Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taste of Atlanta

I spent this past weekend eating ridiculously good food, drinking delish wine, and enjoying Atlanta’s gorgeous fall weather. 

Yep—I was at Taste of Atlanta


TOA is a three-day outdoor food + drink festival that takes place in midtown. It features dishes from more than 80 restaurants and has cooking demonstrations, live music, and a VIP beer and wine tent.

To kick things off, some of Atlanta’s most renowned chefs showed off their grilling chops at The Big Grill event on Friday night. To be treated to JCT Kitchen’s duck tacos, Ecco’s paprika-braised short ribs, and Rathbun’s spicy shrimp tacos is one thing; but to see these talented chefs in action is truly a treat.

Kevin Rathbun has practically been the king of the Atlanta restaurant scene for 30+ years—to see him humbly seasoning shrimp on the grill was unreal. So was watching Ford Fry—whose newest eatery, The Optimist, was just named “Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire Magazine—inspect each plate to make sure it’s up to par. 

Add some complimentary cocktails and a great crowd and you’ve got the recipe for true foodie heaven. (The all-you-can-eat-and-drink tickets were $65—worth every penny.)

Saturday and Sunday took on a different format but were no less exciting. Rows upon rows of tents lined the streets of Tech Square, where you could sample bites and sips from so many Atlanta restaurants. I’m talking places like Takorea, Baraonda, Seed, D.B.A. Barbecue, Iberian Pig, Rosebud, Legal Seafood, No. 246, Sufi’s, Local Three, White Oak, Rosa Mexicano, and that’s not even the half of it! 

Even some food trucks showed up. My favorites were the Cajun deliciousness that is Rouxd (where I had the Sriracha duck wing—amazeballs!) and the truck with the best gelato in town, Honeysuckle.  

But here’s the best part: To help folks navigate through all the different tents and make sure they didn’t miss their favorite restaurant, TOA now has a free smartphone app. Genius! 

General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday events were $25 in advance ($35 at the door) and got you 10 tickets you could spend on food or drinks. If 10 wasn’t enough for ya, you could always buy more tickets ($10 for 10).