GOT YOUR FRIEND'S BACK: There doesn't have to be a lot of lead-up discussion and negotiation before attending a food festival with one of your edible-loving friends. You both just get in the car or hop the bus, get off, eat eat eat, comment comment comment, share share share, sip sip sip, rest rest rest, and then you leave. You probably like most of the stuff you sample, a few things not so much, goodnight, and thank you very much. But the Gilroy Garlic Festival? This kooky culinary favorite is a whole other ball of wax, or clove of garlic, if you prefer. There's got to be a lot of friend-type discussion in the days ahead of the late July food party, including questions such as "how stink-a-riffic do we want to get?" and "how many cloves can you consume?" and "is this the year for garlic ice cream?" The answers, in our good opinion? Yes, several, definitely. But it isn't a stretch to say that when it comes to consuming garlic -- a lot of garlic over a short period -- that everyone in a group should probably be on board and participating. And groups of garlicists shall descend upon the fragrant festival grounds from Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27 with the sole purpose of grubbin' it up on Gourmet Alley.
AH, GOURMET ALLEY: That food-packed festival favorite, the place to savor scampi and burgers and pasta and anything a clove of garlic can better (so, most things). If you want to try a little of everything and save a few bucks doing so, best jump on the Gourmet Alley Combo Plate. Nope, you don't have to wait to nab a ticket, either. They're currently priced at $31 -- a deal, for the goodly amount of garlicky eats you'll get -- but that price jumps to $35 at the fest. Why not put that saved four bucks toward a cold drink? You'll need it, and how. Fiery-bliss mouth is just one of the byproducts of a festival visit, and something you can brag about with friends on the way home. Yep, the Garlic Festival definitely has an air of friendly one-up-manship, in the eating department.