Ethnography ideas?

I recently purchased a highly-reviewed guide for conducting ethnographical research. I’m considering eventually pursuing a graduate program in anthropology of food, and I’d like to try a small study to make sure it is something I actually want to do.

So…. suggestions? I of course will have no funding and limited resources, but I’m hoping to investigate some aspects of Atlanta food culture using this lens!

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Atlanta restaurant suggestions, Part II

In part I, I listed all the places my friends suggested as top choices for restaurants in Atlanta. Today I bring you my suggestions! (along with a few places that aren’t strictly restaurants)

As you read these, please keep in mind that you & I may very well have a difference in opinion. If you have any places to add to these suggestions, please feel free! Just keep it civil.
(in alphabetical order)

  • Alon’s:
    A favorite of many Emory students and faculty, Alon’s is a great, bustling market and bakery. They are only open for lunch, but you must try their sandwiches at some point!  My favorite is the lamb sandwich, but I recommend the Tuscany for any vegetarians (or non-vegetarians who enjoy veggie sandwiches).
  • Antico Pizza:
    Even though I avoid pizza now, I will wholeheartedly recommend Antico for the best pizza in Atlanta. Although there’s usually a wait to find a table, it is worthwhile!  The pizza is fresh (you can even watch them make it) and made in the style of Naples. The tiny place is hidden near Georgia Tech.
  • Bahel:
    I have yet to try all of the Ethiopian restaurants in Atlanta, but so far Bahel is my favorite. It is a tiny spot near many of the other Ethiopian restaurants (at the intersection of Briarcliff & Clairmont), and I like the cozy atmosphere.  The service leaves something to be desired, but you simply must try their awaze tibs and honey wine.
  • Bell Street Burritos:
    In general I’m not usually much of a burrito person, but I frequently have cravings for Bell Street Burritos. Even writing about it is making me crave one. I love how the cheese is melted into the tortilla, the salsa is delicious, and the items are by default thankfully without cilantro. Lately I’ve been enjoying the chipotle soft tacos (with corn tortillas) in an attempt to get my fix without flour tortillas. Bell Street Burritos can be found at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market or their mortar-and-brick location in Old Fourth Ward.
  • Brick Store Pub:
    Although Brick Store is best known for their extensive beer list, I recommend it because of its wonderful, old-school pub atmosphere  and delicious food. The front door alone is worth spotting. As someone who does not drink beer, I instead enjoy their cider and whiskey offerings. I recommend the pate 
    and the brat.
  • Doc Chey’s:
    Doc Chey’s has been a go-to favorite since a location opened in downtown Athens during my college years. Now it’s on my short list of take-out options, especially when I’m craving pad thai with chicken.
     Doc Chey’s is a “noodle house” with a variety of Asian options (including non-noodle dishes). There are several locations around Atlanta.
  • FLIP Burger Boutique:
    This upscale burger joint is a fun place to go if you’re looking for something other than a normal cheeseburger and milkshake. The concoctions are occasionally misses, but the experience is almost always interesting. My favorite burger has been a Halloween special “Silence of the Lamb Burger” (lamb, Chianti jam, fava beans, and popcorn “brains”), although the regular menu butcher’s cut is always good. My favorite shakes are the pumpkin pie (with pumpkin seeds for a lovely crunch) and Nutella and burnt marshmallows. Of the side items, I recommend the onion rings and zucchini fries.
  • Fox Bros BBQ:
    This popular BBQ place has a reputation for a reason. Their meat options are delicious! I am particularly fond of the ribs, and I have yet to find a place to match them (but then again, I haven’t been to all of the best BBQ places in Atlanta yet). I haven’t found a side I’ve liked there, but who really cares? I’m there to eat meat.
  • Grindhouse Killer Burgers:
    Delicious burgers! Veggie, turkey, and beef options. I particularly like the Yankee burger and the sweet potato chips. If the lines weren’t so long, I’d eat lunch there nearly every day at the nearby Sweet Auburn Curb Market location. At the brick & mortar location, there are also tasty boozy shakes!
  • Iberian Pig:
    Easily my favorite restaurant in Atlanta.
     The price tag keeps me from visiting too often, but this Spanish-influenced restaurant is a great option for a nice double date or special event. I recommend going with a group of four and enjoying the tapas!  Don’t miss the croquettes de queso (go ahead and order two) or the copa catalan (mmm, I’m drooling).
  • Mac McGee’s:
    My kind of bar. I love the extensive whiskey menu (hellooooo whiskey flights), the music (Frank Turner, Flogging Molly, & The Pogues? Yes please), and the food (I have cravings for the full Irish breakfast).
  • Octane:
    A popular coffee spot for a reason. The place is crawling with hipsters, but don’t worry. Hipsters know their coffee.  At the Grant Park location, you can also enjoy delightful food from the Little Tart Bakeshop.
  • Pho Dai Loi #2:
    My favorite Vietnamese restaurant on the Buford Highway stretch.  It’s hard to go wrong with a good bowl of pho!
  • The Pinewood:
    Modernized Southern food cooked to perfection, served with delightful cocktails. Among other tasty morsels, The Pinewood has served my favorite rendition of chicken & waffles, along with my favorite cocktail (El Wormhole). This relatively new Decatur restaurant has already become a staple for me!
  • Sun in My Belly:
    You don’t want to miss the brunch! But dinner is also tasty (and a lot less crowded). If you’re there for dinner, don’t miss the steak with gorgonzola sauce! My love for SIMB is only enhanced by their wonderful decor and their blog.
  • Top Spice:
    My go-to source for Thai food, particularly for chicken panang or seafood soup. Conveniently available for take out!
  • Oh goodness, surely I’m missing something! There are a few places I’ve left out because I’ve only been there once (but I’m eagerly anticipating another visit), or because I’m not quite sure.

Not exactly restaurants, but worth noting…

  • Atlanta Fresh:
    Local yogurt and a few other dairy products. There are many delicious flavors, but my favorites are pumpkin (alas, it is seasonal), mixed berries, or the standard vanilla. I purchase mine from the farmers’ markets or Whole Foods, but there is a brick & mortar location in Norcross.
  • Batdorf & Bronson:
    Locally roasted coffee! The Dancing Goats Blend is wonderful. You should also take a tour of the roastery and stock up on your coffee knowledge with Jason Dominy.
  • King of Pops:
    Mmmmm, delicious popsicles. Spot these stands with colorful umbrellas around Atlanta, or there are a few stores that sell some flavors as well. My favorite is raspberry lime, although I love trying new and interesting flavors!
  • Spotted Trotter:
    Local salami and other carcuterie! I usually buy from farmers’ markets, but there is a storefront as well. My favorite salami is black pepper & sorghum, and I’d also recommend the merguez.
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Atlanta restaurant suggestions

Several months ago, I took a poll of Atlanta restaurant suggestions (mostly ultimately from my facebook friends). This is what they had to say (in alphabetical order):

– 246
– Alfredo’s
– Ammazza
– Anne’s Snack Place
– Antico Pizza
– Après Diem
– Bhojanic
– Bistro Niko
– Bone Garden Cantina (2 people)
– Brickstore Pub
– Cafe Lily
– Cafe Sunflower
– Chow Baby (2 people)
– Daddy D’s BBQ
– Dante’s Down the Hatch (2 people)
– Ecco
– Einstein’s
– Empire State South
– Family Dog
– Farm Burger
– Flip Burger
– Floataway Cafe
– Fox Bros BBQ (2 people)
– Goin’ Coastal
– Graveyard Tavern
– Grindhouse Killer Burgers
– H1D1 (2 people)
– Heirloom Market BBQ (2 people)
– Holeman & Finch
– Holy Taco (2 people)
– Homegrown
– Iberian Pig
– La Petit Marche
– Leon’s Full Service
– Little Bangkok
– OK Cafe
– One-Eared Stag
– Pasta da Pulcinella
– P’Cheen
– The Porter
– Radial Cafe
– Rocky Mountain Pizza
– Rosebud
– The Shed at Glenwood
– Smashburger
– Sound Table
– South City Kitchen
– Star Provisions
– Sufi’s
– Sun in My Belly (2 people)
– Taka
– Thai Restaurant of Norcross
– Urban Pl8 (2 people)
– Vesuvius Pizza
– Victory Subs
– Wahoo
– Woodfire Grill
– Yeah! Burger (2 people)

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Sustainability in restaurants

Yesterday morning in the shower, my thoughts turned to food waste in the restaurant industry. Perhaps a few months ago, I heard a segment on NPR about this particular topic (American Wasteland author interview). Yesterday my thoughts turned to how that particular impediment to sustainability could be overcome.

In order to make the restaurant industry truly sustainable, there would have to be some major ideological changes in the attitudes of consumers and professionals. There is often limited motivation for sustainable practices, particularly since there is the perception that they are expensive (at least in terms of initial cost) or time-consuming.

So let’s just assume for a moment that this paradigm shift is possible. What would need to happen?

Professionals would need to change food management and waste reduction techniques to practices that encourage the reduction and reuse of food scraps. While admittedly time-consuming, many of the possibilities are money-saving opportunities. Let’s look at this using the long-lived “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan of sustainability movements.

Reduce. Reduction in the amount of food wasted (like Mario Batali’s restaurant, Lupa Osteria Romana) is generally better for the environment, but it has the added benefit of drawing attention to the efficient use of food- which in turn leads to more conscientious use of ingredients by those in the kitchen. This lowers overall food cost for restaurants! Finding ways to use products “head-to-tail” ultimately is a huge money saver, and the parts that are often thrown a away have the potential to bring great flavor. Consumers should encourage their restaurants to engage in these practices to promote change.

Reuse. Reusing food is perhaps the most challenging because of the consumer mindset that rejects the idea of “reusing” food. This isn’t to say that scraps and overcooked food should be served at a restaurants like a normal meal. They shouldn’t, simply because people are expecting and paying for a high level of quality. Food that does not pass at the expediter or that is extra during prep could potentially be sold in a second market, however. This would be at a discounted price, but any money and use for scraps is a huge profit compared to throwing it away! Other options include donating food to those in need. This may require some manpower to sort through unused food and food products, but it certainly seems worthwhile.
Now, what could we do about all of those unused bits of food on a customer’s plate? Not much without violating health codes. But customers could help change attitudes by encouraging appropriate portioning in restaurants and/or giving away leftovers that won’t be eaten to hungry people or animals.
I think this part of be chain has the biggest potential for impact.

Recycle. Composting in restaurants. In many cities, there are groups who are encouraging and aiding in the process of urban composting. Restaurants who don’t feel able to compost on their own can connect to these groups for assistance and ideas. Compositing encourages natural biodegrading of materials and cuts down on food products in landfills.
(for more benefits, check out the EPA’s list: EPA- food waste composting)

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Good morning, world!

It is glorious to feel awake! I have been struggling to combat some medical issues that have plagued me for many years but have recently become exponentially worse, but I believe I am finally on the right path to normal functioning.

Why do I mention this here? Simple, really: my fervent hope is that this means I will update more. So cross your fingers with me!

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brief update

I’d like to take a moment to wish you all happy holidays! I hope that they are filled with laughter, fond memories, & good food.

I will hopefully be able to write over the holidays. I have been struggling with some medical issues that are making it difficult to keep up with my blogs the way I’d like to, so I appreciate your ongoing patience! The next post I’m working on should be a fun list of restaurant suggestions for the Atlanta area. If you want to contribute, please let me know!

I leave you with a picture from the annual holiday party my roommate & I threw. Stay safe and have a wonderful time!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving and its traditions! Particularly the delicious food. Hope yours was spectacular.

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