Friday, January 23, 2015

Maybe the ZEST FEST fits for you this Weekend

Maybe the ZEST FEST fits for you this Weekend
Do you enjoy eating? Do you enjoy the adventure of zesty new taste sensations from chefs and aspiring chefs from all over the country?
Well, you need to be at this weekend's ZEST FEST at the Irving convention center. It starts today ,; then runs through Saturday and Sunday. More details below.

What is so special about ZEST FEST?
What are you letting yourself in for?

All this week chefs and cooks have been completing in the Fiery Food Challenge for the coveted for Golden Chile Award - one of only " two “fiery” food awards that stand out in the United States."  They have come from all over to test their cooking skills.They must be good. These same cooks are preparing the food you will be eating when you arrive. Now that sounds like a golden opportunity for some taste bits.

Quoting from their site:
The Fiery Food Challenge is a competition that invites hot, “really hot”, spicy and zesty foods and fiery food-related products to be submitted by those folks vying for the...
Three days of judging take place. There are two sessions daily so the judges’ mouths do not get burned out at the end of the day! There are some really, really spicy products introduced! The zesty and the fiery are mixed up so there is a variety...
Do you really trust a bunch preordained judges about tasty food?

Well, Saturday, you can have your say. You can take part in the the People’s Preference Awards and add your own expert opinion. And maybe, you just might decide that you can make tastier food than what you are testing; and in that case, you can reconnoiter the competition and come back next year and teach these folks a lesson in hot tasty food.

So lets relax and think about the food.
All the way from Wyoming with tasty bits. Looking a little tired from either a long trip or a long day. Or too much hot food.

You get to sample wide varieties of food items. The creations of cooks from all over the place. The genius creations of creative cooks and maybe even a few travesties.

There is hot food. As hot as you can stand. If you want to test for hot. But this experience is beyond hot. Your food experience here is what you make it. Choose well.

Lots of food to try. Keep an eye on the explorer ahead of
you for reactions to heat; but parse with discretion
any opinions. What do they know?

Food items may be too hot, hot and tasty,  zesty and tasty, or just hot.and tasty or not.
You are not going to like everything, because humans are different.

And I hope that the level of hotness is carefully labeled. We perceive hotness differently too. It is not a matter of being tough. Some have Neanderthal tastebuds with only a narrow set of taste receptors who can stand really hot food, and others of us are more evolved with quite extensive sets of taste receptors and hot food can be too hot.

There are a variety of beverages to enjoy. And there are the too hot aid stations around. More on tips to handle too hot in a bit. There are, and I hope I am not making this up... a variety of cold desserty things to cool the palate and succor those among the crowd that are not that into hot! hot! hot!

Always know where the first aid stations are. More safety tips below.
There is much more to attract than just the food. Other people will be there; a big crowd, and big crowds always supply lots of people for visual entertainment. There will be people running towards aid stations. You will hear gasping and screaming. People might even faint. It should be entertaining. be prepared to help someone overcome by vapors near you.

You can also watch and quiz celebrity chefs
The main stage celebrity cooking demonstrations allow guests to ask questions and get tips from the region’s most renowned chefs. Top chefs returning this year include Jon Bonnell, of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Buffalo Brothers, and Eddie Deen. - from the Zest Fest we...
There are First Aid Stations for TOO HOT

Whatever your level of tolerance for hot, do know that there are burn out aid stations around the premises.

Safety tips for dealing with too hot

Hotness in food is related to special oils that react with taste buds and most other parts of you body with a feeling of hot. The key word is oils. These oils can sit on a tastebud and keep ringing your alarm bells until you dilute and wash off the hot. Water cannot wash them off. Oil and water do not mix. Water just dances on by. You need a cooling agent that has oil in it like whole milk. Milk fat can make a big difference in cooling off your mouth. Butter works too. Scope out the milk fat sources available or bring your own.

sidenote: A private note to other low hot food tolerance people

Here is a secret to better tolerating hot food. Do you too, know people that think tolerating hot food means they are tough; OR your intolerance to hot makes you a puny weakling? Yes, these people exist and please don't tell them they just have dumb taste buds because they are already compensating for something... so don't mess with them.

But you do have an opportunity to cloak your receptiveness to hotness. Drink the milk first, or eat buttery cookies, or figure out a butter laden safety kit where you can put butter fat on your tongue before you have to explore the hot food. This can also save you when you don't know how hot- hot is going to be.

See, that is a fun game too- "Oh this is not hot! try this!" Been there, been tortured by that, too many times. Maybe, this is just an issue for me and I am just venting here. But this little tip can come in really handy because there is delicious hot food out there; not overpowering hot; but near the edge hot and if you keeping eating the tasty food; the hot builds up on you, until you feel like you are ready to spontaneously combust. This distracts from the tasty adventure. You can head this sensation off, or at least mitigate the effects, by the creative use of buttery first aid- up front.

OK, end of sidenote. That ran a bit long

The event starts Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday. More specifically, Friday, January 24th from 1pm to 7pm, as well as Saturday, January 25th from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday, January 26th from 10am to 5pm.

Tickets are approximately $15 plus you can add on the roast pork and rib dinner on Saturday. All your ticket buying options can be seen online or you can get tickets at the door. I suggest you not get caught standing in line as hoards walk by briskly heading in the direction of the fabulous food smells. You can buy tickets online and walk by all the people standing in line at the event

The event takes place at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas at 500 W Las Colinas Blvd in Irving, TX

More info at

Lets Talk about Getting There

You can drive and park at the event or you can take the train. This is a great chance to let someone else be responsible for getting you there and back.

The Irving Convention center sits right next to the DART convention Center station- right on the orange line.

Coming in from the west- on the TRE train, you will make your transfer at Centrepoint and catch the orange train.
f you come in from the west you are crossing the zone boundary between tre and DART and so you get stuck for an extra large fee. This will require a regional pass which could be as much as $10.

The nascent efforts in the area to support mass transit pale in comparison to the homage paid to cars and concrete; and so sane strategic thought about the efficacy of mass transit in the 21st century is a few years behind other large and small cities all over the world.

You can get more info by

ringing up DART
knocking on the door at TRE

So have fun. Take pictures. Share them. And be nice to people with sensitive taste buds. I will not apologize for picking on cars.

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