Last week was spring break, which meant both a literal journey (road trip!) and a figurative one–we often picked our destinations based on restaurants we wanted to try, which allowed us to explore lots of new foods and food places. Our road trip began and ended in Atlanta, and looped through northern Florida and Savannah. This loop was my first glimpse at the southeast, a region of the country that I’ve somehow thus far missed. After this adventure I can wholeheartedly say that the South has completely it’s own culture. I think in DC we get bits and pieces of southern culture, but my biggest exposure to rural Georgia had probably been from House of Cards. I visited Publix for the first time (though after watching ‘Food Chains’, we did not buy tomatoes there), which was a real break from my usual Foggy Bottom Whole Foods experience–we played the ‘guess how much this is all going to cost’ game, and my estimate was almost double the total. I guess my conception of the cost of food has been skewed (though I’m still not sure which price is right, necessarily…).
A trip with my friends and I usually devolves into a some type of thrill-seeking, dive-bar-hunting, hidden gem adventure, and this one was no different. We tried all kinds of food, and although most of my favorite restaurants did not serve your traditional Southern comfort food, I did try the omnipresent sweet tea (so sweet) and grits, which were fabulous. In addition to a foray into the more expected southern cuisine, we found some truly scrumptious restaurants. A particularly memorable one was Timoti’s Food Shak in Fernandina Beach–we loved it so much we went twice! They had lots of fresh fish and seafood offered up in all kinds of dishes, and we all tried fish tacos (at least once). A favorite in Atlanta was Taqueria del Sol, which had a line out the door and an a la carte menu to appeal to the masses.
Though the best part of the trip was probably all the time we got to spend on the beach, I loved being able to step outside of the DC-Foggy Bottom food bubble. Undoubtedly we have access to some delicious and nutritious food near campus, but it’s easy to end up on the same regular grind. It was good to take a break from cooking my own food, and to realize how much food culture can vary within just a region. Now that we’re back to cold weather and winter veggies, I expect some refrigerator-clean-out dinners to come soon.