Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Feast: A Fulfilling Start to 2014

Men in Plaid: Billy, me, Mark, and Will as we happened to be seated at last night's First Feast.  The theme was Mediterranean, not plaid.  That part was happy coincidence.
Last night marked the annual First Feast gathering for Jennifer and me and our 'Dillo friends.  A lucky 13 gathered for the usual assortment of fine dining, drinking, music, and (often zany) conversation. This year's event featured a Mediterranean theme. Food highlights included more appetizers than I can recall but personally I was drawn to Jennifer's wonderful dates stuffed the goat cheese along with a plethora of various types of olives brought by different people.

The main course was a combination of "sea bass" (broiled snapper) and a lamb roast recipe. The accompaniments were superb. There was an excellent arugula salad and some awesome mashed potatoes along with several other excellent choices. Too many different kinds of wines to remember. Topped off by gelato and a decadent chocolate mousse with strong French-pressed coffee. Everything was up to typical First Feast standards, which is to say bordering on exquisite and excessive.

After dinner Will entertained us with rather spontaneous readings in outlandish style of various short poems and limericks he found in an old college literature book of Eileen's. Music for the evening was eclectic, of course.  It ranged from Mozart's Clarinet Concerto to John Adams' String Quartet to some wonderful Django Reinhardt with Stephan Grappelli that Will brought to newer stuff Clint turned us on to by The Giving Tree Band to The Grateful Dead to Neil Young to a recently released CD Mark owns of a live performance of Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (namesake of my blog) for the BBC from 1974. Diane proclaimed it was the "best version ever" of that beloved record.  Mix all that up and you get some idea of how wide-ranging a 'Dillo gathering usually is.

There were discussions of various travel options for later in the year.  Many 'Dillos feel the urge to go to Swain Cabin. Clint is planning to go on monthly camping trips to north Georgia and North Carolina when the weather warms up a bit. There is another trip to Cumberland Island already set up for March.

I talked at length with Billy about his first full studio Brazilian-tinged album that he is putting the finishing touches on at the moment.  He has been working recently with some outstanding talent from New York and is very pleased with the results.  He hopes to actually do some live gigs later in the year as long as it doesn't interfere with his day job of practicing law. Speaking of finishing touches, Brian showed me some photos of the newly completed skyline ceiling and lighting in his remodeled living room, a project that has been in the works for years.  He is excited about finally getting that part of his home project completed and move on to plans for his basement renovation.

Jeffrey joined me and Jennifer for the trip into Atlanta. It was great seeing him again and we got caught up on his doings, both work wise and at home. Jennifer keeps up with him on Facebook and shares certain of his postings with me but I haven't had a chance to mingle with him in awhile. He is feeling pretty good about himself, losing some weight and cutting down on his smoking. It occurred to Will and I during dinner that my association with Jeffrey might be the oldest of all 'Dillo connections, though Brian and Clint go a long way back as well.  I think Jeffrey and I have them beat by a couple of years, our friendship dating back to my freshman year of college in 1977.

Great food, great fun with long-time friends helped to get 2014 off to a friendly and fulfilling start. Which is what First Feast is all about.

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