I travel from Chicago to Atlanta 1-2 times a year for work, and I always spend my time between meetings and shows stuffing myself with vegan biscuits and spending as much time with my friends and family there as I can. My little brother and his wife (and their new baby!) live about an hour outside of the city, and my friend Leigh, who puts on Atlanta Veg Fest, is also a local who always steers me to the best things to eat.
Tony and I booked a long weekend in the city to visit the baby and…eat as many biscuits as we could. (Chicagoans – if you can’t make it to Atlanta, Ste Martaen offers what I consider to be the only truly legit vegan biscuit in the Midwest.) One our first full day of this last trip, we were bumming around Little 5 Points (eating biscuits at Sevananda Co-Op) when Kyle from Tinkertown Pies hit me up on Instagram to invite me over to his vegan pie shop in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.
We drove over, and wandered around a bit trying to find it before realizing, and being totally charmed by the fact, that Tinkertown is actually inside a bike shop called The Spindle. (In hindsight, the chalkboard outside that read, “secret pie shop inside” should have been a clue.” We ordered slices of peach basil and cherry rosemary and got chatting with pie shop owner Kyle, about everything from the city’s new “renegade scooter” program and cemetery-grown rosemary. The cherry rosemary pie was absolutely unreal, and Kyle was sweet enough to send me the recipe so I could make it at home!
So, in addition to sharing this dreamy recipe with you, I’m also going to run you through our quick trip. The pie filling is pretty simple and straightforward, the magic is all in the streusel, and you’ll find the recipe for that below.
Tinkertown Cherry Pie Filling
*Look for cherries with a lower sugar content because this recipe adds a lot of sugar and you could end up with cherry soup. Delicious cherry soup, but still. Or, if you’re not a risk-taker, try this other filling recipe I made later.
For the filling:
- About 2 lbs cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 4-5 Tbs tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs amaretto or kirsch*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
*If you’re anti-booze in your baked goods, or simply don’t have any on-hand, you can substitute with cherry juice.
- Wash, stem and pit the cherries. Split about a cup of them into halves.Place the cherries in a bowl.
- Mix the sugars, tapioca and salt in a separate bowl.
- Add the liqueur and extracts to the cherries, and mix.
- Add the dry ingredients to the cherries and mix to incorporate.
- Pour pie filling into a prepared pie crust – you can make your own, or use a store-bought crust.
- Crumble streusel atop the pie. (Tip: I gently patted the streusel into the cherries so it formed a nice crust as it baked.)
- Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until delicious cherry juices are bubbling up.
- Let stand to cool at least two hours before slicing. Better yet, chill it in the fridge after.
Three Days in Atlanta
Breakfast: We made it just in time for the last of the breakfast hot bar at Sevananda Co-Op, but fresh biscuits had just come out of the oven so it was far from being left-overs.
We crossed the street and Tony checked out Stratosphere Skateboards. Tony spent a little while talking to the shop owner about old guy skateboard stuff and then we went next door to Junkman’s Daughter. (Chicagoans: imagine if The Alley and Hollywood Mirror had a baby.) In that same plaza, we hit up Aurora Coffee for some nitro cold brew (it was called Shallow Grave, so obviously I had to) and then we bummed around the neighborhood, which is made up of lots of resale shops, tattoo shops, record stores and head shops. It reminds me a bit of when Clark and Belmont (Chicago) was still grungy and punk.
After we’d popped into nearly every store in the area and gotten sufficiently sweaty, we drove over to Old Fourth Ward and, as I’ve already mentioned, enjoyed a couple slices of pie while hanging out with Kyle from Tinkertown Pies.
It was time to check into our hotel at that point, so we headed over there and cleaned up a bit before driving out to Cumming (heh) to visit my brother and his family.
One the way back into the city we stopped in Sandy Springs (it reminds me of Naperville – I keep wanting to translate Atlanta for Chicagoans LOL) and had dinner at Cafe Sunflower. On a previous visit I had dinner here with Leigh, but she navigated the manu and ordered all the best stuff. This time I had the Moo Shu Vegetables which was bafflingly served wrapped in two huge flour tortillas like a burrito. Still, the vegetables and plum sauce were tasty and I was starving so I wolfed it down.
I’d saved an anise cake from Tinkertown Pies, so I laid in bed eating that before conking out for the night. Atlanta is so hot and you spend a lot of time in the car there – it’s kind of exhausting.
We drove out to Dulce Vegan, which is a cute little bakery and cafe in what looked like a popular strip of restaurants and bars. We both got breakfast sandwiches with tofu “egg” – but I was smart, and got mine on a biscuit, whereas Tony was a weirdo and ordered an English muffin. Mine had tempeh bacon and a smoky chipotle aioli and it was stupid good. We also shared a ginger-peach scone that was buttery and delicious. I really wanted to take some pastries back to the hotel with us, but we were headed to a few more places and I didn’t want them to melt so I sadly went without – next time!
We caught the Jim Henson exhibit at the Center for Puppetry Arts and as expected, it made us both almost cry like 30 different times. I’d also just been reading a book called Street Gang, about the fascinating story of how Sesame Street came to be, so it was extra emotional for me to see all the Muppets up close and to read about cult classics like the The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and to see those amazing creations in person.
The center is in Midtown, which also happens to be home to Cinnaholic, a somewhat-secretly all-vegan cinnamon roll shop so we decided to eat dessert for lunch.
A bunch of people suggested we check out East Atlanta Village, so we headed that way next. Either it’s cooler at night, or you have to want to hang out at a bar to enjoy it because I’m sad to say we walked around what appeared to be the whole area in just a few minutes and didn’t find a lot to do. They were also filming a movie on the street, which happens a lot in Atlanta, so it’s possible that they were blocking off some places we would have liked. Either way, there were tons of colorful murals and it was a nice day so we enjoyed the walk.
I was hot and exhausted, so we went back to the room and watched a couple hours worth of Ancient Aliens before we went over to Ponce City Market. I’d been there previously with my brother, who is obsessed with the decidedly not-vegan burrito at Minero. (I got the cauliflower tacos sans cheese, and the chips and guac and they’re both really good.) Ponce City Market is kind of a fancy mall with a big food hall with some fun vegan options – like scoops of cookie dough, or popsicles from King of Pops (which is EVERYWHERE in the city). We saw so many hilarious, shameless Instagram influencer photos being taken in and around this place, it was kind of like being in Brooklyn again.
Since this was our anniversary dinner, we decided to go to Herban Fix. Plus, after a day of biscuits and cinnamon rolls I was craving vegetables and this place is a very veggie-forward vegan restaurant. Again, Leigh took me here the first time so I remembered the pom pom mushroom steak and a few other dishes that were really, really good.
After that we saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the Mr. Roger’s movie, and as expected – cried a bunch more. It was a very emotional day.
I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my brother on my last full day in the city, so we went back to Sevenanda for the breakfast hot bar (this time we got there early, so they had a few more dishes available) and we loaded up on sandwiches and sides to bring out to Cumming with us.
We spent most of the day at my brother’s, holding a sleeping baby and trying to make his hateful little dog Mookie like us (he eventually let Tony pet him, but he never warmed up to me). We busted out the food and I gleefully watched my brother dig into vegan chicken salad and spicy collard greens. He said if he could eat like that every day he’d be a vegetarian. I resisted the urge to tell him he could eat like that every day, but Aaron, if you’re reading this – you could!
I’d hoped to meet up with Leigh and her family before heading home early in the morning on Sunday, but we did the math and figured out we had to get up around 4am the next morning so we decided to grab dinner near the hotel and go to bed early.
For dinner we went over to Yeah! Burger. Not only do they offer three vegan burger patties (Beyond Burger, Impossible Foods and a housemade quinoa burger) and two vegan bun options, but they also offer Beyond Sausages. Lots of vegan condiments are available – like Follow Your Heart cheese slices, and Just Mayo. The most exciting part for me? Vegan ice cream sandwiches! Sadly, I was so stuffed from my burger and fries I decided not to get one – but next time I’m eating that first.
What I Missed:
I’d hoped to head back to Revolution Doughnuts, a place I’d previously visited with Leigh, but never made it. I also wanted Tony to try Soul Veg Atlanta, because the one in Chicago has gotten less-great over the years but theirs is still awesome. Green Sprout also looked good, but we only had so much room in our stomachs. Oh, and if you find yourself hungry in the airport, Grindhouse Killer Burgers has a housemade veggie burger and Impossible Burgers.
Anyway, it was a fun, quick trip and I hope to be back in a couple months for Veg Fest!
Vegan Cherry Pie with Rosemary Streusel
By June 18, 2018Published:
- Yield: 1 pie (8 Servings)
Don't be intimidated by what sounds like a strange combo. Fresh rosemary's subtle pine flavor adds a brightness and sophistication to this pie that you'll find as addictive as I did.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 Tbs light brown sugar
- 4 Tbs sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs fresh rosemary washed and finely chopped
- 6-7 Tbs vegan butter
- Mix all of the ingredients except the vegan butter.
- Using your hands, drop the butter in a couple chunks at a time, squishing and pinching it into a crumbly streusel.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using it to top your pie.
- Tip: If you have some left over, save it to sprinkle on oatmeal or to top a couple cute muffins.
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