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Daytripper: Dekalb Farmer’s Market

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Welcome to the first installment of a monthly series in the 11th Hour called “Daytripper”.  The purpose of this series is to highlight trips that are quirky and, quite possibly, a little weird.  The goal is to find something that won’t break the bank but creates some great memories and exposes you to something you may not have known about.

My wife Ashley and I are complete foodies.  We spend a lot of time and energy trying new foods, cooking new foods and diving into nerdy conversations about said foods.  The first consideration we give when planning vacations is, “Where are we going to eat?”  That being said, it’s no surprise our first Daytripper article revolves around food.  It also involves a trip to a grocery store.

Again, we are nerds.  You should take this into account when judging us too harshly for writing an article that revolves around a well stocked produce department. The catalyst for the full adventure came from a friend’s suggestion who knew our weakness for Greek pastries.  They mentioned the International Bakery in Atlanta and we ran with it.

Our Daytripper excursion kicked off by getting incredibly lost.  As of this writing, there is construction going on in the neighborhood where the bakery is located, including street closures on the route our GPS had decided was the most efficient.  It was not the most efficient.  After a number of trip reroutes through some questionable scenery, we finally arrived.  On a side note, there is an adult lingerie shop near the International Bakery that is open at 8:53 AM.  I’m not sure who buys lingerie that early in the morning, but couples are welcome and there is free, convenient parking.

If you were casting a movie and needed an older, perhaps emotionally distant proprietor of a local Greek bakery, Ted K. is your man.  If you research the Yelp reviews, there may be a scattered negative review about his customer relation skills, but I didn’t drive 90 minutes to bond with him over pleasantries.  Our only concern was whether his baklava skills were up to snuff.

Yes.  Yes they are.

I started where I always start with Greek pastries… the katiafi.  Kataifi is a dessert made from thin strands of a shredded phyllo dough (similar in texture to shredded wheat) encasing a walnut based filling and drizzled with a sweet syrup.  The International Bakery is among the best I’ve ever had.

From there, the visit quickly escalated into a blur of spinach pie, almond crescents, feta pastries and homemade cream puffs.  My wife succumbed to Ted’s rakish charm, avoided the dreaded “No pastries for you!” and we left with three boxes of pastries, two bags of Greek coffee and a jar of Kalamata olives.

This portion of the trip has been brought to you by diabeetus.

International Bakery: Cheshire Road NE #5 Atlanta, GA 30324

The original intent of starting our day at the International Bakery was to fill our stomachs to the point that we didn’t hit our next stop hungry and break the bank at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.

We failed miserably.

The Dekalb Farmer’s Market was founded in 1977 as a 7,500 square foot produce stand in Decatur, GA.  40 years later, it has grown into a massive international market that features a massive produce selection, meat counter, deli, dry goods and spices from around the world.  The next few paragraphs of this article is written from memories that are hazy at best.  I vaguely remember Ashley weeping near the papayas and I’m pretty sure I blacked out from euphoria when I saw the meat selections.

To say the Dekalb Farmer’s Market is an glorious experience for a foodie is an understatement.  As a should-have-been chef, there are so many dishes Ashley has never tried to make due to a lack of available ingredients on an average grocery shelf.  Not the case here…

Ever needed berbere spice?  You know, the Ethiopian spice mixture consisting of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, koriama, rue, ajwain, nigella and fenugreek.  Well, Ashley did need it but could never source it locally.  It now resides in our spice cabinet.

How about duck breast, whole rabbit, ground lamb and bison roast in one location?  From their meat cases to my freezer.

We met our new friends, Margie and Felicia at the bakery counter.  Thirty minutes later, after discussing every dessert in the case, we bought a crème brulee and coffee and said “Bye” to Felicia as we struggled painfully to push our overloaded cart to the checkout.  Spending $273 was not our original plan, but to a foodie, it was money well spent.

So let’s review… if you’re looking for a great way to spend a Saturday morning, stock the pantry and scratch your Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern fetish (or find yourself in a lingerie emergency early in the morning) take a trip to the ATL and indulge!

Dekalb Farmer’s Market: 3000 Ponce de Leon  Decatur, GA 30030

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