Dinner Parties and Halal Memories

Back in December, my friend Candace really wanted to meet my friend Yumi. And I rarely get to entertain guests, so I wanted to have people over. So I figured what better occasion than a dinner party? So I invited them and a third friend Patrick over to my studio apartment, and started putting together a custom menu.

I've fancied the idea of becoming a personal chef or doing a pop-up with custom menus for guests, so this was my first stab at it.

This is what resulted:

Miso Roast Mushrooms
Miso Roast Mushrooms
Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Salad
Root Vegetable Soup
Root Vegetable Soup
Rice Pilaf with Chicken
Rice Pilaf with Chicken

I was inspired by winter and wanted to embrace roasts, root vegetables, and a citrus-y salad. The rice and chicken was based on my favorite meal I had while I was in New York this past fall.

I was on my way to see an off-broadway show my friend was in, but my Southern California-acclimated self was starting to get sick from my busy travel itinerary and the brisk New York autumn temperatures. I walked through Midtown and came across the very popular 53rd & 6th Halal Guys cart. I waited in line and got what everyone else got: a tin bowl of rice, chicken, lamb, and some lettuce which I proceeded to douse in barbecue, cream, and hot sauce. I walked to a small plaza, sat on a stone bench, and began to dig into this:

NY Halal Rice
NY Halal Rice

Of all the things I got to eat in New York, this was by far the best. The beautifully seared chicken and lamb, rich savory rice, and a tiny bit of crisp lettuce just to cut through all the grains and meat, all drowned in an orchestra of sweet, spicy, tangy, creamy wonder--I had to do my tiny homage to it.

Overall, that dinner party went well, and I got to create four new dishes I hadn't made before. I had another dinner party last month, and am looking at my third in a couple weeks. Here's hoping I can continue to flex my creativity and practice a little Eat Kune Do.

Currently Eating: A slice of pizza from a show earlier tonight Currently Craving: That Halal chicken, lamb, and rice, obviously.