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Do You Know the South?

June 26, 2017

The 2017 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival theme was #KnowTheSouth. Which featured dishes and drinks from the southern states and even The Virgin Islands.  Day 1 kicked off with a roof top event for the media called the 1st hour last hour. It was not only a great opportunity to network with fellow journalist but also meet the staff who put this event together.

 

There several events called “Learning Experience” throughout the day from learning how to make cucumber salad to various wine-o-logy classes. Presenters from southern restaurants or bars shared knowledge about their respective topics.  Southern Living sponsored a SoulFood session using an eggplant  recipe from the 1st African American Cook Book Author Mr. Rufus Estes. This class taught by Ryan Rogers & Duane Nutter was interactive as we got to make our own fried eggplant balls.

 

 

Cucumber salad that was delish.

 

Needless to say why I am not a chef as my mixture was of poor consistency. Luckily my new friend shared some of her mix with me!

 

Because I am nosey and like to be involved in more than one session, I peeked in on a dessert sponsored by Coca Cola where this pecan pie from Oxford Mississippi was made with coke instead of molasses.  After one bite, I knew coke was good for more than drinking.

 

Speaking of drinking, I attend a class on “Happy Hour.” I sampled several drinks that would make a great happy hour drink and what process bar tenders use to determine what drink makes the happy hour list. Glad there was popcorn on the table so I could stay sober!

 

 

Afterwards, it was time for me & my new buds to head off to the Tasting Tents.  There were hundreds of chef’s, beverage makers, breweries, bbq teams & restaurant connoisseurs passing out samples of their respective dish from the south pair with a beverage. If you attended there was something that made your tastebuds excited from recognizable dishes like this pork belly, cupcakes, ice cream, to quail which was my favorite dishes hands down. Hattie B’s was onsite representing Tennessee, but they also have a home too in Birmingham made their Nashville Hot Quail slider. Lord, please forgive me for eating 2 at the table and taking 1 with me. I think He will because I gave 2 to some young ladies starving at their booth! Of course there was plenty of bbq on tap.

 

Afterwards, it was time for me & my new buds to head off to the Tasting Tents.  There were hundreds of chef’s, beverage makers, breweries, bbq teams & restaurant connoisseurs passing out samples of their respective dish from the south pair with a beverage. If you attended there was something that made your tastebuds excited from recognizable dishes like this pork belly, cupcakes, ice cream, to quail which was my favorite dishes hands down. Hattie B’s was onsite representing Tennessee, but they also have a home too in Birmingham made their Nashville Hot Quail slider. Lord, please forgive me for eating 2 at the table and taking 1 with me. I think He will because I gave 2 to some young ladies starving at their booth! Of course there was plenty of bbq on tap.

Day 2 let me know God is real! Originally the media pass did not cover a sponsored breakfast presented by Little Rock CVB, but late that night, I got an email and a text from my new friend who works for the CVB that all I had to do was RSVP. Why was this so important??? To get some of this salted molasses bread pudding by Chef Scott Rains from Table 28! He told me Thursday he was serving it again on Thursday and I was thinking how could I sneak in for another bite of his savory, mouthwatering bread pudding. Once again, I had 2 plates. With his food, no one can eat just one.

 

That set the tone for the Isreali Wine Class which I had a table full of wine all to myself. Too bad it wasn’t a day long session as I hate seeing wine go down the drain. Very insightful on how good wine is produced based off the age of the grapevines.  The best wines come from vines that are 6-15 years old. After that each, they go into menopause!

 

Once again favor was shown as myself and another journalist barely made it into a Southern Street Food event with Chef John from Hattie B’s, Chef Joey Ward from GunShow & Chef Ryan Rogers from High Cotton. Quite interesting as Hattie B’s served their popular black eyed pea salad from the restaurant.  Now Chef Ryan had me scratching my wig a his crunchy rice salad made with kongjong. I still don’t know what kong jong is, but it was quite appetizing.

 

 

However, it was Gunshow that stole the show for me with his chocolate dipped moonpie chicken liver dessert sandwich. Initially I thought what did he say, followed by I ain’t eating that , followed by I’ll just take a baby bite followed by nothing left but the wrapper it came in. I grew up eating moonpie and never in my life did I think it could taste so good with some chicken liver on the inside.

 

My day ended with eating 3 helpings of smoked alligator that took 3 days to cook from Chef Kenny Gilbert. He brined it for 2 days then slow smokes it on the grill before serving. It had no game taste, but more of a tender slow-roasted Cajun flavored meat.

 

The South may be known for many negatives events, but one thing for sure when it comes to food, there’s nothing like southern cooking! #KnowTheSouth

 

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