Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saints Preserve Us - Vernal Geekquinox 2017

Because of its proximity to St. Patrick's Day this year, Pete declared that the theme for this Geekquinox would be "Drinking With The Saints". In addition to the always extraordinary culinary component, each course would be paired with a signature libation.
The amount of effort and attention the our host puts into these shindigs simply cannot be overstated, and it is a joy to watch him work his way through the menu. Sometimes it calls for specialized equipment, such as the gloves and goggles needed while chopping habaneros for salsa.

Sometimes the situation requires a small amount of actual derring-do, as when he rose to the occasion while decanting the delightful Licor 43, a vanilla-scented liqueur from Brazil.

Or chopping onions and peppers and placing them atop marinated pork before wrapping the entire affair in banana leaves so they stay moist while cooking in his Big Green Egg bbq/smoker.

Some of the dishes presented were an explosion of colour, such as the rodizio chicken. (Need I mention that it was also succulent and delicious?)

But one of the night's favourites, by all accounts, was one of the simplest; the pan seared scallops.

The drinks likewise encompassed a broad swath of styles and tastes, from pickleback bourbon... the elegant Aviation cocktail, probably the best-smelling concoction I have ever imbibed. It brings together an artisanal gin (in the most art deco bottle I have ever seen), creme de violette and maraschino liqueur to tremendous effect and garnished with a brandy soaked cherry; a real Gatsby-level cocktail to be sure.

I couldn't help but notice the absence of St. Hubertus from Pete's list. This patron saint of hunters is famed for seeing the vision of a cross between the antlers of a great stag, an image which now graces the bottle of a somewhat infamous potable. Being a gracious host, he allowed me to rectify the oversight during a lull in the proceedings. He even let me bust out a bit of verse for the occasion:

A Visit From St. Hubertus

T’was the evening of Geekquinox, and all through Pete’s pad
There were appies, libations and laughs to be had
We arrived just in time, and our fellow guests beamed
For our host had us drinking with saints as a theme

I perused the rich menu with both foods and potables
But I discovered an absence I considered quite notable
Some saints were there listed with imbibable purpose
But no trace could I find of the great St. Hubertus!

Pete confessed this not a purposeful omission
It was space, not intentional sin of commission
Last year's Canada theme was a hit with geography
But Hubert’s absence struck me as poor hagiography

Hubert, you see, was a huntsman in Germany
Whilst out in the woods a great stag he did chance to see
But a cross twixt its antlers did cause him to stay
And a herb based elixir is his legacy today.

Thankfully this shortcoming was anticipated
To add to Pete's party left me feeling elated
I rushed to the downstairs and into the freezer
And brought up a green glass of party increaser.

“Eat stew and fried green beans, eat endives and chicken,
Eat scallops, eat pretzels, but whatever you’re pickin’,
Stay true to the saints, don't bow out like a shyster
Step up to Pete’s bar for some cold J├Ągermeister!”

The shots were all poured and imbibed in a line
And while not all partook, all there had a good time
You could hear folks proclaim as the glasses were cleared up
“That's pretty good stuff, though it tastes of cough syrup!”

Of course, there are others who have a differing interpretation of this divine vision, particularly if they have become inspired to partake of multiple servings:
As always, a wonderful time with wonderful people. Thanks again Pete!

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