Chef Jeff White of Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden during last year's Burgers, BBQ & Beer. (Courtesy)
You bought your tickets, you're feeling jazzed about eating all the things and drinking all kinds of vinos. You're patting yourself on the back for helping students through supporting the organization that focuses on culinary scholarships. It's time to enjoy Culinaria Festival Week.
For any first-time attendees, or even multiple-event attendees, I'm here to offer some advice: Plan ahead. Here are a few tips on navigating your way through culinary awesomeness (and not so awesomeness):
1. Strategize: For instance, if you're attending Thursday's Food Truck Event, may I suggest taking several friends. Here's why: The event is insanely popular and relatively inexpensive. You'll want to sample each truck. Grab a buddy (or five) and split up, much like you would in a horror movie except everyone will regroup with tasty truck snacks. Have each bud order at least two items from each truck and congregate while sharing. Make sure your appointed DD gets an extra treat or two. The line up includes the following trucks: Bite Street Bistro, Cheesy Jane’s, Crazy Carl’s, Crepe Nation, Dixieland BBQ, Duk Truck, K Hill BBQ Company, Rickshaw Stop, Saweet Cupcakes, Say She Ate, Slider Provider, SpiceSea Gourmet, Stout’s Pizza Co., Where Y’at Food Truck and YAO.
2. Pay attention to the dress code: Yes, this is SA and while we generally take a relaxed approached to most things, Culinaria does in fact have dress recommendations. Go casual for the food truck feast, don your favorite Fiesta dress or guayavera for Best of Mexico, bust out the heels and cocktail dresses for the Grand Tasting and keep it extra comfy for Burgers, BBQ and Beer.
3. Try new things: This may seem obvious, especially to a worldly foodie like yourself, but even so–Make it a point to try new restaurants present instead of zeroing in on your faves. You're bound to find something you like.
4. Share: Sharing is caring, and unless you want to pop Pepto Bismol all weekend, sharing is the way to go. Yes, those 40 sample servings will add up. Divvy up the goods.
5. Don't Drive: If at all possible. Finding parking is the worst, and getting pulled over for sampling one too many wines is not cool. Get a DD, call a cab, find an Uber or Lyft driver. There are options.
6. Pack an emergency kit: Travel size toiletries are my jam. For events where I'll be sampling loads of food, I like to pack an antacid of sorts, an extra napkin or two (yes, seriously), hand sanitizer and napkins in case I run into any sticky situations. Attending Burgers, BBQ & Beer? Lather on that sunscreen.
7. Hydrate: Culinaria means "so much wine" in Spanish. OK, it doesn't. But, it does mean wine, cocktails and beer and wine and cocktails and beer. Did I mention wine? Even if your safe ride home is locked down, make sure to hydrate so you're not a hot mess. There's water stations everywhere. You'll thank me in the morning.