Cousin-in-law Lynne turns 50 this week and her friends gathered to throw her a surprise dinner party. Fortunately, Jason and I were invited. The only actual relatives in the room - I'm not quite sure how and why we scored above other worthy and fun relatives, but I'm grateful none the less.
Many of the guests, (18) were familiar to me because of our camping trip this summer. It took me a while to figure out who everyone was, people look so different with their hair done and their clothes on. (GET MIND OUT OF GUTTER! I'm referring to party clothes vs. shorts and bathing suits.)
The party was held in the home of a friend, and this couple loves to entertain. Cooking for Teresa is a sport and frankly, she's great at it. She pulled off a six course dinner, paired with a fabulous wine with what seemed like little effort. That isn't the case, as I learned throughout the evening, but it appeared effortless. The post cheese/champagne appetizer hour was followed by a shrimp salad with an orange/grand mariner reduction dressing that took over 9 hours to create.
A hot carrot soup was our next course and may I say that for a food that sounds like baby food it was spectacular. Sadly, before Jason had a chance to dip his spoon into the spicy yet sweet soup a crane fly got there first. That fly knew when enough was enough and opted to end it all in a glorious and tasty swan dive. A new bowl of soup was quickly dispatched to Jason's seat.
Later in the evening, when a second crane fly went for a swim in Jason's wine our host told him to man up. Scott dipped his fingers into Jason's wine, scooped out the fly and then to my horror ATE IT. Everyone else at the table thought it was funny as hell, but I a) was not drinking and b) am grossed out by people fingering my food and c) would rather my bugs be dipped in chocolate and not wine.
Other courses included a poached pear salad, a mango sorbet palate cleanser, a Fillet Mignon with the most orgasmic mashed potatoes that I have ever wanted to smear on my body and do naughty things with. Until this point in the meal I had been able to savor the plate and not over eat, but it killed me to send my plate back with any meat or potatoes on it. The meal ending (almost ending because there was a box of savory nuts passed out after dessert) creme brule was probably the best I've ever had. I've been afraid to try to make it, but I feel that perhaps it is something I should work on.
After dinner the boys retired to the "garage" for a cigar. This garage is no place for a car, and has essence of man cave - there were a collection plumb bobs, wood working tools and a smattering of built and half built bird houses. There were also three wooden rocking chairs a hand braided rug, a wood stove and some seriously womanly decorations around the stove. It turns out that while the garage is Scott's the home decor that doesn't make it into the house goes outside. There's no need to box it up when there are perfectly good walls to hang them on. It was an inviting space - except for the six manly men smoking cigars. Don't get me wrong, I do like the smell of a cigar, but six together in a mildly well ventilated area was too much for me.
At 1am, I pulled the pregnancy card and gathered up my boozy riders and scooped them back to their homes. My beloved did a great job of staying awake to entertain me on the drive back. (Typically, when I am the boozy passenger I just fall asleep.)
Yesterday, we did make it to church (at 11 instead of our normal 9:30) but other than a brief trek to IKEA (for a baby room item) we were butts on couch all day. I didn't mind, as my 2:30 bedtime was not normal and while I didn't have the added issue of six plus glasses of wine, champagne and then port in my system I too was sluggish and welcomed a pj hangout day.
I do feel badly for ordering Chinese food last night, but there's no following up that meal with home cookin'. Maybe tonight I'll pull something from the freezer and give it a whirl, but it might be a bagged salad and charred meat evening for us.