Contributor Review

No Drama With These Dairies

By: Hannah Crouch

On a warm spring afternoon in Athens where the heat settles and slowly suffocates visitors and locals alike, there is no better treat than Four Fat Cows refreshing Key Lime Pie ice cream. The light green, milky, sorbet consistency is perfectly accented with flakey, crunchy crumbles of gluten free graham crackers. It leaves the customer with a very subtle honey aftertaste that is not overwhelmingly sweet. The graham cracker crumbs could be broken up into smaller pieces and spread out more through the mixture, but it is a minor detail that holds very little importance when being compared to the fact that it is 100% safely gluten free– a major win for celiacs everywhere who have never had the privilege of trying the original delicacy that is a key lime pie.These special moments are what define the experiences within the walls of the the Four Fat Cows Bakery and Ice Cream Shops. 

Even in a city with as vibrant and diverse a food scene as Athens, Georgia, allergy-friendly establishments are still few and far between. We are often met with puzzled looks on servers faces and a loss for words from kitchen staff when asking menu questions and explaining our allergy/ what products we have to avoid. The exciting dining experience can turn embarrassing and awkward for the consumer. Luckily, gluten-sensitive friends can find comfort at this utterly-delicious dessert joint– Four Fat Cows. This franchise was originally a single, family owned small business, but they now have 6 locations spaced around Georgia. They offer a variety of homemade ice creams, cupcakes, brownies, and more. They love to try adventurous new flavors like cinnamon avocado, strawberry balsamic, almond roca, dill pickle, taro boba, raspberry brown butter jalapeño, lavender honey, and tons of classic flavors. The owner strives to serve gluten free products (as well as some nut-free and dairy free products) because her own family members have struggled with the inconvenience and discomfort of Celiac Disease. They stay true to their word, minimizing possibility for cross contamination and educating all of their staff members on how to handle customers with food allergies. These small differences surely make Four Fat Cows stand out from their competitors like Ben and Jerry’s and Andy’s Frozen Custard. 

However, not everything about Four Fat Cows is inclusive to their demographic (especially in a college town.) Their branding is heavily catered towards small children– the shelves are filled with toddler-esque toys and trinkets that seem rather pricey, and make the space feel more like a nursery than an eatery. While this may encourage the patronage of parents with young kids, it is a less than ideal hang out space for local students. They have figured out a ton of dessert flavors and textures that appeal to the public, now they just need to make their storefronts more appealing to the eyes. 

Some of their design choices may be merchandise left from years past, untouched and unsold. They tried dabbling in coffee and espresso, which proved an unsuccessful addition to their menu. But the lull of customers over the two years of the pandemic ravaged many businesses on Baxter Street, and many franchises are not functioning at full capacity like they used to. Because of the pandemic, store managers and supplies tend to visit from Atlanta less frequently, leaving their college-aged employees to manage weeks without essential items like their homemade baked goods, ice cream cups, waffle cone supplies, etc. This particular franchise location still has a lot of room to increase production and to improve their business model. Maybe Terry students wouldn’t applaud all of the decision making behind closed doors, but local families and community members seem to love the flavors and customer service provided by the Four Fat Cows location here in the Classic City, and it is surely still a top contender for allergy-weary visitors to stop at and grab a safe treat.

Click to view restaurant website and full menu! https://www.fourfatcows.com/

Feature Image: Four Fat Cows by ExploreGeorgia
https://www.exploregeorgia.org/marietta/food-drink/ice-cream-desserts/four-fat-cows
Creator Bio

Bennett Vest

When thinking about what a critic does it is often associated with what to do in a particular scenario. Should I watch this movie, eat at this restaurant, or read this book? Critics answer these questions, but that is not why I am a critic. The first role in which I have taken as a critic myself is how I am a part of the community in which I make my opinions known. Being active in the Athens community makes my voice relevant to the community. My background typically relates to sports given that I work with the UGA Football team as an equipment manager. It gives me a unique perspective on life through the lens of other student-athletes. It provides a platform to talk to individuals each day about what they are liking in terms of music, television, and most importantly food. Each of the athletes represents a different part of the state and the country makes this a diverse audience in which we can play different ideas from each other to enjoy life. My role as a critic is in food. My go-to foods include a list of burgers and sandwiches. Upon these flavors, I enjoy pizza and pasta. My goal as a critic is to improve my palate and learn about the diverse culinary experience that Athens provides. My job is to be in the community to promote these businesses and get people to support them. It would enhance the community as a whole to see everyone thriving. It is important to be a voice if a business is not acting responsibly, but it is important to bring positive news to people as well. It helps everyone to see that people are helping each other to grow the community that we all represent.

Contributor Review

A Twist on Gigi Hadid’s Pasta

By Katherine Lewis:

Growing up with a dad with celiac disease made me very conscious of my eating habits. I am constantly checking labels for the “certified gluten free” label, and making sure to avoid the food modified specifically for gluten intolerant people. In my family household, we had to quickly learn to eat in a healthy fashion that also accommodated my father.

And then COVID-19 began to surge in the United States, and food resources were more limited than we had ever experienced. My family struggled to find the same gluten free foods that we were used to eating, and some recipes in the regular Lewis family lineup had to be put on hold.

In my quarantine boredom, I was willing to do anything to fill my time. Coming across famous model Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe instantly intrigued me, as something to do and something to eat. But this would be no simple task.

I bet you didn’t know that heavy cream, pasta and tomato paste are all quite hard to come by in a gluten free modification. When our regular grocery store only had one of these items, I took to Amazon Prime for the others.

Finally, I was prepared with all of my ingredients. I mixed green onions, heavy cream, tomato paste, olive oil and red pepper flakes to create a creamy, pink sauce to mix in with the pasta shells. Excited to try Hadid’s concoction, I quickly took it off the stove and took a big bite. The look of disappointment on my family’s faces was prevalent.

The pasta seemed to have a taste that something wasn’t mixing well. The red pepper flakes added quite a kick to the recipe, but once the spice settled, the taste of a modified milk was all that was left.

I told my friends that the recipe was not worth the hype it receives and they should never waste their time or money on this one. I was dead set on the fact that it was not a quality recipe- and what should I have expected from a pasta recipe created by a model?

Fast forward two years, and I now live on my own, giving me much more freedom in my food choices. No more checking labels and ensuring only the freshest foods enter the home. I pondered what to have for dinner on a Sunday night, and the thought struck me. What if I disliked the recipe so much because everything was gluten free?

I set to the grocery store to give it one last try. I purchased the regular pasta, regular heavy whipping cream and regular tomato paste. No modifications made my trip to the store much easier and hopefully yummier.

The recipe took about 20 minutes to make and was relatively cheap, making a great college style recipe. I followed exactly as Hadid suggested, settling the onions and paste before adding in vodka. I added parmesan cheese to my bowl, and the food was ready to be eaten.

My first bite was entirely more pleasurable than the last time. I was struck with an intense taste of thick tomato sauce, and the red pepper flakes added an extra spiciness to give the meal the extra flavor that it needed. The sauce was perfectly creamy, and the flavors melted in my mouth with each bite. I was satisfied with my restaurant-quality creation from the comfort of my home.

If I make this recipe again, I would make more sauce than the recipe calls for. I found myself wanting more on the pasta shells, and though it would make the recipe slightly less healthy, it would increase the flavor.

I thoroughly enjoyed this easy recipe in all its spice and flavor. I learned multiple things from my experience- practice makes perfect, but some recipes just aren’t meant to be made gluten free.

Click to view full collection of vegetarian recipes: https://www.splashoftaste.com/

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Contributor Review

A Healthy Alternative to Fast Food

By Taylor Vismor

​​Being in college and finding the time to grocery shop and eat is one thing but trying to shop and eat on a balanced diet is even more difficult. My personal journey with food has not been a fun one, and my relationship with food is even more strained. I’ve spent countless hours on websites and social media platforms, copying recipes down that would hopefully make me feel good. Some worked, most didn’t. The worst thing about it, however, was that the meal I made was never satisfying. I was never full, and I found myself at the pantry a couple hours later.

         All of that is to say: food is frustrating. It frustrated me for a very long time and still does. But, one day, I found Kathleen Ashmore. Ashmore is a creator on tiktok, who shares her healthy recipes from her time as a private chef. Her mission, through food, is to make her food delicious but also keep you full. She has gone viral on the app and her most known product is the Hungry Lady Salad.

         The “HLS” is a series of massive salads that are quick and easy but more important keep you full and keep well all week in the fridge. She has done multiple in her series, but I chose to make and try the lentil HLS.

In the Salad:

         2 cups cooked lentils

         3 cups cabbage

         2 cups cherry tomatoes

         3 green onions

         2/3 cup of feta

Dressing:

         1/3 cup walnuts

         1 garlic clove  

         1 tbs honey

         1/3 oil apple cider vinegar

         1/3 cup olive oil

         Salt

         Pepper

         Throwing that all in a bowl took me 30 minutes max. This salad was so easy and simple. If you do not know how to cook lentils, I suggest you look up through google or YouTube to see how exactly to make a tender lentil. Otherwise, you can get mushy lentils that look like they belong in a soup.

         I really enjoyed this salad. Ashmore was right when saying this salad keeps all week. I opted to throw the dressing on the entire salad as she did. The cabbage and the rest of the ingredients are sturdy enough to where they will not wilt under the dressing. The dressing is a topic in and of itself. This dressing…WOW. When I was throwing all of these ingredients into the blender, I was made nervous by the apple cider vinegar. It is such a strong, almost potent flavor and I was nervous that it would overtake the flavor of the dressing and kind of be the one note throughout the salad. But was I wrong! The apple cider vinegar gives a pop that is needed in the dressing, it’s sharp but still creamy and satisfying. Apple cider vinegar is also a great help when it comes to your gut health, so two thumbs up for the taste and the health note. Beyond the apple cider vinegar, you can really make the dressing how you want it. The olive oil emulsifies and becomes thicker the longer it blends. So, you can stop it whenever you reach the desired thickness. Ashmore made hers pretty thin, but I kept mine running a little longer to get it thicker. I thought the way it became part of the salad was better when it was thick than when dressings are thin. Ashmore was right when she said this salad will fill you up and keep you full. I struggle with snacking at night, and during my hungry lady salad week, I found myself desiring food less. This salad is not just filling but it’s fulfilling. It is quick and notorious and for a college student, that’s all I could ask for.

Click to view Kathleen’s Full Recipe Index: https://kathleenashmore.com/

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Contributor Review

Small Pancakes, Big Flavor

By Haley Robinson:

Settled in a concession trailer on Baxter Street, this local small business has stirred up quite the crowd of college students. Though Athens Mini Pancakes has only four employees and a designated lot that they frequent for business, their pancakes and customer service earn them a recognizable name on the University of Georgia’s campus.

Unless posted on their social media accounts, customers can safely assume the trailer will be at their normal spot on Friday and Saturday from 7 P.M until 10:30 P.M., which makes their food the perfect cure for the late night cravings. Having a very active social media presence is actually how many people have come to know about their business. The Athens Mini Pancake Instagram page is full of delicious-looking, fluffy pancakes in white to-go boxes that will leave your mouth salivating. Their Instagram bio is also where you can find their menu of their seven best-selling pancake flavors that range from “fresas con crema” to “cookies and creme.” 

Once you have chosen from their short but delectable menu, you can walk up to the window of the trailer and place your order with one of their welcoming employees. As you wait for your pancakes in the night air under their string lights set across the lot hanging from the edges of the trailer, you will most likely strike up a conversation with other people awaiting their pancakes, the residents of the surrounding neighborhood or even the employees making your food on the other side of the window. 

The employees make it a point to acknowledge and thank you for business and support of their local business by asking how you heard about the restaurant or how you chose which pancakes to order. These simple questions that lead into a conversation while you wait make you feel that you are truly being cared about and give Athens a sense of community – which seems to be the goal of this small breakfast joint. 

Maybe five minutes after placing your order and discussing how you came to Athens, the smell of the sweetest pancakes ever greets your nostrils. As you are given your white box of goodness and your final farewell by the employees with “come back soon,” you rush back to your car to catch a glimpse of your twelve miniature pancakes.

Opening the box to reveal your “mochachino” mini pancakes that are covered with a singular Ferrero Rocher, crushed wafers, melted Hershey’s syrup, and fluffy whipped cream was a religious experience. As you take a bite of one of these sweet silver dollars, you graciously discover that these pancakes have also been baptized and infused with chocolate and coffee wet sauce. You will be taken away by how perfectly moist and soft these pancakes are, even when they are hot and freshly-served. These flapjacks are the ultimate desire of someone with a sweet tooth.

Click below to view restaurant social media and full menu! https://www.instagram.com/athensminipancakes/?hl=en

Article feature image obtained from WordPress Pexels Photo Gallery.

Food Post

Latin American Brings Spice to Athens Food Scene

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

By Bennett Vest

Cali-n-Titos brings energy to the restaurant experience. Since it opened in 2006, people can expect exceptional quality each time that they eat there. They are known for their Latin American cuisine. They are located on Lumpkin Street and Cedar Shoals in Athens, Georgia. According to a Red and Black article, the owner, Rubio, wanted the restaurant to feel like a bodega. In short, dining at Cali-n-Titos is more of an experience rather than just going and sitting at a restaurant. Both restaurants achieve this. The one on Lumpkin achieves this through the all-around atmosphere. There is a wrecked boat on the outside of the restaurant that invites people to come in and party. Along with this structure, they also have an area for children to play on the playground. While the parents are up at the front ordering the food, the children can play outside. Once people are done admiring the outdoor decorations, the inside is even more impressive. The lights in the building are made up of aluminum cans. It feels like you have been transported across the border to another country. 

The Lumpkin Street location is impressive, but the real party is at the location on Cedar Shoals. The outside looks like a regular cantina, but it is far from that on the inside. On the inside, a dance floor and screen can be found showing old Hispanic movies. Along with this, a plane is positioned inside the restaurant. The line up to the bar is similar to a line you would see at a grocery store or bodega. An additional commonality at either location is beating the crowds to the restaurant. If you do not get there early, you could be waiting a while along with many other customers. However, the staff  will assist you in any way once you reach the register. The unique experience continues with seat yourself dining as the staff provides all food and drinks to your table. The one beverage you retrieve independently is water. The water adds to the experience as it comes out of a hose that drains into a garbage can. This additional detail continues to enrich the experience as it compares to retrieving water from a reservoir that has been collecting fresh rainwater in the Latin American heat. 

To feel this energy I went to the restaurant on Cedar Shoals. From the moment I entered, I felt the passion that Rubio wanted in opening the restaurant. I was blown away by all of the decor lining up the central and south American countries. Each country is represented by its respective flag. I also noticed that it is more than just an entree restaurant since it offers an assortment of drinks and desserts. When I arrived, the line took about twenty minutes to order from. The menus were hung from a hanger on bungee cords in a fashion similar to a clothesline outside of a house. This caught my eye as I was waiting to order. To start I wanted to try the chips and queso. It had an interesting flavor profile in the way they utilized garlic and salt on top of the chips compared to regular salt. The queso had the same flavor combination. The tang of the queso left me wanting more. Shortly after finishing the appetizer, the main course arrived at the table. I ordered a chicken quesadilla. The quesadilla was cut into fourths with an impressive garnish of parsley adorned on top, but this was only the beginning. The inside of the quesadilla has not only cheese and chicken but beans as well. To me, it added a different flavor profile and a texture that made the quesadilla something that I would order again. The quesadilla is a staple of the restaurant and its unique craftsmanship alone would bring people back. In addition to the food, the staff motivates me to come back because of their charisma and excitement for the business. The restaurant is best described as a great place to go to with a young family or to hang out with your friends. There are aspects of the restaurant that encompasses all generations, and it is a staple of the Athens community.

Click below to view restaurant website and full menu! https://www.athensmenus.com/cali_n_titos_menu.pdf

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