Atlanta Never Ceases to Change

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It really never does. As someone who now hops back and forth between Atlanta and Tampa, I have a really hard time understanding the evolution of the city or more exactly capturing it. That’s something that never changes with Atlanta…it is always changing.

So forgive me when I try to grab hold of the past and find myself bypassing the latest and greatest for the stuff that has been here awhile.

That was the case tonight when I stopped at Woody’s on Monroe for a Cheesesteak. I don’t know how I had not been there before, and I am not really sure I’ll be going back, (see my other post on Cheeseteaks) but it is nice to know some places aren’t going anywhere…although I have always wondered how bad the city would probably like to use the right of way at Woody’s.

I looked around at the other clientele to try to figure out who the inhabitants of the neighborhood were these days. As is usual lately I was completely stymied when there was absolutely no correlation whatsoever. In the 90s it would’ve been everyone’s bet that this area would be simply full of young professional families (some people call them yuppies) who were renovating Ansley Park, Highlands, and Piedmont Park bungalows in the pursuit of being intown.

Tonight there were two hipsters, a hippy, a housewife, a guy and his three year old up way past his bedtime, and me up way past my bedtime. Combine that with the African-American and Hispanic employees and I can’t figure out one thing, except that Atlanta is a diverse place. It’s not unusual to see this hodgepodge in most old midtown Atlanta neighborhoods now. Makes it tough for a guy like me who would usually try to characterize it in someway.

But here, in Woody’s itself is a place with a menu that hasn’t changed since 1976 when they first made their name on Philly style cheesesteaks and milkshakes, no more, no less.

Here is to constant change, and the places, for my sake, that don’t.

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Soda Fountain meets Patisserie, I meet the Southern Philly

Mikey’s Cafe and Bakery

When we were leaving Velo Champ yesterday, I noticed that a little bakery had popped up next door. Mikey’s had a window-full of wedding cakes that looked like contenders for yet another Food Network reality show. But down in the corner sat a bottle of Cheerwine…and that is what made me stop and go inside.

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We had our 18 month old with us so once we were in the door there was no turning back. Mikey’s is a charming bakery cafe with an elaborate display case and lots of antique accessories that were so appropriately well placed that I might have thought that we stepped back in time for a minute…back to a Seminole Heights soda fountain in the 30’s or 40’s. In actuality, I found out they just opened last Wednesday! Our son walked right up to the case and insisted that he must partake.

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Much to my pleasure, there was a semi-familiar sight. Many of the gourmet concoctions resembled French pastries. After living for a few months in the south of France, I grew an addiction to Pain au Chocolat. Sure enough there on the bottom rack my little son was pointing right at them. Well done my boy!

Of course these did not feign to be authentic…just amazingly good as the ribbons hanging from the case attest to. There was a label announcing that they were chocolate croissants. And that they truly were. Unlike their French twins, they didn’t leave anything to the imagination as they were oozing out the sides with chocolate. In fact, after ordering one (served warm) I determined that it was 50% chocolate at least. Yummy, and the flakiness/tender thickness of the rectangular croissant was almost right on.

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My wife and I determined it was time for lunch and promptly ordered their Southern Philly on Cuban Bread. And watch out Geno’s…this cheesesteak was gooood! What makes it Southern I suppose is the thin spread of delicious peppercorn ranch dressing that compliments the juicy roast beef, green peppers, onion, and provolone melting in your mouth on that fresh soft cuban bread.

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Did I mention that they also had two shelves of pies (including a gooey pecan) which means I am going to have to bypass the chocolate croissant next time? When I return, I’ll try one of their homemade soups too, like Tomato Basil or Chicken n’Dumplings. Their laid back and helpful staff were friendly and professional making me want to find another good excuse to return to the Seminole Heights neighborhood again soon.