Hidden Gem: Chattahoochee Coffee

Hidden Gem: Chattahoochee Coffee – Written by Jenn Hobby for Atlanta Eats

Is there such thing as a legit “hidden” gem in Atlanta? Found one!IMG_6071

It’s tucked away from the hustle, although just a few blocks from the 12 packed lanes of I-285 on the top end. A calm, peaceful feeling washed over me as I sipped a latte in this natural setting on the Chattahoochee River. Instant serenity. Yep. That’s why this lovely, quiet spot is a hidden gem in my book.

It’s Chattahoochee Coffee’s Riverside location. When a rarity like this exists, the secret doesn’t last very long, as was the case for the beautiful CC Riverside.

You see, the word started getting out on this precious pocket of peaceful. Stressed-out ATL-iens found solace here with Counter Culture coffee and its restorative back drop for interesting conversations, especially on the weekends.

It’s located inside a gated complex called Walton on the Chattahoochee Apartment Community at the edge of a beautiful curve in the river. When the Walton residents became a bit annoyed at the intense weekend traffic, (their secret was no longer safe!) Chattahoochee Coffee had to limit its access to the general public to only Monday through Friday. That being said, it’s well worth the effort to make it there on a weekday.

When I spoke with Chattahoochee Coffee Riverside’s manager, Matthew Davis, he told me that the changes “definitely affected us for the first few weeks, but we are even more popular now. People see us as a destination, so our customers make us a priority throughout the week.” Matthews says all types of clientele head to Riverside for the vibe and to share in their passion for a quality cup of joe. He says, “We have families, businesses who hold meetings in our private back room looking over the river, bikers, runners and kayakers coming off the river. And the residents are happy with their personal space back on the weekends.”

My discovery came through a chance business meeting and I must say, it was a remarkable experience. The homemade spinach quiche had a light and flaky crust and was a divine start to my day, but the top taste was definitely the vanilla latte. My colleague raved about the daily-featured coffee blend as bold and nutty with hints of caramel. We both enjoyed the fresh air, green space and happy ducks swimming by. (Thank you, Adam Zimmerman, for introducing me to this hidden gem. Your secret is NOT safe with me!)

Chattahoochee Coffee is dedicated to great java, but that’s not all. They partner with organizations making a positive impact in disadvantaged communities around the world. They make charitable giving an annual priority and whenever possible, partner with local as opposed to national vendors. Perk: Chattahoochee Coffee has another location on the Westside at 790 Huff Rd. NW.

Chattahoochee Coffee Riverside is a perfect spot to study, relax or meet a friend to chat. Buzz the visitor’s gate Monday through Friday 7am – 10pm at 6640 Akers Mill Rd. SE., scroll to “Coffee Shop” in the directory and when they answer, just say “Coffee!”

Published here for AJC’s accessatlanta.com.

The Toughest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Write


We lost my grandma, Dee Dee, Thursday, June 25, 2015. Thank you Dee Dee, Dorothy Constance, for being the best grandmother and role model this girl could ever imagine. You are fiercely independent, wildly spunky, loved us with no limits. I admired you every minute of your life. God got a new angel and He better be ready to listen to a few strong opinions and keep the coffee steaming hot! I will always remember your laughter and my heart aches for one more hug. I will make certain our children know you and your strength and share your passionate enthusiasm for FSU football. I miss you and look forward to seeing you again one day.

Here’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to write: Her obituary for the Bradenton Herald newspaper. My Mom and her sisters were still too emotional, so I can only hope and pray I honored her in the best way possible.

Dorothy Constance Webb Hackett, “Decie” or “Dee Dee,” of Bradenton, Florida, age 88, left us to join the The Lord on Thursday, June 25, 2015 surrounded by her loving family.

Born January 31, 1927 in South Bourne, England to parents William Presley and Dorothy Ransome Webb, Decie moved to the United States in 1939. Decie was raised by her loving aunts, Sally and Nettie Davis, alongside her cousin, Nette Harris in Stovall, North Carolina.

Decie attended St. Mary’s Seminary for high school and Limestone College in Gaffney, SC for two years. Decie always joked about getting her “Mrs.” degree. She married Wilton Graham Martin on December 7, 1946. They had three daughters together, Constance Webb Martin, Nancie Johnson Martin, and Patricia Graham Martin.

Decie served her community through her position as school bus driver with the Manatee County School Board for many years and worked diligently in her cottage industry of upholstered furniture.

Decie adored swimming, camping, and fishing with her family. Decie was fiercely independent and resourceful, even digging and building her own swimming pool in 1959!

Once her daughter, son-in-law and grand children attended Florida State University, she became a passionate fan of FSU athletics. Decie loved to cheer on her beloved Seminoles!

Decie enjoyed playing card games and sharing “piping hot coffee” with her good friends. She embraced a never-ending curiosity about all wild animal species and was a National Geographic enthusiast. We are certain that her feline family of Snuffy, Smokey Bear and Sassy are happy to be reunited with her in heaven.

Decie’s signature recipe, Maid of Honor tarts, were a tribute to her British heritage. She always kept up with the happenings of the British Royal family and could slip back into her authentic British accent so quickly to entertain her family. We will always fondly remember her larger-than-life laughter!

Decie’s strong opinions and quirky sayings were only out-shined by her heart’s capacity for love and understanding. Her favorite expression was “Love You More!”

Decie is survived by her loving daughters, Connie (Eddie) Boyett, Nancie (Eddie) Hobby and Tish Prine; her grandchildren, Kacey (Mike) Bloski, Jennifer (Grant) Rivera and Matthew (Mary Grill) Hobby; and great-grandchildren, Bailey and Allison Bloski and Lauren Rivera.

As a member of Orange Grove Free Methodist Church, Decie will be honored in a Celebration of Life service held at Sugar Creek Estates in January 2016. In lieu of flowers, her family suggests that donations be made to Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton. Special thanks to the wonderful staff at Tidewell for their love and special care of our beloved “Dee Dee.”

Breaking The Chains: Local Restaurant Scene in East Cobb

For many years I was an Atlantan of the mindset that “Friends don’t let friends move OTP.” That was before I had a child or learned about the growing local food scene in the burbs. Now, I’ve matured (a bit) and have smart friends who have moved to East Cobb. While they enjoy expansive yards, amazing schools and now locally-owned, world-class restaurants, I’ve realized it’s time for me to change my motto.

CQ1-2_1I discovered one such on-demand spot, Common Quarter, when my college best friends promised me, “It’s nothing like a typical chain restaurant!” My response: “In East Cobb?” Girlfriends: “Yes! You’ll LOVE it!”

They were right. Nothing too common about Common Quarter, led by Chris Talley, Chef Chris Hall, Chef Todd Mussman, and Ryan Turner. Their American comfort-food menu focuses on locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, creating their dishes “as close to home as possible.” We loved the low country shrimp and grits with roasted tomato, sweet corn, pickled chiles and parsley. The ‘secret sauce’ on the Look-west burger IMG_2148knocked me over! Was I in midtown?? The brussels, parmesan fries and roasted broccoli were all perfect for sharing and savoring. It’s rustic atmosphere features an open layout, with a decidedly neighborhood feel… I was shocked! Wait, no plastic-covered corporate menus? No, sticky table tops? No buttons of manufactured-flair? Where am I?? Ha! Seriously though, how refreshing to find unscripted Southern hospitality in the suburbs. Even the hostess was more than willing to snap our pic before we left. Well-worth the drive.

I was swayed… East Cobb got it right with Common Quarter, but was that it? When I asked where to go next, the overwhelming response was MOXIE Burger. The perfect spot for those who want fresh burgers, sandwiches, salads and “dawgs” with a kid-embrace. We threw the little ones in car seats and made our way to Paper Mill Village in Marietta. Of course, I had to try “the moxie” with certified Angus beef, bacon, pimento cheese and a crispy, fried green tomato. Excellent indulgence! I appreciated the fresh broccoli slaw for a healthy side option. My daughter gobbled up their sweet moxieburgerpotato fries with her kiddo ‘lil burger too. We had a patio table with 2 adults and 4 kids total and they didn’t even bat an eye at the mess! Friendly, young staffers were happy to help with extra drinks and condiments. All three owners, Chas, Jordan, and Brandon are born-and-raised East Cobb guys who have succeeded in creating a tasty, low-key neighborhood gathering place.

Ok, East Cobb, I am IN! Next stop? SEED Kitchen and Bar, which I learned about through a feature on Atlanta Eats TV (I’m a mega-fan, turned contributor.) I can’t wait to try long-time East Cobb resident, Chef Doug Turbush’s sweet potato ravioli, tossed in a sage, brown butter sauce with mushrooms. Or should I take my appetite to his second East Cobb success, Stem Wine Bar? Plus, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Chef Turbush is set to open “ Drift,” a modern fish house and oyster bar this December in The Avenue East Cobb on Upper Roswell Road.

So many choices! And this is just a sampling of the thriving local food scene in East Cobb, so I suppose “East Cobb snobs” can now be a term used to describe their foodies too. Does “OTP” now mean “On The Pulse”?? Count me in.

For more on these East Cobb Spots:

Lighten Up, Y’all!

Don’t you love when your paths cross with someone you really admire? When it happens more than VAWillis_July2012_peachonce in life, I feel extremely lucky…that’s exactly how I feel having met Chef Virginia Willis many years ago when she was producing a tv show called, “Home Plate with Marvin Wood” on Turner South. Remember that network? I had the absolute privilege to be a guest in his kitchen and met Virginia, who was the real cooking “chops” behind the program. Our paths crossed again at Cook’s Warehouse classes (I was her attentive student) and Share Our Strength fundraising events. I’ve always admired her classically French-trained approach and Southern-heritage perspective, but even more so now with her latest baby, “Lighten Up, Y’all! Classic Southern Recipes made Healthy and Wholesome.”

I’ve become slightly obsessed with making her healthy versions for my husband lately…Hot Mess Spinach and Feta dip, Sautéed Asparagus and Mushrooms, Basil and Peach Pan Roasted Chicken so far and her Grilled Pork Chops are next on my dinner to-do list!

51SJb2ZuMlL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Virginia was gracious enough to give us copies of her cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all! Classic Southern Recipes made Healthy and Wholesome” to giveaway through Kicks 101.5. It’s easy to win. Interested? Text “Kicks” and “Cookbook” to 68255 and you’re entered. That’s it! More info here.

If you want to become a Virginia admirer like me, it only takes one visit to her blog!


5 Questions With Steak Shapiro & Atlanta Eats

atlanta-eats-logo-mobile-footerWhat a blast! I’ve had so much fun getting to know Steak Shapiro lately. For many years in radio, I was sooooo intimidated by him! He’s got such a BIG personality and strong opinions that honestly, I always felt meek in his presence when we passed each other in the halls of CNN/HLN or rubbed elbows at Atlanta nightlife events. Now that he hosts The Front Row at 680 The Fan with Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran across the hall from us at Kicks, we have actually had conversation and are getting to know each other. I have learned what a HUGE heart Steak has…a real softie underneath! And quite THE foodie too, as co-founder of Atlanta Eats TV, so I was honored when he invited me to “Meet Him At Marlow’s” for an upcoming episode. We covered tough topics like “the best place for a girls night out” asteaknd how service makes or breaks your dining experience anywhere, no matter how Ahhhh-Maaazzing the chef may be. I’ll let you know when the Atlanta Eats episode is set to air on Peachtree TV. Meanwhile, here’s a quick appetizer:
My 5 Questions with Steak Shapiro:

Spinach and Walnut Bowtie Alfredo

Spinach and Walnut Bowtie Alfredo – a simple, delightful weeknight dinner idea.bowtiepasta

3/4 cup toasted walnuts (or 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts)
1 16 oz. package bowtie pasta
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole milk
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling.
fresh spinach (10 oz fresh bunch or 10 oz bag; enough to fill up your Dutch Oven to the top while still fresh)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven or toaster oven to 350. Toast walnuts or pine nuts for 4 minutes. Check them and shake throughout toasting. Watch closely to be sure not to burn them. When are they done? Your nose knows! Trust it.

In a Dutch Oven, boil pasta according to directions until “Al dente” and reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. (I always scoop out the pasta water with a small glass measuring cup. The handle makes it simple to do.) Remove from heat and return pasta to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate saucepan (with a lid), melt butter over medium heat. Cook the minced garlic for 1 minute, but don’t allow it to brown. Add fresh spinach and stir. Cover the saucepan for 1 minute to steam. Uncover, sprinkle with nutmeg and stir spinach until wilted and bright green.

Add half and half, stir. Add milk and stir, reduce heat to medium low. Add salt and pepper to taste. (And a tad more butter if you’re like me!) Add parmesan cheese and mix until melted and well incorporated. Cook for a few minutes more to let the flavors get married and the sauce to thicken a bit.

Pour sauce over pasta and mix well. (You can add pasta water one small amount at a time, only if your pasta seems dry.) Fold in the toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

Serve with salt and pepper and more shredded parmesan on top.


With love, Jenn

Just Add Bacon: Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese

AppleCheddarGrilledCheeseApple Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Foodess.com (a mouth-watering food blog with amazing photography!) and Real-Life Notes from Jenn Hobby

Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese

2 slices rustic bread
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1½ ounces (45 grams) aged cheddar cheese, sliced thinly or grated (Note 1)
¼ apple, cored and thinly sliced (Note 2)
thin slices red onion
1 tbsp butter
(Note 3)

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.

Lay bread slices flat on work surface. Spread mayonnaise on one slice, and arrange cheese on the other. Arrange apple and red onion slices on top of cheese, then top with with arugula and sandwich bread slices together.

Spread half of the butter on the upward-facing side of the sandwich, then flip that side down into the pan. Butter the other side.

Cook, flipping once, until bread is golden and cheese is completely melted.

If sandwich is getting dark too quickly, reduce heat. (Note 4)

1. Other cheese ideas I’ve tried include Brie, Swiss or Colby.

2. Try with any type of apple! My favorite are thinly sliced green apples or crispy, juicy pink ladies.

3. If I were giving in to my current pregnancy cravings, I would add crispy bacon!

4. I always start with very low heat for grilled cheeses. It takes some self-restraint, but worth the wait to let the cheese melt more slowly.

Enjoy! With love, Jenn

One is so fun, we’re having two!



Lauren is going to be a big sister! Grant and I are excited to share our news that a new baby is on the way this September. Double the blessings… and diapers!

Top 3 Reasons I Hate My Bachelor Addiction

britt-bachelorConfession: I just watched The Bachelor’s “Britt” in her post-dumped interview with Jimmy Kimmel online. It’s 4 minutes and 32 seconds of my life I will never get back.

Hopelessly addicted to The Bachelor? Tragically, so am I. Why though? In our educated, self-respecting minds, we know it is pure drivel.

Top 3 Reasons I Hate Myself for Watching The Bachelor:

1. How much more demeaning can it get? Women stand in high heels in a nice, neat little row just waiting to be plucked from a line up to have “one on one” time with a stranger. It’s a disgusting concept: a female-cafeteria-lunch-line-conveyor belt. My women’s studies professors would vomit knowing I actually spend even a minute waiting to see if she will accept “this rose.”

2. It is NOT real life to be yourself in front of that many cameras, much less fall in love. It’s impossible to meet someone and learn more than how they handle their wine in the amount of time they take to film the entire season. Add the actual minutes that each woman spends with the guy and it totals one average (as in, not that great) date.

3. We know better. Love is not a competition. The person you marry will not simultaneously be making out with, slobbering on, nor heavy petting with someone else merely hours before they devote their life to you.

But something about it is grotesquely magnetic. I can’t stop watching the train wreck, the jealousy, the terrible open mouth kissing. It’s sick, really. I gross myself out.

To add insult to injury, a 2012 study in the journal of Mass Communication and Science found that the more people believe in the portrayals of romance shown on TV, the less committed they are to their own relationship. WHAT?!!!? AND, the more people believe in the magical romances they see on TV, the more  a person believes their IRL (In Real Life) relationship is costing them their own time and freedom…AND the more physically unattractive they suddenly find their own partner.

So, now we know, and we can’t UN-know how BAD this show is for us. Why, why, why is it like CRACK?!??

I spend much of the time watching the show trying to figure out which of the women I would want in my circle of friends. (Who cares?) Then I try to determine if they would actually be a good girlfriend/fiancé/ wife for the Bachelor, as in this season’s case, Prince Farming. (Who freakin’ cares?) I analyze their perceived interest in being on this show – Do they really even like this guy? Is she on here to be famous? Are those lip injections? Are her parents watching her in those shorts? (WHO CARES?!) How does she do her eye make-up like that? I wonder if she worked out a lot before filming…Are those real? I bet he has bad breath…Has anyone ever said no to a rose?

I have a split personality disorder over this show. It goes against everything I believe about women and self respect. It’s insulting. It’s demeaning. But I can’t stop!!!! I should really just read a book.

This is the definition of addiction, isn’t it? I give in…See you on Twitter tonight at 8. ;) #TheBachelor

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños with Scallion Cream Cheese

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños with Scallion Cream Cheese

photoPerfect for several emotional eating occasions including, but not limited to…

A.) Game-time anxiety: When your team kicks off in about 10 minutes and you’re pretty sure they’re going to get their a** kicked.

B.) Broken heart healer: Your best friend can’t figure out why that meat-head from the gym won’t text her back and why he’s tagged in a FB picture with that hot red-head. Maybe it really is his sister, honey.

C.) When you have thrown your New Year/ New You “healthy-eating” plans out the window for a minute and decide to indulge in guilty pleasures like the new season of The Bachelor and BACON… it will only take a minute to gobble these up. (Then go back to salads!)

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños with Scallion Cream Cheese

10-15 Jalapeños – stems on, halved, seeded, remove ribs (Note: wear gloves and be sure not to touch your face.)
cream cheese – 8 oz. package at room temperature
sour cream – 2 tablespoons
3 green onions – thinly sliced at an angle
hickory-smoked bacon – 1 package, cut strips in half.
light brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
cayenne pepper – pinch
toothpicks – soaked in warm water to prevent burning in oven.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Prep your jalapeños: Wearing gloves and eyewear (sunglasses will do!) slice each jalapeño lengthwise down the center, keeping stem in tact. This stem later becomes your handle of love. Scoop out the seeds and the spines into the sink. Do not allow them to fling around your kitchen. Your pets will thank you later. Set these beautiful green boats aside.

Be careful removing and washing your gloves. The jalapeño oil will cause a burning sensation on your skin that is not fun. Not at all. Trust. You only have to experience this once. But I’d rather you not.

Make your filling: Schmush your cream cheese with the sour cream until well blended in a small bowl. Add your scallions and fold in.

Prep your bacon: Use any kind you love… thick/ thin, hickory smoked/ apple-wood smoked… whatever makes you happy. Slice each one in half.

Prep your topping: In a tiny bowl, mix together the light brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Adjust cayenne to your taste. Some like it HOT, as they say.

Assemble your masterpiece: Fill each jalapeño half with a healthy scoop of scallion cream cheese mixture. Wrap with a bacon slice and push a soaked toothpick through each side to attach bacon. Set on prepped baking sheet. Sprinkle each with brown sugar/cayenne mixture. Proceed to eat extra cream cheese mixture with spoon… or on crackers… or with index finger.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until your nose tells you to check on your babies. When the bacon begins to brown, stick the cookie sheet under the broiler for 1 minute. Do not walk away. I repeat: do not leave your babies alone. Count to 60 out loud, if you must, then check on them. When they have reached perfected crispiness with the ultimate tan, pull out of the oven and serve warm.

Touchdown! Perfect anxiety-reducing game-day-slash-broken-heart-slash-broken-diet treat.

With love,