"You can pretty much write about anything."

These are the words every public relations intern loves to hear, especially when it comes to blogging. Therefore, one can imagine my excitement when, on my very first day in the office, my lovely boss relayed this exact message to me. The problem then, however, became what to choose! 

That's me on the right! Next to my wonderful friend,
and fellow Athenian/food-junkie, Victoria
There are a few things I am certain of in this world: My name is Elizabeth Bertrand, I am a rising third-year Public Relations student at the University of Georgia, and if I'm not running, swimming, or getting my backside kicked in spin class, I am baking and eating. I love exercise and I love food. Having lived in Athens for the last six years, I must admit I've gotten pretty good at sampling the city's fabulous cuisine, from both locally owned eateries and restaurants with multiple locations, all while managing my college-student budget. Thus, when faced with the question, "what do I blog about during my time spent as the summer PR intern for the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau?," it didn't take long to decide. Classic City Cuisine. 

My first stop on this summer's culinary journey is Al's Beef downtown. Now I know Athens is not the only home to this renowned restaurant, but I still think it deserving of the spotlight, especially after having been featured on both the Food Network and the Travel Channel, as well as in a whole slew of books and magazines. But never mind the awards, it's really all about the beef. 

Al's is famous for its Italian beef sandwich. It comes in three sizes, all with thinly-sliced meat, messy, and perfectly delicious. Get the gravy drizzled over only the meat itself, or opt to dunk the entire sandwich, bread and all, into the vat of savory liquid. Either way, you'll be more than satisfied.

Double Italian Sausage! So spicy
and sweet and mouth-
wateringly scrumptious! With a
side of those thin-cut fries, of course!
But the Italian Beef, while maybe the most popular menu item, certainly isn't the only tasty option. I was able to sample my dad's Double Italian Sausage with homemade Giardiniera and sweet peppers. It could be my cajun roots talking, but this spicy sausage tucked away neatly in a warm hotdog bun was my idea of the perfect summer food. Add a side of Al's crispy and fresh-cut french fries to round out the meal. You won't be disappointed!

So the next time you're in the mood for some authentic Italian food with a classic Chicago twist, head out to East Clayton Street to Al's Beef! And check back next week for another great place to eat in the Classic City!

What's your favorite item on the Al's Beef menu?

--Elizabeth Bertrand