Two Trailheads were out this week. George is hosting his visiting daughter, son-in-law, and adorable granddaughter, Bella. Steve was nursing a hand injury he received hiking alone in the N. Georgia mountains, and his aversion to extreme heat. That left Guy leading Roy, Brad, and Patrick on the Chattahoochee River Loop, a trail we'd hiked before and one with opportunities to get lost, so it's always a fresh experience.
As we said along the path (probably stolen from a hiking website), you're never lost if you keep walking. We're not sure if that makes much sense, but it did at the time.
We started at 9 a.m. It was already 114 degrees. Elvis and Fio were hot dogs who appreciated the cool lake nearby and the refreshing stream running along a good portion of the trail. They scampered to the water and baptized themselves. Trail Master Guy led us on a meandering route, and we followed because, well––what the hell do we know? Besides, the day before, he had slain a giant copperhead snake.
His fellow Trailheads were impressed. We once sidestepped a nightcrawler as we screamed in fright flailing our arms.
There were several "No Trespassing" signs along the way. Guy takes those as challenges, so we each took turns distracting him so he wouldn't go charging off into the forbidden zone. That was especially important today with the new guns-for-everyone bill Gov. Kemp just signed. We're wearing our orange shirts to the grocery store, alerting people it's not Trailheads season.
After logging in a couple of hours, and many heat-enhanced miles, we punched out and headed for an early lunch at City Barbecue in Sandy Springs. We have decided this is one of our favorites––it was our third visit, for crying out loud—conveniently located to many of the Chattahoochee trails we frequent. In our first City B review (you can read here), our only ding was they served Fancy Tomato Ketchup and not the good stuff, Heinz, the pride of Pittsburgh, PA.
Are we ketchup snobs? Yeah, we'll cop to it. There are not many items we're 100% brand loyal to, and Heinz is one of them.
So, imagine our delight when we noticed many of the tables were now sporting Heinz Ketchup plastic bottles. There were still a few of the Brand X red stuff, but we suspect they are cycling them through.
We salute City Barbecue for upgrading their condiments to curry favor with Trailheads. We slapped one of our stickers on the back of a Heinz bottle to show our approval. It was probably immediately relegated to back-of-house usage.
As for the fare, they crushed it again (here's our second review). The brisket, sausage, pork, smoked turkey and Nashville Hot Chicken were all excellent. And we're big fans of City's selection of sauces––there are so many, you may need a barbecue sauce sommelier. Experiment, hell, make your signature unique blend. You can't go wrong.
The hush puppies, fried okra, slaw, and fries were also tasty. The fries just needed a finish of Henry J. Heinz's original recipe. Perfection.
A compassionate City Barbecue Associate claimed to recognize us from a previous visit (maybe our branding was working!) though we did wonder what exactly he remembered us for. Excessive napkin usage? Had we dropped silverware in the recycling bin? Did Patrick's habit of ordering sandwiches, "hold the bread," trigger them somehow?
Whatever it was, this kind fellow brought bowls of cool water for Elvis and Fio––and they gave the joint four paws up. The friendly chap asked if they preferred sparkling or still and if they'd like ice. Fio usually enjoys a slice of lemon in her water, but she didn't want to cause a fuss. She said sparkling up chilled was fine.
It was another terrific outing for Trailheads, and we're impressed a restaurant took our suggestion instead of locking its door as we approached.
Visit City Barbecue. Become a fan.
Rating: Four Ribs*
6649 Roswell Rd NE,
Sandy Springs GA 30328
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.