As the 4th of July approaches it brings out the crazy in my Vancouver, Washington neighbors. Firecrackers that are illegal in most states are sold on every street corner here. The historic grounds of Fort Vancouver will be home to the largest firecracker show west of the Mississippi on Wednesday, but in the days before the annual patriotic blitz the Couv is booming every night. Vancouver residents simply cannot resist the desire to blow stuff up. We decided to celebrate Independence Day a bit early as well, with a dinner party. I don’t expect to host any other events this summer with surgery now 17 days away.
The original plan of an outdoor party under the stars was squelched by cool, wet weather. I thumbed my nose at the weather gods and bought some stars from the party supply store instead. Our wine theme was inspired by the sort of emergency every wine collector has at some point. A glut of really good wine in danger of heading over the hill. This time the cellar dilemma belonged to our friends John and Kathie and the wines in question were a collection of Zinfandel-based blends from Linne Calodo Winery in Paso Robles, California.
For warm-up whites we had a lovely crisp Txakoli from our 2011 trip to Spain’s Basque region and a white Rhone-style blend from Booker, another Paso Robles winery. Boursin stuffed mushrooms, giant shrimp and a peppery Toscano cheese were the appetizers. Grilled beef tenderloin with chimichurri and roasted vegetables comprised the entree followed by nectarines and vanilla ice cream. Oh, and a plate of chocolate truffles from Moonstuck and Honest Chocolates, just because.
Right on schedule as the meal concluded, the pyrotechnics began. Nothing too elaborate. A few kabooms loud enough to scare the cats along with bright splashes of color painting the summer sky.
Soon I will have to put my wine consumption on hold in preparation for surgical adventures. My liver will go off on an alcohol-free vacation in style with the memory of this evening filled with laughter, great wine, friends old and new, and the neighborhood fireworks.