At the height of Atlanta magazine's 25th annual Best of Atlanta party Monday night at the Cobb Galleria Centre, 790 The Zone's Steak Shapiro likely spoke for many in the house. Greeting attendees at the Camp Twin Lakes benefit, Shapiro told the crowd from the stage: "We're here tonight doing what we do best — eating and drinking unlimited amounts of food and alcohol for a great cause!"
Alas, many of the hundreds of guests were too busy punishing their pie holes to focus on Shapiro. Best Food Truck winners The Fry Guy was servicing a line of fans all night that threatened to extend at any moment to Lilburn. The same rang true over at the Ted's Montana Grill booth where the piles of mini bison burgers were going so fast, Ted Turner and George McKerrow, Jr. likely had to put down a fresh herd in order to feed the lunch rush today at their metro area eateries.
Miller Union pastry chef Pamela Moxley was busy handing out 900 portions of her decadent chocolate fondant cake. "It took us about five hours to make enough for everyone," she told us. "But this is great for me. I don't get out of the kitchen like this very often. It'll be fun to check out the other booths too. I'm definitely interested in doing a little drinking!"
Just when sensory overload threatened even a veteran foodie's focus, one of the Best New Restaurants winners, Heirloom Market BBQ, had already anticipated and solved the problem. As Heirloom employees dished up samples of their porcine pleasures, attendees were directed to an always essential BBQ eating accessory — a tower of napkins that had been thoughtfully identified with helpful "NAPKINS" signage.
Best of Atlanta party invitees Jack's Harvest frozen organic baby food owners and siblings Heather Schoenrock and Joseph House were introducing attendees to the wholesome wares from their Roswell business (our fave flavor? Goin' Back to Cauli, a whizzed up combination of cauliflower, pear, quinoa, cinnamon, vanilla and turmeric). "The only preservative we use is the freezer," House told us as partygoers sampled selections of Tango with Mango, a kiddie dessert of mango blended with lime juice. Schoenrock also provided a fantastic trade secret any frazzled mom will be happy to hear: Tango with Mango doubles as a killer bellini ingredient.
The hardest working guys at the party? The two C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar employees who were steadfastly hand-shucking hundreds of Blue Point oysters from multiple ice chests as guests greedily slurped up the briny goodness straight from the shell.
The evening's special guest was Atlanta singer Francine Reed who was driven to the event in style via a 2012 Audi, courtesy of event co-sponsor Jim Ellis Audi Marietta. The life-long foodie was already making mental notes on which booths to patronize after her set too. When asked by organizers when she'd like to be driven home back down I-75, Reed reportedly responded, "Baby, whenever this party is over!"
For a complete list of Atlanta magazine's 2011 Best of Atlanta winners and to score a digital copy of our acclaimed Best of Atlanta issue, click here.