Pizza at Matt’s Bar #1

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No, it is not Matt’s Bar #1.   It is the first for the year 2009.  “Pizza at Matt’s Bar” is a get-together started by my husband a million years ago when he was still in corporate.  Every afternoon after 5 pm, a couple of friends/neighbors  would come over to his house and they would all drink beer or wine (or whatever is available at his bar) and then order pizza.  This went on for years I was told (it was before my time) until people moved to a  new job and state.  Fast forward years later when my husband and I met and married. We lived in Manila and had a similar get together with our friends.  After office hours, we all met at the then famous Prince of Wales pub at Greenbelt Square to drink a few beers.  Sometimes, the party was at our apartment and thus Pizza at Matt’s Bar was revived.   When we finally settled and retired in Lake Tahoe (and San Diego), we continued the practice with our  skiing friends.  Once a month, we meet at our house and enjoy a few bottles of wine and good food. And of course pizza which became more of a symbolic dish since I tend to serve other food.  (I have used these occasions to test my experimental recipes.  Perhaps the pizza was more of a back-up dish in case one of the guests get sick?) In late spring thru fall, Pizza at Matt’s Bar moves to San Diego, CA with a different group of friends and neighbors.  About the only time we skip this event is when we are travelling.

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This year, we got too busy to hold one in January. Conflicting schedules didn’t help with February either.  But news of our friend Colleen visiting from New Orleans for a week and a young couple from Germany visiting for a ski vacation prompted us to hold one when all of them are here.

It was another great excuse to party!

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I have been on a bread-making mode the last few weeks so bread was the main feature of our menu. Oddly enough, I did not make homemade pizza. My husband was in charge of that and he got the Pizza Friday deal at our local grocery store and spiffied it up a bit by adding more toppings: keilbasa, italian sausage, pepperoncini, olives, onions.  Definitely a step up from the regular store bought version. The rest included some of my successful experiments:

A bowl of warm marinara sauce, an excellent bottle of extra virgin olive oil, good balsamic vinegar and  freshly grated parmesan cheese completed the spread an Italian mother will be very proud of.

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The tiramisu bread pudding was a hit. And so was the focaccia bread.  At some point during the party, a plate of hot and spicy wings (thanks Costco!) was added to the table. The wine was constantly flowing together with pitchers of water. Over the bar where the men were, the inevitable discussion of the economy and the financial crisis can be heard while the girls talked about other less depressing things such Mardi Gras, birthday parties, family, travelling and skiing weather while comfortably seated at the sofa.

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The party ended early this time (not even 10 pm!) because the young couple who arrived just the day before from Germany (Peter and Conney) were still jetlagged and needed to rest.  Plans to ski the next day were discussed but because a snowstorm forecast has been on the news the last few days, we all parted with promises to call each other if anybody would be up the slopes the next day.

One thing is for sure, though.  In a month’s time, we will have Pizza at Matt’s Bar #2.  Maybe this time we will hold it on the ski slopes if the weather cooperates.

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