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Taste – Fall 2021

EAT

taste fall2021 2

By Griffin Nelson | Photos By Evermore Photo Co.

I love cooking and baking but there’s an art form to bagels that I’ve never been able to master. I leave it to the experts at Athens Bagel Company (ABC).

Whether it’s picking up a bag of bagels to eat at home or grabbing a bagel sandwich for lunch, it is guaranteed to be better than if I tried to make it myself. The care and attention that is put into making every single bagel to perfection is impressive.

Each bagel is mixed and formed into a flawless little circle of dough the night before and, much like other kinds of bread, left to rise overnight. Every morning the baker gets in long before the sunrise to finish making the bagels so that each batch is fresh. What makes bagels unique from other kinds of bread is that the dough is boiled before being baked, giving them their unique, chewy texture.

As I survey the menu I can see that it’s not just the bagels themselves that make Athens Bagel special. In addition to their true New York style bagels, they’ve developed spreads like pimento cheese, bacon-chive and honey-pecan cream cheeses that are perfect as a schmear on its own or as part of one of their many sandwiches. The BirdDawg is a favorite, slathered with roasted red pepper cream cheese and stuffed with turkey breast, lettuce, tomato and red onion. There’s a bagel version of a Reuben sandwich called The Countess, or a good, old-fashioned BLT called Alphabet City. If you prefer your bagels for breakfast, try the classic Lox Sandwich or the Daddy’s Girl — eggs, breakfast meat and a bagel with spread. It’s the perfect way to start the day. If the menu items aren’t suiting your fancy that day, you can always build your own!

The team at ABC is excited to serve, with a close-knit family environment and staff that takes care of each other, their customers and their community. “Everyone is family around here,” says manager Brian Hunziker. ABC founders Damon Krebs and David Asman saw a need in the community for a true bagel company and have been serving Athens for more than decade. Not only do they take care of their staff, work with other local businesses (like Walkers and The Grit) to provide bagels for their menus as well but at the end of the day any extra bagels are donated to the Athens Food Bank.

Their location in downtown Athens makes it easy for pickup, so there is no reason to ever go anywhere else for bagels! You can order directly at the window, ahead of time at www.athensbagel.com for easy pickup or delivery or through Bulldawg Delivery Service. Need your event catered? Call the Athens Bagel Company at 706-543-5001 for great bagels every time!

SIP

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“Drink super. Feel super. Be super” is the motto behind Hibo, a new super drink established in 2020 right here in Athens. Founded by University of Georgia grad Clayton Oetting, Hibo is a hibiscus tea-based, carbonated beverage with limited ingredients for a fresh and healthy option without lots of additives or artificial ingredients.

Native to North Africa and found in drinks around the world, the hibiscus plant actually grows very well in the Southeast. The tea is made from the calyx of the plant - the part that holds the flower – and is naturally packed with antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins A and C, and more iron than you’d find in spinach. Combine that with carbonated water, Mesca Sweet - a natural, zero calorie, zero sugar sweetener, a bit of caffeine and natural flavor and you’ve got Hibo Original + Caffeine. The drink has double the electrolytes of a standard sports drink, 110% of your daily iron, and just as many vitamins and antioxidants as you’d find in berries or fruit juice. If caffeine isn’t your thing, there are flavored options like peach and lemon that have even fewer ingredients (a total of three) with the organic flavors added using extracts or oils that allow the drink to continue to remain naturally calorie, carbohydrate and sugar free.

Oetting first started working on creating a drink that not only tastes good but is good for you, after watching his father stop drinking diet soda and losing some weight. What is in diet drinks that is clearly not healthy? Though studies haven’t definitively nailed it down, the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda seem to be linked to numerous health problems. By using Mesca, which is made from the natural combination of monk fruit, erythritol and stevia, Hibo is able to eliminate artificial additives entirely, creating a fresh and bright tasting beverage that not only tastes amazing but is good for you as well. As an added bonus the plastic can is 100% recyclable and shows the gorgeous pink beverage visible through the clear sides.

ARTISAN

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Everyone loves a good homemade barbecue sauce but only the great ones manage to graduate from cherished mason jar holiday gift to being bottled and sold nationwide. This is exactly what’s happened for Katie Throne, owner of Porky Goodness BBQ Sauce.

A realtor in Athens for 15 years, Throne — like many people — would often come home from work and use cooking as a way to decompress after a long day. As a native Georgian, barbecue sauce has always been an important part of cooking and grilling and she eventually settled on the perfect recipe. She started giving it out as gifts to friends and family around the holidays but knew she’d hit on something great when they started asking her for more throughout the year.

The popularity of Porky Goodness (as it had been dubbed) grew over the years within her circle but Throne continued to just make it for fun until the pandemic hit in early 2020 and suddenly the world was on lockdown with nothing to do. With restaurants being closed, everyone was having to cook from home, and with schools closed and jobs furloughed, houses were full. Soon Throne was getting requests not just for her barbecue sauce but to even do all the grilling herself. “I can’t tell you how many chickens and ribs and pork butts I handed over my back gate,” she jokes.

When she finally decided to set the mason jars and kitchen set-up to the side and expand, Throne was fastidious about making sure that the bottled product tasted exactly the same as it had when she started. Though the process is still considered small-batch, it’s more than she was able to produce on her own. With the help of the UGA food science department and a whole lot of blind taste tests, she was able to bring Porky Goodness to market for the rest of us to enjoy.

The all purpose barbecue sauce is not only perfect for ribs, chicken or anything on the grill but has a variety of other uses like mixing with mayo for the ultimate fry sauce or drizzling over scrambled eggs. It’s a unique blend of vinegar-based, North Carolina sauce and the slightly sweeter versions from Southwest Texas. Throne is particularly proud of the fact that in scaling up the process she was able to retain the original balance of flavors without having to add any high fructose corn syrup or preservatives.

Additionally, for the month of October, all proceeds from Porky Goodness’s limited-edition pink haloed pig bottles will go to a breast cancer charity in honor of one of Throne’s good friends.

The expansion of Porky Goodness offers you the opportunity to become a part of this supportive, barbecue sauce loving community and in turn support a local business right here in the heart of Athens, whether you’re buying it for yourself, your family or as your own holiday gift to send around the country. Find it at Stripling’s General Store, Appointments at Five, or visit www.porkygoodnessbbq.com.