Curious foodstuffs have graced the formica tables of Atlanta's Gato Bizco diner this year. They're the kind of dishes you might not expect to see in a kitschy short-order neighborhood diner where the menu specialties include biscuits, sweet potato pancakes and huevos rancheros.
Equally unexpected was the rotating cast of internationally-renowned chefs who turned Gato Bizco into the best restaurant in Atlanta, two nights at a time, as they hosted the pop-up BATON Supper Series.
When tragic crime struck two neighboring Atlanta businesses last week, leaving a shop owner dead and a community in shock, residents turned to food to raise spirits and help survivors.
The result was a crowd-sourced bake sale to benefit one of the affected businesses, Sugar Coated Radical, a self-described "libertine confection shop" that has earned national press for creating "honest" chocolate from organic, fairly traded and locally sourced raw materials.
The event, also known as a "cash mob," drew hundreds of well-wishers on Sunday who bought baked goods to help the business recoup money lost in a robbery. Other small businesses donated coffee for sale and a food truck from which to sell the surplus of baked goods prepared by Sugar Coated Radical. Volunteers staffed the cash register.
Hosting a dinner party is not for the faint of heart. All the shopping, cleaning, cooking and schmoozing, followed by more cleaning, can suck the verve out of the most enthusiastic party planner.
Then there are people like Jen and Ryan Hidinger, who have 10 strangers over for dinner about twice a month. For them, it’s a labor of love with a specific goal: to create an experience that will make guests come back for more. That way, the Atlanta couple will have an instant following by the time they open a restaurant, if all goes planned, by the end of the year.
Watch the Green Solutions in Focus: Eatocracy Edition hour-long special hosted by Tom Foreman on Saturday, April 23rd at 3pm ET and see all Earth Day coverage at eatocracy.com/infocus