Editor’s Note Thank you to our newest contributors, Jamie K. White, for covering the Taste of Atlanta Preview!
Taste of Atlanta, a three-day culinary affair featuring over 90 restaurants from all neighborhoods of Atlanta is officially here! The event will take place in Midtown area starting today, Friday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 26.
Pretty Southern was privileged to attend a tasting preview at a few of the downtown area participants: Alma Cocina, Smoke Ring, BLT Steak, and Max Lager.
The first stop was Alma Cocina: a cozy place with a sophisticated take on Latin and Mexican cuisine, located downtown next to the Ritz Carlton.
“Chicken Tinga Tostados” were the first thing on the menu, which included a rich helping of chorizo and a refreshing bite of cilantro.
Immediately following was the “Fried Avocado Taco.” Creamy, crunchy with hint of salt from the cojita cheese — this item was a standout.
The Smoke Ring, which is about to celebrate its 1st anniversary in Castleberry Hill, was our next stop. It’s a cool, modern space peppered with down-home fixtures including large, lit letters spelling “B B Q” on the far wall. Which, happens to be the perfect setting to chow down on some fried green tomatoes topped with goat cheese and red pepper jam — Add some deviled eggs you’ve got yourself one killer appetizer. And if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe a slider made with a mixture of beef and topped with a tender, rich piece of pork belly will suit your fancy. It suited ours.
Chef Jordan Wakefield (formerly the executive chef at Meehan’s Public House) and his wife Erin run the joint. Jordan runs the back of the house, while Erin runs the front.
To break up some of the heavy southern flare, a delightful drink called the “Wine and Shine” will help to wash the fixin’s down. Wine, well, for the wine — and Shine? For the moonshine.
The third stop on the list was BLT Steak, located in the W Downtown. Like any steakhouse, it’s a place where businessmen typically like to eat, but don’t be fooled by the tough exterior, their tasting menu was full of delicate bites, but their signature Gruyère popovers were not one of them.
Steamy, flakey, cheesy — kinda like your momma’s biscuits, only twice the size. You’ll have a hard time stopping at just one. They even offer up their recipe for good measure. Because what’s southern hospitality without sharing your recipe cards? The popovers, paired alongside a delicate piece of New York strip, on a sweet bed of barbecued creamed corn, is quite the combo. But possibly the crown jewel of this place is a drink, which Pretty Southern is told hasn’t hit the menu yet, called the “Gin and Jam.”
Sweet and light, this cocktail is a mixture of simple syrup, Meyer lemon, gin and berry preserves, which are served on a tiny spoon. Once the berries are mixed into the drink, it turns a lovely blush color. What a treat — and delicious to boot!
Last but certainly not least, Max Lager’s grill house and brewery offers a rustic take on a few favorites, including the ever-popular shrimp and grits. This creamy dreamy goodness will satisfy any seafood lover’s palette. Nothing screams “southern” like fire-grilled shrimp on a mound of creamy grits coupled with a tasting of some of their featured brews.
Happy, hoppy and full, you’ll have to save room for their fried cheesecake. Yum!
You’ll find these restaurants plus many, many more at this year’s Taste of Atlanta festival. For more information and tickets, visit www.tasteofatlanta.com.
Jamie is a digital producer of sorts at the CNN Wire in Atlanta. She hails from Birmingham, Alabama and graduated from Florida State with degree in English. She loves all things “southern,” specifically, her family. Her hobbies include writing, cooking and well, eating. She’s always down for a challenge and she’s never short on sass. Jamie loves Atlanta and enjoys being a “work in progress” – Read about what she’s up to at www.jamiekwhite.com, or follow her on Twitter @jamiekCNN