As a blogger, I get to do a lot of fun things! And one of the most recent conferences I’ve participated in that was new to me this year was Travel Media Showcase, a travel conference that connects journalists, bloggers, and influencers with travel destinations. As an avid lover of travel, this media showcase was right down my alley and I had the pleasure of connecting with many other writers and bloggers as well as Convention and Visitor Bureaus around the country. I’ll be sharing more of last week later on but as a start, I’ll tell you a bit about TMS and what all we did.
I found out about TMS from a fellow writer on a media trip earlier this year and came home and signed up immediately. You have to be approved and I was happy to get approved right away. I also found out my cousin, Howard Blount, who is a retired school teacher and travel blogger at Backroad Planet, has been going to TMS for 5 years. Howard is our family genealogist and history buff and travel blogging is perfect for him after he retired from teaching. Check out his blog for all the places he’s visited and reported on. He does a great job with his blog sharing all the travel he has done. The showcase event is 20 years old this year so they’ve been around for a long time. The mother and daughter duo who run the conference were so nice and welcoming to me.
After I got in, I then earned the ropes of how it all works. Picture speed dating for 15 minutes with each travel destination. You set up your schedule ahead of time and already know who you’re meeting with and I met with about 20 travel destinations. Looks like I’ll be a traveling girl next year! Once Mark retires this January, we plan to travel more and working with TMS will give me the opportunity to travel to locations I’ve never been to and write about it and share with you all! I think it’s going to be so much fun to travel more and Mark and I both enjoy seeing new places. I also did a media trip pre-TMS show to Athens, GA and we saw, ate and did a lot in that little Georgia town that I’ll be sharing with you soon. It was fun to spend the week with my cousin and hang out as bloggers together! By the way, media travel trips are called FAM trips (for familiarization trip) and I’ve been on many during my years of blogging, but this conference will open many more doors for me.
The conference this year was held in Atlanta, Dekalb County to be exact and each year TMS is in a new city. Since it was in my city of Atlanta, that made it easy to jump on board. Dekalb County hosted us and we also signed up for tours during our time this week for Food, History, Adventure, or Cultural outings around Atlanta and specifically in Dekalb County. I signed up for food, which is probably no surprise to y’all!
All of us on the food tour hopped on a bus and headed to several food stops along the way, which was really fun. I knew already about the popularity of Buford Hwy. for Asian food and have been there with Lauren and Philip. Philip loves trying Asian restaurants and I went with them for dumplings on one of their visits and really enjoyed it. I’m an Asian food fan and especially love Thai food, but am definitely open to other Asian cuisine too.
Our first stop on Buford Highway was Food Terminal. We sampled lots of good eats, from chicken and lamb skewers to dumplings and more. I don’t dare recite the menu of what we had from memory, but it was all tasty and delicious. I would recommend trying them if you’re in the area.
Food Terminal’s menu features a high variety of Asian street foods with heavy emphasis on Malaysian cuisine. Food Terminal’s mission is to bring the most authentic Asian-style street taste and experience to Bufurd Highway.
We even went back in the kitchen to see the homemade noodles being made. I would love to try one of their noodle bowls.
The noodle making was quite impressive.
Our next stop was Sweet Hut, also owned by the Food Terminal folks. The array of sweets in this Asian bakery was astounding. I had a strawberry cream puff and it was very tasty. There are savory breads and so many sweets to choose from. And I just found out there’s a brand new Kennesaw Sweet Hut on Chastain Meadow Pkwy, so that’s a heads up to those of you on my side of town. Check out Sweet Hut for a variety of pastries, cakes and all sorts of sweets.
Just across the way from Sweet Hut is Roll It Up ice cream on Buford Hwy. This stretch of road is an Asian culinary delight and represents much more cuisine than just Asian.
There are so many flavors to try. So the new thing with ice cream is nitrogen and rolled ice cream apparently. I’ve seen the nitrogen thing before, but can’t quite figure out what the big rage is all about. Rolled ice cream was completely new to me.
We watched as she took the flavors of the ice cream chosen, spread it out on an ice cold stainless steel counter and started smoothing it all out. It freezes super fast and then she takes her spreader and starts rolling it up all frozen into separate rolls.
They were tucked into a container and whip cream added on top.
My new friend, Melody (with the blog Wherever I May Roam) and I tried the coffee flavor and it was really good! I’m not sure I’m sold on rolled up ice cream yet, but I really love ice cream in any state so it was definitely fun trying it. Melody and her daughter, Taylor run their travel blog together and they were sweet gals and good friends with my cousin, Howard!
Our last stop was probably my favorite. Matthews Cafeteria in Tucker was amazing! It totally reminded me of my mama’s cooking. A family owned restaurant established in 1955 by the Matthews family, it continues the family tradition with their grandson heading it up now. With made from scratch Southern cuisine, this place is the real deal!
By the time we got there, none of us were hungry, but it looked so good we had to taste test and believe me, it didn’t disappoint. I wanted one of everything. The fried chicken was outstanding as were the sides that I had.
I had to show this picture twice, it was that good. The chicken pot pie, collard greens, and mac and cheese were all so tasty. If I had been hungrier it would have been a whole lot more fun. And I really wish Tucker wasn’t so far from Acworth, I would definitely go back in a heartbeat! We just might have to make the drive sometime when Lauren is home. She would love it too!
If you’re down that way and haven’t been to Matthews, you have to try them. Authentic Southern cooking with so many vegetables and meats. They have different things every day, so be sure to check out the daily menus. Southern at it’s finest, that’s what Matthews Cafeteria is!
Our week also took us to Stone Mountain for a lovely dinner overlooking the mountain. I’ve been here many times since I grew up here in Atlanta, but it’s always great to visit again. Stone Mountain is a city as well as a park with the Confederate Memorial carving of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis gracing the granite face.
We also had a wonderful lunch at Callenwolde Fine Arts Center, a historic 12 acre campus in the heart of Atlanta. The house itself is a Tudor Revival style home of the Candler family (Coco-Cola family) completed in 1920. There are lots of events going on at Callenwolde so check out the link if you haven’t been. I toured the Christmas tour there one year and it was gorgeous.
We had a fabulous lunch catered from Fox Brothers BBQ, a restaurant I haven’t heard of, but everything we tasted was fantastic. They told us their story of how they got started after coming here from Texas, so if you like Texas BBQ, you will love Fox Brothers. I would definitely get it again if I was close by.
So that’s a little glimpse of the Travel Media Showcase and what I did last week. I hope you enjoyed this food tour of Dekalb County. Many of you live in the Atlanta area and some of you may visit, so you can check out these places in person one day!
I’ll be sharing more of my Athens visit too, we saw so many things there and I had never spent much time in Athens at all, even though my niece, Lauren graduated from UGA and also graduated law school there for a total of 7 years in Athens. I was sending her pics and she loved seeing her alma mater!