Nine Places to Nab a Traditional Southern New Year’s Day Meal

On New Year’s Day, you’ll find people throughout the South eating greens, black-eyed peas, pork and cornbread. Serving up these hearty foods on January 1 has been a generations-long tradition for many a southern native, but do you know why we eat them or where to find them in Georgia if you don’t want to cook another holiday meal?

Photo: Steve Gordon/Taste of Southern

Photo: Steve Gordon/Taste of Southern

Black-eyed Peas

My favorite story about black-eyed peas goes all the way back to the Civil War. The tale goes that Union soldiers ate up all the Southern crops except for black-eyed peas. The hearty legumes provided much-needed sustenance for the survivors during Reconstruction thus, they became a symbol of luck. Some folks even cook a dime with them and whoever gets the dime is said to have extra good luck that year.

Greens

Greens are said to symbolize money or prosperity and true Southerners say you gotta eat a lot! Some even say you have to keep eating them all day, but I’ll leave that up to you! Any green will do, but the most common choices are collard, turnip or mustard greens.

Cornbread

Golden cornbread is often added to the Southern New Year’s meal. As a well-known phrase goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.” But I say you just can’t have black-eyed peas and greens without cornbread.

Pork

Beyond just being so dang yummy, pork is said to be a symbol of prosperity because pigs root forward. In contrast, eating chicken or turkey on New Year’s Day is considered bad luck because they scratch backward.

Where to Eat in Georgia

These four dishes, eaten on New Year’s Day, are designed to bring you and you loved ones prosperity throughout the year. So where do you go if you want to guarantee good luck in 2016? Below are nine places around Georgia that are open and ready to serve up luck and prosperity on January 1, 2016.

The Blue Willow Inn

Historic Heartland– Social Circle, GA

No one is allowed to leave The Blue Willow Inn hungry after feasting on a variety of Southern salads, meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts. Their New Year’s buffet will have all the traditional fixin’s along with prime rib, seafood, and all the Southern desserts you know and love.

Blue Willow Inn Photo: Lamar/Flickr

Blue Willow Inn Photo: Lamar/Flickr

 

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Atlanta Metro– Atlanta, GA

Mary Mac’s boasts many awards and accolades, but most recently the 70-year-old establishment was named the Best Atlanta Soul Food Restaurant by our very own Family Explorer, Lesli Peterson. They fill up fast on holidays so come early to enjoy all the traditional New Year’s Day dishes.

 

The Smith House

Northeast Georgia Mountains–  Dahlonega, GA

The AJC once called the food at The Smith House “revelatory.” You can have your own revelation on New Year’s Day with the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat, family style dining experience starting at 3:30pm. They are located just one block from Dahlonega’s historic downtown square.

the smith house dahlonega georgia

 

Southern Soul BBQ

The Coast– St. Simons Island, GA

We named Southern Soul BBQ one of the best barbecue joints in the state, and for very good reasons. The popular restaurant offers plenty of ‘que along with the traditional collard greens, Hoppin’ John, and cornbread. Pick up a sampler of hot sauces to take home before taking a walk on the nearby beach to burn off all those delicious calories.

 

The Country Kitchen

Presidential Pathways– Pine Mountain, GA

Tucked inside Callaway Gardens, the picture windows at The Country Kitchen reveal a breathtaking ridge top view that pairs perfectly with the down-home Southern dinner served up on New Year’s Day. While you’re there keep the holiday spirit going and experience the famous Fantasy of Lights display, which goes through January 2.

 

Smok’n Pig BBQ

Plantation Trace– Valdosta, GA

The Smok’n Pig is a place steeped in southern tradition and old time Bar-B-Q. They offer freshly prepared country cookin’ just like grandpa used to do back in the day. So relax, sit back and enjoy a New Year’s Day barbecue feast with the entire family.

 

Goolsby’s

Classic South– Evans, GA

This welcoming cafeteria-style restaurant offers up all the traditional Southern meats and side you can think of, including fresh, fried-to-order fish. As one Yelp reviewer put it, “The staff is friendly, the portions are big, and the ribs were fantastically tender and flavorful. Their collard greens are pretty much the best you can get anywhere.”

 

goolsbys-restaurant-evans-ga

 

Partridge Restaurant

Historic High Country– Rome, GA

The Partridge Restaurant has been a major part of Rome’s downtown experience since 1933. Order up a family-style meal by circling your choices of classic southern dishes, then wait in anticipation with a tall glass of refreshing sweet tea. Don’t miss the cornbread, which comes to the table in its own cast-iron skillet.

Photo: Melissa C./Yelp

Photo: Melissa C./Yelp

 

Ole Times Country Buffet

Magnolia Midlands– Dublin, GA

Take a break from the kitchen and treat your family to a true Southern buffet restaurant. Ole Times Country Buffet’s all-you-can-eat offerings will leave even the pickiest eater in your family satisfied on New Year’s Day. Look for the unique pig decorations scattered throughout the restaurant.

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

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Passion Soars at the Great Georgia Air Show

Jack Link's Screamin' Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows

Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows and Jack Link’s

For aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon, his nine-minute performance at the Great Georgia Air Show in Peachtree City this weekend is a small part of why he loves his job. His excitement really shines when he’s showing off the Jet Waco he flies, when he watches the audience react to the incredible spectacle before their eyes, and when he inspires the same kind of excitement in a young fan.

Meet Boerboon and several more talented aviators Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field. The Great Georgia Air Show is expected to bring 45,000 to Metro Atlanta, and while those numbers may not rival larger air shows elsewhere in the country, it allows for a more intimate and closer-to-the-action experience.

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off the Screamin' Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

What’s Special This Year?
Never before seen in Georgia, Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch takes to the sky, flown by Boerboon, who is a two-time Advanced National Champion in aerobatics. This one-of-a-kind biplane with the engine of a Lear Jet gives audiences the beauty of a 1920s aircraft with the wow factor of a modern-day machine. Boerboon can barely conceal his exhilaration when talking about what this plane can do, so you definitely do not want to miss his performance.

Mike Goulian and Sean Tucker, two living legends of flight, join Boerboon in the skies. Goulian was only 22 when he won the National Advanced Aerobatic Championship, and Tucker has been thrilling audiences since the 1970s. These veteran superstars will have your kids wanting to take to the skies themselves.

Without a doubt, the most exciting featured performance this year is that of the Blue Angels. Active members of the Navy and Marine Corps pilot these Boeing FA-18s at the highest speeds with the most impressive accuracy. This incredible performance hasn’t been seen in Metro Atlanta since 2010, so you do not want to miss it!

The U.S. Navy's demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

The U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

What to Do?
Bring the young ones! Not only will they marvel at the incredible feats of flying, but they’ll also love the family activities available throughout the weekend. They can jump on aviation-themed inflatables in the KidZone, ride on a giant monster truck or experience the show from the zipline.

Adults, you have the opportunity to check out the flight simulators or ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter!

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

A local favorite, the Great Georgia Air Show is bound to amaze and thrill airplane fans of all ages this weekend in Peachtree City. Buy tickets, and find directions and parking information on the air show website.

Tailgating in Atlanta this Football Season

Tailgating at BASG

Beer Tower at Braves All-Star Grill | Photo courtesy of Gigi Dancourt

You have the folding chairs, you have the cornhole boards, you have the football – now all you need for your tailgate is the food (and drink). If you’re tailgating in Atlanta this football season, here are some restaurants to check out for your tailgating needs:

Braves All Star Grill
As the official game-watching destination for the Georgia Bulldogs this football season, Braves All Star Grill offers the ultimate tailgating experience! A prime venue to enjoy watching all sports, the restaurant keeps fans coming back with its chef-inspired menu. Along with big, juicy burgers, perfect wings and ballpark fare, Braves All Star Grill features menu items such as the ahi tuna tacos, Reuben egg rolls, seasonal salads and flatbreads, as well as entrees like cedar plank salmon and beer can chicken. Oh, and then there is the beer tower! Perfect for groups, the 96-ounce beer tower allows guests to refill at their leisure through the game. Braves All Star Grill also offers multiple catering options and spreads for taking home or to the game.

Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta
Whether you’re looking for a place to catch the game this football season, or looking for pre- and post-game grub, Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta has got you covered. Call in advance to order to-go catering for your tailgate, complete with Hard Rock’s selection of mouth-watering appetizers and Smokehouse items. Located minutes from the Georgia Dome and Bobby Dodd Stadium, the restaurant and bar is a convenient stop along the way.

Shake Shack
Win your tailgating pals over with the ultimate menu this season: Shake Shack. Pre-order your Shackburgers and crinkle fries three days before the big game and strut your Shack style at the pre-game.

Tailgating at the Shake Shack in Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Shake Shack

Twenty-Two Storys
Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s beer-forward gastropub, Twenty-Two Storys, serves up Georgia beers and ales, a tasty, beer-influenced menu of dinners and small plates, and the best pretzels in the city. To top it off, the restaurant boasts 17 televisions so guests don’t miss a single moment of the game. Tailgate-friendly menu items include malt vinegar chips and dips with roasted tomato hummus, beer cheese and raw veggies; hops-smoked chicken wings with sweet bourbon hot sauce, ranch and celery; and Bavarian soft pretzels with beer cheese, duck rabbit stout mustard and creamy horseradish.

10 Degrees South, Biltong Bar, Cape Dutch and Yebo
Restaurateur Justin Anthony of South African dining destinations 10 Degrees South, Yebo and soon-to-come Biltong Bar and Cape Dutch swears by South African braai for all his tailgating needs. In South Africa, you can find locals grilling out before a game, otherwise known as a “braai,” featuring boerewors, a traditional Farmers sausage, steaks, burgers and boerewors rolls, a type of South African hot dog. Anthony enjoys his South African-style tailgate favorites with a beer, similar to a tailgate we’re most familiar with, in addition to brandy and coke, and slices of biltong, a fresh, air-dried beef jerky.

Tailgating at Yebo in Atalnta

Boerewors from Yebo | Photo courtesy of Biltong

Lovell Bros. Spirits
For a special touch to tailgating this fall, try the “spirit of the mountains” Lovell Bros. Spirits. The hand-crafted whiskey offers a refreshing spin to any experience. The authentically Southern whiskey is crafted with local ingredients and distinct methods of production. Georgia Sour Mash Whiskey and Georgia Sour Mash Spirit allow for all sports fans to create multiple different cocktails to satisfy everyone at the party! Try it neat and enjoy the smooth, vanilla-like flavors or mixed into a favorite cocktail.

Tailgating at Bourbon Bar in Atlanta

Bourbon Bar | Photo courtesy of Sara Hannah Photography

Bourbon Bar
What’s better than football and bourbon? This fall, watch the big game at Bourbon Bar, a Southern-inspired bar that has been named one of “America’s 55 Best Bourbon Bars” by The Bourbon Review for three years. And for good reason: Bourbon Bar offers a well-cultivated selection of more than 70 American bourbons, including favorites like Early Times 354, Old Crow Reserve and Four Roses Single Barrel. Pair any of these delicious flights with an artisanal ham and charcuterie board full of regionally cured heritage breed hams from the Ham Bar, located in the Southern Art lobby beside Bourbon Bar. Settle in for the big game with more than 70 seats to choose from, including an outdoor terrace.

Atlanta Meatball Festival Preview (With Recipe)

One of Atlanta’s premiere restaurateurs and a recent contestant on “Top Chef,” Ron Eyester knows a thing or two about pleasing the palate. His Morningside restaurant Rosebud is competing at this year’s Atlanta Meatball Festival, Aug. 30 in Sandy Springs, with a classic meatball that will remind you of the kind grandma used to make.

Feeling pretty confident about his restaurant’s chances of winning, Eyester has revealed the recipe he’ll use to craft meatballs for the competition, scaled down for home cooks.

Chef Ron Eyester’s Meatballs

Ron Eyester's meatball. Photo credit: Henri Hollis/Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ron Eyester’s meatball | Photo courtesy of Henri Hollis, Atlanta Meatball Festival

Ingredients:
2 yellow onions, grated
2 fennel bulbs, grated
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups grated Romano cheese
4 cups panko bread crumbs (Run through Robot Coupe)
8 egg yolks
3 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground beef
2 lbs. Riverview Farms ground pork

Method:
1. Quickly sauté onion, fennel and garlic and deglaze with 1 cup white wine.

2. In a large bowl, combine cooked onion, fennel, parsley, cheese, bread crumb, egg yolks, tomatoes, red pepper flake, salt, pepper, ground beef and ground pork.

3. Spread meat mixture onto sheet pan, cover with bun bag and allow mixture to chill for several hours or overnight if possible.

4. Using a black handle 2.5-oz. scoop, portion meatballs and again move to sheet pan and allow meatballs to chill in cooler.

5. Fry meatballs in fryer at 300 degrees for approximately 90 seconds, just until outside of meatball has browned.

6. Finish meatballs by braising in tomato sauce in rondo for about 2.5 hours over moderate heat.

pot of meatballs in tomato sauce

Atlanta Meatball Festival | Photo courtesy of Samantha Shal Photography

The Atlanta Meatball Festival, produced by the same team behind Taste of Atlanta, brings out the city’s top chefs for a quirky competition. This year’s festival will feature more than 20 restaurants competing, more space to enjoy your tastes than last year and a large drinks selection. Buy your tickets in advance and arrive early for the best chance to try all the offerings.

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

 

New York Cuisine, Southern Hospitality at The General Muir

New York City is synonymous with art, high fashion, finance and great food — but not necessarily with great hospitality. So, imagine my surprise when I enjoyed a very hospitable New York-style dinner at The General Muir.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

I sampled the Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans, Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Crème Fraiche, Chicken Liver Pate, and bowl of Poutine (hand-cut french fries, covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds and crisp pastrami) — all served with a side of exceptional Southern hospitality. For those of you interested in more traditional Southern fare, don’t despair. I also noticed Pecan Crusted French Toast, Deep Fried Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, and even Pickled Eggs on the menu.

Did I mention that The General Muir is a refreshing take on the traditional New York City Jewish delicatessen and located right here in our lovely state? It’s at Emory Point in Atlanta, to be exact. They also offer an amazing brunch menu and a list of some pretty inventive cocktails — for those of you who like that kind of thing. There is even a deli counter attached to the main dining room for those of you wanting to get your bagels and smear to go.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.