a couple of weekends ago phillip and i had the wonderful opportunity to return to my college town of athens, ga. the occasion, yes, did revolve around georgia football, but we made the most of the weekend by visiting some places home to my fondest memories while i was in school.
we had driven in town friday night to soak up every minute of athens we could, and since we hadn’t stopped for dinner on our drive in, the first order of business was some food at none other than the famous keba. we both ordered double lamb sandwiches with fries as the side, and i think it was the quietest meal we’d had in a while because we were enjoying it all so much! keba did have a location in atlanta for a bit (with the great taste of the original), but it shut down and i’ve of course been craving it ever since. it was a perfect start to what would become a pretty perfect weekend.
we cleared our table and drove over to nathan and samantha’s house. i’ve known nathan since college when, as freshmen, we met in the redcoat marching band. he and samantha have lived in athens for several years now and always are kind to open their home to friends and family. it’s not often we get to see them, so it was a special treat to catch up on life and football and everything in between. we did plenty of that especially the next morning over coffee and bagels (which we brought from emerald city in east atlanta) before nathan, phillip, and i drove to campus to join in on the gameday experience. it was an extra special occasion because it was our homecoming weekend against kentucky, and even though it rained nonstop all day, the bulldog nation still showed up nicely to support the team.
nathan had redcoat duties, so phillip and i donned our ponchos and took a sloshy walk through north campus. as i imagine many graduates do when they are visiting their old stomping grounds, i pointed out to phillip all the different buildings and where i had class and which lobbies were the best for napping. the rain couldn’t keep our cheery demeanor down, especially once we arrived at the arch, because taking a picture under the arch is always something to smile about. 🙂
hungry for a bite, we shuffled into the taco stand. now, i did not do a lot of downtown eating when i was in college, but one spot i frequented was the taco stand, especially when my younger brother clark visited, as it was his absolute favorite spot in town. phillip and i lucked out with a couple of stools at the bar, so we de-layered, ordered chips and salsa and a couple of beers, and enjoyed the gameday atmosphere.
we still had a few hours until kickoff, so we paid our tab and took a stroll through downtown. it’s so fun to go back to a place you once knew and see how it has changed, for the better or the worse. athens has changed but not too much that i cannot recall late nights at 8e’s or 9d’s with my roommates or greasy, feta fries at the grill. doesn’t it bring a smile to your face just thinking about it? me, too. 🙂
our chips and salsa were good, but phillip and i needed something else to hold us over until the game, so we took a couple of turns and ordered some slices at little italy. it seemed extra busy inside since most folks were trying to get out of the rain, and we were lucky to find a tiny booth next to the pac-man game. i told you we were going to all the best spots in town! we took our time eating and people watching and enjoying athens at its finest.
our eating tour took a pause so that we could walk back to campus and attend the football game, the true reason we’d come in town. although we didn’t get to see the band perform, and even though it rained from kickoff to victory, phillip and i still really had a good time! we made the most of it and enjoyed the fancy new lights, the fans’ energy, and definitely some concession stand snacks. oh, and a win on homecoming weekend definitely makes it worth it.
the game may have been over but our eating tour was not. when i think of the classic city’s classic food spots, choo choo almost always comes to mind. now, choo choo is one of those places that some people love to eat but do not want to admit they eat there. me? i’ll shout it from the roof top – i love me some choo choo! especially late on a rainy, cool autumn evening, i could not have asked for more. nathan, samantha, phillip, and i enjoyed choo choo at the house after we stripped off our wet game day gear and slipped into something more comfortable, like our flannel pajamas. we scarfed down one yellow sauce after another while watching, of course, more football. an excellent way to end an excellent day.
we all slept in a bit and then freshened up sunday morning for one more meal before we left town. we piled into samantha’s car and ate an incredible breakfast on a bright, sunny day at mama’s boy. mama’s boy is another classic athens establishment, and for nathan and samantha, it has a special spot in their hearts because mama’s boy catered their wedding reception. i was there and can tell you it was incredible, and this sunday mama’s boy delivered again. we all shared the ginormous cinnamon bun as an appetizer of sorts, and phillip and i split a couple of extra biscuits with jam and the smoke shed breakfast sandwich. i believe wholeheartedly this is the type of food southern people love, and if we lived in athens, i guarantee we would be regular customers.
our weekend getaway to athens was just about to end, but not before phillip and i made a stop on our way out at good ‘ole jittery joe’s. i was a barista at jittery joe’s my last couple of years of college, and it was some of the most fun i had. late night music sessions with the security staff, endless cups of frosty joes. ah, yes, i’d love to go back to that time, even if just for a day. i truly believe a trip to athens is not complete without a trip to jittery joe’s, and it was a sweet way to end a sweet trip.
all in all, it was a weekend full of old memories and new ones. athens, you will always have part of my heart. i’ll make sure it’s not too long before i’m back again.