Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lobster Convention

I can only be so bad when I'm going to see my Mom in the morning.

So when Holmes invited me to join him and his beloved for a dinner party on the deck, I enthusiastically say yes.

After all, on an 88-degree day, there can be no better place than on someone's deck when they're grilling out.

When I arrive, things are already lively with a Languedoc to drink and various kitchen chores to participate in.

More than willing to earn my keep, I am soon skewering shrimp, making rice pilaf, steaming lobster tails and melting butter.

I am nothing, if not adaptable.

We debate whether to eat inside or out, the 75-degree weather calling us to eat al fresco, but the mosquitoes challenging the one with the sweet meat among us.

Eventually, we settled for a three-wick citronella candle and a view of the pale blue sky.

Holmes' special sauce for the shrimp is made while we set the table, fluff the rice and make foil packets for the vegetables and tomatoes with Parmesan.

We are like a well-oiled machine, except without the oil.

The result is great hilarity, with multiple bottles of wine being opened and consumed, and endless courses of food prepared and put out on the deck tables.

His beloved is as big an art geek as I am, so we take a tangent about Tom Wesselamann and the art of the '60s.

Holmes tolerates our tangent before bringing us back to the matter at hand: food and wine.

He gives us a lecture on the benefits of charcoal over a gas grill while the beloved and I steal light and creamy La Marca Prosecco from the refrigerator and begin the bubbly portion of the evening.

The food is fabulous and Holmes keeps reminding us what a steal of a deal it all was.

He says the lobster tails were dirt cheap, the crab legs were being "given away," the wine was $6 a bottle and before long we are convinced that he has spent almost no money entertaining us tonight.

But given the black outlines against the blue sky, we decide it's not about the cost, but about the company.

When Holmes starts up the music, it's Ian Matthews and Fairport Convention and neither his beloved nor I have any familiarity with either.

That said, Matthews' voice is stellar, his songwriting compelling and the music so well done that I can't believe I've never heard of this person or group.

Holmes tells us how important Fairport Convention were, practically the most significant English folk rock band.

This is a big part of the appeal of Holmes' dinner parties, because I always hear good music and inevitably lean more about music than I knew when I arrived.

And that's after eating huge amounts of good food and indulging in multiple terrific wines along the way.

And while we didn't get far enough to make the bananas foster as we'd intended, the congenial conversation, abundance of eats and non-stop wine eventually give way to me taking my leave before the clock strikes twelve.

And that's a good thing.

Mom doesn't need to see me wilted after a typical night with Holmes and Co.

Better she think I spent the evening preparing for my luncheon with her.

You can fool your Mom some of the time, but you can't fool your Mom all of the time.

I'll settle for tomorrow and call it a draw.

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