Omnivore - Lunch with frosting

Lunch at Star Provisions (1198 Howell Mill Road, 404-365-0410) is about as decadent as you can get in our city. Last week the cafe, an adjunct to Bacchanalia, was serving a crawfish etouffee. I wanted it but couldn't resist the shrimp po'boy, probably the best in the city because of the lightly battered and fried shrimp, so fat and numerous that they can hardly be contained by the bread. Sides of beet salad and cucumber-leek salad were summery complements.

But it's the pastry counter, pictured here, that makes a very good lunch turn into a very big guilt trip. This visit, I limited myself to one (giant-sized) Smore while my friend Gregg swallowed a German chocolate cupcake whole. Gregg said German chocolate cake has been his favorite since he was a kid. I had a series of flashbacks to my own childhood when the only decent bakeries in town were operated by the Rich's department stores. I had their German chocolate cake for my own birthday many years. My other favorites there were the chocolate chess pie and the coconut cake. And it was impossible to go to a party in Atlanta without encountering the bakery's cheese straws.

Atlanta's baked goods have come a very long way.

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