Sunday, February 14, 2016

Raw Oysters, Beef Wellington, Decadent Truffle Cake: What's Not To Love?

Never a dearth to drink at First Feast.
If memory serves (which it sometimes doesn't anymore) last night's 'Dillo Friends First Feast event at Mark and Eileen's was the most attended one yet, with the big dining table set for 14.  The event was very eclectic as usual.  Topics of discussion ranged from the discovery of gravitational waves to the death of Anthony Scalia to the politics of Buddhism versus the practice of its teachings to Ted Turner's manically successful life to the shoddy state of the presidential race to the state of the economy as seen from the perspectives of each person's profession to gadgets for home remodeling to how various members of our clan dealt with sleeping difficulties.  

Being a Valentines Day theme the topic of sex came up more than usual, at least in my conversations. We made a pathetic attempt at passing limericks around the table.  As always, we listened to some great music most prominently featuring Joni Mitchell's album Blue.  The jokes were rampant, particularly later in the evening as copious amounts of wine and beer were consumed. Everyone left satisfied, if not satiated, just before midnight.

Brian shucking oysters to the delight of everyone in the chill of the deck.  Fresh and yummy.
The evening began outside with Brian shucking a huge number of amazing fresh raw oysters with various condiments.  I enjoyed mine straight-up. They were delicious and worth savoring even though we were all standing around on the deck in brisk but sunny winter weather scarfing them down.  Other hors d'oeuvres included various cheeses, Pickapeppa sauce, homemade bread and crackers.

There were some new first feast attendees.  Lyle, good friends with Clint for many years, honored us with his interesting stories and perspectives. Jeffery, a Feast veteran, introduced his new squeeze, Linda, to the group.  Will and Denise, Billy, Ron, and Diane rounded out the festive contingent.  I must say sitting between Will and Diane was a hoot.  Both are very humorous in their own way and made my meal all the more entertaining.

The main course was supposed to be served at 7:30 but, in typical 'Dillo fashion, it was more like 8:30. The menu featured Beef Wellington, another wonderful, classic creation of Eileen.  Sides included veggies ranging from quinoa salad to scalloped potatoes, green bean almondine, a wonderful fresh tossed salad all served, of course, with various wines and sparking water.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening went to Jennifer for her enormous three-layer Blackberry-Raspberry Truffle Cake. It was served on generously over-sized pieces with copious coffee.  If that wasn't enough, there was a Raspberry semi-syrup to pour over it which Clint dubbed "the gravy." Jennifer practically destroyed our kitchen making the sweet, chocolate monstrosity yesterday morning.  It was so large it would not fit in any food container we own.  We couldn't even put a cover of the thing.  So we rigged it up in a cardboard box, the serving stand battened down with duct tape. Proving, yet again, duct tape can be appropriate for any occasion. The cake made the trip just fine though I had to take it easy around curves and watch out for sudden stops.

I gave our hosts a hug for their splendid hospitality and another successful First Feast.  And I told them how much I appreciated them allowing the rest of us to come into their home and mess it up having fun with a great set down dinner. The party shut down as midnight approached.  I was the designated driver (again) so other than a beer and a flute of champagne (like duct tape, prefect for every occasion) I was buzzing on the coffee I had enjoyed with Jennifer's cake.  It was great to see everyone. I buzzed inside about that too, but that buzz had nothing to do with the coffee, it was a natural smile.

Lots of topics covered.  Jennifer and Ron are talking about camping as Brian and Lyle discuss designing storage warehouses.
My bride cuts her sinful cake.  Look at the size of that thing.

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