I'm a snob of sorts.
Take coffee. I use filtered water, a French press and I grind beans that are kept frozen until used. For the most part, I don’t order coffee in restaurants because it’s not all that good, though that is changing.
Then there are hot dogs. Atlanta is a hot dog desert; and, don’t talk to me about The Varsity. You can’t get a decent New York or Detroit Coney here. None of the LA dog places have set up shop here. Even if you were to reduce your standards and want a Chicago or Cincinnati dog, they aren’t to be found. Barker’s up in Cobb County is about it for quality around here.
Here I’ll get in trouble; but, you’d think that here in the heart of the South, in the city burned down by a Union General over a hundred and fifty years ago (where in some circles you are looked at disapprovingly if you mention his name), you could get a good glass of iced tea. But you can’t.
Some nomenclature is in order. “Tea” isn’t the stuff you put in the water to make the drink. Tea is the drink. If you ask for Tea in a restaurant, you get sweet tea: a jaw wincing mixture of a bit of vegetation boiled with a ton of sugar then poured over ice. (I really don’t know how Tea is made other that a bunch of sugar is dissolved in a bunch of water. I’ve never actually seen tea put in.) Think iced sugar water with a hint of another flavor that you can’t quite identify and you’ve got a handle on Tea.
If you don’t want the sugary concoction you have to add an adjective – unsweet. Even in an Oriental restaurant, you have to put green or hot in front to get what you want.
I don’t really know why everyone in Atlanta serves weak tea. Maybe it’s a result of the realization that it doesn’t make sense to waste money on leaves when all you’re going to taste anyway is sugar, with a carry over to making unsweet tea. Whatever the reason, strongly flavored tea is a rare thing.
Best glass of tea in town? A kosher deli – Bagel Palace in Toco Hills. Maybe the cook is a culinary refugee, unexposed to the horror of Tea. But, what do I know – after decades down here, I’m still a Yankee to most.