Friday, July 30, 2010

Review: Gilroy Garlic Festival

I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival a few days ago, ready and excited to enjoy the art, and especially the food. I really feel like a total grouch and snob saying this, but the food was total SHIT!! The ambiance…not so impressive either.

Problem #1: no competition for food selection
What I mean is that there was only one place for guacamole, one place for stuffed mushrooms, one place for garlic ice cream, one place for egg rolls, one place for EVERYTHING at the festival. The bottom line is this: If I was able to compete against the Gilroy Boy Scouts for stuffed mushrooms at the festival, then there would be a 15 minute line in front of my stand, and a 0 minute line at theirs. Unfortunately, the stuffed mushroom stand has a lockdown on mushrooms, which means they can sell raw and crunchy mushrooms filled with 90% parmesan, 9% ricotta, and 1% parsley like it was Teddy Ruxpin in 1985. And yes, I figured out your recipe in six bites. And no, this stuffed mushroom won’t chew your ear off while telling you sweet bedtime stories from a cassette tape…

Problem #2: Overhyped media attention
I live in California and do consulting work in the energy industry. So I work with a lot of Texans. All the way out in Texas I have co-worker that saw some show on TV that highlighted the Gilroy Garlic Festival. This Texan had actually considered taking his wife on a vacation to California to experience the garlic festival. Yeah…BIG MISTAKE. Good thing he only THOUGHT of the vacation. My best guess for why a TV program would highlight the garlic festival… Why not? I mean, you have to show something on your network every day. And why not waste some hour talking about a garlic festival in California and over-hyping it so that your TV show sounds like they know of all the awesome food capitals of the world? Sounds like a good plan to me. Another good plan would be to remain skeptical of things that sound too good to be true. I don’t mean to be a downer, so please imagine delicious lasagna for a second and smile…

Problem #3: Arts and crafts lacking
I have to admit that I may have had unrealistic expectations about the arts and crafts. If by unrealistic expectations you mean that everything didn’t look like grandma made it, then yes I did. I really love my grandma, so don’t get me wrong. I prominently display the wine glasses that she made me in my living room. And I hold onto the memories of growing up in her presence very dearly. But at the same time, I don’t want to wear her cooking apron, and I don’t want her embossed toad basketball player figurine (yes, she has one). ‘Nuff said.

Problem #4: Creepy dude on the way out…

This might be the most minimal flaw of the festival. But at the same time this flourish was cinema-like in its ability to cement an experience into my conscience. As I walked up the final hill on the way out there was this fat, sweaty dude with a two-wheeled ice cream cart making grunt noises and rhythmically shaking his bell-laden cart every ten seconds. It was as if he was the candy stand which entices children at the end of a shopping experience (or sometimes entices me). It would have been the perfect lure for people after being exhausted from hanging out for hours at a festival in 100 degree heat and climbing a steep hill for five minutes. Except that it wasn’t. Because he was fu#@in’ creepy. I feel bad for creepy dudes. He was probably a really sweet guy. Sorry bro.


  1. Crossing Gilroy off my list of things to do...

  2. OK - enough with the hard sell already. I'm booking my reservation for next year right after I hit 'Post Comment'.

  3. A few things:

    1. Teddy Ruxpin scared the crap out of me.
    2. It's pretty damn cool you work in the energy industry. I'm jealous. Hire me.
    3. I have a guilty pleasure for "crafted" (doodled on and poorly decorated) wine glasses so your Gma should sell them on Ebay or Etsy or something so I can buy them.
    4. Garlic ice cream sounds disgusting, and I do love garlic... and ice cream.
    5. Why did you think a garlic festival would be fun in the first place!? :)

  4. Yummy garlic! I love Gilroy and I love taking my niece to Gilroy Gardens.

  5. Great blog! And thanks for checking out mine! Haha, all festivals are very hit or never know what you're going to get, so I tend to lower my expectations...that ensures that I may be pleasantly surprised!

  6. Geez, I thought I was a sparse blogger :-) I remembered this post from summer & just came back to link to it. Guess I can read you once a month & not miss much? HA! At least you've been working out (& drinking) hard since then. Keep it up & good luck with that upcoming marathon!

    Anyhoo, check my garlic festival review sometime... but after tomorrow, as I'm still working on it. Cheers!