The Dirty Dirty South
Okay, so the plane ride wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
It's late here in Atlanta so I won't go through all of the stuff about the airport other than it was disturbing. We have a very disturbed method of transportation via air in this country and I don't doubt people are noticing and flying less...which is why my roundtrip fare on United from SFO to ATL was roughly $250.
As soon as we left the airport in our rental car (newly christened the "pork wagon" until we come up with something wittier) the level of nervousness and stress diminished as we headed through downtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street. First of all, Wow! Everything is green here!
Summers in the South are green, which I forgot after so many summers in dry, yellow California. And there are lots of trees in Hotlanta, which is actually mild and warm-lanta today. The air is balmy here and electrified with far off thunderstorms. People drive slow...but bad, like California on Xanax. Are the buildings taller than in SF? Or do they just appear that way from being more spread out?
Well, enough chitter chatter...I'm hungry!
We're off to the Varsity!
This place was better than I expected. Okay, let me rephrase that: the food is just okay, but the atmosphere is great and the constant sing-song call of "what'ya have, next please, what'ya have??!!" was more classic than the Coke signs that tower over this part of town.
I knew the Varsity restaurant would be big, but they could erect a movie screen in their parking lot and show double-features on this lot. It, weirdly enough, also seems to be quite the Saturday night hangout spot for horny white teenage couples and the odd shitkicker looking for a staredown contest.
The thing about Atlanta is that there is room to spread, and the Varsity spreads its customer seating out in huge rooms here and there. There's a cool section of the dining room built over the parking lot that harkens back to 60s moderne (don't quote me on that).
This place does bill itself as the world's largest drive-in and they could very well be right. I've been to a lot of drive-ins and nothing I've been to until now has been this stadium-like. Things in America are bigger as a matter of virtue, but this is just reeedickulus. This place has the staff of, like, 20,000 or something.
On the flip side, the actual portions aren't that large. I started off with a chili cheese slaw dog, a cheeseburger, and a large sweet tea. First of all, I loved how the sweet tea was so sweet it was just...just...SWEET. No tea about it, just sugary sweet - which actually was what was needed to cut through some of the grease of Bruce's onion rings that I kept stealing. In addition to the onion rings, he had a double bacon cheeseburger. At one point, still giddy from the sugar rush and being here at the Varsity, we both decided that this wasn't enough, so I went back to get more.
Varsity Round Two: Barbecue pork sandwiches. At $2.80 each, these were a little too small and the pork wasn't especially interesting. Kind of like the stuff I remember from High School. Of course, I went to high school in North Carolina so I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing. I think as long as you have a cigarette afterwards anything's good in NC. Oh, did I mention the onion rings and hot fried apple pie? These were the (greasy) bomb!
BTW, the pork wagon smells like a damn dirty ashtray and I'm waking up at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow and spending as much of my vacation money on whatever amount of Febreeze it takes to exterminate that god-awful stench.
After the Varsity, we headed over to Krispy Kreme on Ponce de Leon Street which was totally happening at 10:30 on a Saturday night. Lately I've been running into a lot of Californians who say they don't like Krispy Kreme. Maybe this is a regional thing. The people in Atlanta: they like Krispy Kreme.
When I was a teenager, Scott, Tony, Patches and me would lay out of school, bring along a cold 12, fire up a J, grab a dozen glazed Krispy Kreme donuts and innertube down the Swannanoa.
At this Atlanta Krispy Kreme, I have no reason to believe these folks aren't blitzed out of their freakin' minds.