Buckhead is the part of Atlanta that doesn’t do casual. Entering the town in a t-shirt and shorts is shun-worthy and every lady’s purse has a fancy foreign name written in beautiful calligraphy painted onto the front. The restaurants and cafes don’t do casual either–it’s only natural, really. Buckhead is all about the latest trends and fashions, in both clothes, speech, and, of course, food. Needless to say, Buckhead is my place with my kinds of people to people watch.
Souper Jenny’s Cafe is all about the latest clean-eating fad. Decorated in a rustic fashion, it is the perfect country cottage at the end of an urban plaza. A favorite of mine since my youngin’ years, it is only natural that this would be my lunch choice when I come home to visit for the weekend.
The outside garden welcomes customers with a sign of the changing daily menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches. These are no ordinary lunch choices, though as each is a spin-off of a classic meal.
The inside of Jenny’s is cozy. It’s no gala-ready restaurant, but that’s not her purpose. Inspirational quotes from Julia Child and paintings of flowers line the sunny yellow-painted walls. Yes, even the walls represent sunnies and smilies. In the back, a kid’s corner provides a room for babies and adults to color while munching. This is a family-friendly, kids-welcome kind of Buckhead cafe–something few and far between in a town where kids are often dragged on leashes–literal leashes.
Two smiling employees, often singing, stand behind a counter as you order on the spot. Working with organic foods must make you smile. It’s just a happy place to be.
On this particular visit, I ordered the vegetable soup, a light vegetable broth with eggplant, squash and zucchini accompanied by a broccoli slaw of shredded broccoli and carrots in a lemon oil rather than the usual fatty and heavy mayonnaise. With a slight tang, the broccoli and carrots are perfectly zested in a summery dish.
Mom ordered the curried squash soup, which brought the southern India to the southern state of Georgia; fresh organic squash pureed with curry gives all the flavor to a classically bland soup. Accompanied by the soup was a tropical wheatberry salad. Wheatberry is probably the best discovery ever made by some genius farmer. As the whole wheat grain, it does contain gluten but tastes lighter than any other grainy product. Mix this with my two favorite tropical fruits–pineapple and mango–and toss in fancy tahini oil, and I am bound to munch most of the salad while mom makes the mistake of going to get a fork for herself. Silly mom.
Dad ordered the same salad, of which he was much more protective, but chose the classic Jenny soup called “My Dad’s Turkey Chili.” Her dad may have invented it, but my dad is the star glommer of the famous chili.
The full meal wouldn’t be complete, though, without the wheat roll that is still warm from the oven and an equally warm gluten-free cookie–your choice of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin or white chocolate macadamia (yes, it’s fancy). The rolls are the freshest you will ever have the pleasure of biting into and the cookies are so gooey that they taste like cookie dough (everyone knows that cookie dough is better than the actual cookie) without, you know, that raw egg drama.
Souper Jenny has become famous in Atlanta and has been critically acclaimed by some of the most important food critics in the area. There must be a reason why, right?
It was the perfect weekend home and Jenny is to blame for it. Maybe I should come home more often?