02 April 2009

Latest trip to Athens

I have finally jumped through all of the graduate school hoops at Ohio University, and after turning in my final final final thesis draft, I ambled around Athens eating and drinking everything in site in celebration of completion.

My lunch was a veggie Mama grande burrito from Big Mama's Burritos. Big Mama's is a West Coast-style burrito outpost owned by Ohio University grad Quinn Schaller. The flagship veggie burrito can be made with a selection of toppings. I chose black beans, hot salsa, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and onions. Burritos are available large and small. Unless you possess a prodigious appetite like I do, a grande burrito is a filling lunch.

I also walked past Killer Tomato, Schaller's new salad bar/pasta concept. This menu looks very vegetarian-friendly. First, if a vegan or vegetarian can't eat at a salad bar, they probably need to reconsider their dietary choices. Second, the pasta dishes are also vegetarian optional, so Killer Tomato looks like an interesting herbivorous safe haven, much like Big Mama's.

A-Town Pies and Fries is another newcomer to the Court Street landscape. Parked across the way from the famous Burrito Buggy, A-Town sells New York-style pizza and thick-cut French fries. The French fries are labeled vegan, which I'm guessing means that they aren't fried in the same oil as chicken. The pizza is decent but hardly spectacular, and it might have trouble competing with Goodfellas pizza-by-the-slice (which is slightly cheaper pizza) or Avalanche (which is immeasurably better pizza). Only time will tell (The Post article linked earlier in the paragraph also discusses the differences in charges for buggies on different sides of Union Street, which is actually pretty interesting).

Back on the subject of Avalanche Pizza, I needed to stop by my favorite Athens pizza place while I was in town. Owner John Gutenkast is currently in Italy to compete in the World Pizza Championships in Italy according to a Columbus Dispatch article. Since Gutenkast might be out of town (and because I promised to order a sandwich in a previous post), I decided to order the veggie boulder sandwich. This sandwich is about half the size of your head, constructed on three layers of thick bread with onions, peppers, black olives, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, melted cheese and pesto sauce. This sandwich is a full meal for $6.49.

I also stopped in Jackie O's, Athens' brew pub, to check the taps. Jackie O's expanded its offerings of drafts from other breweries to supplement the brew pub beers. The barrel-aged honey ale slumbered in Woodford Reserve bourbon casks. The flavor starts off with a flowery, malty and molasses-driven sweetness that is tempered by a robust smokiness and a bracing hoppy bitterness that peaks out through the layers of flavor. The color is deep brown and the carbonation dissipates quickly. With 12% alcohol, this is a sipper and not a chugger. Jackie O's makes great beers, and if you get a chance to enjoy their menu (which includes many vegetarian options and a green pizza made out of recycled spent grains from the brewing process), you should do so.

Latest Athens Trip

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