Saturday, September 11, 2010
Meatfest Returns To Bend
After two years in the Bay Area (our last two years there, if there's a God in heaven), we're once again back in our beautiful house off the river in Bend, Oregon. We have two guest bedrooms, and can easily accomodate a couple more by putting inflatable beds in one of the offices or the massage room. Risa's bedroom served as my sister's room for the first night of her stay, and she then moved into the bigger guest suite after Angela, Nicole and Rebecca headed home to the Bay Area and North Carolina, respectively. So our guest count varied from three, to four, to one, over the course of a week.
Meatfest was always a Memorial Day event in the Bay Area, and we continued this tradition our first year in Bend. But given the fact that it snowed the day before the BBQ, and was pretty chilly and drizzly on Memorial Day Sunday, we opted to move it to the other end of the summer in the subsequent years, where we assumed we'd have a better chance at good weather. Sometimes we luck out, and sometimes we don't. I'm thinking seriously of moving it to a non-holiday weekend in late July next year. Maybe the law of averages will swing in my favor and I'll actually have some sunny summer weather!
Our guests brought some incredible side dishes this year. Very inventive salads seemed to dominate ... pastas, chicken, fingerling potatoes, orzo and more. Several people brought desserts, and these too were total hits. Nice to see people cook, particularly the ones who don't do a lot of it. Good for you!
The chili was a tad spicy, but it got rave reviews. A combination of Anaheim, pasilla, jalapeno, serrano, and habanero chilis (only two of the latter) were sweated down, along with a couple Walla Walla onions. Spices included several chili powders, cayenne pepper (in moderation), oregano, and of course lots of cumin. Early in the process, it seemed like this may be too spicy for the general population, but it mellowed just enough over the course of the day, and turned out perfect. It's sometimes difficult to gauge what "spicy" means to a large group, but I didn't see anyone running for cold water, and people were highly complimentary. Successful batch of chili!
I do something that's arguably a tad strange, when I put on events like this. After spending the bulk of two days doing the prep work, then testing the chili and meats as I go, by the time I have the meats cut and placed on platters, I'm commonly ready to park and enjoy a martini. I eventually had a small bowl of chili (because it really was good), but I almost never prepare a full plate of food for myself. I imagine everyone put on a little weight during the event ... I lost three pounds. Interesting.
This event is always fun, and the biggest reason is the guests who grace us with their presence. The crowd varies from year to year ... some people have been to many of these, and there's always a few newbies. This year was no exception; we had visitors from California and North Carolina, and a good many of our local friends from the Bend area. I believe the count was around 35 this year, which is about average. I had 75 one year in San Jose, and all three of my current bands also played for the entire event. Thirty five and no band was nice, as it gave me a chance to spend some quality time with each of these wonderful people.
Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to the incredible array of food. We'll of course see most of you with some regularity, and you can all look forward to next year's Evite for Meatfest 14 ... quite likely in July!