Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Atlanta improves. Also: Just 70 minutes of ironing to burn off that Coke!

Runner up titles: "Polar Bears are Frightening" or "Tanya's Utopia" or "Gena Love Finds Heaven With A Tater Tot".

Confused? Me too! Let's start from the beginning:

Atlanta improves! The hotel is nice, and the conference is decent. Got to hear some good stuff on Tuesday about digital media in the public health world, the  Monday Campaigns (heard of Meatless Monday?), texting for health, and other good presentations from cool folks around the country.

What better way to celebrate successes in public health marketing that by taking a trip to the World of Coca Cola?

The tour starts out with a tour guide "pumping up the crowd". We were forced to cheer for Coca-Cola (a la "When I say Coca, you say Cola! COCA! COLA! When I say Diet, you say Coke! DIET! COKE!", and so on). We were also told that there were over 60 samples of Coke products to taste at the end, and was there anybody in the crowd who thought they could taste all 60? I was turning to Doug to roll my eyes when I was almost hit in head with his arm shooting straight for the air - followed by a "Me! I'm going to taste all 60!". Well, at least one of us hasn't been lost to cynicism yet :)

We then had to enter a theater to watch a 6 minute promo video for Coke. Of course, the video started out with a song emphasizing the importance of exercise, and to get it every single day! Because when I think of exercise and getting in shape my mind immediately reverts to downing a cool, refreshing coke.

This place is baller. The theater screen lifts up in dramatic fashion to reveal the self guided tour, where you can learn facts about Coca Cola, play life size interactive computer games, tour a bottling facility, meet the characters in the promo video, try and replicate the logo, shop in a massive gift shop, and improve your understanding of how critical Coca Cola is to physical activity.


I was feeling really motivated and extra buffed after checking out their Active Healthy Living display!

Diet products.

Be active AND attractive! And almost anti-semantic!

Coke teaching the world how to play soccer. Because soccer is kind of obscure on Earth.

Get fit and KEEP fit... with the worst running form ever.

Arthur enjoying a Coke post-victory.

A Becky Garrow original rendition of the Coca Cola logo.

The tasting facility was cool. You get a cup and can try all Coke products available around the world - segmented by Country. Doug's verdict: Africa and Asia were primarily gross, Latin American was delicious, and Europe was a tie. He also got a Hi-C stain on his hand that remained there all day, even after washing. He equated the feeling to a nicotine patch and said he felt like he was on a high all day. He later worried that he had ingested a syrup that stained his hand.

Sprinting ahead to taste it!!!

They still make Mello Yello?

Shout out to my Aunt Dawn (may she rest in peace), who was notorious for Tab.

Bibo gets a bad review from Doug.

Shout out to Nita! Check it out, Thumbs Up Cola!

The polar bear was absolutely frightening. We were both too scared to go up and take a picture. The bleary red eyes on the bear actually moved and blinked. Creepy.

Smothering children.

Check out the maniacal smile.

Plotting murder?

On your way out you get a complimentary bottle of Coca Cola. 

The gift shop had a lot of great stuff. For instance, this purse made of can snaps could be yours for just a little over $200!

The actual price of this purse was $212.

Need to burn off the calories you just ingested from the tasting room? Try playing hacky sac for 327 minutes! Because Coke adds LIFE to sports! Don't have time to play hacky sac? No worries - ironing for 70 minutes will take care of it!

After Doug recovered from a stomach ache (we weren't sure of the cause), we were ready for non-liquid food. For dinner we went to the Fox Bro's BBQ and met up with my friend Shalya from high school (who I have not seen for 13 years, which is weird to say, especially because Facebook makes keeping in touch easy with most folks). Shalya and I played soccer together (AYSO and 1 year in high school) and ran track together for four years. Met her husband Jason for the first time too. Had a great time catching up, and stuffing ourselves with 3 different kinds of BBQ and 3 different kinds of fried food. (It was getting dark and we're terrible photographers with a great camera, so the pics aren't that great).

Waiting at the bar.

Studying menu. Serious business.

I own zero hair products. This is especially devastating in the South... because if the sexy glean of shine on my face wasn't clue enough, it's a tad humid over here ;)

Fried pickles, fried jalapenos, and tots smothered in cheese. Shout-out to Gena Love AND Max Love w/ the tots!

Combo plate - ribs, brisket, pulled pork, white bread, beans, and jalapeno corn bread.

Doug's version of the McRib.

Pecan pie.

It's Shalya!
The pulled pork was amazing (Doug's is better, but this stuff was a close runner up). The ribs were bomb. The brisket was dry, but I think I've discovered that pretty much all brisket is dry. Why do we keep ordering it?! The beans were excellent according to Doug (baked beans are not my favorite). The fried pickles and fried jalapenos were excellent (hard to go wrong there), and the tots were delish (duh). Doug enjoyed the pecan pie and looking back is not sure how he choked it down. The corn bread was, hands down, the worst cornbread I have ever had. Ever. It was dry and tasted terrible. It was very confusing, as this is one of the top bbq joints in the ATL. Get your cornbread straight Fox Bros. I guess Chris Rock was wrong... sometimes there IS something wrong with the cornbread.

So what's the best BBQ joint you've ever been to? Have you tried all 60 Coke products like Doug? Do you even want to? Are you afraid of fake polar bears? Are from California and completely perplexed, hair-wise, when you travel to the rest of the States?


  1. Now that I know Doug makes amazing pulled pork, I'm going to be hankerin' for a taste. Washed down with, of course, a diet coke. I'm not sure why 60 cola favors are needed in the world when diet coke is already perfect (you know, if you ignore the potential ill effects of chemical sweeteners and acid). As for the polar bears, I suspect they are drinking from the original coca cola formula and they are not murderous, just high. Regarding the hair issue... I have flat-hair issues, sans humidity, every day here in CA so no sympathy. Now I am going to go pour myself a diet coke and revel in the fact that I won't have to iron a single thing to burn it off!

    1. Doug actually accosted an employee to "chat" about Coke originally containing cocaine. The employee denied it wholeheartedly and Doug was resolved to check the facts (via Wikipedia). Doug's pulled pork is, hands down, the best. Ever. Ask Kempster - he has lived in the south AND sampled pulled pork and declared Doug legit.

  2. The coke place reminds me of willy wonka and the chocolate factory. And our wedding cake-tasting binge. I'm guessing it might be awhile until Doug feels like drinking a coke product again. xox mom

    1. Mom, for the love of god, please learn how to leave a name! Anonymous posts are just creepy. Yes it was very Willy Wonka - especially with all the signing and cheering they force you to do :) Doug had a "mysterious" stomach ache all day after the trip - go figure.

    2. Mom, for the love of god, please learn how to leave a name! Anonymous posts are just creepy. Yes it was very Willy Wonka - especially with all the signing and cheering they force you to do :) Doug had a "mysterious" stomach ache all day after the trip - go figure.