Saturday, Oct 23rd was a very special day for me because it was the first day of a two day foodie mecca at Taste of Atlanta. If you’ve never heard of it just check out the event website to discover why food lovers from near and far flock to Atlanta to delight in the experience.
I decided in advance that I would be sure to sample several NEW dishes in addition to some favorites like the Shrimp and Grits prepared by Cafe 458. The chef who greeted Miss A and I told us that the dish was even better than the one served last year and he was right. The grits were sprinkled with smoked gouda this time, topped with tender shrimp which had been sauteed in white wine and bell peppers, then tossed with diced tomatoes.
Several members of my family attended Taste of Atlanta including my younger sister who tried the Low Country Seafood Saute from Steamhouse Lounge. It contained shrimp, crawfish, onions, and more served on top of grits. Can you see the broth in the cup on the left? All that goodness…she was so thumbs up on the seafood saute.
Steamhouse Lounge also offered Lobster Bisque which was mild in appearance but offered a spicy little kick when we tasted it. I would definitely try this one again. Another delicious taste came from Gordon Biersch. It was a warm Crab & Artichoke Dip with Crostini which Miss A and I washed down with their Homemade Rootbeer Float. Sorry about the absence of pictures. There was just so much eatin goin’ on n all….distractions…distractions.
Talk about good things coming in small packages. This is a Fried Pastry with Chicken and Catupiry Cheese and is traditionally called a Coxinha which means “little thigh.” See how the shape of it is sorta thigh like? I believe this Brazilian snack is the one I’ll remember most from the event this year. Miss A was as pleasantly surprised at its goodness as I was.
The inside of the wheat flour pastry revealed well seasoned shredded chicken and generous supply of catupiry cheese which is soft and creamy in nature. You just gotta love snacks made with cheese!
Crepe Revolution is a favorite festival indulgence of mine. The first time I tried freshly prepared sweet and savory crepes in this style was at the Reading Terminal Market in PA. The restaurant there set the bar for me on these. Crepe Revolution is the only place in the South I’m aware of that can produce a similar experience.
The Banana and Nutella crepes were pretty popular but I opted for….
the Buffalo Bleu Chicken Crepe. It was nice and spicy and although the crepe was not firm enough for my taste, I enjoyed the spirit of the dish. It felt like the traditional buffalo wing had been simplified with just the important aspects of it all combined in one easy to eat roll.
Empire State South is a community restaurant located in Atlanta and this is their Butternut Squash Soup with Muhummara and Yogurt with Ground Pecans. It was simple, fresh and satisfying.
Just in case you’re like me and are wondering what Muhammara is…it’s a condiment typically made from roasted red peppers, ground walnuts, bread crumbs, olive oil and other taste enhancing ingredients. Because I’ve never tried it before, I can’t really appreciate the influence it played in broadening the soup’s flavors. What I can say is that I was pleased with what I sampled.
I had a VIP ticket which allowed me to attend a wine tasting seminar. The session I chose was The Brashness of Barolo and Refinement of Ribera del Duero. The course included wine samples from Spain and Italy accompanied by tapas from the menu at The Iberian Pig restaurant located in Decatur, GA. They included Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Manchego Cheese, Pork Cheek Tacos, and Wild Boar Sausage Meatballs.
While the overall experience was nice, I discovered that I don’t really have a palatte for reds….white wines are my true faves. As far as the tapas go, the Bacon Wrapped Date was a pleasant surprise to my taste buds and so was the Pork Cheek Taco.
The additional benefits the VIP ticket included was admission to the Wine, Beer and Cocktail Tasting Tents along with complimentary tastes from the menus of some of Atlanta’s more upscale restaurants. It also offered the hope of receiving one of 250 gift bags filled with “special merchandise, samples and discount offers.” Eleven minutes after opening the gates though, the bags were gone. I, along with several other ticket holders are still scratching our heads on this one.
This has been a look at my savory Taste of Atlanta experience. Be sure to check out The Sweeter Side of it to view the amazing confections we sampled!