Food festival for the family

The 2013 Taste of Atlanta was not just for foodies. Although it was one of the largest food festivals in the South and showcased Atlanta’s best chefs, restaurants and spirits, the event was far more than a food tasting party. There were groups of friends and families who came out to Tech Square to enjoy the crisp Fall day, sampling delicious bites and engaging in hands-on activities.  This year’s Taste of Atlanta catered to festival lovers of all ages.

Kids enjoy fried chicken & waffles
Kids enjoy fried chicken & waffles

Keeping up with Atlanta’s growing number of top-class restaurant is no easy feat, especially if one has to arrange for babysitters, fight Atlanta traffic and call for advance reservations. The 90+ restaurants under the tents of Taste of Atlanta made it a little easier for Atlanta residents to check out the latest players in the culinary scene. Parents who enjoy discovering trends in food could actually learn a lot in only a matter of couple of hours of strolling around the festival. A general admission ticket also qualified attendees to register for cooking lessons and attend cooking demonstration. Where else could you learn to make Indian street food (by Chai Pani owner, Meherwan Irani) and deviled eggs (by Thaddeus Keefe at 1Kept and EJ Hodgkinson at JCT. Kitchen & Bar) all in one afternoon?

Indian street food
Indian street food

If you are thinking, “my kids would never eat any of the exotic dishes served at a culinary event,” think again. Adventurous eaters had a unique opportunity to grab bites of Oysters on the half shell (Lure), sea bass ceviche (Alma Cocina), duck confit sliders (Article 14), or Bocconcino (La Tagliatella), but picky eaters have lots of to choose from too! How about a jumbo pretzel (Der Biergarten), fish and chips or chicken and waffles (10th & Piedmont)? Top that off with a yummy (HighRoad Craft) praline sundae and they might spare you for dinner.

Giant Pretzel
Giant Pretzel

Bringing kids to the Taste of Atlanta was also a great way to introduce them to diverse flavors. We have many ethnic restaurants in Atlanta, but often times they don’t make the “first-cut” with diners who are unfamiliar with the menu. Exposure to India samosas (Bhojanic), chicken kebabs (Mediterranean Grill) and Ethiopian fish ribs (Desta) at Taste opens up families to trying new restaurants and cuisines.

The Family Food Zone at Taste of Atlanta offered educational demos and cooking lessons especially designed for kids.  Cooking with leftovers, assembling perfect sandwiches, and eating Georgia grown fruits and vegetables gave practical skills that all kids can use especially in light of healthy eating campaigns. There were also arts and crafts to engage inquisitive minds. The Iron Chef Kids Cooking Competition was particularly inspiring to watch, as confident elementary schoolers cooked in front of a keen crowd.

Kids cook off challenge
Kids cook off challenge

The younger crowd seemed to really enjoy popular beats and the crowd’s attention at Kiss 104.1 FM‘s booth. You definitely need to dance to burn off those calories.

Dancing it off with Kiss 104.1 FM
Dancing it off with Kiss 104.1 FM

Barnes and Nobles on 5th and Spring participated in the festival by featuring some of Georgia’s best food writers. You could select an autographed recipe book and make it a family-cooking night the next day.

Books by GA food writers
Books by GA food writers

Thandai at the Taste of Atlanta

Taste of Atlanta got a special treat from India today. As part of the “Spice of Life” segment at the “Inside the Food Studio” stage, I talked about different spices and their benefits, and share with participants a very special recipe that many westerners are unfamiliar with. Continue reading “Thandai at the Taste of Atlanta”