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Beer Here! Craft Breweries in Decatur, GA

If it isn’t already, the city of Decatur should be on your list of places to visit in Georgia. Within the perimeter of Interstate 285 and along the MARTA subway line, its as easy to get to as it is charming. Enjoy the restaurants and maybe a stroll around the square before trying  one of the three local craft breweries.

Three Taverns Brewery – the largest in the immediate area with an intimate tasting room and outside picnic space. They specialize in sours, so get ready to pucker on any available Sour Asylum option and calm it down with the ubiquitous Night on Ponce IPA. They’re quite popular, so be prepared to wait in line for your next taster.

BlueTarp Brewing Co – small brewery with local distribution. The tap room is open for tasting and tours with a dog-friendly outdoor space. They specialize in IPAs and we definitely recommend the Tropic Thunder. (Pro-Tip: check Groupon for their regularly available special)

Wild Heaven Beer – technically located in next-door Avondale, this brewery is a low-key hangout. Mum’s favorite is the Funkenrach smoked wild ale and I go for the White Blackbird Saison. There are special events every weekend and dogs are always welcome both inside and on the large outdoor patio.

Also check out…

Independent Distilling – ok, they don’t do beer, but they do have some sweet southern corn whiskey that’s worth a stop. They also make a delicious bourbon and rum, so make a tiny detour, enjoy the short tour and get ready to take a bottle home!

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Eating Around the World in Atlanta

Atlanta tends to be associated with zombies, southern belles, and pig-on-a-spit but the city is so much more. As headquarters for a number of international companies, people from around the world have moved here to start a new life, bringing with them their culture and cuisine. No matter what you have a taste for, you can find it somewhere in Atlanta area.

For a taste of Ethiopia, we go to Desta Kitchen. Their authentic dishes are served in a modern presentation and there’s live music on weekend evenings. You can order everything ala carte, but I always get the vegetarian plate with plenty of injera.

Thai is available throughout the city, but our favorite is Panita Thai Kitchen in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood. The converted house is primarily open air and has an eclectic design which comes from 20 years of perfection. The food is layered, flavorful, and served in a presentation fit for a king.

If you’re craving authentic Italian pizza, Varuni Napoli is the only place to go. Classic combinations with no gimmicks are  prepared to-order in their wood fire ovens. Be sure to save room for a cannoli – trust me.

Buford Highway runs in the north east part of the city and is the place to go for authentic Mexican or South Korean food. El Taco Veloz has no-nonsense authentic tacos that take us right back to our trip to Cabo San Lucas. Sokongdong Tofu House offers classics with plenty of heat and even a few vegetarian options. Also, be sure to make a stop at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. The former shopping center is now one large grocery story with hard to find products from every  part of the world and a rather tasty tiny food court.

In the city of Decatur, a community of immigrants from India has brought flavors from all parts of the country. There are specialized markets, shops, and restaurants with unique dishes, but our favorite is Zyka. Order your dishes at the front counter, listen for your number to be called, then dig in to addicting veggie and halal dishes.

Of course there’s more, and each new trip in the city a chance to try something new!

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Navigating Atlanta Airport

If you travel, you’ve probably experienced  Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport at least once.  The world’s busiest airport sees 90 million passengers a year and I’m one of them.   The surrounding area is a maze of parking lots and there’s a pick-up/drop-off area on both the North and South side of the domestic check-in to keep the traffic flowing. If you’re going to or coming from the city, I recommend considering taking MARTA. The local transit train has a terminating point at the airport and fares start at $2.50 one way. It doesn’t go everywhere, in town but will get you closer.

The layout of the terminals is linear, starting from domestic check-in and  then moving alphabetically towards the international terminal. Each lettered terminal is connected by the “Plane Train” as well as walkable corridors. While its fairly easy to navigate, there are a million stories of running down the long walk ways to catch connecting flights in other terminals. Once I  ran from the far right of Terminal D to the far left of Terminal A and barely made the connection! The gate agent closed the boarding door behind me, the flight attendant announced to the airplane that “the prodigal daughter” had arrived,  and I proceeded to have a small asthma attack in my seat.  All in all a memorable way to start a journey!

If you have a long enough lay-over or have arrived at the airport early, take some time looking at the guide. Each terminal as some unique shops or restaurants, and you can probably find something you have a taste for. There’s also a few different vegetarian options to be had!  I recommend walking between terminals instead of taking the train, if you have the time.  Each one has a different art exhibit and they do change occasionally. New this year is an immersive forrest experience between Terminals A and B.

If you’re traveling with your dog, like I do with Hondo, there’s a pet relief area outside the baggage claim on the far end of the South Terminal. Its double gate makes it secure for an off-leash moment and the astroturf provides a space for year-round doggie relief. The metal sculptures are probably better enjoyed by pet-parents who can sit on the provided benches while the hairy ones are having a good sniff.  There are currently no dog relief areas in terminal, but signs in Terminal C announced their intention for this in fall 2016. As of November, they are not open yet.

Update 12/13/16: the Atlanta airport kindly tweeted me to let me know that animal relief areas are now open by gates B33 and C21! I must have missed them my last time through. I blame the massive cold I had.