The Athens Taco Takedown Returns!

Athens Taco Takedown 2016

The Athens Taco Takedown is Back October 16!

It’s no secret that we here at My Athens love food (sign up for our monthly food newsletter here!), and tacos are among our favorite foods of all. That’s what inspired us to join forces with Terrapin last year to present the Athens Taco Takedown, a taco cook-off competition featuring ten of our favorite local restaurants throwing down — we had everything from ice cream tacos to tuna tacos seared onsite, and we couldn’t believe the community’s response. We knew we had to do it again. And tickets are on sale here right now!

Athens Taco Takedown 2016

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Athens Eats: Athens’ Milkshakes

Words & Photos by Christy Rogers.

In a town literally pouring everything it has into crafting the perfect alcoholic drink, you’d think that Athens, Georgia would also be known for its magnificent milkshakes. Foregoing chains to the like of Cookout and Chick-Fil-A I set my sails towards Clocked!, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, The Grill, Groove Burgers, Condor Chocolate, and ADD Drug in order to find out which of these local spots carries the tastiest treat. In order to keep the competition even, five of my friends and I only tried out vanilla shakes. Here’s what we determined:

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Frothy and light, this perfect balance of vanilla flavored melted ice cream slips through the straw as swiftly as a river. Spun in a retro machine, old school vibes surround this treat which was delivered in an old-school metal container. For $5.25 it was a bit pricey but delightful – possibly even made better with the optional malt.

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Athens Eats: New Creation Soda Works

Words & Photos by Mobley Brandenburg.

As if Athens could get any hipper, there’s a new kid on the block. A southern craft soda company is making its way across town. Paul and Carla Kooistra, founders of New Creation Soda Works, are excited to spruce up the soda scene around the Classic City. They take pride in being the first and only craft soda company in Athens.

Paul and Carla are proud to call Athens home with their three daughters, Carson (15), Molly (13), and Ava (11). They know that people in Athens love local and are open minded when it comes to supporting new businesses. Paul shared his enthusiasm by stating, “we can’t imagine starting a business anywhere else.”

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Paul and Carla have always had a desire to be entrepreneurs and they’ve both been gifted with creative minds. Paul was inspired at a young age by his grandfather’s soda collection in Duluth, Minnesota. He shared, “the soda idea has always been tucked away in my memories.” He remembers being intrigued by all of the cool flavors and different colors as a kid.  He continued, “we think God has provided us with the circumstances for our desire and our creativity to come together and we think the environment is right for craft soda.”

Carla and Paul know that starting a business will have its own set of challenges. One of the greatest hurdles was gaining enough courage to take the risk. Regulations can be difficult when starting a business in the food and beverage world. Paul and Carla hope to eventually change the soda palette in Athens. In the meantime, they want people to enjoy the creativity and uniqueness that their sodas have to offer.

New Creation Soda Works is developing a line of both year-round and seasonal sodas that are fresh, flavorful, and fun. Their most popular flavor, “Nada,” a strawberry-habanero soda, is described as having “a sweet and fruity beginning followed by a warm habanero finish.”  It contains locally grown habanero peppers and strawberries picked from Washington Farms in Watkinsville. It’s known to be “best enjoyed on a creaky porch listening to sounds of the south and doin’ ‘Nada.’”

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The best news? The sodas are much better for you than your everyday soda. All natural, no preservatives, local ingredients, and less sugar are just a few ways to describe these liquid refreshers.

So where can you find these delicious drinks? New Creation Soda Works has been collaborating with several local hot spots around town. You can find it in a keg being served on tap at Southern Brewing Company, and in bottles at The National, The Rook and Pawn, and Heirloom Café. Jittery Joes in Watkinsville is also on board. Stay tuned for details and updates on how to purchase the syrups so you can mix up your own creation and look for New Creation on Facebook or Instagram.

Be on the lookout this fall for The Pilgrim, a limited release that contains hints of plum and apricot. It’s great on its own but it also pairs well with bourbon. Perfect for a fall tailgate! Keep an eye out for their new label designed by Young Athenians, the same talented folks who designed the logos behind Creature Comforts. The craft soda market is on the rise and the best is certainly yet to come.

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Join Our Team!

Join our team at My Athens! There are two unique roles within the organization that need to be filled, and we are searching for innovative and creative individuals with a passion for Athens stories to take on these roles. We are seeking to fill the positions of Managing Editor and Merch Manager.

We are also seeking new writers and photographers to contribute to the blog over the course of this year, especially folks with an interest in telling stories pertaining to fashion. If interested, please send a cover letter and some writing samples, if you have them, to rachel@myathensis.com. Some interviewing and longer form writing experience are preferred, though we also include and guide folks without experience to develop basic skills like interviewing and story structure. Ideally, our writers are also avid readers of journalism of some kind and willing to pitch their own story ideas as well as taking assignments from editors.

Take a look at the descriptions below and, if you are interested in applying for either Managing Editor or Merch Manager, send a cover letter and resume to executive director, Rachel Bailey, at rachel@myathensis.com.

CREATIVES assemble

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Athens To-Do List: Stargazing with Vestigo

Story by Christy Rogers. Images by Austin Steele and Jonathan Lim.

It was Friday, May 6th. I tore out of the parking lot of Home.made, where I work, with about ten minutes to spare, leaving only a few moments to pick up Austin Steele. Trust me, he was not happy when I was going fifteen (maybe twenty) miles over the speed limit in the middle of the night to get to a random parking lot before 10 p.m.

The reason? I did not want to miss this.

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Photo by Austin Steele

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Athens Eats: Watermelon Party This Sunday!

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Story by Rachel Bailey. Photo by Shayon Keating.

Food is one of our favorite things about Athens. Our little town boasts an impressive network of farmers, chefs who know how to turn Georgia’s summer bounty into spectacular dishes, inexpensive and casual grub spots that nonetheless offer something unique and delicious and breweries that think seasonally and locally when coming up with new things to drink.

Side note: our food newsletter is a great way to stay up to date on local culinary happenings, events, specials and more. Sign up here!

My Athens is always looking for new ways to bring our neighbors together to experience the outstanding elements of our local culture with like-minded folks. So when Terrapin invited us to throw a party celebrating this summer’s Watermelon Gose release, visions of green rinds and red fruit started dancing in our heads.

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