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2013 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Hangover Observations

Pig Out tailgate party at JCT Kitchen.
Pig Out tailgate party at JCT Kitchen.

[All photos: Jimmy Sobeck/Eat It, Atlanta for Eater unless otherwise noted]

The third annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival came to an end Sunday afternoon after four days of good eats, strong cocktails, famous people-sightings, and, for the second year, torrential rainfall on the last day of the tasting tents. Weather aside, the festival appeared to be a success on all levels. Representing Atlanta were chefs and bartenders like Linton Hopkins, Anne Quatrano, Kevin Rathbun (and his Texan brother, Kent), Steven Satterfield, Shaun Doty, Nate Shuman, Paul Calvert, Greg Best, Navarro Carr, Arianne Fielder, Chris Hall, Terry Koval, and Joe Schafer. Visiting talent included Andrea Reusing, Mike Lata, the Lee brothers, Bryan Caswell, Chris Shepherd, Brooks Reitz, John Currence, John Besh, and so many more. Do check out observations and more pictures from the event at the Loews Hotel below.

[All photos: Jimmy Sobeck/Eat It, Atlanta for Eater unless otherwise noted]

· Bryan Caswell of Houston's Reef was overheard saying that this year's event was the best Food & Wine Festival yet.

· Southern Living's Jennifer Cole made an observation: "PBR is to hipster as Schlitz is to chef. #AFWF13"

· Greg Best of Holeman & Finch on Southern vs. Northern cocktail hour: "In the South, cocktail hour starts around lunch."

· Blind item: Which two big-name chefs partied so hard they passed out in the Loews Hotel lobby?

· Speaking of the Loews Hotel lobby, it was the daytime and nighttime party central. At one point both Edward Lee and John Currence were lining up shots for the crowd.

· Bacchanalia's Anne Quatrano on buying local and putting your dollars toward things you believe in: "If you want to save it, eat it."

· Star Provisions cheesemonger Tim Gaddis says there's no such thing as a bad bourbon and cheese pairing (although the general consensus was not as straightforward). He recommended, among others, Sweet Grass Dairy's Green Hill with Blanton's Original Single Barrel.

· Instead of risking any in-flight troubles, the Contigo team drove their pate all the way over from Austin. That's a fourteen-hour drive.

[All photos: Jimmy Sobeck/Eat It, Atlanta for Eater unless otherwise noted]

· Wine glass lanyards: Convenient chic or the fanny packs of the food festival world? You decide.

· Foodie Buddha— perhaps Atlanta's most anonymous blogger— was on the scene all weekend. He kept introducing himself as "Dave," which is not, in fact, his name.

· Said Chris Hastings of Birmingham's Hot & Hot Fish Club, "Healthy, delicious food is a luxury item most people can't afford. This isn't right. This isn't the way it used to be. Go into your community and demand locally grown food." [h/t Beth McKibben]

· Overheard at the Trust seminar as Anne Quatrano, Linton Hopkins, and Paul Root Wolpe served raw milk: "You just did the buzziest thing that will happen at this festival."

· A Cakes & Ale chef who shall remain nameless said that Eater "is the TMZ of the food world."

· A certain soda may just be as necessary as water here in the South. Buttermilk Kitchen chef Suzanne Vizethann had to start serving Diet Coke in her restaurant, which prides itself on using all-natural/house-made products and ingredients. "Try serving all-natural diet cola in the land of Coke!"

· Linton Hopkins and Greg Best created "Feed Publishing Serials," or booklets, on mayonnaise and cocktails. They hope to do more in the future and will have them at events, talks, and for sale at their restaurant, Holeman & Finch.

· Because alcohol can't be served in Atlanta until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, the festival's Connoisseur Lounge was giving out virgin bloody Marys. Many enterprising attendees raided their hotel mini bars to remedy the situation.

· After hearing rave reviews about Emory Point's the General Muir, many out-of-towners skipped a few festival sessions to head across the city to try Todd Ginsberg's Jewish deli-esque fare for themselves. Post-meal reports were all positive.

· Not all new-ish restaurants were received as well as the General Muir by visitors, though. Can you guess which highly anticipated and newly opened restaurant fell flat?

[All photos: Jimmy Sobeck/Eat It, Atlanta for Eater unless otherwise noted]

· In their South by South America class, chefs Todd Richards of the Shed at Glenwood and Duane Nutter of One Flew South talked race: "Race relations can be solved very easily if you take what's similar into account instead of what's different," said Richards. Nutter added, "Half the world's problems would be solved if we sat down to eat together."

· In the same panel, which focused around red beans and rice, Todd Richards was asked what to say to someone who doesn't like beans. He joked, "Eat potato chips, I guess."

· The unofficial after party for most festival nights was held at Empire State South. Drinks ranged from beer in coozies to cocktail guru David Wondrich's punch. Thursday night, there were also kegs of Creature Comforts IPA out of Athens, GA, sometimes spiked with Ole Smoky's apple pie moonshine.

· Jars of Ole Smoky moonshine were also passed around the tasting tents once it started raining, thus keeping hungry festival-goers from staging mutiny.

· Blind item: A few of Atlanta's big names are considering restaurants in the Old Fourth Ward. All are currently involved in other projects, none of which are actual restaurants.

· Wise advice from Kirk Estopinal of New Orleans bars Cure and Bellocq: "If you're hosting an event, drink Cynar or Bonal all night." He tells his bartenders that they can have unlimited shots of either while they're working.

· Atlanta writer Wyatt Williams, chef Ryan Smith, designer Alvin Diec, and photographer Andrew Thomas Lee had issues of their brand new single-subject magazine, Brother Journal at the festival. Read more about it here and here.

· After learning that the event staff had turned their freezers off over night, a Frozen Pints employee joked, "We considered serving the melted ice cream as shots, you know as a brilliant marketing ploy. Like, yeah, we meant to do that." [h/t Beth McKibben] Update: Many a festival volunteer has written in to say that this was an accident and/or electical malfunction.

Related Coverage:
· Big Weekend: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2013 [Food Republic]
· Atlanta Food & Wine Festival by iPhone [Savory Exposure]
· Classic and New Southern Cuisine Shine at AF&WF [The Daily Meal]
· All Food & Wine Festival Coverage [-EATL-]