Coke and Chicken: Our Layover in Atlanta
We had a layover in Atlanta--a few hours to spend in the city before catching an early-morning flight to our final destination.
So what did we do? The two things any time-crunched Atlanta tourist would do when allotted such a short period of time: we went to The World of Coca Cola and then we ate fried chicken.
The World of Coca Cola was a pleasant two-hour diversion. At the start of the self-guided tour, we watched an obligatory introductory film. But instead of a history of the world's most famous drink, it was a fifteen minute-long commercial designed to give us the feels. Among the "stories" told: a mom being reunited with her soldier son and a young couple surprising their parents with news of a baby. By the time the lights went up and the screen retracted to reveal a door to the rest of the attractions, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
We then took in everything this uniquely Atlantan site had to offer. We took a selfie with the Coca Cola polar bear. We walked through the bottling exhibit and the "secret recipe vault". And, of course, we drank lots and lots of free soda. And my God was there a lot of soda. There was the bottle of Coke they give you as you enter; the free souvenir bottles of Coke you can take as you leave; but the culmination of it all was the soda sampling room where we tasted different flavors of soda from all over the world, all of it chilled and some of it more delicious than Coca Cola itself.
On a sugar high and hungry for solid food, we found Busy Bee Cafe, an institution for fried chicken and all other forms of soul food since 1947. It's the kind of place that has never looked to be lauded by TV shows, newspapers and foodie magazines, but has been anyway because what it does it does well and in earnest for as long as anyone could remember. The walls are plastered with framed articles and autographed photos from celebrity fans.
And when I sunk my teeth into that drumstick, I realized that this was the best Southern fried chicken I've ever had--better than Gus's in Memphis and certainly better than any fried chicken I've had in California (*cough* Roscoe's *cough*).
It was greaseless, hot, and perfectly cooked--not overfried, not underdone--just right, and juicy, even the white meat. It's brined properly so that every molecule of the meat was succulent. Also, floured just enough so that the skin had a chance to fully render in the oil and form a crunchy crust so addictive, I was picking at bones to extract every single bit I could find.
The sides were just as wonderful: collard greens that I could've eaten by the bucketful and fried okra, which, I admit, are never not good. Can I get an "Amen"?
The World of Coca Cola
121 Baker St NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
The Busy Bee Cafe
810 Martin Luther King Jr Dr
Atlanta, GA 30314
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