I thought they were myths, urban legends... I was wrong.
When I got an email from a friend saying she wanted to take me to a Low Country Shrimp Boil in Queens but I had to act quickly, there wasn't much thought to my immediate yes. After all, besides the food sounding amazing, how many times would I ever hear Low Country and Queens in the same sentence? How could I say no? So last night, four friends made their way to Queens after work, each armed with a bottle of wine.
*A quick side-note here, I'm no great wine connoisseur, that being said, I took the advice of the man behind the counter when the Riesling I wanted wasn't there. I walked away with a bottle of Geil Scheurebe Kabinett Bechtheimer Heiligkruez 2009, it was exquisite and it was also almost gone within 30 minutes of opening - needless to say I highly recommend it. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Through the doors of the unassuming townhouse, up the stairs, and into a feast! On the back patio, overlooking the garden we were treated to boiled peanuts that were salty, spicy, and so irresistible. They were so good in fact, so wonderfully lip tingling, (maybe my favorite food of the night), that I will be desperately trying to re-create them at home.
Two long folding tables graciously set with tablecloths, mix-matched plates, tea candles, and bright colored napkins met us in the living room where all the furniture had been pushed aside. Wine glasses were simply unscrewed mason jars and the gansta' rap was pumping from the other room. Eventually we eased into something in a more soothing 60's soul, but nothing like a little Snoop to get the appetite roaring. As twenty hungry people sat to eat, salad with buttermilk-mint dressing, not to be believed collard greens with enough bacon to make you beg for more, and a stewed tomato dish with wax beans that was perfectly tomato-y and acidic were served.
The people around me were various colors, orientations, and backgrounds. A teenager sat next to a TV producer, sat next to a real estate agent, who sat next to a med student. The only thing we shared in common was a love of food and an appreciation for our host and chef. As the night wore on and people became happier and happier from full bellies and full glasses, cheers to the chef were shared but not before desert.
Peaches and figs and rum and sugar and rose-water scented whipped cream, oh my!
Our hostess was gracious, energetic, and shared her love of food with us, who could ask for more. Her ever present dish towel over her right shoulder, her wonderfully spiky red hair, combined with her sense of good food and company was a gift. After hugs, pecks on cheeks, and invitations to come to next months dinner party, four friends left to make their long way back to Brooklyn. Despite the plentiful amounts of food in my belly and the lingering headache from too much wine, there was a lightness in my step - I had found and conquered the urban legend and didn't it taste divine!