I’m sure this isn’t unique to Georgia, so if you aren’t from around here, let me know in the comments if you’ve got something like this in your area, please. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and all that. =)
Last night, Tom and I met up with some friends to attend Taste of Alpharetta. Georgia (at least North Georgia) has a lot of “Tastes” in various cities. There’s Taste of Atlanta, Taste of Suwanee, and Taste of Alpharetta, to name a few. When we lived in Alpharetta, we did not attend it. Now that we live in Suwanee, we missed the Taste of Suwanee and attended the Taste of Alpharetta. Do not ask me why, because I’m not sure. I guess convenience isn’t high on our list when it comes to food?
So, what is it? Basically, a long stretch of road is blocked off, and tons of restaurants in the city will pay to set up a booth along that road. They will serve small amounts of food so you can get a taste of what their restaurant offers. Upon arriving, you can purchase a page of tickets. Each page has 10 tickets, worth 50 cents each. Each vendor will charge a certain amount of tickets depending on what they offer, and you just tear off the amount you need for that food.
Gotta love the duct taped sign and “tater salad.” Welcome to Georgia.
Or Lord of the Rings. “What’s ‘taters’, precious??”
There were also high school students selling cold bottled water and soft drinks for a few tickets, raising money for their high school (smart! Everyone wants a drink with their food!). Tom and I found that one sheet per person wasn’t quite enough tickets to be satisfying. We bought two more, and that was probably more than enough. In all, it cost us about $20 (total, not each), and we each got a drink plus the opportunity to try food from a huge variety of restaurants.
Going with friends made it even more fun. It was PACKED on that street. There were so many strollers and little children, so you know it was a family friendly event, as well. Taste of Alpharetta was from 5pm-10pm, and the streets were full the whole time we were there (7:30pm-9:30pm).
There was a “fun zone” that I didn’t photograph, but it had a rock-climbing wall, big inflatable slides, face painting, henna tattoos and more for the kiddos. Tom couldn’t get over this one slide, and now I wish I’d photographed it. It was a huge inflatable “sinking titanic” that you could slide down. First of all, he said just the irony of turning the Titanic into a float was too much. Then, how, we both wondered, did someone come up with the idea to take one of the most famous tragic events in history and turning it into fun? I mean, I don’t think the people sliding down the boat to their freezing cold, watery grave found it very fun. Anyway, that was weird.
There were also competitions. A people’s choice award, a best booth award, best dessert, and so on. It was fun to see how certain booths were decorated. This one had a huge Mardi Gras theme, and I got a picture of the beads and balloons tied to the top. Don’t those ginormous beads look fun?
The food was great. I’ll try to remember what all we tasted. Tom had BBQ (because I hate BBQ and never make it), a chicken sandwich, a slice of pizza, a slider sized burger, cream cheese grits and french toast, two chocolate chip cookies, and a bottle of water. I had a slice of pizza, a mini gyro (SO GOOD- must go to Papoulis), an Asian chicken lettuce wrap, a chocolate covered strawberry (it was huge and delish), a chocolate covered fruit skewer (umm..I like chocolate), another slice of pizza (yeah, love pizza too), a bite of a black and white cookie (so disappointing), and a bottle of Coke Zero (because I was hoping it would take longer for my body to filter than water, and I was not using a port-a-potty).
While I’m admitting that I don’t like BBQ sauce, I should also admit that I don’t like grits and don’t eat any seafood or fish either. I like crab legs, but I’m allergic. Everything else with fish or seafood grosses me out. People always give me a hard time about being from the South and not liking those things and having parents from Savannah but not liking fish or seafood. So I thought I better come clean about it all at once.
Anyway, I definitely recommend seeing if you have something similar to a “Taste” in your area and attending. If you don’t, go to your city government or whoever is in charge of planning city events and recommend it. It’s a great chance to get the community out and about, and it will help people be more aware of what restaurants in the area have to offer. The city charges the restaurants for a booth, the restaurants charge the people for the food, and the people will get the chance to taste a huge variety of food for much less than it would cost to go out to dinner and order a good meal. Win-Win-Win. Also, it’s just fun.