Monday, September 17, 2007

DE Pride and cocktails

Fri evening we met the "usual suspects" for our regular Fri night dinner at the Miltonian. I can't tell you how much I enjoy this routine. Its not that the food is fantastic (although its actually rather good and inexpensive), and lord knows we don't go there to "be seen" cuz its in Milton, boys and girly-boys. But there's just something comforting about meeting up with friendly faces and enjoying a meal together every week at this unremarkable place. I look forward to it every week.

On the way home Spouse asked me to help him complete the online application for a new job within the State system. Its not really in his area of specialty, but its 4 grades higher than his current grade so he feels he could learn to do it and love it for that kind of a pay raise. So, from 9:15 - 11:45 we copied and pasted paragraphs and phrases from his application for his current job into the online application for this new job. The submission deadline was 11:59pm on Fri night. I'm not kidding. Why on earth would they do that? No one in HR is going to wake up Sat morning and start reviewing all the applications, they're going to do that on Mon morning. So why not make the submission deadline 12:59pm on Sun night? Whatever. We got it done and submitted with 14 minutes to spare.

One might think, knowing us, that at 11:45 we would have gaily skipped off to bed for our compulsory 8-9 hours of slumber, but no. We promised ourselves we would do all the cooking for Sat night's cocktail party on Fri night; this decision having been made before I knew about the job application. So at 11:45 we schlepped down the stairs and into the kitchen. We made artichoke and pesto dip, sun dried tomato dip, blueberry lemon pound cake, and polenta chile squares. Of course, when the last items came out of the oven we couldn't just slip off to bed. We had to wait for them to cool before covering them. If we covered them while still hot, the baked goods would become soggy from the steam. So we watched a rerun of the Bill Maher show while the food cooled, and finally got to bed a little after 2am.

We got up at 1oam, had a light breakfast and coffee, and began a thorough house cleaning in preparation for our big cocktail party. After the cleaning was finished Spouse took a shower and I washed a slew of martini, margarita, and wine glasses. Some of them hadn't been used since we moved in so they still had finger prints from being handled during the packing and unpacking processes. We got the warming trays and serving platters out and figured out how everything would fit on the dining room table.

Then we hopped in the car and went to the DE Pride festivities, held at the Rehoboth entrance to Cape Henlopen State Park. DE Pride is a rather small Pride festival when compared to those held in Washington DC, New York City, or San Francisco. There's no parade or parties leading up to the Pride festival. However, for 6 hours you can roam amongst the vendor and informational booths, buy Pride and non-Pride paraphernalia, eat, drink, and be entertained by various performers on the stage. Most people I know manage to do all this in less than an hour. We spent 90 minutes there only because we ran into so many people we knew that we kept stopping and chatting with our friends. Its nice that our little state has a Pride festival, but I'd like it to be more like the larger ones, at least with a parade. I'm considering joining the organization that plans DE Pride so I can offer that suggestion.

Upon returning from DE Pride Spouse & I operated in 5th gear/full throttle to finish getting ready for our cocktail party. It was our 1st entertaining event in this house, and for many of the 23 guests who said they'd come it would be the 1st time they'd seen our house. We really wanted everything to be nice, clean, and pretty. No pressure!!! I was surprised how quickly the time passed as the preparations continued and as I kept adding more tasks to my mental 'to do' list. Finally at 20 minutes before the party was to start I forced myself to run upstairs to change my shirt and brush my teeth. As I was coming back downstairs at 10 minutes til, I heard the doorbell ring. The 1st guests were early and I hadn't made the pitchers of cocktails yet. Yikes!

Fortunately the 1st guests to arrive were Wayne & Stephan whom we know pretty well now. So as I was pouring the different ingredients into the pitchers I asked Stephan to stir each one and help me put the garnishes out. All the drinks were set up on the kitchen counter and peninsula. Here's what we had to drink:
  • Cosmopolitans (with my secret special ingredient) with orange rind garnishes
  • Appletinis (with a splash of lime juice) with marachino cherry garnishes
  • Margaritas with lime wedge garnishes and blue salt
  • Mojitos with mint leaf garnishes
  • Beer (regular and non-alcoholic)
  • Bottled water
  • Soda (Coke, Diet, Sprite)
  • Iced tea
  • Wine (red & white)

I pushed the breakfast area table against the wall, put a white table cloth over it, and lined up all the glasses in neat linear rows, upside down. Martinis, margaritas, wine, pilsners, and tumblers. I really wanted it to look like a bar.

Here's what we had to eat:

  • Hot artichoke pesto dip (home made) with crackers
  • Hot sun-dried tomato dip (home made) with crackers
  • Polenta chile squares (home made)
  • Italian sausage bites with onions, peppers, and tomato (home made) with roles
  • 3 different types of olives
  • mixed nuts
  • Roasted red pepper and eggplant spread with crackers
  • Artichoke and spinach spread with crackers
  • Sweet corn salsa with crackers
  • Grilled mixed vegetable bruschetta
  • Olive tapenade with crackers
  • Roasted red pepper with crackers
  • Blueberry lemon pound cake (home made)

The food was all on the dining room table. To help prevent everyone from standing in 1 room, we placed the food in the dining room and the drinks in kitchen, and it worked. We also had the french doors from the breakfast room open to the screened porch since it was a lovely night, and several folks enjoyed the gentle breezes. I lit several candles on the porch and in the house which, to me, is essential for night entertaining.

Our guests seemed to enjoy the food and drink as well as the conversations. Spouse & I also had a good time because we didn't have to worry about refilling the refreshments all the time, since there were only 20 guests. This freed us up to mingle with our friends and enjoy the party. Back when we used to have our big holiday parties for 75-100 guests we could only spend about 15 minutes at a time talking with friends before having to check the food and drinks for possible refills needed. This smaller party was much more relaxing, but nearly as much preparation as the big parties.

The last guests left at 11:30. Spouse & I put away the left-over food and loaded/ran the dishwasher, but left the rest of the clean up for later. After being on our feet (literally) all day we were both ready to crash at 12:30.

Drag Queen name of the day: Annie Freeze

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