Thanks to everyone on Facebook and Twitter, my girlfriend was able to win tickets to the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes festival in Atlanta today.
Thirty-four of the city’s top chefs along and twelve mixologists were on hand. Each dish and drink was constructed with, you guessed it, tomatoes. This is Atlanta’s top foodie festival and thankfully next door to her condo building.
As we approached the event, which had 1400 tickets sold at $70 a piece, I crafted a game plan.
Okay, what we’re going to do is take photos of the dishes and then maybe make a note if there was anything unusual about it – this will make great blog fodder. Also, we’ll take photos of us with tomatoes because that will be funny.
None of this happened.
First it was ninety degrees and humid. Being an outdoor festival the difference between direct sunlight and shade was remarkable. You’d stand in line (in the sun) for about a minute, waiting for the chef to put the final touches on whatever dish you were about to sample. I won’t go through the whole list, but everything between breakfast and dessert were represented. Since I don’t drink I skipped the alcohol tomato concoctions. Once you got your dish, you were back in the sunlight.
And then, two steps away was a new chef and a new dish. For the first twenty dishes I was in heaven. We’d try the food, remark how amazing it was, and then off to the next sample, seconds later. It’s was basically an assembly line of food.
After we were halfway done we started slowing down. The problem was that there weren’t a lot of places to just sit and relax. Plus I felt like if we didn’t hustle to the next chef, we’d be missing out on an even better dish. There was only a four hour window to hit it all, and last year people who came even an hour into the event missed about half of the dishes as the restaurants ran out of food.
We ended up hitting 32 out of the 34 stops. In about 75 minutes. I’m guessing it was over 2000 calories, maybe more. The last 15 or so I started to feel sick. Too many tomatoes, too much bread, too much olive oil. I ate seven different meats and at least eleven unique cheeses. I knew I was in trouble when a chef was explaining to me how he developed a special tomato foam and I started mildly hallucinating. I got halfway through the foam and had to throw it out. Normally I would have shit my pants with excitement eating foamy food.
At the 80 minute mark I looked at Jessica and she at me. I could hardly speak. I just mumbled, “Home?” and she nodded. Like two barflies we stumbled out of the event holding on to each other for support. Even the walk to the condo was tortuous.
I realized I hadn’t taken any photos. I then thought I would have Jessica take a photo of me frowning, ill with too many calories and tomatoes in my system. We made it up to her condo, and then we both collapsed on the bed. Asleep within seconds. This was 2:30pm.
We had managed to pass ourselves out with 32 dishes of food in just over an hour. Seven hours later, the thought of an heirloom tomato gives me a tinge of discomfort. I’ll be okay by tomorrow.
Thanks again for voting – since I don’t have a photo, here’s one from the weekend.