Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taste of Atlanta Preview 2012

Forget mere press dinners, the most creative PR folks are now planning elaborate mystery evenings, complete with multiple destinations and transportation. The team behind the upcoming Taste of Atlanta (Oct. 5-7) recently orchestrated a progressive dinner for bloggers, destinations unknown.

Upon arrival we were divvied up in to groups, each one heading to a different part of town.We drew Buckhead. I can't say I was thrilled because I tend to think everything hip in food is happening in West Midtown and Edgewood, but it was a nice excuse to head to places I'd never been. Each restaurant will be offering dishes at Taste of Atlanta, so this was a little preview of delicious things to come.

First up was Tantra, which offers a fusion of Mediterranean, Indian, and Persian cuisine. The decor has just the sort of dark and sexy vibe you'd expect from a place that shares a name with marathon lovemaking sessions. I may not have had high expectations for the food, but I was (thankfully) underestimating the team at Tantra. The same owners also run Divan, so the featured items at our meal and Taste of Atlanta will come from both restaurants.

Pita, Hummus, and Tabbouleh at Tantra

Hummus, tabbouleh and fresh pita kicked us off. I'm not usually a huge fan as I find hummus too garlicky, but Tantra's version was better than usual, and I had a hard time stopping myself from scarfing down the still warm pita bread.

Mussels in a chile coconut broth at Tantra

Mussels in a chile coconut broth were meaty and succulent, and the broth was a great excuse for yet more warm pita bread.

Saffron butter shrimp at Tantra (Divan)

But it was the saffron butter shrimp, from Divan's menu, where they outdid themselves. These shrimp were absolutely succulent and the lemony butter sauce was so rich and wonderful. You are missing out if you don't make a bee-line for these at Taste of Atlanta. The plates they brought us were huge, and we still did not let a single one of these gorgeous crustaceans go to waste.

Next up was Frank Ski's, a restaurant I can honestly say I'd not previously heard of. I've also never heard of Frank Ski, but for those in the know, he's the host of Atlanta's #1 radio morning show on V103. Frank and Mama Ski dished up short ribs, fish tacos and Baltimore crab cakes with wine pairings.

Mama Ski at Frank Ski's
Mama Ski is recently transplanted down here from Baltimore to help her baby boy, so you can imagine the crab cakes were quite true to her roots and were full of crabby goodness. For my money, my Taste of Atlanta tickets would go to procure me more crab cakes, although each item we sampled was tasty.

Crab cakes, short rib and fish tacos at Frank Ski's

Already feeling stuffed, we departed Frank Ski's and headed to Sufi's for Persian cuisine. The platters they brought us were enormous, chock full of kebabs, veggies and various rices. Sufi's knows how to grill meats, and as I sampled Koobideh (ground beef), Chicken, Barg (tenderloin) and rack of lamb, I thought I might burst. They were kind enough to let us bring home the leftovers, and I can attest that they made a top notch lunch the following day as well.

A sampler of rices at Sufi's
A sampler of kebabs at Sufi's
Stuffed to the brim, we hopped in our Uber car and headed to the last stop, The Barrelhouse, for dessert. 

All in all, the evening whet my appetite for Taste of Atlanta and served as a great reminder that there are still so many Atlanta restaurants to explore. It had never even occurred to me to eat at a single one of these restaurants, and at every stop, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Want to sample this all for yourself? Get your ticket to Taste of Atlanta today! 



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