Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dear Guy Fieri...you had me at Mac'N'Cheese!

 Talk about sensory overload....Have you ever been to a Cooking Show?  There is literally food EVERYWHERE!  Taste this!  Smell this!  We're offering a special Show price.  Taste this!  Taste this!  TASTE THIS!

Before I get to the food I want to tell you about the trip to the Convention Center.  I ran to the store in the morning to get some bottled water and protein bars.  I wanted to make sure I had good alternatives in my bag. I even went to Subway for breakfast.  I had an egg white on flatbread with tomato, lettuce, and cucumber. I felt good.  

When we were leaving the metro station we could walk up the stairs or take the escalator.  I lived in DC for a summer and never ever ever EVER took the stairs.  Not only did I take them, but I ran up them :-)  GO ME!

Okay, so we took the escalator down to the Cooking Show floor and my eyes got huge as I looked over at the 300 booths set up.  It was going to be a long day.  First up, we were were going to sit down and look at the schedule. We needed to map out which demonstrations we wanted to go to.  We picked out four.  I asked if we wanted to look at the list of vendors and pick out some that we wanted to see.  The response I got: We're going to see them ALL. Alrighty then.

We started in the back and the first bunch seemed to be all BBQ sauces.  Not so tempting. I should be okay.  The next section didn't seem too bad, but then I saw a line and I of course wanted to know why.  Cupcakes!  YES PLEASE. We got in line and I saw that the cupcakes were $.85. They had samples.  Fine I'll have a sample.  Wait, what's that?  Red Velvet cupcakes for $1.  Um...I didn't even make it out of the first row without caving. But seriously, how could I say no to that?

I promise to be good after this.  Oh wait, what's the next booth? Chocolate covered pretzels.  CRAP.  And chocolate covered oreos.  I'm in so much trouble.  I bought some.  I was still holding my dang cupcake when I made the purchase.  Across the aisle was a booth for some mustards.  In addition to pretzels to dip in it to taste they had vegetables.  So I grabbed a carrot and dipped.  I felt good with that. 

A few booths further we came across a Skinny Margarita booth.  Oh heck yeah!  I got a couple.  One for me and one for a Christmas present. I was proud until I realized that I needed to carry this around for the rest of the day.  DOH!  At this point I felt like I was going to go insane.  I needed to get a hold of myself and slow down.  My back and wallet were not going to be happy if I kept up this pace.

We walked up and down row after row.  I was actually very good about my tasting.  There were so many salsas, BBQ sauces, and olive oils that I actually got turned off.  I could easily say no.  What I couldn't say no to was the chocolate chip cherry amaretto biscotti...yum...and the lavender ice cream (I had Always wanted to taste that)...and then I saw it.  MAPLE BUTTER...I almost fainted.  My aunt got a picture of me after I tasted it.  The lady behind her giggled at it.  I could not say no.  I did stop at one jar, but I wanted to buy their whole stock.  Luckily, they have a website and I do believe I will be buying more later.

Around that time we needed to head over to the demonstration area for the first one we had chosen: Chocolate and Tea pairing.  By the time we got there all of the seats were taken.  Oh well.  Time for more browsing. We realized that we needed to go get some real food and headed over for lunch.  We opted for Caribbean Cove.  I got the pineapple chicken platter.  It came with rice and shredded cabbage.  Oh it was good.  Too much for me and I didn't finish, but I felt full and that was a good thing.  

Since the last demonstration was full we headed over earlier for the one on Olive Oil.  It was good.  We learned a lot about what to look for in Olive Oil and the benefits of it.  (I'll have a special post on it later).  What I wasn't expecting was the taste test we were going to have.  All of the booths offered pita bread to dip in it and taste it.  These guys passed out dixie cups for shots...um...seriously?  EWWWW.  It was by far my least favorite part and I was burping it up all afternoon.  ICK.

The next demonstration was the one I was most looking forward to: Surviving the Holidays.  We didn't want to take a chance of missing it so we stayed close.  Immediately the seats started to fill up so we ran and got front row seats and just relaxed for a bit.  It was a great demonstration, but not what I thought it as going to be about.  I was hoping for healthy options, but this was about decorating and eating with things you already have in your house. It was still cool. 

We decided to give up the last demonstration and finish up with booths before Guy Fieri time.  We went over to the bookstore where my Aunt surprised me with a signed Guy Cookbook.  She rocks! 

We found a booth that was my total downfall..You had me at Fudge!  I cannot say no.  I really can't.  It's impossible.  I caved.  They let us taste so many...I HAD to buy some.  I HAD to!  (I put it in the trunk for the ride home today...yeah! There was no cheating in the car).  I was just about done for the day when I found an awesome vendor.  I found the coolest lunch bags.  I pack my lunch every day.  It's a good investment.  I got one for a christmas present and one for me :-) 

By now it was almost 4 o'clock and it was time for Guy!  Can I get a Holla?  LOVE HIM!  He is the rockstar of chefs.  We had seats in the 8th row and it was awesome.  The first thing he made was Mac Daddy Mac'N'Cheese....you had me at Mac'N'Cheese...should I tell you that there is bacon in it?  My mouth was watering the whole time.  He had a lot of great things to say, but what I liked best is: If you eat it in moderation, then go ahead and eat the good stuff.  Don't have the crappy versions. You're just cheating yourself.  He's so wise. And damn cute!

When we got home I spent an hour looking through his cookbook.  I want to make just about everything in it.  I was very surprised as the number of healthy options in there.  There's a veggie patty that I'm looking at and a lettuce taco that looks pretty darn good.  Of course there are plenty of not so healthy, but if I only make one every other week that will be my splurge.  Have I mentioned that I love him?  Don't worry, Tony Stewart (who won today!) still has my heart...Tony Stewart CALL ME!

So the good news is that my feet felt great at the end of the day.  The new sneakers are a success.  The bad news is that after I gave away the chocolate covered pretzels I ate my chocolate covered Oreos after dinner...and then had a moonpie :-(  

I am surprised I was able to fall asleep after all of the sugar I had. Thank goodness for Daylight Savings Time.

I will be posting pictures and links for the vendors/demonstrations that I liked on my Facebook page this week. Be sure to check in for them.

Thank you Aunt Carol for an awesome day!  And thank you Guy Fieri for being so dang Cool!  You make me want to cook!
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