By Jennifer Belgard
The holidays are almost upon us. Frost is finally on the ground. Some of us are still scurrying to find gifts. Don’t fret, pets! The shops of Avondale Estates can help. I recently spent the day there with three talented ladies from Blast Off Burlesque: Astrid, Barb and Sadie, their righthand-man Coleman, and my good friend Lori from Third Half Studios.
We met at Avondale Pizza Cafe to strategize our day, have a HUGE slice, and enjoy a Wild Heaven Craft Beer. The Georgia-based craft beer company plans to have its own brewery in Avondale by 2013, but you can currently find them at the Beer Growler, along with many others. A whiskey gal myself, I don’t really drink beer, but this place may convert me. I’m a sucker for good marketing and these craft beers have my number. Southern Tier Brewery (my old stomping grounds in Western New York) has a Krampus Lager and a Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout. Each with their own distinct personality and perfect for a couple characters on my list. Prices start around $16.99 a growler. Grab a Beer Growler Koozie while you’re at it. The koozie has a strap for easy portability. Great idea and design, $16.99.
What do you need to go with all this malty goodness? Artisan meats, of course! Pine Street Market is where you’ll find it. We were treated to samples of their drool-inducing Coppa, a dry cured pork shoulder spiced with black pepper and chiles. Alongside their more traditional meats you’ll find specials like Spiced Pear Sausage (Applejack Brandy, nutmeg, ginger, and pear; fall and winter only), Roasted Poblano Sausage (roasted poblano peppers, ancho chiles, garlic, and cumin; spring and summer only) and the Applewood Bacon Burger (applewood smoked bacon ground with fresh pork for the ultimate rich, smoky burger). Can’t decide what to get the meat lover in your life? Buy them the Meat of the Month Club, $40.00 per month. Each month includes a pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon and a featured salami or sausage. They also carry condiments and specialty items. A special someone in my life enjoys Bloody Marys, so I picked up a couple jars of pickled okra and green beans from Phickles, an Athens-based gourmet pickle company.
At this point we’d had about all the food and drink we could handle (or so we thought), and we headed to Second Life. This organization is wonderful and one of my new favorites. Second Life is a nonprofit, thrift store that donates proceeds to animal rescues. Barb found a brand new BCBG dress for just $14.00. Vintage ornaments starting at $1.00. If I had the space, I would have a collection of creepy dolls (much to my boyfriend’s chagrin) and this is a great spot to find them! They also hold in-store adoptions once a month featuring other nonprofits like Royal Potcake Rescue USA, Inc. Their goal is to save homeless pets from Atlanta, Georgia and Abaco, Bahamas. We lucked out and met a few of their sweet pups on our visit. I am in no way advocating buying someone a pet for the holidays, but if you’re searching for a furry friend of your own, check them out.
Our last stop was Sweet-n-Sinful Bakery. Layne Lee is the sweet and sassy brainchild behind this boutique bakery. Sweet-n-Sinful boasts 24 cake flavors from Vanilla to Green Tea, 30 cake fillings like Fresh Strawberries, Black Forest and Lemon Curd, and 14 different frosting options, including 11 different types of Butter Cream. Her brownies are so good that Whole Foods has picked them up for two of their Georgia stores and hope to take them nationwide. Layne’s cupcakes are available in yummy seasonal flavors like Chocolate Peppermint, Pumpkin and French Toast. Need something for Christmas morning? Take along some fresh bread or over-sized muffin tops. Shipping & delivery is also available. Whatever you choose is sure to please!
I’m off to wrap this haul of goodies! Hopefully our trying day of shopping, eating, and drinking will help you complete your holiday shopping while helping our independently-owned businesses. Shop local. Happy Holidays!
Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo, Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival. In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.