See that picture? That's only a quarter of the room. Or less. Now imagine that stretching in all those directions. With food and drink booths all the way around. And in the middle. There were only a few booths in the middle, but there was still plenty of room for silent auction tables, and tables for people to sit down for a minute or two to catch their breath, talk a little with friends or digest for a minute.
All the hotels had beautiful presentations. Moody Gardens has some wonderful watermelon carvers, who also make parrots out of squash and sweet potatoes. They also had fish carved out of sweet potatoes and some other things I couldn't figure out what they'd used. But I didn't post the picture of the carved vegetable fish. (The coral was carved out of potatoes. Just regular old potatoes that turned brown creatively to make them look more like coral and sponges.) When I took the picture of the fish, the waiters who were standing there ducked out of the way and made my picture look all blurry. Oh well. (I can't figure out how to get rid of the big gap here, so you're just going to have to live with it.)
Then there was the display of fish and shrimp and crabs (with bell pepper flowers) that Fisherman's Wharf had. I thought it was gorgeous. But then anything with seafood is gorgeous, IMO.
The food was fabulous. The booths had little tiny servings, and I ate till I was filled to my eyeballs. I tried to keep up with the fella, who eats shockingly fast, which wasn't smart. We had crab cakes and shrimp with watermelon gazpacho and salad (Fisherman's Wharf had a salad with fresh lump crab, shrimp and...something else) and in all kinds of sauces.
We had shortribs with polenta and prime rib with a tiny scoop of garlic mashed potatoes. I ate a raspberry chipotle olive pizza, and a smoked chicken salad sandwich (out of this world) with a slice of pork tenderloin with a spicy apple barbecue sauce from Capital Q Barbecue.
I had an Asian chicken salad from the Mosquito Cafe, and a fruit skewer from Southern Produce. That was really good, and I should have gone back for another... The fella ate sushi from the Sky Bar, and I got gumbo from the Gumbo Bar (I think they're owned by the same people). I also got some crawfish etouffee from... Hmm. Don't remember. But it was good. And they also had red beans and rice.
They also had bibs, because it was really hard to hold a cup and a little plate, and try to eat off it. But I couldn't get the bib to stay up, so I got barbecue sauce on me. Ah well. Oh--and desserts! There were biscotti and cupcakes and pumpkin bars and cookies and this mini-volcano thing from the Rainforest Cafe that was ice cream in the middle, brownies around it (as rocks) and caramel and chocolate sauce dribbled down the sides. DEElicious.
I tried to keep up with the fella, who eats lickety-split, and I hurt myself eating too fast. I did slow down after the first or second booth. There was plenty of food, and it was all good.
I AM writing. Or revising. That's all good too. Also, I don't have to run my genre-review column by the editor before putting it in the paper any more. It's all good.