Because of the great time we had on our glamping adventure in the Venza last year, our friends at Toyota asked us to come to their big unveiling of the all new 2014 Corolla. This was to be quite an event, with performance art group Fuerza Bruta providing the entertainment, and Top Chef: All-Stars champion Richard Blais in charge of the food.
With no idea what to expect, but a big dose of curiosity about what happens at an extravaganza like this, we immediately accepted the invitation.
Seemed like something a GypsyNester might like to get a peek behind the scenes at, but we felt a bit like fish out of water as we entered the enormous Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport.
The huge hanger had been transformed into something akin to a car museum, displaying pristine Corolla models from the past fifty years, crossed with a nightclub, filled with flashing lights, techno music, and some sort of translucent cubes suspended from the rafters.
Bars scattered throughout caught our eyes, since their tenders were busily stirring stainless steel bowls of what looked to be some kind of witches brew.
Clouds of what appeared to be dry ice fog were swirling and catching the colored lights. Of course we inquired, and the answer came back -- liquid nitrogen margaritas.
Pouring the negative 300 degree liquid into the margarita mixture flash freezes everything as the nitrogen evaporates off, leaving an amazingly smooth slush.
The method is used in molecular gastronomy, the science of food preparation, something that Chef Blais often incorporates into his creations.
WATCH: Your GypsyNesters interview Chef Richard Blais about food, family and liquid nitrogen!
Armed with our nitro-cocktails we were ready to make the scene, and next thing we knew people were defying gravity inside the suspended boxes using an innovative mix of dance and gymnastics. Fuerza Bruta had begun. At times it felt a little reminiscent of the old go-go dancer cages back in the sixties... extremely modernized.
While our attention was directed upwards, buffet tables in each corner began serving dishes showcasing Chef Blais' interesting variations on some traditional Southern and Mexican fare, such as licorice grits and rock shrimp tamales. We tried a little of everything, ribs, guacamole, kale coleslaw, all the while trying to figure out where the actual unveiling of the new Corolla would occur.
We thought we must be onto something when a giant curtain bisecting the room began to open, but alas, the new space was empty. Somehow everybody instinctively knew to fill the space in and we walked, mystified, into a huge empty room. That's when Fuerza Bruta kicked it up a notch.
WATCH: The wildest performance art you'll ever see!
One whole wall was covered with a shimmering silver screen and two performers once again defied gravity as they ran, jumped, and tumbled across it perfectly perpendicular to the wall, parallel to the floor. But this was also serving as a distraction, because a final surprise was in store.
We noticed a clear sheet of plastic, stretched drum-tight, overhead and covered with a thin film of water. This became the canvas for the troupe's pièce de résistance.
Instantly four dancers splashed and frolicked while it was lowered to just inches above our heads.
As the music pounded, colored lights caught the waves and shot prisms off the droplets flying from the gymnastic gyrations.
Truly a sensory overload.
The building of excitement in the room was superb because before anyone could catch their breath somehow, out of nowhere, a sleek, red 2014 Corolla was lowering down from above. Then her blue, silver, and white comrades came in from the sides. What an entrance.
It is not very often that a successful car model gets a significant makeover, but this was certainly not the same old Corolla.
Having driven the 2013 version, we could tell that as soon as we saw it, and even more so once we sat behind the wheel. We may not be car connoisseurs, but we know groovy when we see it.
Once things had settled down we noticed the food tables had been transformed into dessert stations. Like any good Top Chef, Chef Blais can throw down some pretty serious sweets.
Before the evening ended we got a chance to speak with him, and try one more of his creations, liquid nitrogen blueberries and cream. He was great, fun and personable.
But then he has to be to get noticed around his phenomenal desserts.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
Toyota may have invited us to this event, but, as always, all opinions are our own.
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