Monday, October 6, 2008

Event review: Harvest Midtown

Sunny skies, live music, 250 wines and tasty treats from restaurants like Rathbun's, Rosa Mexicana, Noni's and South City Kitchen greeted us at Harvest Midtown on Saturday. Although fairly compact, the festival packed an impressive punch and was well worth the $50 ticket price.

The boyfriend and I weren't sure what to expect when we saw just how small an area 5th street between Peachtree and W. Peachtree was, but Harvest Midtown organizers managed to pack a wide variety of wines, more than 20 local restaurants, art, an auction, a fashion show and live music into the small space.

The festival was very laid back with wine purveyors pouring a selection of domestic and foreign wines from their portfolios. You could just stroll up and point to a wine you wanted to try...and voila, a nice big pour was yours to savor!

This is not the kind of event at which you are likely to learn much about wine. There are simply so many wines to try and so little structure to the tasting. It was more fun to just walk around aimlessly and have them pour whatever sounded tastiest without engaging in much talk about the details.

Unfortunately our lovely fall weather had morphed into a rather scorching afternoon, so I could barely stomach red wine. I practically set up an IV of chilled white wine to ensure I was properly sated all afternoon. From viognier to rare Sardinian varietals, I was drinking anything that looked cold!

Restaurants were dishing up small tastes of signature items including fresh-made guacamole at the Rosa Mexicano table and fondue dessert courtesy of the Melting Pot. There were some definite standouts amongst the food tables. South City kitchen offered incredibly delicious little tacos made of a corn griddle cake and succulent BBQ pork. Definitely the right way to start off my day!

Another winner was Noni's, an adorable little Edgewood Ave. Italian restaurant that I'll be reviewing later this week. Their muffaletta sandwich may not be an obvious fit for an Italian restaurant, but it certainly hit the spot.

Cuerno was offering up cold, fresh ceviches which were definitely a good fit for all the white wine I was drinking. I was at risk of overheating, but these refreshing little dishes cooled me down. Their flan and rice pudding were also winners with my crowd of friends.

The guys I really felt for were from Oceanaire. They were serving chowder, which seemed unpalatable on such a hot day. They looked awfully lonely standing there while other tables got mobbed!

My last stop was Rathbun's, which was offering up heath bar brownies. Brownies are not something I associate with this high-end restaurant, but good lord, they were every bit as delicious as you'd imagine. The toffee and chocolate combo was the perfect end to my day, and I managed to sample it for the sake of the review (I'm totally dedicated, no?) despite being stuffed to the gills.
Keep an eye out for Harvest Midtown next year. It's definitely a highlight of the yearly food and wine calendar and a lovely way to spend an October afternoon.

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