Thursday, September 25, 2008

OFT No. 14 - LTH Forum picnic

Ok, I have a few OFTs to rattle off for you. Yes, we've been having fun, just not posting about it!

Here in Chicago, there is a very active online community called LTHForum, which is all about (what else?) food. It's similar to Chowhound, which I used to be a part of (kind of) when we were in California. Basically, if you have any kind of question (or opinion) about a restaurant, you will find information about it on here. There are also boards about recipes and cooking, and lots of other, food-related topics. Brian prefers to lurk and not post, but I like to post once in a while when I feel like I can contribute. We found out about LTH pretty soon after moving here, and have started using it quite a bit in our culinary adventures.

The people who frequent the boards are a pretty large but tight group, and seem quite friendly - in cyberspace, at least. There are always in-person events happening, and we decided we should begin to take part. Usually, it's just someone inviting others to join them at a restaurant, so maybe 10 or so people would go. But we decided to jump into the deep end, and make our first event the "Annual Picnic," a potluck affair held at a park picnic site. The signup for the event had almost 100 people on it!

There were dozens of dishes: homemade sausages, 'dragon turds' (incredibly spicy grilled chorizo-stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon), cucumber melon salad, homemade charcuterie, dreamy orange dessert squares, yak, deviled ostrich eggs, incredibly good kefta, braised raccoon, cherry pie, and so on and so on. You can see in the picture, that several long tables were heaving from all the food. Everytime we got up to walk around, new dishes appeared! Someone even brought a durian, but the smell was so offensive (to some) that they had to cut it open at a picnic table far away from the rest of the crowd. We brought cheese rolls (if the academia thing ever doesn't work out, Brian could be a bread baker) and Butter tart bars.

Here are a few photos of the day:

The spread... appears to go on forever, doesn't it?

People brought their smokers and grills for on-site preparations.

There was even a pinata for the kids! A chile pepper, no less...

It was a great foray into a new world, and we are excited to attend more events soon.

Random photo of the day - on our way home from the picnic, we spotted this auto insurance company beauty.
I wonder if their premiums are as retro as their sign?

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