I recieved an invitation this afternoon to join a group of friends for dinner in Oakland for an impromptu pizza party/bbq/gathering/happening/etc. and I found the invitation impossible to refuse. Before heading over, I prepped some mushrooms, cleaned and halved them, and marinated them in white balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a little salt and pepper, and grabbed a handful of bamboo skewers to bring with to put on the BBQ. I also grabbed some of the black raspberry jam we made a few weeks ago, as Jessie mentioned she’d made some cheesecake, and I thought it might be tasty over the top.
I found their place, near the Grand Lake theater, on a quiet cul-de-sac, and it turned out to be a beautiful house that Neal had spent a lot of time working on himself, fixing up, inside and out, and Jessie had filled with her paintings. I also made a point of befriending the housecats, Fig and Myrtle, knowing full well who ran the place. When I arrived, the cooling was already in full swing, with Jessie, Daniel and JB working on making a variety of gourmet pizzas and roasted potatoes in the oven, and an array of dolmas and crackers and brie available for snacking. In the meantime, Neal was working on the porch, out back, prepping the grill, getting it to the right temperature to properly sear the evening’s choice delectables.
While the food was being prepared, we all chatted around the kitchen and the back porch, talking about art and photography, design, film, news, and a variety of topics, keeping ourselves amused while we waited for others to join. Soon we had a full complement of people and all the food was prepared, and we dug in with much gusto- three different kinds of pizza, grilled skirt steak, marinated mushrooms, grilled corn, roasted potatoes, and broccoli. For dessert, as well as the cheesecake, Jeff Scamper and Gassia also brought a fruit galette to accompany the cheesecake, but I heard the real action was going on upstairs when a certain H.Cho started disco dancing particularly expressively. I enjoyed myself, it’s nice to be able to get out of the house again.