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The A.V. Club visits the N.R.A. (not that N.R.A.)

The National Restaurant Association holds its unbelievably massive convention in Chicago every year, and because we are serious journalists, we've attended the last few. Or maybe it's not because we're serious journalists, but rather we can't resist the allure of what amounts to free-sample day at the grocery store times a thousand. Food-service and hospitality companies from all over converge on McCormick Place to hawk their wares, demonstrate their products, and sell, sell, sell. It's our second-favorite convention of the year, just behind the annual Sweets & Snacks Expo, which starts at McCormick Place tomorrow. (Much more on that in the days to come.) At the N.R.A. show, Genevieve and I wandered around for a few hours, taking in just a fraction of the displays on offer. We saw everything from a company called DICK that makes cutlery (I think) to a killer new Coke machine that allows you to mix up a kajillion different varieties. (Okay, it's more like 100.) We ate hot dogs and cheesecake and stayed mostly away from the gluten-free booths. For the first time, we ventured into the neighboring International Wine, Beer, and Spirits Event, where we picked up at least one item that will be Taste Tested in the coming weeks. (And yes, we realize this thing sounds like Homer Simpson's wet dream--bacon and beer, all lined up for the taking.) We didn't stick around for any of the speakers (the keynote was delivered by Charlie Rose!), but rest assured we'll be back next year. Anyway, we'll save the super-sized write-ups for the candy convention later in the week, but in the meantime, here's a little bit of video, shot on my new FlipCam.