Good Morning ! …Oh wait, what time is it? Ugh! It’s 8:30 am and I’m late for work! Weep and pout! I thought I was a lover of logistics and Miss Master at planning out details, but scheduling myself to go to work the day after hosting a big blog party was a seriously bad management decision. I stumbled out of bed, teeter-tottered to the bathroom to fix myself up for another work day and my body was struggling to keep up with slow, fumbling movements. But, my mind was just buzzing, buzzing and still buzzing with excitement about last nights blog party! For all of you who attended, are you still feelin’ it ?!!?
Our first ever, and certainly not last, big food-blogger party was a blast! Yesterday was a marvelous gathering of food folks and we were so thrilled to have everyone over for an awesome meet, greet and feast event. What we experienced yesterday was just a small macrocosm of the kindness and generosity of the food blogging community. Both Todd and I are grateful to be a part of this phenomenal celebration.
So what exactly happened? Almost too much for my champagne, rosé, sauvignon blanc, syrah & cocktail soaked brain to recall. Being Asian and all my ancestors’ feeble ability to hold liquor was showing in my sorry ass Vietnamese genes. All I remember was Leah and Brooke kick starting the party with some magnificent Champagne that they brought and dear Leah kept me occupied with a continuous flow of delicious wine while I was screaming at everyone to get to work.
OMG, the scene in the kitchen was hoppin’ & amazing!!! And I, the ever so gracious Nazi Party Hostess, was barking out orders for everyone to get cooking. After my big announcement of “Hey folks! Welcome to the party, now get off your ass, get into the kitchen and cook! Make your own food, dammit. I need rosemary! Basil! Mint! More herbs! More tomatoes! Grate the cheese! Roll the springrolls!” Within minutes, everyone was participating in a sight that I never expected would ever happen at our parties: all 20 guests were gathering from the garden, chopping, dicing, rolling, frying, grilling and sharing in the most precious moments that I have ever seen in my food life: Total strangers getting together to cook, laugh, share and love. Seriously, my sensitivities got a hold of me. I had my Oprah moment and hid behind my rosemary hedge for a personal, silent cry of happiness and appreciation.
From what I recall, EVERYONE was helping each other in the kitchen, garden and grill. No one would ever believe that this was a group who had just met 30 minutes ago. Here is my feeble, post-party hangover attempt at illustrating what the phenomenal party scene looked like, bullet style:
- Allison & Son picked the thai basil & mint. This adorable duo arrived in total blogger style, complete with their custom blog t-shirts! Yes, there are SushiDay t-shirts for sale everyone! So cool, I want one Allison! *cough,cough* I wear Medium and Todd wears Large.
- Brooke collected herbs & dressed the salads. This totally sweet and triple threat, LA based writer knows her food, cooks her food, eats ALL her food and still looks HOT! Damn Brooke, I’m gonna go for an extra run tonight to be able to wear that dress of yours! And you’re so smart too, double damn!
- Julie and Shilpa took charge of collecting & dicing sweet basil and rolling springrolls. Julie, babe, you and your friend, Shilpa were the light of the party. Both your springrolling skills, energy, smiles and good looks made we wish I was young, good looking and single again! (oops, don’t tell your boyfriends that!)
- Leah served up the wine and picked thyme and oregano. The wine expert and sommelier of the night, Leah was my right-hand, wine pouring man (actually lady, but “man” rhymes better). She’s another triple threat: food writer, poet (please don’t critique my poetry rhyme) and kick-ass dish washer! Leah, your dish washing skills puts you at the top of every one of our party lists!
- Marvin & Barbara harvested more Viet herbs for the springrolls and grilled the prawns. The first to arrive, this nice & good looking couple don’t seem like the type of folk that could burn their lumpia. But I watched them carefully at the flatbread station and their’s was one of the best looking ones! Don’t judge them on their lumpia, please. They know how to cook!
- Mattand Adam picked & sliced tomatoes, herbs and figs. Fun, sweet and knowledgeable, these two guys are super humble and generous. Their beautiful blog is just a small glimpse of their talents and skills. When asked, they were kind enough to share so much of their knowledge with everyone , it’s was inspiring.
- Matt and Danika picked took charge of picking and cutting the Asian pears. The ones who traveled the farthest to the party (from Seattle) are amazing artists in their on “Wright”. Talented, tall and Brit (Matt), they create beautiful food and are able to reach all the bloody high fruit that us short people can’t reach! They’re perfect for each other!
- Sarah gave out food gifts to everyone, gathered dirty dishes and her guest helped Sierra hunt down the possums. Sara’s the woman who doesn’t sleep. How can she when she has to moderate all of y’all pictures that you submit?! Be nice to her folks! For someone who works a ton, she sure looks damn good. Again, five more miles for me to run!
- Toni picked more rosemary and taste tested the sauces. This world traveler has seen, eaten and explored so many parts of the world, it’s inspiring. And here’s a woman who looooves Viet iced coffee! Make that a double for Toni!
- Wandering Chopsticks fried the garlic shrimp springrolls to a golden crisp. My cutie Vietnamese guest graciously came to my aid at the frying station and relieved me from my greasy duties. She put her expert springrolling skills to work on the couple dozen rolls!
- My man, Todd, was the absolute best grill man, barista, mixologist and Host! He’s my precious, party-partner in crime and the best host ever!
After the hustle and bustle of prepping was finished (I felt like I was at one of our cooking classes), everyone huddled around the flour dusted flatbread/pizza station and created some of the most delicious grilled flatbreads! I think the best part of it all, another teary Oprah moment, was when everyone gathered around the long communal table to share, laugh, eat and celebrate again. The four whole grilled fished were shared and passed around the big table, family style. What a beautiful sight to see. More of the festivities included a gift exchange, the cutting of fresh jackfruit (donated by Chuck), and a cheese plate full of delicious cheese and tropical fruits. To finish off the evening, Todd showcased his new cocktail creation, the Hanoi Hustle (write up in a later post) and his classic blackberry version of a Tom Collins. There was so many cocktails coming around, I did see a few bloggers double fisting. But I won’t mention names, names, or any names. Then there were those who “shared” with others so they could have several cocktails. Again, we’re not mentioning their name or name.
To my pleasant surprise, there were no wine glass casualties, only a missing paring knife, but we’re sure it’ll come out of hiding after we clear out the party mess. So, Todd and I will have another glass of champagne to toast to all of you who attended, to give a big hug to all of you who couldn’t attend and to more blog parties to come in the future.
Grilled tilapia with lemongrass, shallots and chives, drizzled with spicy, sweet sauce. Grilled Japanese sea bass with garlic, rosemary & lemons: Everyone stripped the four large fish we grilled down to the bare bones!! Even the eyeballs were eaten! You guys rock!!
Viet Nem Nuong sliders & Grilled prawns
Viet sliders on “slightly sweet” rolls with Asian BBQ sauce
Burnt Lumpia at the prawn station: Now, why in the hell would we have a guy that burns his Lumpia to be trusted at grilling the prawns, you ask? …
…because other than his burnt lumpia, the guy knows his food. Thumbs up! Marvin says it’s time to eat!
My hunk, Todd, sharing his cornets, inspired by Thomas Keller. Isn’t he a cutie? I mean, Todd.
Drool worthy springroll sauces
The table spread of goodies and the flat bread station. Boobie shots too! Niiiiiice, ladies!
TONS of toppings, including lots of heirloom tomatoes & garden sun golds
To start: roll the dough
Next, the homemade marinara sauce….just a bit please,
Next, comes the tasty toppings..
In the BBQ smoker you go…
Finale! Applause, applause, applause! Eat!
Feasting time, blogger family style
BUT WAIT, one more thing... In all the crazy food sharing, I forgot to bring out my homemade fig balsamic for the cheese plate! Wahhh! Sniff, sniff. It’s sitting here on my counter, waiting for someone to enjoy it with some cheese and wine. I’ll be home shortly, who wants to join us again tonight ?!!