Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Art of Dining Alone

I'm a bit out of practice in the business travel arena.  I've had past jobs where travel was so frenetic I just wanted to luxuriate on some old fashioned room service.  Room service can lull one into rest for the weary or depending on how you look at it, avoid being alone in a crowd.

I had recently read an article in Southern Living's July magazine on the best fried chicken restaurants in the south when I was assigned to travel to Montgomery, AL.  Flying in and out of Atlanta to ultimately get to my final destination, I heard that fried chicken calling my name and I was determined not to be a wallflower on this trip!  Taking my Southern Living adviser's recommendation, I chose Watershed on Peachtree in Atlanta.  Reserved my hotel on Peachtree and thought my plans were taking fine shape.

Who knew there were MANY Peachtree street variations in Atlanta?   71 to be exact!  Clearly I had not done my research.  Since I was on foot, there was no way I could make it to Watershed 9 miles away.  My plans were dashed.  Not to be dissuaded, the concierge gave me a terrific option.  Less than a mile away, he not only recommended South City Kitchen but told me the best things on the menu to order.

If you are dining alone, but want to take in the scene, sitting at the bar is the way to go.  Getting a last minute reservation at the South City Kitchen is actually tough if you have more than one in your party.  Lucky for me, one seat was left at the bar.  Lined up with my fellow road warriors, it's wasn't difficult to make conversation. I had a lovely, brief conversation with a medical equipment trainer who eluded to posting her travel/restaurant finds to Facebook.  Through the magic of social media, friends found her visiting in their towns and would quickly connect.

Ah...the power of suggestion.  I decide to take a picture of my first course, fried green tomatoes.  Yes, I gave into what I said I wasn't going to do in a previous post, taking foodie pictures at a restaurant.

A southern raised friend had always encouraged me to try them.  Now that I was, I messaged her via Facebook.  BTW, the tomatoes had goat cheese nestled between the layers.  Oh my was that tangy, crunchy and soft at the same time.  I'll have to try making this at home.

The star entree of my deeply desired fried chicken made it's appearance.  But phone is lighting up with Facebook likes and comments.  Even though it may be irritating take a picture in the restaurant, my friends clearly liked what they were seeing.  Setting the phone aside, I gobbled every last bite of the peppery seasoned goodness.  

My bartender said no southern meal for a Southern California girl would be complete if I didn't top it  off with banana pudding and homemade vanilla wafers.  "If I must" I said.

At the end of a very gratifying meal where I completely gave myself to the experience, I saw I had a message.  A good friend of John and mine from our Dallas days was also in Atlanta on business!

For those who say Facebook is passe', I say nay!  Had I holed up in my room after my long work day, I would have gone home to So Cal not experiencing a bit of Atlanta and nor would I have seen our friend, Shawn.  The art of dining alone turned into the art of experiencing.

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