Sunday, February 9, 2014

Atlanta – The Romances in Repertory

02/05/2014 – 02/09/2014 Miles MPG Average Speed  
  1291 45.7 48  


Driving listening:

02/05/2014 – 02/09/2014

Priceline Retail $ Savings % Savings
Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort (4-stars) $66.06
($54 bid)

$ 178.08 ($159 pretax)

$112.02 63%
Crazy Ron’s BBQ Old Hickory House BBQ Taming of the Shrew Romeo & Juliet
Much Ado About Nothing Waterside Restaurant    



I arrived in Atlanta Wednesday and had just enough time before the Zoo closed to snap a picture of the pandas and send it to the girl-child in order to torment her be a doting father.  After that, it was off to the hotel – Stone Mountain being farther away than I usually stay, but the view and surroundings made up for it.


Crazy Ron's BBQ on Urbanspoon UrbanSpoon, which still thinks I live in Atlanta, sent me to Crazy Ron’s for dinner.

This is a typical, roadside BBQ stand, and I thought it would be good when I saw that the smoker was almost as big as the shack. 

There I got a to-go box of chopped beef, with baked beans and

macaroni and cheese.  The mac-and-cheese didn’t travel well in the cold (40-some degrees), but was still okay.  The rest fared better, and I found the beef to be tasty and well-trimmed, with a good portion of bark. It was covered in a good sauce; what first appeared to be too much sauce, but there was enough beef under it to make a good mix. The beans were okay – I’m guessing they started life in a can, but were doctored enough to taste good.



Thursday morning I had to start the day by finding a tire shop. The change in temperature from 80-degree Orlando to 40-degree Atlanta set off my tire sensors and I had to have nitrogen added.  After that, I set off to find breakfast and Urbanspoon sent me to Rise –n- Dine. I’ve eaten there before, but, well … Urbanspoon said.

No sooner had I parked at Rise –n- Dine, I saw that I had a text from a friend in Atlanta that she was free for lunch. Since it was close enough to lunchtime to skip breakfast, I responded and left the restaurant, expecting to hear where to meet soon – but I heard nothing further, so I figured something had come up.  By now I was getting hungry, so I decided on lunch at Dave Poe’s BBQ and headed in that direction.

No sooner had I parked at Dave Poe’s (a truly disturbing trend being established here), my friend texted again and I was off in a different direction.  So, a bit cranky-hungry, I finally got some food at a Chinese place – no review, because lunch with me is odd enough without me taking notes and pictures of my food. I spared her that bit.

After lunch, I went back to the hotel where they had the firepits around the pool lit, and I spent the afternoon reading while curled up in the cold next to a warm fire.

The reason for the trip was that Shakespeare Tavern was doing three Romances in repertory.  Thursday night was Taming of the Shrew.

Shrew was a solid production with a consistently good cast. Laura Cole, as Kate, shone like the sun … or moon, one.


Friday morning, I lazed about reading for a bit and had a banana in my room (this will be important later).  Around 10:00, I decided to walk to the main Stone Mountain park for a thoroughly unhealthy lunch at the snack stands, so I set out for the Cherokee Trail and enjoyed a hike along the lake.





Now, from the resort to the Stone Mountain park is a 3.5 mile hike.  It’s a pleasant hike, mostly level and easy-going. And, arriving around 11:30 after starting my day with a banana, I was quite looking forward to some greasy, high-calorie amusement food.


Oh …

20140207_113941 20140207_114023 20140207_114101 20140207_114246

A Friday in February is, apparently, not prime season for Stone Mountain … who knew? 

And … I walked here. I am now 3+ miles, an hour and a half, and almost 500 more burned calories away from the nearest food. The banana is a distant memory, burned to cinders by my metabolism well before I ever crossed the lake that’s two miles away now. I hung around for a bit, thinking they might open at noon, but no joy. There was someone in the popcorn stand. I could hear them talking. I could hear the popcorn popping. I could smell the popcorn. But no sign of opening, so nothing for it but to schlep back down the trail.


All the way back to the hotel, I consoled myself with thoughts of a room-service hamburger. No, a cheeseburger. No, a bacon cheeseburger, with french fries. I am, after all, a thousand calories to the good with just this hike and they’ll deliver charbroiled goodness right to my room while I rest my weary feet.

Back in the room, I eagerly dialed room service and ask to place an order … only to be told that there is no lunchtime room service. Damn you, off-season resort staffing! Damn you!

Waterside Restaurant on Urbanspoon It was 1:30 when I made the call to room service and, after dashing my hopes for a burger, they told me that the restaurant was open until 2:00 – so I rushed downstairs.  No hope of a burger, as they were only serving the buffet, but I can make a buffet work at this point.

Now please keep in mind that it is almost 2:00. I have been up for seven hours, I have walked six miles, burned almost 1000 calories, and I have eaten … a banana. If hunger is the best sauce, then I am about to eat the best food I’ve ever tasted.

This was the worst buffet I have ever been too.

After perusing a measly assortment of dishes, I settled on some anemic chicken-in-sauce and a salad, this being all that was remotely appealing. The peach cobbler was adequate, presuming you don’t mind canned peaches. The small cakes, however, were stale – to the point that they could not be cut with a knife. 

Nasty, bad, and $20.

Friday’s performance at the Tavern was Romeo and Juliet – and I was finally able to get food, a Cornish pasty with homemade ketchup, and a rose-water panna cotta with raspberry sauce.

Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite plays, probably because it was the first Shakespeare I ever saw. The Zeffirelli version, which firmly established my love for Shakespeare – as well as a crush on Olivia Hussey in specific and brunettes in the literal. 

As with most good productions of this play, Mercutio stole the show … at least until he died. I did take some issue with Nick Arapoglou’s performance as Romeo. My preference, and it is a preference, is for Shakespeare to be performed without emphasis on the rhyme and meter. Yes, it’s poetry, but it is, first and foremost, a play – it is characters speaking.  So when an actor puts too much emphasis on a rhymed word in the middle of a sentence, as this Romeo did, it throws me out of hearing what’s being said and into focusing on how it’s said.

For me, the lines should be spoken by the punctuation and let the poetry flow more organically.

Annie Hester, as Juliet, played the role well, capturing the petulance of a rather spoiled 13-year old in the first act and the grief of a young woman in the second.


Old Hickory House on Urbanspoon For Saturday lunch, the Urbanspoon app sent me to Old Hickory House for BBQ.

I arrived while they were still serving breakfast as well, which all looked very good and I plan to go back to try it, but today was BBQ.

I got the chopped beef platter with beans and Brunswick stew.


The beans were very good – thick and heavy with molasses. And the stew is now top of the list for best Brunswick stew I’ve tried on these trips – rich and spicy, with crisp corn and tasty shreds of meat. I finished all of that stew and would have gladly eaten more.

Unfortunately, the meat on the plate didn’t measure up to the sides. It was cold, with some nasty bits still in it, and no bark at all. I’d hesitate to suggest anyone might do such a thing, but it seemed almost as if it had just been boiled and never saw the inside of a smoker.  If I could have have taken the beef from Crazy Ron’s and had it with the Old Hickory House sauce and sides, it would make a near perfect meal, but this wasn’t.  I did not finish all of the beef.

After lunch, I headed back to the zoo for a bit.


And then on to Shakespeare Tavern again for Much Ado About Nothing, the last of the three and the best.

This was the second time I’ve seen Ado at the Tavern and it is a joy. Andrew Houchins and Erin Consadine, as Benedict and Beatrice, both give wonderful performances and have perfect onstage chemistry for the roles. Drew Reeves gives a performance as Dogberry that rivals Michael Keaton’s in the Branagh production.

All in all, and despite starving a couple mornings, a great weekend.  I do wish the Tavern would do more plays in rep, as three is far more fun than one. But I’ll be going back for one at a time – the Scottish Play in April, Comedy of Errors in May, and Antony and Cleopatra in June.

1 comment:

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