by JENNIFER HARRIS on OCTOBER 24, 2017
Happy 16th Birthday Taste of Atlanta and here’s to many more! This three-day festival packs 90 restaurants and more than 200 bites, sips and samples from Atlanta’s diverse culinary scene (including a number of newcomers and soon-to-open restaurants) into one massive event.
What a unique opportunity to try diverse cuisine (Italian, Indian, Mexican, Venezuelan, Persian, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Southern, etc.) from Atlanta’s restaurant scene. And the weather was just perfect. Its new and permanent home in the Historic Fourth Ward park, right across the street from Ponce City Market, is beyond spacious and easily handles the crowds leaving plenty of room for dancing and noshing.
The digital wristbands are in full force making paper tickets obsolete and purchasing effortless. Chefs work their booth, so determining the gluten-free status of a particular food is easy. And some of the restaurants added a “GF” to their signs making the process even easier. The gluten-free options were on point with choices of bratwurst, fried chicken, falafel, tacos, quinoa salad, grits, lamb meatballs, paella, meat and veggie bowls, gelato, and much more.
The event has space for a long list of sponsors serving up swag and free samples. Blue Diamond Almond Milk, Cook’s Warehouse, M&M Mars, Peach Dish, Sprouts, and Welch’s were my favorite stops. The quinoa salad from Peach Dish was my first bite of the day and it was glorious. The grits made with unsweetened almond milk topped with maple syrup from Blue Diamond was a creamy, sweet surprise. Sprouts sampled its homemade sausage free of fillers or additives, and Welch’s debuted its new line of coconut water juice in white grape and grape. I picked up some swag from the M&M Mars booth and entered to win pots and pans from Cook’s Warehouse.
The Atlanta Marketplace was filled with gourmet food vendors whose products can be purchased around Atlanta and added to the gourmet gift baskets from Sensational Baskets.
Did you know Jamaican rum cakes from Wicked Jack’s Tavern are available gluten-free? These buttery cakes don’t skimp on the rum! I am a big fan of the gluten-free goodies from Marilyn’s Gluten-Free Gourmet and the Southern foods with a gourmet twist from Merrilily Gardens was a new find for me.
So what were my favorite bites? Well, it is kind of hard to choose, but here goes. My favorite bite goes to Richard’s Southern Fried hot chicken. It has a nice slow burn with every bite of the tender chicken and the coating is light and crunchy. It was paired with chow chow and pimento cheese. I didn’t miss the bun at all.
Here is a run down of my other favorites:
- Barcelona Wine Bar’s paella is chock-full-o tender seafood with a balance of seasonings and perfectly cooked rice. I don’t really enjoy wine ( I know, it’s weird), but I need to try their tapas.
- The lamb at Blue India was delicious with a tender, flavorful punch! Opening this fall in Midtown, they will be serving British-style Indian cuisine.
- Peach Dish was on hand with their meal kits and sampling quinoa salad bright with flavor and texture. Such a refreshing and light bite.
- I inhaled the homemade sausage from Sprouts Farmers Marketbefore taking a photo – whoops. It is free of unnecessary fillers and additives and full of flavor.
- There was a long line at Revolution Gelato for a good reason. Their coconut-based vegan gelato is creamy, flavorful and no one was missing the dairy. The cardamom kisses is insanely delicious.
People with food allergies/intolerance should definitely attend this three-day food festival loaded with gluten-free cuisine from Atlanta’s top chefs and restaurants.
What was your favorite dish from Taste of Atlanta?
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, but I did receive free entry into the event. In no way did this influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience at the restaurant.