Taste of AtlantaLocation: Atlanta, GA • 01 Nov
Taste of Atlanta is one of my favorite food festivals of the year because the festival truly gives you a feel for Atlanta cuisine with over 90 participating Atlanta restaurants. The festival usually takes place during UGA’s open weekend for football (Go Dawgs!), the third weekend of October. This was my fourth year attending the festival. In prior years, the festival used to take place in Tech Square. This year the festival was moved to Historic Fourth Ward Park. I’m a big fan of the new location–it was easy to get to, there was a lot of space to move around, and the park was absolutely beautiful. Two thumbs up in my book. The festival had two areas: a VIP Grand Tasting Experience area and a General Admission area. I highly recommend spending a little more money and buying the VIP Grand Tasting Experience, which is a better deal since it includes bottomless drinks and cocktails (in the VIP area only), 20 taste points, and access to a nice climate controlled bathroom. General Admission only includes 10 tasting points. Keep in mind that some vendors will charge you 2-3 points per taste.
VIP: Grand Tasting Experience:
I met up with my friend, Lauren at the Grand Tasting Experience area and explored the Taste of Atlanta with her.
Drinks & Cocktails:
From attending other festivals this year, I’ve gotten to try DRY Sparkling, which is a low-calorie soda. I love the cucumber flavor the best because it’s really refreshing on a hot day. The vanilla bean flavor would be a great substitute for a Coke in an ice cream float.
The VIP area had lots of craft beer, wine, and cocktails to choose from. There was a great representation of wine and craft beer from different regions around the world. Some of my favorites cocktails were Tito’s Vodka apple cider cocktail, Barefoot Wine coolers (not pictured), Chandon sparkling wine, and Khortytsa‘s grapefruit vodka cocktail.
9 Mile Station served up smoked salmon on a piece of toasted baguette with cheese and honey. It was really delicious.
Atlanta Grill (aka AG) at the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I was excited to try their crab tortellini with lobster sauce, green apple, and celery salad. It was filled with so many delicious flavors.
I’m a sucker for good pasta and let me just say the pasta bolognese from il Giallo hit the spot. I felt like I was transported back to Italy. It was that good.
Konichiwa, Nakato! I could eat Japanese food every day. Nakato serves a lot of authentic dishes that you would find in Japan. If you go to their restaurant, I highly recommend ordering the bento box for a traditional Japanese culinary experience.
At Taste of Atlanta, Nakato served Mazemen which was a tasty noodle dish.
General Admission Area:
After spending some time in the VIP Grand Tasting Experience area, it was time to check out the main area with about 90 restaurants.
Barcelona Wine Bar made one of my favorite dishes, paella. It was really cool watching the chefs make this dish in a gigantic pan.
A new and noteworthy restaurant in Atlanta is Muchacho, which is located in Cabbagetown at the old freight depot. Muchacho serves contemporary west coast tastes like delicious tacos and poke.
It’s not a food festival without Chef Hector Santiago of El Super Pan. I got to know Chef Hector during my PR coverage of PeachFest (see here), and he’s a character. Chef Hector teamed up with Chef Andre of Porch Light Latin Kitchen to raise money to donate meals to Puerto Ricco, where they served a soup and few other items in exchange for donations. If you’re looking for ways to help Puerto Ricco, reach out to either one of their restaurants.
A restaurant that’s near and dear to my heart is Jim ‘N Nick’s, since I lived in Birmingham, AL, where this restaurant was founded, for my first job out of college. Everything they serve is delicious (especially those cheese biscuits). Their meats are so juicy and are topped with a delicious BBQ sauce. Their fixin’s are also out of this world too with excellent mac n’ cheese and collard greens.
I had to stop by Waffle House for a true Atlanta experience. I’ll let it slide that Joe Jr. supposedly went to Georgia Tech, and that’s why their colors are yellow and black.
The perfect way of nipping a food coma in the bud is relaxing on a comfortable WindPouch. WindPouch is an inflatable hammock. These would be perfect for tailgating.
Smithfield had a cute area for taking photos and a contest where you could win free bacon for a year.
One of our favorite stops was Welch’s air stream and photo booth. We had a little too much fun with the props
Behind the Scenes:
I was lucky to go behind the scenes at HOBNOB in Brookhaven to meet Chef Wayne and see him cook the dish that they were going to serve at Taste of Atlanta.
Imporktant update: The Pig N’ Grits was amazing. The dish was composed of grits, pulled pork, and a sweet green tomato relish that was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
And that’s a wrap! See you next year at the Taste of Atlanta!