A million-calorie week

We got our fill of good food this week. Saturday afternoon was the Johns Creek International Festival and Thursday evening was Taste of Alpharetta.

The international festival doesn’t have just loads of food, it’s mostly restaurants that have separate food trucks (or are solely food trucks) because most places can’t staff their restaurant and an evetn on a Saturday.

Last year was the first year for this event. They planned on 8,000 people and had 22,000 people. We when we pulled in to the parking lot one of the pastors of our church who is the police department chaplain had a clicker in his hand. Heath asked if he was counting cars and he said “no, people”. We caught up to him at church at the next day and found out the total count. We got there after it had been going for a few hours and it was pretty crazy. This year they had 18,000 people at last count and we got there right when it opened.

Not only were there more people last year, there were more booths. I think the food was about the same, but there didn’t seem to be as many vendors or cultural booths. But it was still fun.

We walked around the perimeter to see what all there was before diving into the food.

There was a Korean booth where you could play a game.

You were supposed to throw the darts into the barrel. Heath missed all of his but Katy got two or three in.

Then we decided we were hungry.

I think Madam Lin’s Girl Scout troop had some cookies leftover!

They did have a very nice pau with pork (I think) and cabbage. I’ve always had mine with the filling rolled into the dough, this was more like a sandwich and she described it as a Taiwanese hamburger. It was really good.

There’s a restaurant across the street from Katy’s school that says it is “fun Indian street eats”. We’ve been really curious but haven’t made it over there. They had a table so we got to try it out.

They had each dish out so you could see what it looked like. We went for the samosa chat (bottom left bowl) and it was really good. I think we’ll need to go try the restaurant. (Update, we went to the restaurant and didn’t care for it.)

I’m sure we mispronounced it, but however you say it, it was good.

That was the softest pita. The stuff you get at the grocery store just doesn’t measure up. The lamb was really good, too.

There was another Indian restaurant selling something called a chicken puff. We thought it might be like a curry puff and decided to try it. It was really good, it had whole pieces of chicken rather than the ground chicken you get in Malay curry puffs.

And, well, when you’re sampling everything, you might as well go all-out for dessert.

A Korean grocery store had a cooler full of ice cream and Katy got what is essentially a milkshake in a pouch.

Suno ice is one of our favorites but we really only get it at events like this. It’s shaved ice but they freeze milk in the water so it’s really creamy. You can get it with fruit or candy toppings. We always seem to go for the strawberry kiwi.

Cool and refreshing.

One thing we discovered at last year’s festival was Hungarian chimney cake. It’s sold elsewhere in Europe, too, Katy said they ate a lot of it in Prague. They make it by wrapping dough around a wooden dowel and baking it. We got a cone-shaped one, though, to hold the ice cream.

Last year the line for this was so long that while I waited I upsold myself and we ended up with the ice cream cone and the real chimney cone.

There were two stages and lots of entertainment but we managed to miss nearly all of it. While we ate ice cream we sat and listened to a student band from School of Rock. I guess they were good, they were certainly loud.

After we were pretty well stuffed, we went to look at the vendors. I wanted to head over to one of the stages to watch a Korean dance troupe but we went past a booth with a lot of rocks and fossils and the like and Katy wanted to stop and look at that. She ended up buying a couple of things.

She didn’t get the triceratops bone, though, it was $1,300 dollars.

Thursday Katy had play practice at school until 7:30 so Heath and I went to Taste of Alpharetta. Katy told me “bring me food” so I took a few plastic containers to bring her some samples.

It  starts at five but this thing is huge and parking can be a nightmare, even with the new parking deck, so we got there at four to get a parking space. Alpharetta has really been working on shoring up their downtown the last year or so. I only ever go to the vet and back and I’ve made a couple of trips to the new library branch. Heath hasn’t been since Taste of Alpharetta last year So we enjoyed walking around and seeing what all was new.

Right off I spotted a sign that said “Chocolates Fudge Ice Cream”. I dragged Heath across the street to check that out. When you walked in the door the smell of sugar hit you.

We didn’t get anything but we sure had fun looking around.

This is the building it’s in. They’ve been putting in a lot of kind of trendy apartments.

They added this small park (that’s how it’s described on the map) and there were several kids in the fountain. The red brick building in the back is the new City Hall and the library is behind it and looks just like it. Our library system is the entire county so we can use this branch, too, which is good because our two close branches are about to close for a few months for renovations.

So after looking in a few gift shops and checking out the new restaurants, we decided to wander around the event area and preview the food vendors. This event has been going on for something like 30 or 35 years and is just huge. There were about 60 restaurants and then probably another 50 vendors of various types. They also have a stage but we never pay much attention to what’s going on there. They have lots of inflatables for the kids and one year Katy did the hamster ball.

Before the crowds started to arrive.

We’ve done this nearly ever year since we got married and have a system down. We always get one sample of everything (or two if it’s small and Katy is with us) and share it, then not only does our money go further but we can taste many more foods. And we still manage to fill up.

This an Indian restaurant we’ve been to a couple of times. We got rice, chicken and veg curries.

Heath was really intrigued with this cinnamon-roasted duck taco. I didn’t taste anything that tasted like cinnamon but it was unbelievably good. The meat was just falling apart and the slaw was really good, too.

Heath with his duck taco.

This was a shrimp-and-grits fritter.  Mmmm. Heath won’t usually get near a grit but he really liked it.

This was a Cajun place. Having been experimenting with gumbo, I wanted to try theirs. Mine is better. The fried catfish was good. I was disappointed there were no gator bites! There was another Cajun restaurant that had some shrimp pasta I wanted to try but we didn’t make it back there. We did get begniets from Another Broken Egg Cafe. We had them last year, too, and they were good.

We also tried biscuits with gravy, Korean barbecue, apple pie, a barbecue slider and I don’t really remember what else. By 6:30 we were full and tired and ready to head home. By then people were just pouring in and lines were getting really long. We had four tickets left so we got Katy a biscuit and a fancy cookie of some kind to add to the things I’d been collecting for her all night. So when she got home from play practice she had a nice sampler plate for dinner.














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