If you know us then you know that we’re awesome dinner party attendees. Even when not asked, we always bring a dish. However, what you don’t know is that we’re also great hosts. I mean we did only cater a wedding! So when Zena and Carina told me about the Red Tie Affair that they were organizing the day after VD Day, I was super enthusiastic about it. My enthusiasm was a little curbed when I was told I had to bring a date. I shuddered to think who the lucky man was going to be. Minty and Carina went together, Zena had Tony, Climbingdancer had ClimbinChiro and I had a fluke date. Let’s see… for the TV sitcom that is my life, what anonymous name shall I give this boy? Hmmmm…. After “Mr. Fig,” and in keeping with the Sex and the City references, let’s name him “Burger” – a play on SATC’s “Jack Berger.” After all, he’s a writer and he works at Jack-in-the-Box. No, he’s not a fry cook. He’s actually a major player in the creative branding of the company. Think big. Think Super Bowl commercial. Hopefully, he doesn’t break up with me on a post-it. Even if I tried, I really couldn’t make this stuff up.
My date was a no-show until 40 minutes in. He “claimed” his car wouldn’t start and his other car was in the shop. He called AAA. Hmmmm… However, he didn’t fail me and did, in fact, keep his word. I was surprised. It may be my cynicism catching up with me, but it seems like he’s a nice guy. We’ll see, I suppose.
Below is the invite. Keep in mind that Zena lives in Altadena, a Crip neighborhood. Leave it to us to tell people to wear red in a blue hood. Uncouth!
You are cordially invited to a Red Tie Affair
Valentine’s will have passed, but love is still in the air
We’ve chosen one red ingredient for you and your date
Please turn it into a dish and bring wine to coordinateJoin our red feast next Monday night
And you and your date can eat by candlelight
February 15th, 2010 at seven in the evening
Carina & date- tomatoes
Minty & date- red peppers
Josie & date- red meat
Zena & Tony- red cabbage
Kevin & Debbie- red potatoes
Johnny & date- beets
Peter & Renata- red apples
Gentlemen please wear red ties, Ladies red flowers.
Perhaps, my favorite dish of the night was Carina’s. She cheated and despite having tomatoes as her theme ingredient, she brought a “dip your heart out” hearts of palm and artichoke heart dip. Hey, she garnished with tomatoes. That counts, right? Sinner…
As my “date” so aptly put it, I ended up bringing not one, not two, but three items. After all, I’m Mexican and am a worker at heart. The first dish was “salad packets in rice paper and love sauce.” The second dish was “tomatoes with garlic, honey and gorgonzola.” And lastly, since red meat was my red ingredient (and the most expensive one), I chose tri-tip. There were 13 of us and well, filet mignon gets pretty pricey. I was on a time budget and well, I had little to no time to prepare an ambitious three courses. The meat didn’t suck, but it wasn’t good. If it hadn’t been my special ingredient I would’ve taken two dishes and fed the meat to my dogs. Sorry, Red Tie Affair attendees. It actually reminded me about when I sous chef’ed for Ludo Lefebvre. (Which BTW – Not only is he F-in HOT, but he was also named one of the 50 Best Chefs in the world! Yeah, this UG worked under him. Holla, biznatch. Who knows what’s up?) When I worked for him, he tasted some soup that was subpar and without skipping a beat said, “It’s sh@t. Disgusting. Throw it out.” And just like that, he tossed it. It was as if money was being thrown out. I gained a lot of respect for him that day. I knew he would never serve a commoner like me inferior soup.
The Zena and Tony dynamic duo created “magical red cabbage love dumplings” which title was later changed to “period placenta wrapped dumplings.” The Climbing couple created a red skin mash with bacon, cream and lots of cheese. Yum! The Minty brought a dip concoction that was served atop a red pepper chip. It was so cute and so delicious.
Later we had fondue and Carina brought a delicious port that was recommend by the great staff at Le Petit Vendome in Pasadena. The wine was called Dow’s Crusted Port and perfectly complemented the chocolate.
By the end of the night, we were exhausted! We talked about how Tony got beat up, lost his shoes and phone and got his hair pulled out by a bum while he was drunk downtown. We also talked about how Zena weighs 100 pounds, but knocks out car windows and punches Tony when she’s angry. And lastly, how I slipped an old lady with a broken arm a note in Europe that read, “You’re an evil woman and I hope you break your other arm.” To my defense, she was nasty to me first. Perhaps the best part of the evening was when all the guys compared tattoos, but had to take their shirts off to do it. Gay party, maybe? Do the girls take anything off at UG dinner parties? I guess you’re going to have to come to our next UG dinner party to find out.