Fondy and I are officially “the worst friends in the world”. True. Our buddies Steve and Jodi offered to take us out for my birthday and we had made plans for Wednesday night but, between the news of the show being pick-up, having both cars serviced, and my damn physical (4:00 p.m. as I write this and still now word from the doctor about my test results), we confused the time and date. I arrived home late and was about to empty the dish washer when Fondy got in. “What do you want to do for dinner?”I asked. “Let’s eat in,”she suggested. Fine. I turned to check the contents of the refrigerator and suddenly froze. Wednesday night! The Budapest! “Uh, aren’t we supposed to be having dinner with Steve and Jodi tonight?” It was a horrible realization, made that much worse by the timing. We were already 30 minutes late. “OhmyGod!”Fondy responded, doing that cute little double-foot-stamp and hand-flutter she does when she’s panicked. “OhmyGod!” GOGOGOGO! We ran to the Q7 and roared off, phoning Steve and Jodi from the car. Not only had they been patiently awaiting our arrival, but they hadn’t even ordered yet. Even worse! Instead of being annoyed, they’d been worried about us! Way to rub it in, guys.

We made it to The Budapest in record time and enjoyed Fondy’s favorite chicken paprikash, the Transylvania Platter for three, and a surprisingly terrific pork paprikash. We capped off our meal with an assortment of Hungarian desserts. We were terrible, but the food was delicious.

A couple of days earlier, we were out with another group – 12 in all – at Rekados to celebrate the albeit-shortlived-return of our friends Errol and Janice to Vancouver. The problem I have about big group dinners like this one is that, inevitably, a food imbalance develops over the course of the meal so that one side of the long table amasses a variety of tasty dishes while the other (the side I’m usually seated at) is left to nurse a bunch of near-empty plates. I do my best to avoid these situations by positioning myself with who I assume will be the lighter eaters (ie. The elderly, the very young, the clearly weight-conscious) and yet, time and again, I find myself hungrily eyeing those crispy pork hocks just out of reach. Sitting in the middle works for smaller parties but in the case of big groups, that just strands me from both selections. I out of ideas and would certainly welcome suggestions.

Well, with Monday fast-approaching, it looks like I’m going to have to come up with some story ideas this weekend. I do have a few ideas…

Today’s pics: Dinners with friends: The infinitely understanding Steve and Jodi, the birthday present they got me, sour cherry and poppyseed strudel (Carl’s fave), my favorite Hungarian dessert whose name I can’t recall (samloi galouk?) fellow-foodie Ena, chicharon, crispy pata, cheddar-corn ice cream (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it)!

Today’s video: None yet again.

Today’s mailbag: Still no mailbag. This must be a record!

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