The first event was a Tailgate BBQ Party at Bally's. They had the tables set up with grass-green table cloths, goal post centerpieces and black and white referee chair covers. The event was sponsored by some joint called "Game On" (Dave and I looked at each other like - "Who?") and something called Jerimiah Weed Sweet Tea. We walked in and Dave tried to lead me to a table over on the left side near the food, but I split off in the other direction and plopped my behind at a table right in front of the stage. A woman and her 24 year old daughter sat down to our left and shortly after that a middle-aged man sat to my right. We all sat on one side of the table like they do in sitcoms, because we didn't want to have our backs to the stage.
Dave ran off to get a drink at the bar and I decided to try some of the sponsor's product. I got on line thinking that Jerimiah Weed Sweet Tea was an iced tea, like a competitor to Snapple or Lipton. But HELL NO! This delightful concoction is actually Sweet Tea flavored VODKA! When I saw that, I whispered ever so seductively in Jerry's ear - Oh Jerimiah, you are a sexy bitch, come sit next to me and tell me all your secrets. There were flavors like Peach and whatever, but all I wanted was the regular Tea flavor mixed with Lemonade. It was sooooooooooooooooo good. Like a grown up Arnold Palmer and it tasted like more, and since I don't mind if I do, I did have several more.
Over on the sidelines I caught a glimpse of something large and white looming in my peripheral vision. I could feel it's eyes on me. Staring at me. Boring holes in me with its gaze. I tried to be cool and not look, but I'm not discreet at all. I snapped my head around, all whatchoo lookin at only to lock eyes with an eight foot tall Tyson Chicken. I think it was love at first sight for both of us. I shreiked at Dave "It's the Tyson Chicken! You HAVE to take my picture with it!" And off we ran to get all cozy with la poulet de amour.
To get the event got going, they started asking trivia questions. The questions were multiple choice and very easy. The goal was to get promotional items in people's hands, not to challenge us with meaningful questions. I jumped at the chance to answer an early question about what BTU stood for. I didn't even wait for the multi choice answers, I just rocketed out of my chair all "British Thermal Units bitches!". For this embarrassing display of food nerdiness, I won two Jerimiah Weed Sweet Tea Bell Jar glasses and . . . wait for it . . . a stuffed Tyson Chicken! Woot! Woot!
After about fourty five minutes of trivia, chicken pics and Sweet Tea chugging, they announced that the food was served. I wondered when "Special Guest" Tom Colicchio was going to come and which of the dishes he prepared. Dave and I had the good fortune of being at the first table to be directed to the food line, so we got everything while it was hot and fresh. There was BBQ Brisket, Pork Sliders, a giant roasted beast of some sort, Shrimp and Grits, Corn on the cob, Sopas, all kinds of salsas, salads and sides. There was really too much to mention and pretty much all of it was very good. Though, come to find out, none of it was cooked from a recipe from the conspicuously missing Chef Tom.
Around the time that we were wrapping up our meal, the event manager came over and whispered in the ear of the girl sitting at our table with her mother. She went white as a sheet and began fanning herself with her hand as the event manager took the folded napkins off our tables and placed them over the backs of the six remaining empty chairs. She looked over at us with a deer in the headlights look and said "Tom Colicchio is going to sit at our table. I think I'm going to faint." Dave and I sorta looked at each other all confused. What does a 24 year old girl want with this guy? I think I read somewhere that chefs are the new rock stars and I guess it must be true. She was swooning.
. . .to be continued