Fun fact about the Moveable Roadtrip theme: there exists a whole other delicious menu I had painstakingly planned for August 2011, but that shall remain secret until it's my turn to host again. It was after hearing the tall tales of Lemon's recent road trip back east that I felt inspired by the diversity of our glorious nation and decided I wanted the menu to pay homage. It may not have been the most exotic menu the moveable feasters have seen, but I think we discovered some tasty things.
The night started out on an extra special note, with the veteran feasters anxiously awaiting the arrival of newcomers Brent and Sharona. Since the menu began with traditional dishes from the east coast and worked its way west, I stuck them with what happened to be a pretty uninspired recipe for hush puppies (it didn't even include a fatty dipping sauce!). I think the first thing Brent asked me was how acceptable it was to "alter the recipes" you're assigned. I told him it's not. Not ever. Still the hushpuppies were delicious at the capable hands of the new couple, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
We stayed in the mid-atlantic region for the next dish, Jenny and Ethan's incomparable mini lobster rolls. I mean, really nothing more needs to be said about this dish except that anything with lobster in it is guaranteed to please. And they were mini! Even better.
We moved out to the heartland with the night's "soup" of Skyline chili. Anyone who's eaten and attempted to digest Skyline knows this Cincinnati dish is actually a meal unto itself, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to expose the group to the wonders of midwestern-German-immigrant food. Jason prepared the dish the way I prefer, as a 3-way, with the option to make it a 4-way (Google it). With decades of visits to 'nati chili parlours under my belt, my expert tastebuds detected just the right amount of cinnamon, chocolate, and secret spice in the ground meat.
Next, we rode down south where we met Jen, Adam, and their cornbread panzanella. It was a delightful twist on the traditionally Italian meal, with the cornbread providing just the right bit of sweetness.
For the main, Andy and I gave a nod to my Colorado roots with buffalo tenderloin, served with a cranberry blueberry sauce. It was our first time cooking buffalo--did everyone know that buffalo cooks much quicker than beef? We didn't. The meat may have been slightly overcooked, but luckily we had Julia's Green Chili Potato Gratin, and cowboy soda biscuits on the same plate. While the gratin recipe was indeed tasty (isn't anything with green chili?), the recipe mysteriously contained no cheese. When I make it again, rest assured it will be cheesy. Maybe some smoked gouda... Now, the cowboy biscuits were the most interesting recipe for me. Let's just say I feel like I can do anything--midwifery, medical waste disposal--now that I've rendered lard (pictured in its pristine state).
We ended back home in sunny California with an ode to the avocado. Technically an Indonesian drink, Elise and Philip's Coffee Avocado Milkshakes apparently sounded off to a lot of worried feasters. But they were actually my personal favorite of the night--surprisingly thick and creamy, not too sweet...and made even better of course by the bourbon that Philip snuck in.