Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Food That Rocks" Totally Rocked It!

Food That Rocks, A Celebration of Sandy Springs, was magnificent! Already I can hardly wait for next year's event! Billed as a "Bites & Bevs" event, it's so much more! I'm a bigtime foodie, so I don't lend restaurant endorsements lightly. But I do wholly honor my foodie friends and many of them were at this event, so I'm excited to share! 

Food That Rocks 2016
Food That Rocks 2016, Jackie of Bishoku and Nikki

My dear friend Nikki@atlantafoodie on Instagram—went with me. That's her (right) with Jackie (left), the owner of one of her favorite sushi restaurants, Bishoku! After enjoying a couple of pieces of sushi, I totally get why Nikki loves this restaurant so much. And I've been looking for an awesome sushi restaurant, for years...I can happily say "Mission accomplished!" And Jackie is super sweet!

Food That Rocks 2016
Food That Rocks 2016, Food 101

There were more than 20 restaurants at Food That Rocks, some I've been to, some I've been wanting to go to and some I've never heard of but are now on my must-visit list! Some of my favorites were Cibo e Beve (serving Tuscan Lemon Chicken Thighs), Food 101 (Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad), and Under the Cork Tree (Crispy Lamb Ribs with Pickled Cucumber), to name just a few.

Beverages were provided to Tito's, Battle and Brew (which I can hardly wait to visit!), Three Sheets and a few others.

I didn't try all the restaurants or beverages—but I had plenty (and took Uber, an event sponsor), but will be using the event's restaurant list as a to-dine list. 

Oh, and there was live music! I love big concerts, but I don't spend a lot of time at live music events—which is a shame because Metro Atlanta is a mecca for that kind of entertainment—but I wholly enjoyed the lively music at Food That Rocks! 

Check out Tony Levitas and Friends, Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project, and Tommy Dean Trio, the three featured bands at the inaugural Food That Rocks. 

Food That Rocks 2016
Food That Rocks 2016

I had the great honor of meeting, and speaking with at length, Tom Mahaffey, President of the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. Our immediate discussion topic was the obvious success of Food That Rocks and the great delight that the attendees were such a diverse crowd, particularly in generations. A 21+ event, there were a great many millennials as well as a peppering of some who had probably lived in Sandy Springs the whole of their lives, and everyone was having a delightful evening! 

We also discussed the excitement about build-out of the new Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Sandy Springs, slated to open in early 2018 according to articles, and the proposed monorail/light rail for Sandy Springs. In fact, Sandy Springs was the first of three Atlanta-area cities in late 2015 to discuss bringing such a system to their communities. Personally, I think that for many it would be a welcome relief and desirable alternative to exponentially thickening traffic.

I very much admire Tom's enthusiasm for building an even more vibrant and exciting Sandy Springs, and I'm totally jealous of his office—at the top of the King building of the King & Queen buildings, visible from the intersection of GA-400 and I-285.  

Food That Rocks 2016
Food That Rocks 2016

Food That Rocks was more than a food and music event, it was also a fundraiser, the beneficiaries of which I invite you to learn more about. The three organizations were Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Second Helpings Atlanta, and Ian's Friends Foundation. Each had tables at the event, each visited by quite a few of the attendees.

Food That Rocks 2016, Dale DeSena
Food That Rocks 2016, Dale DeSena

Dale DeSena, who I know from Les Dames d'Escoffier International-Atlanta Chapter, is the President of Taste of Atlanta and the producer of Food That Rocks. I love that when she took the stage to make very brief comments—so that ticket-buyers could quickly get back to the fun at hand—totally looked like she was going to rock out with her Food That Rocks guitar!

Mark your calendars for Taste of Atlanta coming up in October. Last year the event featured more than 90 Atlanta restaurants! It's one of the must-attend Atlanta food events, and if you were at this year's Food That Rocks, you got a taste of the fun to expect!

Food That Rocks 2016, Nothing Bundt Cakes
Food That Rocks 2016, Nothing Bundt Cakes

I love food events like this because no one looks twice when you have dessert way before the meal is finished. (I often will indulge in dessert first, just in case I get full before getting to that course.) The photo above is one of the delicious—and I don't use that word lightly—cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I'd enjoyed their cakes before, but got to chat with co-founder Debbie Swetz, who was as lovely as their cakes are amazing!

I'd like to offer a huge "Thank you!" to Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism for hosting me as a guest. I've known Patti for years—she and her husband are dear friends—and I had the honor of meeting Jennifer and Samantha. What a fantastic evening and event! Do check out their website to see just how much there is to experience in Sandy Springs!

"Congratulations!" to Dale DeSena, sponsors, restaurants, beverage companies, bands, Sandy Springs leaders, and ALL the patrons who came out to support the first annual Food That Rocks event...I'm so looking forward to next year!


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