Carrollton is an unusual town; the culture is predominately southern, but maintains a progressive attitude. The town also fails to offer desirable scenery. Being situated on the outskirts of Atlanta, so it satisfies some cravings while still baring shortcomings. And as underrated as the University of West Georgia college experience may be, the same and more can be said about a lot of activities around the town. But, the annual Taste of Carrollton on Main Street is an underrated event that shows off a complimentary blend of multiple backgrounds.
The Taste of Carrollton gathers local vendors to showcase their style of cuisine, and has been doing so for the past 23 years. The event’s versatile nature allows anyone the opportunity to see how eclectic Carrollton is as a town, with dishes ranging from Italian to Hawaiian and other culinary surprises in between.
Of course there will always be room for the omnipotent southern favorites like slow-smoked meat or banana pudding, and what kind of taste would this be without the option for a bowl of shrimp and grits.
This year’s tasting event in particular offered not only an experience unique to Carrollton, but an experience different from any others in the past years. This year’s crowd was amongst the biggest in the event’s history, despite the undesirable weather conditions. Along with the crowd, the taste also provided the largest selection of hometown dishes made by local culinary vendors.
This year’s taste was able to offer 42 different options to taste. This rise in vendor attendance is an improvement from the year previous, however not the most apparent improvement.
The Taste of Carrollton is a victim of prejudice because of the town it calls home, and for obvious reasons. Nothing was more obvious at the taste than the fact that many of the reasons to skip it are plain prejudice.
If your concern about the taste is being bored, wasting money, time or any other commodity, forget it. The quality of the dishes prepared for this event is as professional as its Atlanta-based counterpart.
Little Hawaiian, the reigning “Best of Taste” restaurant, is the catalyst for culinary innovation in Carrollton. Besides being a tiki bar and grill, the establishment also houses a bakery. Little Hawaiian attended the Taste of Carrollton to offer a small sample of what their restaurant is known for, as well as desert dishes from their bakery menu.
The Ahi-Tuna Poke was the star of the selection at Little Hawaiian’s tent. Each person walking away before eventually making their way right back to the line for some more. This odd, because in years past the Little Hawaiian would have been light-years ahead all other restaurants upon arrival, however, the competition over best taste was much closer.
A restaurant fairly new to the Carrollton area, Paladino’s Pizza, made a splash by introducing its deep-fried pizza slice. Usually after an hour there are only a few long lines left at the entire event. Paladino’s remained busy until after serving their last slice of pizza. At times the line was stalled because the cooks could not compete with the customers.
And how could we forget the shrimp and grits? Plates, a restaurant located on Adamson Square, prepared this dish to perfection. Accompanied with gravy made from Andouille sausage, this was another dish that did not disappoint.
The dishes served were decently consistent, innovative and executed well. There are a few food items that stand out afterwards; however, it is all subjective. Bottom line, the food is incredible and there’s something for everyone.
Navigating the crowd at the next Taste of Carrollton will be a challenge. As attendance and participation has grown every year. The event has been gaining momentum these past few years and is only attracting more attention with new enrolling at the University of West Georgia. After this year’s taste the underrated event has graduated and it is hard to see this being a secret for much longer.