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Sunday, April 07, 2013

Food, the Final Frontier

Last night Sylvia and I took a trip through the Anthony Henday wormhole to Pete's place for another of his fabled Geekquinox dinners. This spring's theme was Star Trek, and once again Pete outdid himself. For sheer complexity of presentation and preparation and gastronomic delight levels, this Geekquinox was, to my mind, the best yet, despite Pete having set the bar pretty high in the past.
I knew that Pete was preparing a video of some kind to accompany dinner, for I'd helped him source some Star Trek episodes. What I didn't realize was that he was creating a video menu using the LCARS interface used in Star Trek: The Next Generation, complete with full-motion clips.
On the left, Pete listed the evening's drinks; on the right, the food courses. All items, of course, have appeared in or been inspired by at least one episode of one of the Star Trek shows - or in the case of the Transporter Accident, Galaxy Quest, the best Star Trek film that's not a Star Trek film.
Here, for example, is the menu screen for Pete's Gorn Meat Gunpowder Shot. A clip from "Arena" plays at bottom, while up top the menu displays the real-world ingredients Pete used to make the dish.
Here are the shots themselves. At first I thought this was an alcoholic beverage of some sort, so I demurred from partaking, as I'm a teetotaler. But Jeff explained that these were food shots, so I downed one - and immediately went for another. This was a remarkably spicy, savoury shot of flavour.
Sylvia, too, shared my initial skepticism. But Pete's concoction instantly won her over.
As soon as Pete told us that the next Geekquinox would be Star Trek-themed, I begged Sylvia to come with me in costume. Thinking myself quite clever. I even ordered a uniform tunic for her from Think Geek. Little did I know that all of the women in our group conspired to surprise the guys by showing up in appropriate outfits. We were completely out-geeked, though Sylvia reminded me several times that "This is never happening again!"

We shall see.
Here's another menu screen, this time explaining the composition of plomeek soup, a favourite of Vulcans such as Mr. Spock.
Scrumptious and elegantly presented!
Pete's best culinary pun was the Smorgasborg Cube, a cube of risotto accompanied by a slice of roast duck breast.
Trekkies will, of course, recognize this as part of a Borg regeneration alcove, re-purposed to give the Smorgasborg Cube's pickle and olive accompaniment a healthy green glow.
Audrey, hamming it up as usual, slurps down a pickle in hedonistic fashion as Scott looks on. Margaret, in the meantime, reaches for a carafe of Klingon bloodwine. Speaking of which...
"Brag all you want...but don't get between me and the bloodwine!"
Between courses Pete and Jeff served up Warp Core Breaches, originally served by Quark at Federation Starbase Deep Space Nine. Somehow I missed getting a screenshot of the ingredients, but Pete's LCARS display described the beverage as "Very Alcoholic."
Heather, in her "Expendable" redshirt, looked a little apprehensive about the cloud-misted beverage.
It didn't take long for things to get silly. Sillier.
What would a Star Trek party be without Romulan Ale?
Here's Pete's Transporter Accident, an inside-out serving of eggs Benedict prepared completely from scratch. "This is an appetizer?" Steve exclaimed in disbelief.
Since I don't drink, I enjoyed non-alcoholic Tranya, introduced to humanity by Balok of the First Federation. "Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"
Pete put his OCD tendencies to good use by painstakingly assembling his home-made French fries into pyramids. The Fries of Triskelion?
After each Geekquinox dinner, Pete assures his guests that "Next time it's not going to be quite so insane." I hope, for his sake, that he does indeed scale it back a little, because this time it really did get a little crazy. There's meat in those coolers, regulated by...uh...some kind of machines. Machines that look like they could have come from the engineering section of the Enterprise...
Here are the tools Pete used to craft last night's dinner. My mind is still, frankly, boggling. For example, since you can't buy radish sprouts, used in the Gorn gunpowder shot, Pete grew them hydroponically. Mr. Sulu would be proud.
By the time the "Food Cubes" (roasted potatoes with food colouring) arrived, we were too stuffed to eat another bite. To my chagrin I somehow missed getting any shots of the Heart of Targ, a softball-sized steak topped with brie, served with mushrooms and glazed with some kind of heavenly sauce beyond my poor power to describe. 

Sylvia and I left at about 2:30 am, completely sated and marvelling yet again at the sheer scale of Pete's efforts - ably assisted, we shouldn't forget, by his girlfriend Ellen. It was all we could talk about on the journey home, and again when we went to visit my parents and brother today (no mean cook himself). 

On a personal level, this has been my favourite Geekquinox yet - not simply because of the Star Trek theme, but because Sylvia was such a good sport, the food was exquisite and the company was marvellous. Of course these things are true every Geekquinox, but this time I'm especially grateful because the festivities greatly reduced some of the stress I've been feeling regarding my career path. Thanks, guys! 

Here are a few more of the evening's best images, and a short video of the Warp Core Breach version of Tranya. 


"Jeff Theory" said...

Wow, Sylvia doesn't need to bother with the phaser gun. That dress stuns! Va-voom!

BJT said...

Such geekery brings a tear to my eye

Need me some Tranya