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Monday, September 23, 2013

A quick glimpse of Broad Street in downtown Atlanta

I've been lunching on Broad Street in downtown Atlanta for an upcoming Grazing column. I don't know any area downtown that provides such a nearly idyllic spot for lunch, a cheap one at that. The street is busier than an ant colony weekdays when office workers and students from nearby Georgia State University overtake it. On a Saturday afternoon, though, it's not crowded. Granted, many places don't open that day, but you get easy access to an outdoor table and a comparatively short wait.

A favorite spot of many is Dua Vietnamese Noodle Shop where you can dine in or order-to-go a few doors down at Dua II Go. There's nothing faux about the pho, or anything else here, but my fave is my usual at most Vietnamese restaurants - a bowl of bun (rice vermicelli) with grilled pork, shrimp and a spring roll.

One oddity: the vermicelli was quite a bit thicker than I've encountered in most Vietnamese restaurants - to the degree I asked if it was really rice noodles. I was assured it was. One amusing incident: I took my bowl of bun to an outdoor table, where I began a fairly intense discussion with a student at GSU. The apparent manager came out with a napkin and chopsticks. "You forgot these," she said. "I didn't want your food to be stolen while you came back in to get them."

At the park a block away, a group fed lunch to the homeless and poor. The line was long and a reminder that we need take only a step away from our comfort zone to see the still-growing numbers of the poor, despite the recovery from the recession. That's the recovery with all those new minimum-wage jobs.

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