Last weekend, I was invited to cover Mohegan Sun's first annual "Sun BBQ Fest." The three-day festival featured live bands, cooking demonstrations, a rib-eating contest, and plenty of saucy BBQ from some of the nation's best. Talk about one protein-packed, finger lickin' good, hell of a fun time!
When I received my invitation, I was elated. Who better than me, a displaced Southerner, to attend a BBQ festival? I mean, come on, let's be honest here, y'all: While I may live in Yankee territory, I am a Texan by birth and at heart.
Mohegan Sun was generous enough to "and guest" me, meaning that I could invite a side-kick. Without hesitation, I asked my fellow Texpat, Cathryn, to tag along.
Friday, June 1st
The two of us could not stop laughing, gawking, texting our friends, and snapping pictures of the car's interior and ourselves. I'm pretty sure the driver wanted to kill us...
By the time we arrived and checked-in to the hotel, it was about 10pm. The two of us were famished and in desperate need of a cocktail, so we headed downstairs. Instead of reading every menu at each of the property's 40 restaurants, we put our indecisive ways aside and settled on Bar Americain.
Obviously, I got the party started with a margarita. And a mighty tasty one, at that. For my entree, I chose the "Gulf Shrimp & Grits, Bacon, Green Onions, Garlic." I could have eaten two more portions but, instead, I chose to fill up on the contents of our bread basket: Delicious, warm jalapeno cornbread and fluffy Parker House rolls.
By midnight, Cathryn and I were sound asleep.
Saturday, June 2nd
I had my alarm set for 8:30am, as media check-in was to begin at 10am (the event was slated to commence at 11am). When I reached over to the silence the beeping, I checked my email and was startled to learn that, due to the rainy forecast, the Festival would not start until 3pm! Cathryn and I ended up going back to sleep until 12:30pm - something that, admittedly, I have not done since college!
After getting ready for the day and perusing some of the hotel's shops, it was time to check-in for the Festival.
The Festival was held in one of the hotel's outdoor parking lots. And, luckily, by 3pm, the rain had finally decided to take a little break.
After stuffing ourselves silly with champagne, baby-backs, and BBQ sandwiches, Cathryn and I were thrilled to learn that there would be a rib-eating contest at 4pm! Hey, there's nothing better than watching someone (...other than yourself) binge eat!
It was about this point in the contest when I felt a vibration in my purse. Just as I was looking down to see who had called me, I heard something splatter on the stage. Then, I inhaled "the whiff." That's right, one of the contestants had PROJECTILE VOMITED on stage and, because of my close proximity, I was assaulted by chunks. On my jacket. On my purse. On my cheek. "Damn it," I squealed to Cathryn, "did this idiot not learn ANY drinking etiquette in high school or college? Geez. I thought EVERYONE knew to yack down and not up/across! Jerk."
After the 12-minute rib-eating contest had finished, a winner was crowned: Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, the world-famous competitive eater, took first place! And, among all men, it was the adorable WOMAN who came in a close second!
After changing in to different clothes and scrubbing puke off of my purse, Cathryn and I enjoyed our last evening at the hotel over wine and, even more, food at Ballo.
Sunday, June 3rd
Because I had to be back in the city for a dance recital, Cathryn and I headed home on a 10:30am train. It was during this nearly 3-hour ride in the "quiet car" that I was able to reflect on what I had experienced and learned over the weekend:
- If you have plans to visit the Mohegan Sun, request a non-smoking (that is, if you do not smoke and/or enjoy the smell) room on a high floor. The views are really quite lovely.
- The shops and restaurants at Mohegan Sun stay open later than those at the Wynn Las Vegas. What the hell is that all about? Vegas needs to step it up.
- Always have cash on-hand to tip a driver, bell boy, maid, etc.
- Texas BBQ kicks Tennessee BBQ's ass!!
- Nothing is impossible: A short, 90-pound woman can eat more than a man. Even if the man in question is obese.
- Always bring snacks aboard a train. The cafe-car line can get redonkulously long. And annoying.
- Carry hand sanitizer. And antibacterial wipes. Always. Because YOU NEVER KNOW what's going to happen!
- Never sit within 10-feet of the competitors at a food-eating contest.
- Apparently, being shat-on by a bird is good luck. How about getting puked on? Seriously, does anyone know the answer?
Cathryn and I had a fantastic time at Mohegan Sun's "Sun BBQ Fest." I hope to return again next year!
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle