Restaurant Reporter
Jan Butsch Schroder

The Taste of Atlanta, or as I like to call it, the Feeding Frenzy on Foot, will be on the streets of Atlantic Station the weekend of October 14 and 15. This year’s event includes cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Rocco DiSpirito and Julie Williams. Food and wine specialist Ted Allen will serve up his knowledge of food and wine pairings. Tickets are $25 in advance per day; $35 the day of the event, which includes 10 taste coupons.

Here is how it works: Each of the more than 70 restaurants participating offers up a taste, which they value at 1, 2 or 3 coupons. You can buy more coupons in $5 and $10 increments, after you blow through your first 10, which you will.

Restaurants from Buckhead and Sandy Springs include The Capital Grille, Cheyenne Grille and Sports Bar, Emeril’s, Fresh to Order, The Grape, Hot Stix Stir-Fry Kitchen, OK Café, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant, Sambuca and Via Food Bar.

And here are just a few of the intriguing items I’ve got my eye on: seared shrimp with butternut squash risotto cake (City Grill); pulled pork barbecue biscuits (Cowtippers); lump crabmeat cheesecake (Emeril’s); roasted corn and lobster dip (Garrison’s); roasted Cornish hen with saffron rice (Imperial Fez); bourbon shrimp and grits (Vickery’s) and salmon topped with goat cheese on dill flat bread (Vino Libro).

I had to do a little research on one of the items from Six Feet Under. Turns out those rat toes they are serving aren’t really foraged from construction sites. These are baked jalapenos stuffed with shrimp and wrapped with bacon.

When you go, it’s tempting to jump right on that heaven in a cup, the Johnny Rocket’s milkshake, and then head to the nearest plate of pork. But I like to ease into the event, and do a little research to optimize my morsel marathon experience. This includes checking out the offerings and rating them on originality and portion size. Chips and dip and salads? You can get those anywhere. But a lamb lollipop with pinot noir potatoes from Sambuca is worth checking out.

We also chat up other festivalgoers on hits and misses; check out the tables with the longest lines and often split a plate because sometimes just a bite is all you need. As for that milkshake? Johnny Rockets is always our last stop, as we grab one to go and slurp it in the car, savoring right down to the cherry.

Please note that not all restaurants are participating both days so if you have a favorite, check the schedule. For more information, visit