The Gilroy Garlic Festival is this weekend, and that means it's going to be a very pungent weekend for Gilroy resident Adam Sanchez.
On Saturday, Sanchez will be one of the judges for the Great Garlic Cook-Off, a contest that he won back in 2001 when he was in the car business. He's still only one of three Gilroy residents to win the cook-off in the festival's 35-year history. That win clearly inspired him to switch careers: Today, he owns the historic Milias Restaurant on Monterey Street.
Sanchez also has been invited to compete Sunday in the "Iron Chef"-style Garlic Showdown, a competition for pro chefs with a $5,000 top prize that's being hosted by Carla Hall of ABC's "The Chew."
You might think Sanchez would be ready for a break from the so-called stinking rose after a weekend like that.
SANTA'S HO-HO-HOEDOWN: Without a doubt the most interesting auction item at Saturday night's Christmas in July dinner in downtown San Jose was a kids' playhouse built by volunteers from Xilinx and Habitat for Humanity. But the house had an even more interesting backstory than the hundreds of guests at the Christmas in the Park fundraiser realized.
This year's outdoor dinner at the Circle of Palms was Western-themed, with everyone decked out in cowboy boots and jeans, and the benefit's organizers were expecting the playhouse to fit that theme. But Christmas in the Park Executive Director Jason Minsky told me that when it arrived, it was painted with a superhero theme. Volunteers got out their paint and brushes and gave it an Old West makeover in time for the auction.
Dinner, by the way, was an outstanding barbecue buffet provided by Cosmopolitan Catering with an assist from San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant. Cosmopolitan's Joe Schumaker and Jacob Caputo borrowed a meat smoker from Constant, a barbecue aficionado. The results were so good that I've heard Cosmopolitan's going to invest in its own smoker.
49ERS LEGEND-ARY PARTY: The San Jose Earthquakes will lay claim to having the first sports event at Levi's Stadium on Aug. 2, but the first big event goes to Grammy Award-winning performer John Legend. The R&B singer-songwriter performed on the field at the 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium for a black-tie crowd of VIPs at the Grand Opening Gala on Saturday night.
STYLISH RIDE: My favorite sight this weekend was a Cinderella-style pumpkin coach being led by a pair of horses and costumed drivers through the streets of downtown San Jose on Saturday afternoon. One of the drivers said they were on the way to the quinceañera of one lucky young lady.