Last night, Akemi and I attended a dinner hosted by our friends Steve and Jodi, a home cooked meal inspired by Steve’s Hungarian roots. So, how did he do? Here’s my review:
We arrived to find Steve hard at work, slaving over a hot stove. There were a number of different dishes in play but he seemed calm and coordinated, moving effortlessly from pot to oven to slow cooker to the various plates lined up beside him. This, I thought, was a good sign. He was prepared. And, more importantly, was going to serve dinner at a reasonable hour. There’s nothing I hate more than attending a dinner party where the meal is served a good one to two hours after the requested arrival time. Not on this night, however. I’m pleased to report that we were seated approximately fifteen minutes after our arrival.
The starter was a traditional Hungarian soup containing duck hearts and livers – and, oh yeah, carrots and such. I’m not a huge soup fan but I was mightily impressed, not only with the tender components (Akemi couldn’t stop talking about the ultra-carroty carrots) and flavorful broth, but the tiny and delightfully toothsome Hungarian noodles. I would have had a second bowl (a rarity!) but decided to pace myself. There was a lot of eating ahead.
Our main course was, well, a bit of everything. Slow-cooked tender beef goulash served over home made spaetzle, topped with sour cream. Tasty breaded, fried chicken livers that proved much more subtle than their calf counterparts. Peas prepared in a thick roux. And then rustic paprika-potato mash studded with marvelous smokey Hungarian sausage. Fantastic.
At this point, we took a break so that Steve could open his belated birthday gift. We got him a sampler from the Vancouver Olive Oil Company that included two types of olive oil, two flavored olive oils (garlic and harissa), and two balsamics (white peach and dark expresso). On the box, Akemi had written: “Happy Deleted Birthday!”. Before leaving our place, she’d asked me what to write. I said: “Happy Belated Birthday”. She started writing, got partway through and asked: “How do you spell delated?”. “Not delated,”I said. “BElated!” “You said delated!”she insisted. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say delated but, since she’d already written the d and e, I suggested we salvage the message by going with “deleted” instead.
I’m sure it didn’t affect the taste of the olive oil.
Then, it was on to dessert…
The post-dinner entertainment was supplied by Steve and Jodi’s three year old daughter, Gemma, who led us all in a marathon session of X-Box Kinect (until I feigned an injury and rode out the rest of the night on the couch).
Excellent food and excellent service. Free parking available with their visitor parking pass.