Though just last week we were trapped in our homes under a few inches of ice, now we find ourselves free to amble along in outdoors jacket-free and basking in the seventy-degrees breezes. Of course we love the Beltline's Eastside Trail for encouraging us to be active, walk a couple miles, maybe even take a spin on the ol' Schwinn. We also love it for putting us in close proximity to some of our favorite snacks in Atlanta. (What? We prefer to take a sort of "carrot and stick" approach to physical activity.) Just over two miles in length and lined with all kinds of cool artwork, the trail stretches from Irwin Street to Monroe Drive, connecting Inman Park to Midtown—and winding through some damn good eatin' country, too. For our guide to eating your way up the Eastside Trail, we recommend two things: start at the Irwin Street end, and start hungry.
1. Coffee and croissants at the Parish Market. Home to one of our favorite croissants in ATL, Parish's buttery baked goods are the perfect way to kickstart a nice, long stroll. (Carbo-loading. Are we doing this right?) Grab one of Chef Deborah Craig's perfectly flaky almond croissants and a latte from the espresso bar, and have yourself a most dignified breakfast al fresco on the market patio. It's dog-friendly, so if you plan to bring a canine companion along for the ride, he'll be welcome too. Don't expect to share any of that croissant, though.
2. An Icy Treat at The King of Pops Window. Okay, so really you're just a stone's throw from your croissant break – but boy oh boy is it getting hot out here, and goodness wouldn't it be nice to cool down a bit? The King of Pop's window offers a rotating menu of the good stuff. You could treat yourself to an Arnold Palmer and hover under the shade of a rainbow umbrella at their picnic bench, or take your pineapple habañero over to the Old Fourth Ward skate park. Really, the possibilities are endless.
3. Brunch and bocce break at Two Urban Licks. At this point, you've hoofed it for about a mile. Time to refuel. We suggest doing so with a plate of salmon chips, a mimosa and a leisurely game of our favorite non-contact sport. Both the brunch menu and the bocce court at Two Urban Licks are equally well-suited for a bit of mid-hike R&R&R. That'd be rest, relaxation and raspberry creme brûlée, if you're wondering.
4. Rehydration at Paris on Ponce. Okay, so this one doesn't involve eating (unless you take advantage of the free ice pops they're stashing in the freezer). But we're never ones to pass up a chance to gawk at the goods in Paris on Ponce… and bask in the royal glow of Baudelaire. Head inside PoP via their fancy new Beltline-friendly back door, and you'll find a handy watering station, a freezer full of ice pops, and a handsome new bar-in-progress.
5. A Beer and a Cheese Steak at Woody's. Ladies and gentlemen, we are nearing the end of our journey. Behind you stretches 2.25 miles of accomplishment; before you, 185 acres of lush greenery and endless possibility for adventure at Piedmont Park. Also, beer. After all, you've made it this far; you're probably feeling a bit parched, no? Happily, the fine folks at Woody's have a keg full of ice-cold Monday Night Brew at the ready (not to mention their beloved hot mess of a Philly cheese steak) conveniently located at the north end of the trail. For best results, we suggest combining both. After all, you do need to fuel up for the walk back. (Bonus points: there's a deal.)
6. Fresh Juices at Arden's Garden. An Arden's Grand Slam and a 4.5-mile round trip stroll? It's like that croissant never even happened. Onward!