Friday, October 31, 2008

we're in texas!

we made it to fort worth today without much to report. There was nothing scheduled today. I met briefly with darcie, mario's brand manager who has been my contest contact for the past month or so. she and i have exchanged about 300 e-mails and a handful of phone calls since I made it to the quarterfinals. so it was nice to meet her. she gave us some of our race tickets and updates the itinerary. oh, and gave me the menu for sunday's tailgate party.

i am trying to keep it a big secret that i am not a big nascar fan, so don't tell anyone. but i also suspect that i am going to have a lot of fun. saturday's schedule has us getting to the track at some hour at which i am usually not awake, and we are getting a vip tour of the track, get to check out the pits and watch the race from a suite. my experience with suites and sports events suggests i will enjoy that. after the race, i am going to an event where rachael ray, mario batali and dallas chef tim love are competing in something called asphalt chef. they'll each be paired with a nascar driver and compete in some iron chef-like thing. my understanding is that this is being recorded for the pre-race show on abc on sunday, so check your local listings. after that, pam and i get to go to the swanky speedway club for dinner.

(i actually met tim love once before, and it's kind of a funny story. it was my 40th birthday, and my friend and i were having lunch at cafe ponte. I saw michelle bernstein, a fairly famous miami chef, walk in, and i was left a little speechless. as we were walking out, i stopped by her table to talk to her. she was with two guys, one of whom seemed mockingly annoyed that everyone always knew who michelle bernstein was. he called himself and the other guy her "backup singers." It was tim love.)

sunday, we get to the track early again, and i get to go for a ride in a pace car, then go over to the tailgate party. sounds like i'm not actually cooking, but sitting around getting credit for inventing one of the dishes. the party is supposed to be for sponsors and media. should be interesting. i have seen the menu, and i'll post it on sunday night. i'm not sure if i'm supposed to before the party. i think I can safely tell you that pig-wrapped, pig-stuffed pig is on there. and i'm pretty humbled by that fact, when looking at the rest.

after the tailgate party, we watch the big race from the suites. and we come home monday. a lot of the itinerary is loose, and i'm happy about that. I'm hoping that it give us a chance to do whatever seems fun at the time.

oh, the limo ride here was a little bit of an adventure, but it was in a hummer, so that was pretty cool. driver said it costs $250 to fill the tank. gulp. and when we got here, the hotel sent up a cheese plate. that is the picture above.

i walked over the central market, which is about a half-mile away. central market is a texas grocery chain with a big reputation, and i was looking forward to seeing it. the one here is kind of new, and it was nice, but nothing mind-altering. i might need to go see one of the original ones. dan will have to tell me where those are. i know he likes the one he has in san antonio. oh and we had lunch at a place called taco diner. it claims to be a mexico city taqueria. very good stuff. we had the steak tacos and some pork sopes. and mango agua fresca. yum.

i plan to twitter more from the track tomorrow, and i will post with photos tomorrow night.

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