Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in College Park, Georgia.
Greetings from College Park, Georgia
N 33Â° 39.585â€™ W 84Â° 26.193â€™ Elev. 1034 ft.
Thereâ€™s a framed article on the wall of the Barbecue Kitchen from Georgia Trend magazine with the headline: Frequent Flyers Donâ€™t Have To Starve.
I didn’t read it but perhaps it has to do with the Barbecue Kitchenâ€™s proximity to the College Park MARTA (Moving Americans Rapidly Through Atlanta?) station; MARTA serves Atlantaâ€™s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It may point out that, if youâ€™re willing to make the 1.25 mile trek from the MARTA station, you can find some really great viddles at a very reasonable price on your way to or from that god forsaken hell, er, airport. But whoâ€™s to know? I didn’t read it.
The Barbecue Kitchen is a classic â€œMeat and three sidesâ€ place. But should it be your druthers, you can also choose a meat, two sides and a dessert, as I did. I asked my waitress what she would recommend and went with it: One-Half Smoked Chicken, Squash Casserole, Mashed Rutabagas, and Peach Cobbler ($8.17). Since it was such a classic Southern-style meal, I washed it all down with Sweet Tea.
When I pulled the drumstick off the chicken my first thought was: This isn’t fully cooked. But it was. Had I been smart enough to read the top of the little Specials insert I would have known this. Written right there is â€œDue to our smoking process our BBQ Pork and Chicken may be red in color but it is fully cooked.â€
The chicken was really, really great. The smoky flavor wasn’t overwhelming and the chicken wasn’t too dry. Although it was served with a tangy barbecue sauce, it really didn’t require any extra help to be truly delicious.
The Squash Casserole was also pretty good. Itâ€™s sort of like a moist, baked dressing, with just enough Cheddar cheese to be tasted, and cubes of yellow squash.
But the real highlight of the meal was the Mashed Rutabagas. Iâ€™ll never understand why you donâ€™t see rutabagas more. They are delightfully, naturally sweet, much like yams; they are even sweeter when baked. Still, you just donâ€™t see them anywhere.
When the guy â€” once again an ever-reliable (loading) dock worker â€” told me about Barbecue Kitchen he noted that theyâ€™ll bring you as much vegetables as you want for free. Armed with this important bit of knowledge, I had a second bowl of them and found myself yodeling â€œRutaba-e-aga, rutaba-e-agaâ€ like Mark Volman (aka Flo) in the Just Another Band From L.A. version of Frank Zappaâ€™s â€œCall Any Vegetable.â€
The Roll and Corn Muffins were also really good, especially with real butter (Not!) and a little honey on them. I donâ€™t know what kind of honey they had in their Honey Bears but it didn’t taste like the standard-issue clover variety. It sure was tasty.
The Peach Cobbler was another real treat. It reminded me of the peach cobbler my Mom used to make. I really liked the textural contrast between the hard, sugary crust, the soft dough beneath and the tender, syrupy peaches. The only thing that could possibly improved it, not that it needed anything, would’ve been if it had been served warm with a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk poured on top. Awesome stuff to cap off an awesome meal.
So good was this meal that I didn’t even read my book as I normally do while eating. I was all-consumed consuming the delectable delights and couldn’t take my eyes off the task at hand. Indeed, this was the best $10.35 Iâ€™d spent for a meal in a while. And I ate the whole thing!
Another really great thing about the Barbecue Kitchen is its general ambiance. Itâ€™s very casual, with great service, and a lot of really cool metal sculptures adorning the walls. Where else are you going to see a bunch of brightly painted metal flying pigs? There is also a really interesting sculpture mounted right above the toilet in the menâ€™s room. (Am I developing a bathroom art fetish?) I kept staring at it thinking it was an insect of some sort. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I saw that it was actually the front view of a motorcycle.
Before the SS Me So Hungry casts off I feel I need to reiterate something: We really love rutabagas. That said, I beseech one and all to make a vow today to do everything humanly possible to support and popularize this sadly neglected root vegetable. The world needs, no, deserves to enjoy more delicious and nutritious rutabagas.
And so we roll.
Barbecue Kitchen, 1437 Virginia Ave., College Park, Georgia
(located right next to the Waffle House)
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.