Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and are looking forward to everything 2011 has to offer…I know I am!
I am currently sitting in Pasadena, California, snuggled up in a Hokie sweatshirt, after a short walk from a local sports bar where we rooted for the local Virginia Tech boys in the Orange Bowl. Kind of disappointing, but still a good time with some great food and friends even though the Hokies lost!
In case you are wondering WHY I am sitting in Pasadena, then let me fill you in. A couple of months ago, thanks to the help of my fantastic readers, and friends, and family – I won the Hass Avocado Tailgating Recipe Contest. The prize? A 5 day trip to the Rose Bowl for 4. So, I have been living it up in California since Friday, taking in all there is to offer.
The festivities began in Old Town Pasadena, where we were treated to Grandstand Seating to view the Rose Parade.
It was amazing! It’s one thing to watch it on television, but quite another to see it up close and personal. The craftsmanship is unbelievable! What you REALLY don’t see on TV is this – crazy parade fans who camp out ON THE STREET for 2 days just to watch it. Really. Cots. Air mattresses, campfires, grills. Children and blankets and card games. Lined up in every square inch of sidewalk all night long prior to the start of the parade. I had no idea! It looked like a convention of well prepared homeless people in pajama jeans and knee boots. And truth be told, it also looked kinda fun. Camping with access to Starbucks? Sure, why not!
In case you didn’t watch, Paula Deen was the Grand Marshal of the parade. That means she rode in an antique car and waved at everyone. Her teeth have got to be the brightest thing in Pasadena. They glowed from 50 feet away! But she had the wave down, and I feel sure she was saying Howdy Y’all for 72 blocks…and she did look quite pretty.
While all of the floats were pretty amazing, one of my favorites had to be the Dole float. Of course, I am biased, as I love working with Dole, thanks to the Dole Summit. But the float was beautiful. Hawaiian inspired and bursting with color…just gorgeous.
After the parade, we were bussed over to the Hospitality Campus at the Rose Bowl. It was a special tailgating area with big tents and sponsors set up – like ESPN, EA Sports, and even Jelly Belly. We were treated to an open bar and a yummy buffet, and then we set out to see what else was going on around the Campus.
Of course my sister and I were drawn to the candy…Jelly Belly. We checked out the Jelly Belly mosaic art of Ronald Reagan, and shoved as many packets of candy in our pockets as we could without falling down from the weight of them and took a small sample of candy for the game. It was there that Jon started chatting it up with an older gentleman that had approached him because we were wearing Hokie clothing. Turns out, he had made a bet with his wife’s boss concerning the Orange Bowl…and then his wife’s boss came over. It was the President of Jelly Belly! He’s a Hokie! So, while nothing is official at this point, let’s just say some business cards were exchanged and you should expect to see some Jelly Belly’s making appearances here in the future! How crazy is that??
After the tailgating it was time to make our way into the game, where we had fabulous seats and we cheered on the TCU Horned Frogs…who won! It was an exciting game and a true bucket list type of experience that I will never forget.
Since then, we’ve been eating a lot and trying to get out a bit and see what there is to see. However, the rain has been falling pretty heavy, so the sightseeing has been limited. We did make it over to the Santa Monica Pier. Just like the movies, folks! We spent a little time there walking around, and then I kicked Jon’s butt at Guitar Hero in the arcade. Good times!
From there we drove through Beverly Hills and Rodeo drive, and eventually made our way to Joan’s on Third, a cute bakery that Jenny from Picky Palate recommended. Spot on! I really enjoyed the Cloud Cupcake and the Snickers Cupcake. I full intend to recreate those in my own kitchen when I get home! Besides, I’ve been dying to make high hats anyway…now I have a great reason!
After the snackfest, we took off to downtown Hollywood, but the rain was just unbearable so we returned to the driving tour of fabulous homes and eating…what a great experience!
So, wish me luck on getting home tomorrow…the flight is overbooked so who knows if we will make it!
Until next time…Happy New Year and I’ll see you soon with some wonderful new recipes! And please, check out my new site where I follow the Official Foods of the Day – it’s 365 Days of AMAZING foods with recipes, history, and fun!