And didn't Herb Lau do an absolutely terrific job planning and hosting our 5th Dangerous Dining Club gathering at Manila Bay in NE Philly??
I sure think he did.
The food was arrayed for us in a cozy buffet, with names I still can't recall or pronounce, but featuring Filipino standards like Pancit (earthy noodles in a light brown sauce, garnished with quail eggs, Chicken and Pork Adobo, redolent of garlic and long braising, irresistable shrimp in a zingy sauce (we made a mess of the shells down on our side of the large table, and barbecued pork with the signature sweet-sour sauce so particular to Filipno cooking, and that mysterious Spinach in Coconut Milk, actually akin to collard greens, made with dried Filipno spinach imported and rehydrtated for this dish. I couldn't get enough of it!
The desserts, an airy, eggy merengue and mellow cassava melon were spectacular and soothing.
The company, about two dozen of us, was terrific (including the first DDC dinner for the Desilvas!), lots of lively conversation ranging from dining in suburbia to The Book and The Cook, Herb's swelled head (mine's still bigger, Herb, I'm in PR, we never know when to quit), Katie's many infidelities, Charlie's mummery around the world, NYC dining, and beer.
Which brought many of us to the nearby Grey Lodge Public House, owned by Mike Scotese, who joined us again for dinner, and who runs one of the quirkiest, and to my mind, best bars in the city, for an after dinner nightcap, where we sampled Barley Creek Black Widow Lager from the Poconos, Troegs ESB from Harrisburg, Victory All Malt Dark Lager from Downingtown, and one of the very first kegs of Yards ESA from their new brewery in Kensington, a continuance of the dinner party and some neat discoveries of the beer variety.
(Note to self: bring extra cigars for David Desilva, he smokes em too!)
But a great long wonderful night of good natured fun and great food and drink.
So now where next?
The running list of candidates, with options for anyone to host the next one (hey, if Herb could host a dinner, anybody can! Ha!):
Bistro St Tropez (French bistro, stunning sunsets)
Dahlak (perhaps the original Ethiopian experience in
Ramona's (very good Mexican in Haddonfield NJ)
Overtures (do we dare?)
Indian (my culinary weak spot--but the area boasts
many excellent choices)
A Beer Dinner (suggestions?)
Thanks again Herb for Manilla Bay, and let the votes and volunteers begin!