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2011 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Hangover Observations

Lamb from Border Springs Farm
Lamb from Border Springs Farm

Over the weekend I was on the scene at the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, a showcase of food and beverage from the South. The event was jam-packed with panels, cooking demos, a street cart pavilion curated by Eli Kirshtein, small but pretty exceptional tasting tents, and chefs from Dallas to DC (and everywhere in between and below). The first year set the festival off in a very, very good direction. Here now, some hangover observations from the bourbon-fueled weekend:

1) At Top Chef Masters contestant Hugh Acheson's Atlanta outpost Empire State South, the small storefront had t-shirts for sale that read "The Monobrow Preservation Society." (see slideshow above)

2) At Acheson's Saturday night afterparty — featuring bocce and punch — he was wearing his monobrow shirt. He called me Eddie Huang's "enabler." Also, for the record, he is in fact more handsome in person.

3) Learned that after the Beard Awards (a couple of weeks ago), contestant Suvir Saran performed dramatic readings of Eddie Huang's Top Chef Masters recaps for other chefs.

4) At his cooking demo John Besh instructed staff to supply the 200 or so attendees with shots. Tequila. Five times during a 45-minute demo. Anyone coming in late had to do a shot to keep up. Kate Krader reported they went through 1 1/2 cases of tequila.

5) Choice quote from Besh while he prepared a bisque: "It's not cool to make rouxs anymore. I guess I should add methylcellulose."

6) To close his fun 10:30AM grilling demo, Tim Love had volunteers play canola oil/tequila shot roulette. This is a thing he does.

7) The epic dinner "New Orleans Flavors" featuring John Besh, Scott Serpas (Serpas, Atlanta), John Currence (City Grocery, Oxford, MS), and Donald Link (Cochon, NO) ended with a second line working its way through the dining room. Also: Bourbon. See video of Besh getting his groove on below.

8) At Andrea Reusing's 10AM headcheese/wine tasting, she talked about the cooking process: "The brains don't really reveal themselves, they just kind of liquify... some people say you're supposed to take the brains out, but I feel like that those people might be the kind of person that really wants to take the brains out."

9) Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle, of the bourbon distillery Old Rip Van Winkle, on the most important lesson from his father: "Don't fuck it up."

10) At a cooking demo in which Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugen, Holeman & Finch, Atlanta) and Tyler Brown (The Capitol Grille, Nashville) broke down an entire pig, Hopkins called pork belly the "gateway drug to offal."

Video: John Besh Getting His Groove On

More Coverage

· Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Day 1 and Day Two [Creative Loafing]
· At The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival: Hero Worship [Saveur]
· Atlanta Food and Wine Festival 2011: Street Cart Pavilion [Metromix]
· Atlanta Food and Wine Festival 2011: Tasting Tents [Metromix]

· Atlanta Food & Wine Festival [Official Site]
· All Hangover Observations on Eater [-E-]

Disclosure: Eater's cost of lodging and attending the festival was covered by the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

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