Omnivore - Best Bets at Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

5 dishes to seek out at Ford Fry's 8th annual event.

It’s just like Ford Fry’s “Go Big or Go Home” approach to make his annual ode to the love apple bigger and better this year. The summertime fruit is no humble ‘mater to Fry, but a cause for celebration with local farmers, chefs, and bartenders concocting imaginative ways taste its glory.

The 8th annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Fest moves to bigger digs this year. Sunday, July 17, from 1-5 P.M. hundreds of pounds of tomatoes in all forms await the throngs of lycopene lovers at Midtown’s Park Tavern. Last year’s festival raised $60,000 and Fry aims for triple digits this year to hopefully donate $100,000 to Georgia Organics.

New this year is a free AKTF16 koozie to hold the donated cans of Wild Heaven Beers (Emergency Drinking Beer, Wise Blood IPA, and White Blackbird). Cans allow grab and go for speedier lines. The Spazmatics return after a couple of years hiatus with fun, retro tunes. Fry’s band of chefs, Chef Zeppelin, is the opening act. Also new is a VIP ticket, which allows early entry (one hour early), a swag bag full of merch, and a meet and greet with Fry.

We got an early gander at the lineup and who’s fixing what and we think these are our Best Bets for what not to miss:

And check out our photo galleries from past events here.)?

?? Mayhap so that we don’t forget we live in the Peach State but more probable because summer peaches are delicious, Cooks and Soldiers Executive chef Landon Thompson put the two together. Circle this one on your festival map: goat cheese custard with Pearson peaches, tomatoes, and tarragon. Cooks and Soldiers is located in Westside at 691 14th St. N.W. 404-996-2623. www.cooksandsoldiers.com.

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Double down at the Venkman’s booth because not only does chef/partner Nick Melvin have a BLT made from a sourdough tomato doughnut with tomato jam, an arugula buttermilk glaze, and candied bacon, but there is also a nifty “drink.’ Carl Gilbert poached, brined, and infused a cocktail into a tomato. Venkman’s is located at 740 Ralph McGill Blvd. N.E. O4W. 470-225-6162. www.venkmans.com.

St. Cecilia Executive chef Craig Richards’ approach at his Buckhead restaurant is traditional Italian. We already honored his short rib agnolotti as part of last year’s 100 Dishes and we still love it. This one sounds mighty good. Crates of Finch Creek Farm tomatoes are paired with tiny satchels of chicken liver agnolotti and Thai basil. St. Cecilia is located at 3455 Peachtree Road N.E. 404-554-9995. www.stceciliaatl.com.

Chef Robert Phalen often has quirky dishes on the menu at his Inman Park restaurant, One Eared Stag. Thing is, those interesting combinations of ingredients always work. That’s the reason we are counting on his “Fizzy Tomatoes” at ATKT16. Sounds as intriguing as that springtime shad roe dish he did in a cast iron skillet with flower petals and heirloom veggies. Unforgettable. One Eared Stag is located at 1029 Edgewood Ave. 404-525-4479. www.oneearedstagatl.com.

Some people consider the first taste of summer to be a ripened backyard tomato on white bread with a smear of Mayonnaise. Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall’s Cooper Miller concocted a genius riff on the standard. Ready for this: Duke’s mayo ice cream and tomato sandwiched between shortbread cookies. Let us know what you think of this one. We definitely have it on the radar. Ladybird is located at 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. N.E. 404-458-6838. www.ladybirdatlanta.com.

Tickets to AKTF16 are available here, if they are not already sold out. Park Tavern is located at 500 10th st. (corner of 10th and Monroe) in Midtown.

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