October 25, 2010 at 10:02 am , by Serina Patrick
Nine years after its debut, Taste of Atlanta is still the quintessential foodie festival. This year over seventy restaurants participated, from casual lunch spots like Tin Drum to the city’s most highly regarded dining destinations like Restaurant Eugene.
B joined me as we sampled our way down Spring Street, through the ravenous crowds, in the warmth of Indian Summer.
We spotted the Top Flr and Sound Table guys within moments of entering the gate, foregoing the line in favor of making ourselves at home in their booth. DC himself prepared our small plates of smoked chicken with kimchee. I was curious to see how hot the kimchee would be after hearing that BB’s chef sidekick RH claimed it scorched his palate. Indeed, it was hotter than a nun in stilettos! I like it spicy so my palate was intact. It would turn out to be our favorite taste of the day.
Having had more than a bottle of champagne the night before, hair of the dog was in order. An ice cold can of Blue Moon Belgian wheat beer hit the spot. We got one for DC and chef SD too, then watched him put together Sound Table’s delicious dish of sliced pork on a crisp baguette with cilantro, cabbage and raspberry couli. Hmmm….I suddenly have a craving for guacamole.
B and I tried everything from shrimp and grits to fried goat cheese ravioli but nothing blew me away. Other than the Top Flr booth, we found Empire State South’s dishes displayed the most complexity, especially the butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and candied pecans. Some chose the easy way out like 4th and Swift with their two tastes…..popcorn and fried pickles. We just didn’t get it.
Having read about much of the samples that would be served, I was most excited to find Gladys Knight’s Chicken ‘n’ Waffles. Fried chicken drumettes, a quarter waffle with syrup, macacroni and cheese, and collard green spring rolls sounded like a sweet and greasy hangover cure. Just wish the waffle was as crispy as the chicken.
I was almost too full for a dessert after that, but was able to force myself to eat a few spoonfuls of sweet cream ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery and part of a Nutella and banana crepe.
For me, however, the highlight of the event was not a bite of food but rather a baby. Strange but true. As B and I sat down briefly to fill out a survey, a woman with a stroller stopped at the neighboring table. Her baby would not take his eyes off me. He was mesmerized! It was hilarious and somewhat disconcerting too as he twisted and turned to keep me in his view while his mother inadvertantly got in his way.
On our way out we made another stop at Top Flr’s booth. DC was manning the grill, smoke billowing out. Partners JM and PLB showed up to assist, beer in hand.
Although I was somewhat disppointed with the food, it was great hanging out with B, DC and the gang on such a beautiful day. Now all I need is a TF T-shirt.
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