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Earlier this year, I toured some place I’d never been – The Sweet Auburn Curb Market. For some place with such a variety of foods and vast cuisine, it was a wonder I had never been there before. It was all thanks to Atlanta Culinary Tours inviting me to attend. Beth and Dave of Atlanta Culinary Tours were kind enough to invite me to join them once again. This time it was for their inaugural restaurant tour of Downtown Norcross.
I’m not at all familiar with Norcross and having just driven on some of the main streets like Jimmy Carter Blvd. I wasn’t too impressed. So, I was excited to see what ACT had in store for us, as I know that they thoroughly research neighborhoods before putting them on their tours, being careful to select those destinations that have real gems.
Remembering from last time how much food we had to eat, I made the smart decision to skip breakfast even though the tour didn’t start until 2 pm. It was indeed wise, as this tour had nine stops instead of the normal six. Our tour started promptly at 2 and we were off for proper British tea at Taste of Britain. Proprietor Edna Berkshire has owned the store for most of its existence, carrying lots of British goodies, snacks and gifts. I just love the creamy tea they served us, and the scones were just lovely. They even had some Cadburry chocolates for us too. And if you’ve never had the ones from England, they are world of difference between the regular Cadburry’s we get here in the good ‘ol USA.
Next we visited Bleu House Market. Besides sandwiches and homemade side dishes like pasta and other vegetables, you can get lots of other prepared foods to go. We were treated to the Bleu House Special – a chicken salad croissant as well as their home made brownies. These homemade brownies are extra sweet – topped with a brown sugar crust.
The next two stops were rather quick as we had a schedule to maintain. After all this noshing, it was time to indulge in an adult beverage. And Mojito’s had us covered with their special Mojitos. So light and refreshing on this sunny day. Can’t wait to visit again and sample some Cuban cuisine. Then we strolled over to 45 South, a coffee shop that serves breakfast and lunch. Their coffee went well with the spicy chicken sausage we sampled.
Italian was next for us and Paizanos hooked us up with some potent Sangria and fresh and tasty Margerita pizza. Don’t fret if you are wondering where the meat-centric dishes are. Our next stop at Zapata afforded us plenty of meat. They don’t serve tacos or burritos as they say they are more authentic Mexican. We had a dish called Molcajetes which has chicken, beef, shrimp, cheese, peppers and onions in it. The dish is served up piping hot wit the strips of meat hanging off the side.
I think my most favorite of all the stops was the Norcross Station Cafe. While I did thoroughly enjoy the Portebello stuffed ravioli, it was the history of the building that really impressed me. The Norcross cafe used to be an old train station. The owner has some pictures on the walls of when it was still operated as a train station as well as other memorabilia from that era. In more recent history he shared with us that much of the restaurant seating is from church pews. And in 1993 when the restaurant opened there were people protesting as it would be one of the first restaurants in Norcross to serve alcohol. Really? Times certainly have changed.
Every town needs a good tavern and Norcross has got it in the Iron Horse Tavern. We sampled some delicious smoked salmon from the Tavern. Dog owners will be happy to know their patio is pooch friendly. Our last stop on the tour is Dominick’s Italian restaurant. They are pretty famous for their garlic bread and after having some, I can see why – apologies to those who had to hang around me later that evening. And their huge calamari and marinara sauce were the perfect end to our tour.
It was so much fun to explore a new part of town. These tours are terrific ways to sample several restaurants in an area. Even if the drive is lengthy, you can still make an afternoon of it. Priced extremely reasonably at only $39, you get so much value with these tours. Oh and what a fantastic idea for a date. Once again – huge thank you to Atlanta Culinary Tours for having me tag along on this Norcross tour. Want to book a tour with them? Here’s the link: Atlanta Culinary Tours.