ChowDown (Chowing with the Hounds Picnic) 2009 Report
Let's get this started!
Perfect weather, great site, terrific folks and UN.believable. food. Participants pulled out all the stops.
Struggling to remember correct Chow handles to protect the chowish, some help please?
Very well organized, thanks to those. Marlon, the fruit tasting game was a blast! Don't you think you could identify an apple by looking at it? Don't you really think you could do it if you could look at it AND taste it? Come on, how challenging could that be? We were even given the complete answer list, all we had to do was match them up. But it was hard! But also fun (and tasty).
The weather was great! I was worried when I heard reports of high winds as I drove in yesterday morning, but while we had a few gusts I guess that site (Laurel, in Tilden Park) is protected....
I do have pics of some of that great food, but didn't crawl into bed until quite late last night, so hopefully will post later today...
In the meantime, I'd love it if we could start a recipes thread on Home Cooking. There were lots of standouts. Two that come immediately to mind for me were the Cuban roast pork and the brisket. I know Heidipie brought the roast pork,but never did figure out who to thank for that brisket. Would the hound like to take credit and post on Home Cooking? (if you do, post a link to the thread here as well).
and the leftover apple slices will not go to waste. am making applesauce this am. Looking forward to seeing what happens when I combine all those flavors. Will report back! :-)
I suggest people post favorites and what they brought. There was so much good barbecue that I couldn't tell which was homemade and what was store bought. Ditto for many of the appetizers.
heidipie's roast pork was wonderful, and I couldn't eat enough of a beautiful bento treats, especially the plum (ume). David Boyk's carrot pudding was delicious. And I'm eating a slice of the apricot ring Susan brought from Modesto right now.
All the desserts were great, especially Louise's berry crisp and cobbler, the brownie tasteoff, and JasmineG's apple pie.
I brought a box of Anthony's cookies, and the shots of milk. My favorite was the cinnamon sugar. The other two kinds were chocolate chip and toffee chip.
What did you like?
I had a slice (okay, two slices) of that apricot ring for breakfast this morning -- toasted a little in my toaster oven with coffee, oh wow.
I loved the Anthony's cookies that you brought, Windy; that will definitely inspire me to get there. Great simple chocolate chip cookies, I wish I had gotten in fast enough to have some toffee chip.
I loved heidipie's roast pork and that amazing brisket. I also really loved the arugula salad -- great combination of flavors, and was perfect to cut the fat from all of the (really good) meat. And that carrot pudding was fantastic, next time I'm going to get in fast enough to get a corner piece, the crunchy bits were great.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed that salad! I scribbled some notes that included Chaparral Gardens pepper and blackberry vinegar, arugula mix, diced chile mango, Tiber Canyon yuzu olive oil, feta cheese...
Also enoyed the spinach-dal thingy. So comforting. Who brought this? Wanna thank you.
Hawaiian cornbread was so good, I snagged a 2nd piece.
Louise's crisp and cobbler blew my mind with deliciousness. So much so that they erase all other memories. Louise, you are a genius. I won't even bother asking for a recipe, my mortal kitchen (or rather its chef) just can't compare.
JasmineG, your perfectly balanced apple pie with Gruyere crust rocked! Blame Louise if I can't praise it properly.
There was more, so much more that deserves acclaim...
My cut ribs (Costco) were oven slow-roasted. One rack was rubbed with S&P only, the other was rubbed with Busha Brown's Walkerwood Jerk Paste. Roasted for about 4 hours at 200.
Unfortunately, I didn't get them hot enough to stay that way, even though wrapped in foil for the trip to the park. Ribs really are best when very warm, not lukewarm.
The sauces were Miss Odette's BBQ (Paso Robles) and Loma Rico Ranch Peachy BBQ (Grass Valley)
Here's a link to the thread I started on the Home Cooking board for posting recipes.
Many thanks to Marlon, Cece, Susan and Urmi, the organizers for a fab time. If this was indeed the last of our picnics, we certainly went out in style with number nine!
Hey, what a great time! Thanks to the organizers for all the work that went into putting it together, and heidipie, for dragging me along.
The pork roast sure was something. The skin was cooked about three stages beyond where I've ever let it get -- well into hard crack -- mmmm, pig candy.
I loved Daveena's cocktail-format interpretation of galaktoboureko. Next year I'll bring along a little campstove and a briki just in case they make a reappearance :)
The apple tasting was a great idea. As a rightcoaster even after a bunch of years out here I still haven't figured out your apple scene; nothing really tastes quite like an apple (and it's even worse for peaches though that's a discussion for a different thread). So having a bunch of them all lined up together was really helpful. I was only slightly disappointed that my favorite one had the dumbest name: ambrosia. I've always passed them over, having been fooled by red "delicious" (heh) more than a few times, but in this case the marketing is not entirely deceptive.
That was a nice little collection of wines over on the drinks table. In particular I liked the pair of (oops I wasn't paying proper attention to the labels) Rhônish reds, a 93 and a 96. The former was really tasty, the latter lively almost to the point of effervescence on opening but seemed to fall pretty flat after fifteen minutes or so. Melanie, what were we drinking?
All in all, a fine day out. I hope it can be brought together again next year. I'm not terribly adept at organizing anything, but I'm real good at providing encouragement to people who are :) So if someone else is organizing an organizing committee, sign me up.
THE place for recipe request and posts is here, on the Home Cooking board:
It was lots of fun, great chow with good people. There were so many great new-to-me flavors to savor--the 'pot luck' aspect of the picnic is the best part. The apple tasting was very revealing, even though most of us went into it with our preferences intact; thank you Marlon (and others?) for getting it together for us.
Thank you all for being welcoming to out of towners! We enjoyed ourselves very much. Hope it can continue, will look forward to next year's in anticipation of that happening!
Thanks everyone for the best potluck I've ever been to. I am probably going to be out of the country for much of the first half of 2010, but I'm happy to help with next year's picnic when I get back in August.
We've had one meeting in SF and plan some others in short order to see what needs to be done to put together another picnic next year to make a "go, no go" decision. Information is disseminated via the chowdown groups mailing lists. If you're not on the distribution lists and would like to help, please sign up. Several have indicated their willingness in this thread, thank you. Others so noted on the evite for this past event, but I don't have access to that info to contact you, would you please email me? thanks.
re: Melanie Wong
Those interested in saving the annual picnic tradition can meet with Marlon and susancinsf, who both served on this year's organizing committee, on Thursday, 10/29, over lunch in Berkeley. Here's the evite to sign up.
If you are willing to help the chowhound community and can't make this one, please reply to the Evite and indicate your interest in getting together another time. I'll get in touch to try to schedule another meetup to talk about picnic issues.