I continue to be spoiled silly courtesy of my JetBlue gig, and last night's spoils were particularly outrageous. I scored a couple of tickets to the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival's Stars Across Texas Grand Tasting. Now, if you think that's a mouthful, you should've seen the spread Warren and I happily grazed our way through. I thought I had prepared properly by barely eating anything all day yesterday in anticipation of the food that awaited us. In fact, I could've fasted for a month and still not have been ready.
The event was held at the Long Center. As we pulled up to the parking garage, I noticed a curious juxtaposition. The ReggaeFest was happening on Auditorium Shores, and this event raises money and awareness and collects food for the Capital Area Food Bank. So, on my left, a designated drop-off area for food for people who have none. On my right, a tribute to gluttony, food snobbery, and enough gourmet grub to feed the Russian Army several times over.
Fast forward to the end of the evening when I tried to explain to Warren the torrent of thoughts brought on by the proximity of these events. Having never eaten in a restaurant as a kid (this is true), I always had (and continue to have) a fascination with restaurant food. Rare are the times that I take eating out for granted-- just about every food experience from street food to five star dining gets me super excited. So there was that buzz going as I entered the Long Center. Then, of course, all that residual Catholic guilt, thinking of all the people who don't get to eat super fancy food. And then the thought that I was a clever impostor-- not really qualified to be at the tasting, but standing there anyway, in my cocktail dress (as I recall I got this item, with it's fake diamond embellishments, for ten bucks at Ross). Then there was some moment, when I turned the corner and found myself on Bliss Street, tasting astonishingly fantastic culinary creations from Uchi, Zoot, Aquarelle, Moonshine, Parkside, Hudson's on the Bend, the Driskill, and on and on. (Had I been drinking, I would've also had a chance to immerse myself in gallon upon gallon of wine-- the drinks were flowing freely.) At the height of my experience, I forgot about the Food Bank, all the people who weren't there, and any politics, and I just thrilled at the culinary genius before me. Then my stomach caught up with me, and it was very full, and suddenly I felt overwhelmed, and wondered what business we all had-- me and about eight million beautiful people, many dressed to the nines-- eating like this.
So, yeah, it's hard being neurotic at a massive food tasting, but then, there's never a dull moment inside my head. In the end, we stumbled away grateful for the opportunity, listening to reggae covers of pop tunes as we wandered off to find the car. Warren is still sleeping it off, so I'll have to post his photos later on. Meanwhile, if you want a smaller-- but exciting nonetheless- version of this experience, you should absolutely drive out to Driftwood tomorrow (Sunday, April 18th) for the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Fest Sunday Fair. The tickets are reasonably priced and there will be plenty of good things to eat and drink. Seriously-- you should go. You can get tickets here.
Meanwhile, as you bide your time waiting for tomorrow, today, right here in town, there's a very cool Yard Art Tour. My friends Robert and Wendy are showing off their Blue Grass Prairie, and my friend Lois is showing off her backyard, which she has turned into an ocean of sorts. Sparky Park is also on the tour and if you haven't visited this little gem, you need to get over there right now.
Happy weekend to all six of you!