It’s a weekend where lines are drawn and taste buds are put to the ultimate challenge. Are you all about the sizzle, flame and the fire? Or do you savor the flavors of the summer’s earthy bounty?
On Saturday, two top-notch events take place concurrently: The Wine Country Big Q, the area’s first Kansas City-sanctioned barbecue competition and Kendall Jackson’s 15th Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival.
Not sure which side you’re on? In one corner is a smokin’ hot event that’ll satisfy the most carnivorous of carnivores. In it’s debut year, the Big Q features pitmasters from throughout the nation competing for $7,500 in prize money, along with a number of Sonoma County wineries showcasing their wines (and meat skills as well). Heading up on of the local teams is Ray Lampe, best know as Dr. BBQ, who will lead the Tex Wasabi’s All-Star barbecue team. The $45 ticket price includes a pound of meat samples, wine tasting and live music from 1-5pm at Sonoma Academy.
In the other corner, is the veteran Wine Event considered by many to be the ultimate gastro-fest of the year: Kendall Jackson’s Heirloom Tomato Festival. Having harvested nearly 100 tasty varieties of tomatoes in every color of the rainbow is merely an excuse to gather the region’s top chefs to showcase their favorite tomato-inspired recipes. During the event, plenty of wine will flow and a panel of intrepid judges (Doug Keane of Cyrus, Jeff Mall of Zin Restaurant and uh, me) will be pressed into service to select the ultimate chef during the 2011 Chef’s Challenge (featuring several Top Chef contestants). The only bad news? The event is sold out to the public. But never fear, there’s hope!
Biteclub is giving away TWO tickets to the Wine Country Big Q and TWO tickets to the Heirloom Tomato Festival to TWO lucky winners. Make your case for who reigns supreme — barbecue or tasty tomatoes. The best carnivore wins the BBQ tickets. The most convincing tomato-lover gets the Tomato Fest tickets. ENTER QUICK, CONTEST ENDS THURSDAY at 5PM. Full rules
Psst: Neither of these events up your alley? Check out Beer History, Styles and a Sensory Survey on Sept. 10 from 3-6pm at Laguna Farm in Sebastopol. This is a taste-bud driven tour of the beer universe, beer styles, chemistry and a blindfolded tasting competition! Email registration required firstname.lastname@example.org/$45.
Leave your comments below. Good luck!