ATLANTA/ARIZONA: While I was mostly underwhelmed by the city during my first trip to Atlanta, the food there blew me away. It wasn’t simple comfort food, as I’d anticipated; rather it was traditional Southern cooking done up with an interesting – and unpretentious – haute twist. Call it fine dining comfort food, if you will. I didn’t have a single meal that was anything less than scrumptious. Plus, there’s not all that much to actually do in Atlanta, so it made a great excuse to spend a good deal of my time there eating. And eating. And eating some more. Be on the lookout for more stories about the chefs and restaurants of Atlanta – I expect it to be on every foodies radar very soon, if not already.
Although there was copious food involved, natch, Arizona was an altogether different experience: hiking among the giant saguaro cactus outside Tucson, trail riding through the desert, and a thrilling afternoon of rock climbing north of Scottsdale. The desert landscape of the American southwest is unlike anyplace on earth. And even though I’ve now visited multiple times, I still find the scenery otherworldly and hypnotic. It wasn’t as warm as I had hoped, but then again Arizona in November is still a far cry from the blustery Northeast.