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How to Eat and Drink at Dragon Con: Meal Hacks and Secret Drink Spots

It’s the sign of a seasoned con-goer to bring their own pre-mixed drinks, beer, and snacks along with you to a con. Typically, we lug around a large backpack with drinks or even a few times: a rolling suitcase. It becomes cumbersome. What if you didn’t have to do any of that? We’ve found some meal hacks, as well as secret (or not so secret) drink spots. Next Dragon Con you too can meal hack or find these secret drink spots and leave the baggage at home! Enjoy!

Sure, you can hoof it to the food court where the lines are long and the food is mediocre (except Aviva, we’d hoof it there for you) or you could grab a tall boy or 12 at Sols but don’t go on Saturday because you’re not getting in the door any time soon. What we found is that you can get good service, good food, reasonable prices at a few places and FAST. How? Two words: the bar. Two more words: off hours.

We found going in and sitting at the bar at off hours was the best way to eat (or drink) at Dragon Con. First, Gus’ Chicken for the price of the food court and without all the people, you could get a seat at the bar, and get in and out for a meal with soda only about $14. They also have a la carte and so you can mix and match your soul food favorites together to make your perfect meal. Don’t get us started on the chicken either, it’s fresh, good portions, and juicy. Top that you can get a big tall 40 for about 7 bucks. Split it with someone, it’s almost a pitcher!

Second is Tin Lizzy’s because first off we are Mexican food connoisseurs and second because they have $3 PBR tall boys. Pick your taco(s) and a side for less than $10. Prefer just a snack? Chips and salsa are reasonable, one taco runs about $4, or you could get tater tots app. Top it off with a PBR tall boy for $3. They do have 24 oz domestic light beers, but they’re more, and the PBR is the best deal. Now, mixed drinks are pricy here, we’d just recommend that Voodoo bucket of rum in the Hyatt for about the same price as a large margarita.

If you don’t want a meal but maybe just an affordable drink or maybe something sweet head to the Hyatt. First, on the lower level near the pool, there’s a small bar with some local favorites like Wild Heaven Emergency Drinking Beer for only $5. They also have a Brooklyn IPA. If you opt for a larger beer, they’re more. Again, anything beyond these two like mixed drinks or wine are pricier and we’d again just recommend that Voodoo Bucket of Rum for the price. While your down there, we swung by High Road Ice Cream out near the pool for a sweet treat. They brought their A game with their little Wallop Ice Cream Balls. They were only $2 each and had a variety of flavors like dark chocolate cookie dough and mint, peanut butter and strawberry, almond, and chocolate chip cookie dough with sweet cream (fave). Mix and match a few or just eat one.

If you’re in the Hilton, you don’t need to go to the Hyatt, stay there. Two good options there were local brewery Red Hare SPF 50/50 Tangerine or Grapefruit for $6 or if it’s Thursday Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s were only $6.

Eat and drink well Dragon Con!

Bistro Off Broad: Big City Eats with Small Town Charm

A short walk from the downtown Courthouse in Winder is a small bistro that has big city eats, nestled in a charming small town. It’s worth the drive from Atlanta to peruse the windows of the small shops and stop in for Brunch at Bistro Off Broad. Great cocktails and sparklers, as well as delicious appetizers and hearty brunch items. Get your fork out, it’s time to take a food adventure with us.

The long bar invites you into Bistro off Broad and they have a serious wine, beer, and cocktail list, along with specialty brunch drinks. Focusing on brunch, we sampled the bottomless sparklers that included four unique mimosas and Bellinis. Get. This. When. You. Go. They were all worth a sip and it was so tough to pick one to feature, so decided to feature them all. Starting with the Raspberry Bellini, it was simply raspberry puree and sparkling prosecco that was refreshing and sweet. The Peach Bellini also combined a peach puree with the sparkling prosecco, but it turned out more tart forward and brought out the tart in the wine. In between the sweet of the two Bellinis were the Mimosa and the Poinsettia. The Mimosa had a good mix of orange juice and brut champagne, not too sweet, not too tart. The Poinsettia incorporated cranberry and brut champagne, as well, but the brut brought out the sweet of the cranberry, so it was more balanced. Take your pick, you won’t go wrong.

Once you move from the bar into the dining room, gorgeous chandeliers hang strategically over each table. They were the first thing we noticed! The second thing we noticed was the full brunch menu full of delicious eats like fresh salads, benedicts, hashes, biscuits and gravy, and everything you can think of you’d ever want for brunch. We opted for several dishes, apps, and sides including deviled eggs, wings, corned beef hash, farmer’s scramble, and Brussel sprouts.

For the apps, the wings were beautifully stacked and looked almost too pretty to dig into. You wouldn’t be disappointed though when you did because they were sweet, salty, fall off the bone good. With a sticky, spicy Asian sauce then slightly charred they had the right amount of sauce and meat. Followed that up by the Reuben Deviled Eggs that were some of the best we’ve had in all of Atlanta.  These beauties were delicately whipped savory egg filling topped with tangy onion and a meaty piece of corned beef. Underneath is a tart and tangy ground mustard that gives it a flavor pop at the end.

For the entrees, the corned beef hash combined real thick cut-corned beef, roasted potatoes, onions and peppers, topped by a runny egg. It was savory, sweet, decadent, salty, and we could go on! If you’re looking for a healthy option, may we suggest the farmer’s scramble with mushroom, corn, green beans, and scrambled eggs. Let’s not leave out the Brussel sprouts side. This is something that we always get because it’s a good food to add brightness and crunch to a meal and we could eat them every day. These were very good with the right amount of crunch, along with a smoky, onion, and savory bacon flavor. It was the right combination of flavors that we wouldn’t add anything to it! They do offer it with a sauce, but it was really good even with out it.

With that we’re throwing in the towel! Stuffed and happy. Isn’t that how all Brunch should end?

Black Walnut Cafe: Fine Dining in a Fast-Casual Setting

Black Walnut Café out of Houston, TX, has opened in Atlanta, settling near all the action in Peachtree Corners and Alpharetta. This café has a lounge where you can sit and chat with your friends, a bar where you can grab a drink and an appetizer, or you can order at the counter and sit in the dining room. Opting for the bar at the Peachtree Corners location, we got several delicious fast-casual dishes that ate like fine dining. From the Salmon to the Shrimp and Grits, as well as the hand-made cocktails, Black Walnut Café really does fine dining in a fast-casual setting.

We sampled the BWC Grand Mimosa and the Ginger Peach Lemonade. The mimosa was a good balance of champagne, orange juice, and Gran Marnier, while the Ginger Peach Lemonade mixed the sweet peach syrup, fresh sliced peaches, and tangy ginger. Both drinks were tasty! Fun fact: the bar tenders hand squeezed the juice themselves!

As far as the main entrees, the salmon was cooked perfectly to a silky quality that melted in your mouth. Contrasted to the smooth fish was the sweet and savory of the honey ginger sauce that was deep and tangy. You combine that with the crunch of the peppers and snap peas rounded out the dish with some brightness and depth! Along with the fish, we had the Shrimp and Grits that was perfectly seasoned with the right amount of spice to offset the creaminess of the grits. On top of that, the grits could have stood on their own with the addition of savory bacon and crunchy scallions. Both great dishes all the way around.

Yum.