Thursday, January 20, 2005

Pleasant Pleasures

I waited a day to reflect on Tuesday's party because initially everything I thought of saying sounded like some drippy food critic at a small town weekly trying to seem sophisticated as she oohed and ahhed over the Dairy Queen's newest burger offering.

Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but I was tired and the prose I was concocting in no way measured up to the concoctions that made their way from my kitchen on that glorious night and into the bellies of some of my favorite people. Today, my apartment has been restored to its original state, coffee and wine stains have been bleached away, and with a clear and unfoggy head I can proclaim, "Damn, that was a good party!" (Ok, so now you know I've totally given up on sounding sophisticated.)

I'm not going to recap the whole evening because, really, you'd only wish you'd participated and then I'd have to feel guilty about not inviting all of you and I am not going to sully this experience with guilt. But I will offer a few morsels . . .

I gave of myself for this event. Helping R&R out prior to the guests arrival, I showed yet again why I am not the next Martha Stewart as I grated both my knuckles and the carrots for one of the three salads that later exploded with flavor as they hit my tongue (more than making up for the fact that I was dining with a Tweety Bird band-aid wrapped around my middle finger . . . obviously I was selective about who I showed said band-aid to).

The initial solemnity of the crowd amused me. They walked into the candlelit room quietly and met R&R as gracious guests, listening intently as our experts set forth the idea for the evening and introduced the first sparkling wine. I kept wondering when someone was going to laugh because such seriousness is not customary for us. Soon I had my answer as we sat at our assigned seats and comfortability had guests harrassing one or more of the Rs at the same time they dished out both sarcasm & the courses.

Questions flowed as easily as the wine and soon conversations were overlapping, seats were switched and switched again. One person helped out with the food prep, others took turns with clean up after each course. A definite party atmosphere prevailed.

At one point, B declared, "The gauntlet is down. You've raised the bar for our get-togethers. The challenge is on." I look forward to see what he comes up with, 'cause frankly, I'm not sure we could surpass this one!

My surprise of the evening was the root puree. We might call it "mashed potatoes" back in Tennessee but there were lots of other roots in there and they packed a wallop in every forkful. The salads proved that you cannot go wrong with fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice. They simply tantalize. The shrimp dish was rather mild but the beef and its accompanying rosemary simply sang a symphony for our nostrils and our tastebuds. Wow! And I'm not a big beef eater.

I'm not on my way to being any kind of wine critic but I did learn quite a bit Tuesday evening. I'm thinking two, three, four or more of these events and I may even sound knowledgeable when the next waiter hands me one of those 30 page wine lists we get in Houston restaurants. And then again there's always the house white!

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