Monday, September 21, 2009

The First Long Table Dinner

This past Sunday, I attended the first "Long Table" dinner, hosted by Anton and Erin Zuiker. I am not quick to refer to individuals as experts, but I would say that Anton is an expert at building communities and getting people, even strangers, to communicate. Sunday night, he brought approximately 35 people together, some of whom he knew and some he didn't, to dine together and share stories. It worked. All of the tables were alive with conversation and periodically someone would use a utensil and their glass as a bell to announce that they would tell a story to the whole group. Some of the stories included one man's recounting the adventurous day leading to his marriage proposal and another's opportunity to cook for Julia Child.

The dinner was held at 3Cups, in Chapel Hill. I'd never been there before, but I was told that they have an excellent selection of wine and coffee. I didn't explore much, but I'd definitely like to go back and check it out more thoroughly. They also chose the wines for the evening.

We had a Moroccan meal catered by Sandwhich. The main course consisted of stewed chicken, with onions, raisins and saffron. We also had Zaalouka (eggplant) with tomatoes and peppers and beet salad with onions, parsley, cilantro and a light vinaigrette. Additionally, there was a carrot salad with lemon, garlic, cilantro and cayenne. We also enjoyed a vegetable stew with potatoes, butternut squash, green beans and tomatoes. I was pretty stuffed after all that.

For dessert we had cardamom sugar cookies with a lemon cardamom glaze. There were also "Baghrir" pancakes with butter and honey, served with Moroccan mint tea.

Overall, it was a delightful evening and, as it drew to a close, it seemed as if everyone there were already looking forward to the gathering at the second Long Table.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Meeting @Coopermays

This past weekend, I went to Papa Mojo's Roadhouse, not just to eat wonderful beignets and fresh fruit, but to meet someone from Twitter. As some of you know, when I make the effort to meet new people on Twitter, even if it's just on-line, I tend to focus on people who live in the general vicinity of the Triangle. That's mostly because I think there is a better chance of actually meeting them in person and I just can't follow everyone.

Back in June, it was, therefore, pretty wild that I started conversing via Twitter and then via e-mail, with a woman who was living in Costa Rica, @coopermays. The conversation got started by my complimenting some photos of sunsets and then I quickly learned that she was a potter, originally from the Pittsboro area, here in North Carolina. For some reason, I still never expected to meet her in person.

Fortunately, I am often wrong. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a "meet and greet" party last Sunday at Papa Mojo's. Due to a miscommunication, Martha was unfortunately a couple of hours late and missed several of her greeters. but I stayed and it was a treat to talk to her in person and see several pieces of her pottery. I wish I'd taken photos that day, but you can see the beautiful plate that I had to take home with me.

I know several of you also follow Martha on Twitter or if you missed her at Papa Mojo's, you can still meet her this weekend, September 11-13, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday from 12pm-5pm at Lyn Morrow Pottery, in Pittsboro.

You also can check out Cooper Mays Pottery and check out Martha's blog. Brian Shrader, at WRAL, interviewed Martha on Tuesday.