Okay. As I write this, we are in Charlottesville, VA, on a romantic get-away weekend full of wine tasting and gourmet food. It's a for real vacation: I've even taken Monday off.
However! It's also Krysta's very first potluck. Think of it as a blogosphere House-warming. Blog-warming? There's no way that we were going to miss this. Romantic vacation or no romantic vacation, we will be in Krysta's backyard in California this afternoon, sipping mojitos and shooting the shit. Because that's what friends are for.
So we've stopped the car in Charlottesville and found a coffeeshop. Not that this is any great sacrifice: we just came from a wine tasting in Barboursville (one of Virginia's most renowned vineyards) and are heading towards a gourmet dinner and bed at our favorite Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg. We figure that Krysta's in California and they're three hours behind, so we shouldn't be the last ones to show at her party.
And, much to my delight, we've stumbled across Charlottesville's Mudhouse Coffeeshop. I feel like I'm on a pilgrimage: one of my more thought-provoking non-food authors, Lauren Winner, waxes poetical about this coffeeshop and even titled her second book Mudhouse Sabbath, after this establishment. I won't go into how interesting her ideas and perspectives are, because it's not good manners to talk religion at a party. Suffice it to say, this is super exciting. I feel like I should be asking for an autograph from the barista. ;)
Anyways, our contributions to Krysta's party are a strawberry spinach salad and the services my favorite grill-meister. We're assuming that Krysta has a backyard grill (it's California, right? Who doesn't have a backyard? And if you have a backyard, why wouldn't you have a grill? We certainly would.), and you always need someone to flip the burgers, so Do is volunteering. He figures he'll be less of a hazard in your backyard than he would in our kitchen!
Do actually really enjoys making burgers; it's a great lazy meal for us. After reading a Minimalist column about the Perfect Burger, he's gone absolutely wild. Burgers stuffed with blue cheese or cheddar, burgers stuffed with pesto, burger made out of ground lamb, burgers glazed with bar-b-q sauce while cooking, burgers topped with paté... As you can see to the left, his most recent permutation was a cheddar cheeseburger topped with an egg over easy. It was messy as hell to eat, but delicious and really entertaining. He would tell you about it himself, but he's busy taking advantage of the free wifi to submit computer jobs to his lab computers. In a perfect state (i.e., distracted) to be volunteered for grill meister duties! :)
As for the salad, it's really no big deal. Strawberries are on sale here these days, super juicy ones, and strawberry-spinach salad can tempt even the carnivores to eat their greens! This salad is nothing more than strawberries, spinach, thyme, mint, and a dressing made out of oil, sugar, and lemon juice. The dressing isn't phenomenal, so I'm not going to give you a recipe for it, but the idea of including fresh mint and thyme was a good one. If anyone has any tips for what dressing to serve with a strawberry-spinach salad, I'm all ears!
A toast to the hostess!
And now, back to our romantic vacation...