Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

The second Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, this past weekend, was leaps and bounds better than last year for those gluten free. I remember being so excited in 2011 when there were a handful of dishes I could eat. This year, there was such a selection that I didn’t know what to do with myself. So instead of rambling I’ll just get right on to the good stuff – here are my best gluten free picks of the weekend – separated into the best of each tasting trail.*

The obvious winner for me was the Fox Bros. brisket. Fox Bros. states all their meats are gluten free. Their sauce contains dairy but the meat alone is still perfect for BBQ enthusiasts.

Tacos and Tamales
I was disappointed to see not one but two restaurants serving the basic taco lineup of beef, lettuce and cheese, buffet style; so Alma Cocina knocked everyone out of the water with their pork tamale topped with pico de gallo.

The Whole Pig          
This was the best section of the tasting tents. Farm Burger was the biggest surprise with their crispy pig ear tacos on handmade corn tortillas (made on site) and a trio of sauces.

Bistro AIX also held their own with Moroccan-spiced pork tenderloin with harissa-marinated watermelon and lentil chip.

Southern Sweets
I was so excited to find French Broad Chocolates from Asheville, NC. This family owned artisan chocolate company makes a whole line of vegan truffles – named the Buddha collection after their son who had a dairy allergy when he was younger. Some of the vegan truffles are also gluten free including the strawberry balsamic truffle with Hawaiian chocolate and crunchy cacao nib coating.
Southern Snacks
Blackberry Farm had a host of goodies including cured meats, pickled ramps, ramp jam and pickled okra. Savannah Bee was sampling honeycomb with fresh apples, blackberries and raspberries.  

One of my new favorites is mezcal - an agave based liquor where the agave leaves are smoked before processing – which had a new presence at the festival this year. Illegal Mezcal showcased their three handmade varieties. Their anejo variety had a great smokey flavor and a perfect smoothness for those a bit timid of tequila. For those accustomed to the taste, the un-aged variety had a refreshing bite. In one of the morning sessions, Greg Best of Holeman and Finch showcased Mezcal in his corn-arita, using un-aged mescal, raw corn milk, lemon and pepper infused honey. 

* In full disclosure I received a media day pass to the festival. 

Fox Bros. brisket

Alma Cocina pork tamale

One Eared Stag beef tongue terrine

Farm Burger crispy pork ear tacos

Bistro AIX Moroccan-spiced pork

French Broad Chocolates

Blackberry Farm spread

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Atlanta Chef’s Expo

This past weekend marked the inaugural Atlanta Chef’s Expo held at the Foundry at Puritan Mill with part of the proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The expo showcased a host of Atlanta chefs, restaurants and catering companies and their best dishes. The expo was one of first Atlanta food events to showcase a special gluten free/vegan section featuring Chow Baby, Chef Barry Garber of Creative Vegan Concepts, Dr. Sweet’s Cake Emporium and Honeysuckle Gelato.

Some of my favorites of the day included Dr. Sweet’s Cake Emporium's gluten free and vegan Ginger Cookies with Blackberry Juniper Jam, Barrelhouse’s Braised Short Rib and Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails’ Espresso Rubbed Apple Brined Pork Loin. While Honeysuckle Gelato didn't have any sorbet samples on hand their list of flavors like Apple Rum Cinnamon, Grapefruit Campari, Lemon Lavender and Orange Anis left me wanting to go pick up a pint.

Dr. Sweet's Cake Emporium's Ginger Cookies
Be sure to check out the event next year! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Restaurant Review: Sun in my Belly

East of Decatur, nearby the train tracks lay a row of restaurants including Wahoo! Grill, Radial CafĂ©, Fox Brothers and Sun in my Belly. Sun in my Belly sits at the corner of College Avenue and Murray Hill Avenue in an unassuming brick building. Walk in and you’re greeted by a deli set up in front of you, to your left you’ll find a small waiting area squared off with antique suede couches and an intimate dining area, and further on in the back room you’ll find warm wood all around and a giant bureau covered with candles. The tables are topped with hand painted mason jars and Tibetian-esque paper streamers hang from ceiling.

While there isn’t a plethora of gluten free and dairy free dishes, the ones on the menu are definitely worth it. The Antipasto Starter includes a selection of cured meats, organic salami from the local producer Patakmeats, lemon zested artichoke hearts, rosemary scented olives and a selection of cheeses with sliced baguette. The staff is very understanding of intolerances and allergies and will happily serve the cheese and bread on a separate plate if you have others dining with you.

The Hermes salad made of fresh arugula, roasted pears, champagne vinaigrette and blue cheese can be ordered without the blue cheese. Many of the other salads can be gluten free and dairy free as well. During dinner hours, you can order off the Supper Club menu. I appreciate how you have the option to order the full Supper Club dinner or order off the menu al a carte. I ordered a green chicken chili soup that was heart warmingly homemade.

Overall, Sun in my Belly is a great place to enjoy a cup of espresso or a light dinner. It’s a good place to have on your list for when you’re looking for a restaurant to appeal to a large group.

Sun in My Belly on Urbanspoon