’re discovering, Atlanta is pretty successfully cosmopolitan as far as food goes. Last time I was there was for a small convention in the Ritz Carlton. We had all our lunches at Meehan’s, the Irish pub across the street, which was fantastically good, both food and service. Never expected an Irish pub would be the culinary highlight of a trip to Atlanta, but you learn when you travel.

  9. These travel blogs are so much fun.

    I’ve also had the experience that expensive hotel rooms sometimes lack the bare minimum basics you can usually count on in the cheapest small town motels. In fact, the most expensive hotel room I’ve stayed in had no bathtub and was small and unimpressively furnished. I also had to park in a pay lot two blocks away, whereas every cheap hotel I’ve stayed at had its own parking lot. Honestly, I don’t understand why anyone would want to stay in a pricey hotel.

  10. I’ll second the Mary Macs Tea Room suggestion. It’s a good choice for traditional southern food. It’s just 3 blocks east on Ponce from the Terrace. Enjoy your stay in Hotlanta!

  11. You’re right across the street from the Fox Theatre (which stood in for the Jersey City masjid exterior shots in the recent Ms. Marvel), and within a couple minutes’ walk of the Shakespeare Tavern, which I recommend even if you think you’re not into Shakespeare. Dinner theater; show up around 6:00 and the show starts at 7:30. This weekend they’re doing an all-female production of The Merchant of Venice.

  12. Why did you come to Atlanta? Just for a trip?

    And for the record, i work in the building on the right of the frog as you were standing looking at him. i can see that frog from the breakroom window…

    i know you like Japanese food, and there is a great sushi place called Wagaya kind of near there: ( i guess they consider that Westside now… who knew?)

    but if you want to venture out a little bit, there is an excellent Izakaya (Japanese pub) in Doraville, just up the highway, called Shoya:

    The food at Shoya is among the best Japanese food i have ever had.

    for Asian food in general, head up to Buford Highway (it’s a bit of a drive from Midtown.) Buford is full o Asian restaurants of various ethnicities.

    i hope you enjoy your trip. if you need any more recommendations, just ask.

  13. Re: hotel art. I often find the art in hotel rooms to be very meh – like bad examples of whatever genre they’ve chosen.

  14. Are travelogues your new niche on the blog? If so, keep it up. This should be interesting, as I’ve never been anywhere near Hot-lanta before.

    Don’t feel too bad about your parking fiasco. I experienced similar confusion at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas back in May, except it was about how I was supposed to get my bags up to my 56th-floor suite. I didn’t know how the process worked in fancy hotels, and not only got lost trying to find the front entrance to the bellhops could unload my luggage, I left my bell ticket down in my car and thought I’d lost it, so I needed to go back downstairs to identify the cart with all my bags on it so they could bring them up to my suite. (Totally worth it, though. My first sight of that suite, I damn near lost it, it was so amazing!)

  15. I too am curious why you are in Atlanta! To see friends? To eat all the Peach State things? To meet a dashing spy for international intrigue and mystery? Inquiring minds want to know!

  16. @Gretchen: on the subject of amenities, why do expensive hotels gouge you for internet service and cheap hotels give it for free?

  17. Catching up to this after reading Day 2. You should TOTALLY go to the in-town Japanese that PJKane recommends, Wagaya. (Shoya is magnificent— seriously authentic down to the decor—but it is a bit of a haul from downtown.) You should go to Wagaya, the 14th St location, not only because it is great and accessible, but also because it has an entire grocery store attached full of Japanese food AND SNACKS.