Taste of Atlanta: Round 2.

Two years ago, friends and I went to Taste of Atlanta, an annual, three-day food festival in midtown. (Here’s a refresher of that feast fest, in case you missed it). Two weekends ago, we went back for Round 2. We only went to one of the three festival days, because sampling and perusing some 90 vendors gets really real. As in, food babies guaranteed.

Because free food is > (most things), we started our Taste trip in the samples section, where we stuffed our bags silly with the freebies on offer. My choices included multigrain, sweet potato, and blue corn chips from Food Should Taste Good (all non-GMO and gluten-free), baby packs of Sabra hummus, and an entire block of Havarti cheese.

I also sampled some of the sweetest juice made from Muscadines, the grape species native to the American south. Another highlight from the sample reel: salted caramel peach spread atop a buttered-up Ritz cracker. Super rich, but bite-sized enough. A spoonful of pumpkin butter was also in order, scooped up fast from one of the glistening jars pictured below, which were basically Autumn, bottled. No complaints.

taste of atlanta spreads

taste of atlanta spreads

With samples to take the edge off, we started our journey through the maze of vendors, where we were to choose how to spend the precious 10 points with which we were awarded by our Taste of Atlanta wristbands. The T.O.A. low-down: you pay for a ticket, the ticket gives you access to the event (by way of a wristband) and 10 points to spend however you choose. All of the festival’s food items “cost” between 1 and 3 points, so you can nosh on a variety of bites. Key word — variety. Though pulled pork sandwiches were trending hard at many of the vendor tents, the options spanned from vegan kale/quinoa wraps to crispy porkbelly buns. Something for everyone.

Because everything is fairly miniature, you don’t feel you have to roll yourself out of the festival. Rather, you leave feeling sweatpants-ready. Before I got to that point, though, I chose to start with a coconut-crusted crab cake topped with a spicy / sweet sauce and shredded carrots.

From there I warmed up with pumpkin soup…

taste of atlanta pumpkin soup

And followed that with a slice of peach pizza, pulled straight out of a portable brick oven on wheels.

taste of atlanta pizza

taste of atlanta pizza

Did I mention it was downpouring all day long? We didn’t let the it rain on our parade, though, nor did we partake in the serious poncho party that was happening among the Tasters of Atlanta…

taste of atlanta

I decided it was too tough a task to chronicle my friends’ bites (life is so hard sometimes…), but some of their picks included peanut sauce-slathered chicken wings, hummus / veggie plates, cauliflower tacos, seared scallops, gazpacho, tuna tartare tacos, vegan flatbreads, and squash pie. Also, upon seeing one vendor make moves to throw away the last of his paella pot, my wonderfully inquisitive amiga leaped into action, asking for the lovely leftovers. The result? Two full servings of crispy paella for her and another friend. It pays to ask questions, people.

taste of atlanta paella

But perhaps my most favorite part of the day was this carrot cake X-ing moment. As the vendor handed me my raindrop-studded plate he said, “It’s all you, girl.” 

taste of atlanta carrot cake

It sure was.

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