Now that the rage is over (and I'm back from several other mini vacations - stay tuned), time to wrap up Hotlanta.
Last day of the conference was Thursday. Conference has mixed reviews for me. Some good, some bad. I had really really high expectations for this conference since it's put on by the CDC. There were two or three really great presentations and posters, but the rest are very "intro to public health 101" - so it's been a little bit of a letdown. However, one bonus of the conference is that they provide some snacks and coffee during the break. Doug’s been working upstairs in the hotel room while I attend the conference, but the man can never resist some delicious and free snacks. His dilemma: the snack tables are for conference attendees only, and Doug is not a conference attendee, and is without an official name badge. His solution: a disguise.
|Pondering all the great conference presentations.|
Notice the work badge (to hopefully pass for the official conference badge he is missing), the laptop bag, the collared shirt (he had to change), some reading glasses, and the newspaper. Yes, the newspaper was a last minute prop he grabbed on his way out of the hotel room downstairs for the rouse. He also kept saying the word “business”. Note that this was done without context. We’d be standing in silence and he’d look around with a pensive pose and say “business”. He was so proud of the get up when he found out I had texted it to a few people he asked if they knew it was him.
The snacks continued, thus so did the undercover operation. The disguise on day 3 included a separate collared shirt (apparently business men don’t repeat their business attire on the same business trip), and a Bluetooth ear bud. He kept pretending to talk to someone on the ear bud, but again the only words he’d say were “Business!” and “Yes, please fax that to me.” (Apparently this is a business transaction taking place in the 1980’s. A fax machine?). When I asked him what he’d say if someone asked to see his badge (highly unlikely), despite all the effort in the disguise did not transcend to a cover story, because he totally choked. His initial response was that his company wants him to represent their brand so he was asked to wear his work badge instead. When I pointed out that the official conference badge actually stated your workplace already, I could see the nervous beads of sweat forming on his forehead. He quickly accused me of trying to “out” him to the “secret conference security” with all these questions. I could see his mind racing trying to think of a better story. My suggestion of just saying you grabbed the wrong badge on your way out seemed to suffice.
|"Business" as usual.|
With all the drama of the undercover operations the past two days, we were in desperate need of some relaxation. Thus we headed over to the nearby town of Decatur to check out the their downtown area and grab some beers.
Decatur was a cute downtown, several little shops and restaurants. The Brickstore Pub was recommended by my friend Steven and I can see why. They have over 100 different types of beer in their cellar downstairs, about 20 rotating beers on tap, and is a completely hipster place that would likely thrive in Midtown Sacramento. You could even call it janky. We ordered two Atlanta style beers, some pretzels and some perogies.
|Not the best pic, but come on - a bike in the window? Wine barrel decor? Hipster Heaven!|
|Some local patrons, jank'in it up! Extra points for the arm sleeve.|
|Me, jank'in it up! Extra points for the glasses and the brick background.|
|Doug, jank'in it up! Extra points for the taps in the backdrop.|
The pretzels were standard. I even suspected they maybe came from that big frozen pretzel package you find in Costco. But it came with some pretty delish mustard and pimento cheese. Pimento cheese is pretty big here (I’m not sure if it’s an Atlanta thing, Georgia thing or Southern thing) – pretty much every restaurant has several dishes that feature a side of pimiento cheese. It’s a mix of white and yellow cheddar, roasted peppers and mayonnaise. It tastes delicious and feels like a amazing prequel to an incredible heart attack.
The perogies with caramelized onions were delicious but sitting in a pool of oil, which was unappetizing. Removing them from their bath and letting them dry off improved the sensation immensely. Perogies are like little dumplings, filled with meat, potato, cabbage or something, and usually boiled (obviously not in this case, though).
|It IS possible to have too much oil. These babies had to dry out before we scarfed.|
Afterwards we headed back to Atlanta and met my former college Alyssa at the Westin Hotel. On the 72nd floor they have their SunDial Restaurant and Bar. Sans reservations we headed to the bar, which ended up being a good choice. You have a view of Atlanta from high above on a slowly spinning restaurant. We were able to watch the sunset and the city slowly light up from dusk to dark. The drinks were tremendously overpriced but tasty (Peach Martini, again, for me). Not only was the restaurant cool but it was nice being able to converse with a former coworker I had known only in passing.
|Nice looking view! The skyline was pretty, too :)|
Returning late to the hotel we were still digging the Atlanta skyline, so we stepped out on our balcony (which is as far as you can get – it’s about 10 inches deep) on the 11th floor and watched the city and people with some wine we picked up in Decatur.
|Candid pose. You can see the reflection of the building across the street, and someone still working in their cubicle at almost midnight.|
|Size does matter: 10 inches (of balcony). Also, check out this fox-ee pose! |
No candid shots here baby - I'm ready.
|The wine we selected in Decatur*.|
*The sole reason for purchasing this wine was due to several irritating mornings we had the week before while we were on a Houseboat in Lake Shasta (blog post coming, someday, maybe, or not), when one of our housemates rose at the crack of dawn and blasted Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas multiple times in a row on max volume. We grew to hate him in mere seconds with the 7AM wakeup call two days in a row. When he fell down a hill the third day and severely injured his leg, therefore prevented from repeating his alarm, the house actually grew to miss the wakeup call, and we all welcomed the BOOM, BOOM! (minute 2:16) on our final day. There is no better sign of "I’m on the mend" than seeing someone hobble up a mountain in Lake Shasta on a busted leg to turn up the stereo, just to have Fergie echoing throughout the mountains "I’m so three thousand and eight, you so two thousand and late” during a serene sunrise.
So, any polish people out there who make perogies on the reg? Any hipsters who want to share some home brew stories? Did you know Junky + Skanky = Janky? Did anyone recognized Doug in his "disguise"?