Look Who's Coming to Dinner

It was Laura’s idea. We were sitting at Collosso Sunday taking in happy hour and the late afternoon sunshine with friends. Laura was the one who suggested we have a dinner party this week. In fact, I believe her exact words were, “I think we should do a dinner party this week and I think it should be at your guy’s house.” We tried to think of the last time we had people over for dinner much less something that could be classified as a “dinner party.” Maybe it was last July? And that was easy; the grill was out, the sun was shining, people were happy just sipping on beer. Summer dinner parties are easy. The outdoors are almost always your dining room, clean-up is a cinch-at times as simple as doing the dishes with a the spray of a hose; but a dinner party in the spring time is a little more of a challenge. There are tables to set, rooms to clean, music to arrange. But we were feeling up for the challenge. Besides, Laura's request left little room to argue.

With another lease negotiation underway Evan and I welcomed the distraction. You see, right now he and I are in what you call the embryonic stage of building our restaurant. We’ve planted a few seeds and at the moment we’re just waiting to see what happens. You see, we’ve found a space that we-(dare I even say it? Dare I even let the words come out of my mouth?) that we L-O-V-E. Mind you, it wasn’t love at first site. It was more of a passing glance, and then a double take and then a, “Hummmm…maybe…,” and then a synchronized “what do you think?” directed at the other person. We both agreed it deserved at least a primary viewing. So we called the agent and made arrangements to see the space the following week. Upon seeing the space we became more intrigued and therefore became a little more interested. And that interest grew. And grew. And finally got to the point where we’re thinking, “Hey, is this it? Is this the one?” So far this has been the most serious we have been about a space. But there is nothing we can do about it…not yet anyways. The landlord has been out of town this week so we have been patiently waiting until he returns so we may present him with our creation, our dream, desperately hoping that he will see it the way we do, that he will nurture it, and not shut the door in our faces. In the meantime, we have been quadrupley checking numbers, picking out possible furniture to fit the dimensions, discussing paint colors, and landscaping, and flooring, and fixtures, and hand-washing sinks, and convection ovens, and…and…and what else? What else can we possibly do to occupy our time until we get the opportunity to express ourselves and pitch our plan to this stranger? How can you spend so much time visualizing, dreaming, role-playing, and imagining yourself in a space without getting too attached to the idea of being there? How can you protect yourself from the disappointment if something isn’t in your best interest and you have to let go of all of the potential you thought for sure was real? These are the things we have been bothering ourselves with lately, our minds festering over details and circumstances that are completely out of our control. We needed a distraction. We needed one bad and a dinner party was just the cure. So before we left the bar that evening we settled on Tuesday night as our date, and a very modest group of five to cook for. By the following evening Evan and I had laid out a simple menu that featured a few new recipes, as well as some old favorites that we anticipated would compliment our main dish quite well.

Early Tuesday afternoon we began calling our guests to inform them of an appropriate arrival time and instructions: bring no money, bring no food, just bring yourself and a bottle of wine. To our dismay, not only did we find that some of our friends were under the weather, but Laura, our muse, had caught the worst of whatever was going around and she and her sore throat were a definite no-show. While we were no doubt disappointed, we were still very eager to carry on with our plans and spend time away from the business-side of the restaurant and return to our roots of why we want to open this thing in the first place, our passion for food and people.

The Dinner Party
Last night four friends got together and satisfied themselves with laughter, good conversation, lavish red wine, crisp white white, and the following:
Asparagus and Cheese Soufflé
Cave-aged gruyere, parmesan, asparagus, summer squash, red onion and sweet red peppers together in a light, fluffy and savory egg “cake” Our spring-inspired soufflé rose and set perfectly; deflation? Not a chance- dare we say masterpiece?
Braised Brussels Sprouts
This recipe came to us courtesy of our favorite restaurant in South Pasadena, Firefly Bistro. It is pretty straightforward: Brussels sprouts, fresh lemon juice, and little pads of butter along the way. So simple but oh- so-good
Sweet Potato Latkes
Like Grandma’s but with a twist, served warm w/ sour cream and fresh scallions
Mesclun Mix w/ Lemon Vinaigrette
Organic greens tossed in a tangy vinaigrette
Sliced Fruit with Fresh Whipped Cream
Juicy pineapple, sweet strawberries, and unsweetened whipped cream; no need for sugar here, let Nature do her thang


Unknown said...

Doggy bags appreciated when leftovers are available.:)

Metolius Mark * Student of...Everything said...

Damn you guys make food look soooo friggin' good! Stouffers will never taste the same. And MY souffle's ALWAYS fall faster than night time in Antartica.