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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall food festivals get rolling

Heres your teeny tiny taste of wine...
  • Eamon Siggins
  • Here's your teeny tiny taste of wine...
It's that time of year, kids. The food festivals have commenced. You know, those things that you buy $50 tickets to then get to eat and drink a bunch of stuff? Try out all the restaurants in town for one low price? Get hammered in the middle of the day while sweating profusely in humanity soup? Ya. That.
Actually, you could say that the festivals really kicked off last month at the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes festival, which benefits Georgia Organics, and this year attracted all kinds of fancy people, including an editor of Food & Wine magazine who came all the way from NEW YORK CITY!!! I didn't go. I wanted to, but last year I went and I think got recognized by half the chefs in the city. It kinda ended my love affair with certain types of festival.
But I did make it this weekend to the Corks and Forks at the Grant Park Summer Shade festival. Much more crowded, quicker, and easier to get in and out vaguely incognito. The festival had different chefs and restaurants on different days. I went on Saturday, when I got to sample the goods of Rosebud, Serpas, BLT Steak, and Empire State South, among others.
The food was mostly good, not great. Rosebud's Ron Eyester was serving a shrimp salad po' boy type thing that was tasty but very heavy on the Old Bay. A generous squirt of Sriracha, provided but not mandatory, was helpful. Serpas was serving pulled pork in a little house-made pita type thingie with pickled peaches. It was porky and therefore delicious, but I felt like it needed more acid.
Empire State South, which opened to the public on Monday, was serving super fluffy biscuits with Benton's country ham and a very sharp pimento cheese. It was tasty, but I had to get rid of half the biscuit if I wanted the full effect of the fillings to be tastable.

Rosebuds shrimp salad po boy mashup
  • Eamon Siggins
  • Rosebud's shrimp salad po' boy mashup
The wine selection was kind of disappointing. For the most part, single producers had set up tasting tables, and none of those single producers was vastly interesting. In fact, the only wine table pouring halfway decent wines for some reason were pouring, like, half ounce tastes rather than the 2-3 ounce pours other places were giving out. Making it that much harder to get sloshed at 2 p.m.! Boo! Oh well. There was a bar where you could buy mixed drinks for $8 if you were desperate. I bought a water and decamped to the Grant Park Pool instead. Which was totally empty. God I love that pool.
Corks and Forks was $35 in advance and $45 at the door, and they marked you off at each restaurant so you couldn't just stuff yourself on the best food and ignore the rest.
There are more festivals coming up. Of these, the ones I have consistently heard the best things about and had the best personal experiences with are Serenbe's Afternoon in the Country, which benefits the Dames De Escoffier (Nov. 7th), and Field of Greens, which benefits Slow Food Atlanta (Oct. 3). Of course, there's also Taste Of Atlanta (Oct. 23 & 24). And next May we can look forward to the big daddy Atlanta Food & Wine festival. Maybe we'll even get some more New York editors down here for that one. Ooooooohhhhhh.

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