Featured photo for Chinese Dinner Party

Chinese Dinner Party

I guess you can call my friend Shantel and her boyfriend Dave “foodies.” They really know how to savor the flavors of a well-cooked meal, especially if it is ethnic or exotic. In fact, Shantel and I have become lunch buddies who search for and taste Fort Collins’ hidden culinary treasures weekly.

So of course I was delighted when she and Dave invited me over one night for a dinner party. Make that a Chinese dinner party. The next day, after all, was the start of Chinese New Year.

Their friends Carolyn and Chris from Denver came up to help cook, and we had a feast consisting of spring rolls with peanut sauce, crackers with goat cheese and loganberry ancho preserves, egg drop soup, fried rice, beef with broccoli, and Chinese eggplant with shitake mushrooms in Hoisin sauce. Never mind that the first two appetizers were about as Chinese as freedom of expression on the Internet. At least the spring rolls were Vietnamese, which celebrate the same lunar new year.

Afterward, Shantel’s friend Chad (a local veterinarian who went to high school with Shantel) came over and we played pool and darts in the rec room downstairs before watching the women’s mogul event in the Winter Olympics. But the highlight of the evening was the food –all of which consisted of ingredients obtained from Fort Collins’ Winter Farmer’s Market—and conversation over dinner.

Happy year of the Tiger, all.

Crackers with goat cheese and loganberry ancho preserves.  OK, this is not really Chinese either.
Chad, Shantel, Dave, Chris and Carolyn.
Carolyn shooting pool in the rec room.
Shantel takes a shot.
Yum -- spring rolls and peanut sauce.  Never mind that this is more of a traditional Vietnamese side dish than Chinese!