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The Tomatoes take over Las Vegas!

Posted April 11, 2011 @ 4:18pm | by Anne

Vegas is like Bacon:

Going to Vegas, in the abstract, somehow always manages to seem to me like the Most Awesome Idea Ever. Like getting a puppy, or cooking bacon. That type of Awesome.

I'm not sure why this is, because I already know that after a few days The Most Awesome Idea Ever inevitably transforms into Really Exhausted, Overwhelmed and Broke. I Do know this. I could have just stayed home and cooked bacon. But then something comes along that happens to be in Vegas and like a good amnesiac I get super stoked to go, imagining that the bright lights, crowded restaurants and billowing cigarette smoke is going to be really fun this time. And i'm actually going to come back with some money.

This year; The 'Thing that Happens to be in Vegas' was the International Pizza Trade Show. Yeah, there is a trade show for that. We, Jen and Anne (the Tomatoes) had never been to this trade show, and after close to 6 years of owning a pizzeria, figured it might be a good idea to go. Plus we were invited for free, and 'free' in Vegas is such an anomaly that we just had to say yes.

We'd both been to trade shows in Vegas before. Interbike, which for those non bikers out there is the yearly bicycle industry trade show for dealers and industry peeps, happens there. We'd been, and we were pros at this.

Having only had experience being around the type of folks who go to Interbike, I expected the same out of the pizza show.

Interbike just oozes 'coolness,' it's palpable. Like you rounded up every cool kid on the block, gave them a PBR cycling cap and sent them on their way.

'coolness', and facial hair. 

Yeah, bikers are cool. Too cool. When you are the type of person that gets really excited about shiny things?; maybe not so cool.

I was fully expecting this trade show to be the pizza version of this. We prepared our best 'unaffected' routines, and drove to Vegas.

Fitting in in Las Vegas;

The first thing I always notice when I arrive in Las Vegas is how gloriously unfashionable we both really are. I can pull it off in Fruita, where sweatpants are perfectly acceptable everyday wear, but throw us into the mix of the uber-stylish and we look like someone plucked us directly out of some midwest farm town and dropped us off at Paris Fashion Week. And that's even in our best North Face wear.

Oh yeah, and Valet parking? Kind of embarrassing when your truck smells like wet dog. OK in Colorado, not in Vegas. 

(inspired by true events)

The other thing that immediately strikes me when I go to Vegas is how completely out of sync our internal time clocks are with about anything else that happens in that city. 

Us, vs. the Entire Rest of the City.

Two nights into our stay, one of us accidentally hit the 'on' button on the alarm clock. It went off at 10:30pm. It woke us up. We were both like "WTF!! what time is it? 5am??" No, it was 10:30 at night, and we were asleep. The occupant before us had probably set it to wake up and get ready to go out for the evening, but not us, we were pissed.

On the flip side though, when you sleep like we do, the entire city of Las Vegas feels under your domain, but only at 6:00 in the morning.....

That was every single night. We might possibly have been the only people in Vegas who managed to keep up that rigorous sleep schedule.

About the Show:

What's a pizza trade show all about.

Pizza trade shows involve Italians, lot's of them. There's like a Gazillion Italians everywhere. How can you tell? because they are all dressed in black silk shirts and gesticulating wildly with their hands. I'm not kidding. This makes walking around the show a little bit dangerous if you're short.

I'm not sure if there is some "Rent-an-Italian-for-the-Weekend" sort of service out there but all of a sudden every single product available had connections to a real live Italian, even the stuff like frozen chicken fingers. Italians wouldn't touch that.

The plus side to every product having an Italian is that they want to feed you. Everyone there wanted to feed us, and if you avoided the things like frozen chicken fingers and went instead to a tour of the flour, tomato sauce and cheese booths? You were set for the day with all the fresh mozzarella, and Neapolitan pizza you could hope for. Stanislaus tomatoes did a particularly good job at it, and even jaded trade show pros like us, people who knew better, got so instantly sucked into the whole charade that we could have spent the better part of the day just sitting at their booth, being fed, by rental Italians.

And that was the big thing that struck me about the difference between a food trade show and a bicycle trade show; everyone got sucked in. I didn't meet a single 'too cool', 'jaded' type of restaurant owner in the whole show. It's like the entire food industry has this just earnest, sincerity about them. (at least the ones that frequent trade shows) Like we'd all just come from a Garrison Keilor convention. It was disarming, and also, actually, really refreshing. People were really into pizza.  

You go in expecting to be all cool and unaffected and you come out feeling all warm and fuzzy about humanity and carbohydrates. Go figure.

So, that was our Vegas trip in a nutshell. Lot's of sleep, and lot's of pizza. 

Will we go again? Yes, most definitely. And next time we might bring some Italians with us.

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