Weekend Adventures: The Gilroy Garlic Festival

August 1, 2011

This weekend, after making banana bread (lots of banana bread and two recipes tomorrow) for my cousins and sister coming to visit, we checked out the local 33rd Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. Despite living in only about 45 minutes away for the last 4 years, I have still never been before.

More Banana Bread recipes tomorrow!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE garlic. Raw, roasted, juiced (ooooh yeah! It’s good), diced, sauteed, crushed, baked, garlic on everything. I love it. So when my cousins wanted to come visit and go to the festival, I was definitely ready check out the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

I guess the festival would have been worth going to except it turned out it wasn’t. It was fun to be with my cousins and to finally say that I’ve gone to the Garlic Festival, but in reality, the pictures were the best part of the whole event.

To get into the festival it was $17 a person. Not only is that a LOT of money to attend a community event, but nothing was included in this price except for one entrance. There were no samples of foods, garlic memorabilia, anything free. I take that back, we did get a sample of mini vanilla-garlic ice cream cones, but that was it.

Speaking of garlic ice cream, it was delicious. But that, sadly, was the only thing that was tasty.

I’m not a cheap person but I am someone who would like my money’s worth of what I pay for. This was just not it. $17 to enter the festival, $6 for beer or wine (small cups), $5-7 for anything food related, regardless of how small or large the serving, $6 for a bottle of water.

I could see having to pay more for the food for a cheaper entrance fee but come on, that’s just a rip off. We didn’t even find much in the way of garlicy food items, which was disappointing. I mean, there were garlic fries, garlic bread, garlic shrimp and such, but there were more food choices without garlic in any part of the dish.

We ended up trying garlic-battered frog legs and roasted kangaroo (had to try the most exotic thing there). Again, 3 TINY pieces of chewy, overcooked, unsalted and lacking flavor kangaroo for $5.

I got some scampy which would have been good if it were salted at all or if the calamari included in the tiny bowl wasn’t tough as a shoe. Literally. Again, disappointing.

There were some cooking demos and garlic cook-off shows throughout the weekend, which probably were good (we didn’t see any). There were local vendors showing off their cooking skills and culinarily flame-throwing, which was pretty cool… um,very hot… but overall, I would have rather spent the time (and money) barbequing by my pool.

I think I’m a food snob now. Being able to cook and bake the way I like with the flavors and textures I enjoy has kind of made me look at food differently, enjoy it differently, taste it differently. I almost like making my own food better than going out to eat now… depending on the restaurant.

Anyone else feel this way? For those of you who like to cook, are you finding yourself critiquing your meals? Ug, the curse of cooking well…

Enough of the downer post, have a wonderful day! Happy Monday! Are you ready for your week??? Are you ready for more banana bread recipes? Two, actually… And I was told that they are the best tasting banana bread ever. Just saying…

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne August 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

DAMN! I could have used a buddy in Santa Barbara, too… 🙁

Reply

Abbey August 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Too bad the prices on the garlic festival is that high. It is a well advertise event but if this how it goes out I think I’ll decline a request to go there..

Reply

Chuck August 1, 2011 at 10:14 PM

I’ve seen this on Travel channel and Food Network and really want to go! And those are some crucial flames. How as the kangaroo? Doesn’t sound like the cooked it very well?

Reply

Natalie @ cinnamon bums August 1, 2011 at 8:55 PM

whoops, the pictures make it look like you had an awesome time, but i just re-read your post and i’m sorry that you had a bad time =( did you try the garlic fries by chance? i heard those are good!

there are a couple garlic-based italian restaurants in SF that i’ve heard are pretty awesome though!

Reply

Natalie @ cinnamon bums August 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

i used to always go shopping at the gilroy outlets!! every year i say i’ll go to the garlic festival but never make it! my friends have gone though and have loved it! looks like you had an awesome time tooo. i love roasted garlic so so so much!

Reply

teabag August 1, 2011 at 6:05 PM

i totally know what you mean in being your own worst enemy when it comes to enjoying food. i know what i like & i know how to make it so when i get a disappointing dish, i get super annoyed! also, you & i are alike in our passion to try new things. i would’ve gone straight for that kangaroo, too! 🙂 but it’s so disappointing when you pay for an experience and end up getting the same (or worse) than what you can get at home!

Reply

amy@healthyhungryhappy.com August 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

when i lived in northern cali i used to go by gilroy all the time and get garlic ice cream…it was pretty good actually!

Reply

Callie {Rawxy} August 1, 2011 at 1:39 PM

haha – You’re funny! I’m not a huge fan of garlic – I mean, I’ll use a little bit to flavor stuff (which is a new thing for me), but for the most part, I dislike any food thats flavor stays in my mouth for an extended period of time 🙂 Although, I could probably get down at a garlic festival and just deal with the aftertaste for a day (or two, ha)!

Reply

Ela August 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM

I never went to the Garlic Festival when I lived in the Bay Area, and now I’m glad I didn’t–wouldn’t’ve been my scene at all–but I love the photos!

But I did used to get a kick out of driving down past Gilroy and smelling the garlic for miles before and after 😉

Reply

Ally @ Sweet & Savory August 1, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I’ve seen specials about this garlic festival on TV – how fun! I would have loved to try their pasta sauce:)

Reply

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan August 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM

I’ve seen that festival on Food Network and always wanted to go! I am a garlic freak too. But that sucks it was so expensive and possibly not really worth it 🙁

Reply

Katie August 1, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Totally not ready for the week, but hoping your recipes make it easier. 😀

Too bad about the festival. I hate when that happens. On another note though – garlic ice cream?!>!? I dont’ know about that…

Reply

Shanna, Like Banana August 1, 2011 at 8:04 AM

What a bummer! I still have never been to the Gilroy Garlic Fest and was wanting to go, but now that I read this, it sounds like it’s not worth it. Live and learn right?

Reply

Alisa Fleming August 1, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Wow, I went to the gilroy garlic festival about 15 years ago, and it wasn’t much better then. Someone’s raking it in on admissions and charging vendors I think.

Reply

Alexandra August 1, 2011 at 5:44 AM

That looks like so much fun!! And I’m impressed you tried that garlic ice cream, I’d be way to freaked out haha 😀

Reply

Kelly August 1, 2011 at 5:27 AM

Wow…that is expensive!!

Reply

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli August 1, 2011 at 5:23 AM

What a bummer! SIX DOLLARS for a bottle of water?! Wth?! That’s pure crazy talk! On a brighter note, I love all the pics…especially the close up one of you! You at least LOOK like you were having fun! Haha! And garlic PB cups? Hmm, interesting!

I’ve gotten to be a bit of a snob too. It seems the more I learn my way around my kitchen and experiment with new foods, the less of a desire I have to go out and pay for something sub par. Of course, sometimes, I tend to disappoint myself. Like the other day when I whipped up a batch of bean and mushroom burgers for dinner with a friend and they turned out waaaaaaay underseasoned! Boo! Well, at least there’s always sriracha! 😉

That banana bread looks INSANE!! Can’t wait to see the recipeS!!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: