I make no secret of the fact that I’m a foodie, and food often plays a prominent role in my stories because, well, I love to eat. LOL. I often seek out local restaurants that serve cuisine from other countries to experience the authenticity of international dishes, and living in Atlanta makes that easy to do. Then those same dishes end up in my books.
In PRINCESS OF ZAMIBIA, Dahlia was introduced to the cuisine of South Africa (though she moved to a fictional west African country), through peri-peri chicken. There’s a South African restaurant in Atlanta named 10 Degrees South, and their food is delicious! That’s where I first learned about peri-peri chicken and other dishes from that part of the continent.
In the book I also mention biltong, a dried cured meat, also from South Africa. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying it yet, but it’s on my list. Lucky me, there’s a place called Biltong Bar in Atlanta where I can try out different varieties. My understanding is that it’s like beef jerky. That’s not something I usually eat, but I’d still like to experience the South African version.
Lindsay in WILD THOUGHTS loved Mexican food, and Malik introduced her to his taqueria spot on Buford Highway in Atlanta. Buford Highway really is called International Corridor and if you’re ever in Atlanta, drive through and you’ll see why. Aside from the signs in foreign languages, there are plenty of restaurants and bakeries on either side of the highway that offer all sorts of international cuisines. You could spend years going through all the options, if you were so inclined.
Taquerias are all over Atlanta, and when I’m in the mood for cheap and authentic Mexican, I visit any of the ones near my home. The tortas are filling, and you can get two to three tacos stuffed with meat and fixings for five or six bucks. You can’t beat that.
In A POWERFUL ATTRACTION, Alex is from Colombia, and he cooked bistec a caballo for Sherry one night—steak and rice served with a fried egg and a dollop of hogao, a sauce made from scallions, tomatoes, and garlic. When they were in Colombia, she ate bandeja paisa, a popular Colombian dish. It's a huge platter of food that typically contains fried plantains, rice, a corn cake, avocado, chorizo, black sausage, a fried pork rind, and a fried egg. I've ordered it at a local Colombian restaurant named Las Delicias De La Abuela and had plenty of leftovers! 😋😋😋
At the Colombian restaurant, they also serve natural fruit juices in water or milk. I was skeptical of the milk version but decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did. The milk version is really more like a smoothie—thick and rich and flavorful. I’ve had the passion fruit and drank the whole thing while waiting for my food. It’s that good! One day I’ll go back and treat myself to the mango or soursop. For food visuals, visit the Quicksand Pinterest page and follow it for future updates.
Doughnuts aren’t an international dish, but remember when Sherry went over to Shawna’s house with a box of Heavenly Doughnuts? That idea came from Sublime Doughnuts, a black-owned shop here in Atlanta. I always get at least 6 doughnuts when I go, even though I have no business eating so much sugar! I do pace myself by eating them over several days, and if I'm feeling generous, I'll share. Ha! Even though I mentioned the Oreo and Nutella options in the book, my actual favorite is the butter toffee. When I tell you it’s delicious—TRUST. ME. Don't miss Sublime Doughnuts if you're ever in Atlanta.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about food I've enjoyed. Now it’s your turn. What’s good to eat in your neck of the woods?
A POWERFUL ATTRACTION is only available on Amazon but will be available everywhere else on February 1, 2019.
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Book 5 of the Quicksand series
Book 4 of the Quicksand series
Book 2 of the Plan B series