Despite the fog, the overcast sky, and the chilly weather, over 70 hounds - posters, lurkers, and guests - came out to Golden Gate Park for The Greatest Potluck Ever Held, otherwise known as the Chowing With the Hounds Picnic.
We chatted, we matched posting names to faces - but most of all, we gathered around picnic tables turned groaning boards crowded with delicious-beyond-delicious appetizers, main dishes, and desserts to enjoy the impressive cooking and shopping skills of our fellow hounds. The offerings ranged from lumpia to fried chicken to wok-fried corn cooked on-site; to Mexican candies and Filipino rice and coconut sweets wrapped in banana leaves, both hand-carried from their countries of origin by intrepid traveling hounds.
We drank much excellent wine (special thanks to winehound Melanie Wine for contributing several casefulls from her cellar, as well as to all the others who brought bottles). We tasted and compared over a dozen chocolates (special thanks to Stephanie for organizing the tasting and providing a terrific guide to how to taste chocolate; I'll post the names of all the chocolates tomorrow).
All of us give major thanks to everyone who worked hard to organize this year's picnic (and I hope someone will post a complete list so we can give them their proper due), but especially to Nick ("nja") for taking the lead and to Michael and Rochelle for creating and maintaining chowingwiththehounds.com.
Please post all your thought about the picnic here - we want to hear from everyone! - and look for some upcoming detailed reports.
If you want to request a recipe for a dish you tried at the picnic, or discuss anything cooking related, please do so on Home Cooking thread linked below. The wheres and hows of any locally purchased dishes should be discussed in this thread.
On a personal note, because of circumstances (mostly) beyond my control, I only arrived as the picnic was winding down, and sadly missed out both on some awesome-sounding dishes and on meeting a lot of hounds. I've been reading and posting on the SF Bay Area board for five years while living in New York as a Bay Area native. Now that I'm newly back in the Bay Area, I'd hoped to meet more of the great posters whose chowhounding I've admired (and whose posts I've summed up for ChowNews) - and I still hope to meet you all in the future.