Summertime is filled with so many activities and events that it’s easy to find something to do almost every weekend. As a busy boy about town, I am always in search of those unique events that provide a fun, memorable experience with the opportunity to move away from the norm. The Atlanta Street Food Festival (ASFF) was nothing short of that.
An annual event that showcases the top food trucks from across the southeast, ASFF occupied a large portion of beautiful Piedmont Park to provide the masses with entertainment, fun activities, and the main attraction…all the culinary creations. With over 40 food trucks present, you could have your feel of anything from juicy hot dogs and hamburgers with a twist, fall off the bone smoked BBQ ribs, or cross-cultural cuisine with maximum flavor.
Creativity was abounding as workers tirelessly produced orders for the endless lines of festival attendees. It is extremely difficult to choose a favorite, but I have narrowed it down to my TOP 5 FAVORITES OF THE DAY!
In no particular order:
1. Homemade Lemon Basil Italian Soda from FIREWALL, a wood fire oven food truck. Amidst the orders of wood fired sandwiches and pizzas, I discovered a refreshing beverage that quenched my thirst in the Hot-lanta heat. Light and flavorful, this lemon beverage with robust, infused basil was the perfect concoction for a summer day in the park.
2. Fried Risotto Balls with Pesto Sauce from Bar Meatball. Bar Meatball knows what their strengths are and capitalizes on them…meatballs and ice cream sandwiches. With variations of homemade meatballs and delicious sauces, you choose your desired combination and wait for the excellence to be served. In addition, you can also satisfy your sweet tooth with their homemade ice cream sandwiches. Simply choose your ice cream flavor and the type of cookie and the friendly staff at Bar Meatball deliver an awesome dessert that makes you feel like a kid again.
3. Kamikaze Nachos from Bento Bus paired Japanese flavors with Mexican preparation. A bed of fried wonton chips was covered and smothered with teriyaki chicken, fresh romaine lettuce, Asian pico de gallo, roasted sweet corn and queso sauce. I cannot say enough about these! Had the line not been so long I would have gone back for seconds.
4. Pancit and Lumpio (Noodles and Rolls), from The Filipino held true to their mission of providing southern pacific comfort food. With perfectly prepared flat noodles covered with flavorful vegetables and a side of Filipino egg rolls, this intense pairing was the perfect dish to share while we rested on a grassy hillside. The rolls were amazing with a flaky and crispy shell. Subtle heat with Filipino flavors was definitely a home run dish.
5. The Little 5 Burger and Baked Potato Salad from The Atlanta Burger Truck was a great twist on two classics. The unconventional dressing of pimento cheese and bacon on a juicy slider was a great addition to this beef patty. The baked potato salad was very much a pleasant surprise and change from old-fashion mustard and mayo potato salad. Cubes of baked potatoes were mixed with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and bacon crumbles to create an explosion of flavor. Served cold, like the traditional version, but flavored with a nod to a loaded baked potato, this was the perfect pairing with my burger.
After eating their fill, event attendees had the opportunity to wander around the park and visit great vendors set up with anything from clothing and drink mixes, to cooking gadgets and jewelry. Keurig even had a mobile bus to provide with you an afternoon pick me up with a huge assortment of beverage options.
My favorite vendor was Pork Clouds, a company showcasing fried pork skins with intense flavors. With three flavors available at the festival, I purchased a sample pack with Rosemary Sea Salt, and my favorite, Malabar Black Pepper.
There was a mission behind all the excitement though. Partnering with Atlanta’s The Giving Kitchen (TGK), proceeds from the event went to support the efforts of this great organization. Focused on providing crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community facing unanticipated hardships, TGK embraces the opportunity to support its own. TGK had a booth at the event and the volunteers were overjoyed to share about their organization. Through donations and special events, TGK is able to reach out during times of sorrow and multiply joy. To find out more about The Giving Kitchen, or to make a donation to their efforts, visit their website. There’s nothing better than a party with a purpose.
A fun event for all ages, the ASFF was a huge success. If you didn’t make it to the 2014 event, keep your eyes open for next years festivities. The summer is still in swing and there are plenty of festivals and events coming up, so grab your crew and head out for some fun and fellowship at a local festival as you stay stylish this summer!