A few years ago, a group of friends gathered on a Monday night at a wonderful Portuguese establishment known as Alfama for what became a historic dinner. On that night, John introduced me to Shawn, Max and Beth and their assorted friends for the first time. We had the best group chemistry since organisms hatched on Keith Richard's coffee table. We made a pact do gather for what would henceforth be known as the Alfama Rectangular Table every couple of months on a Monday. And with a revolving group of special guests, we made it happen.
Sadly, in 2009, Alfama was forced to close and we thought we had nowhere to go. For months, we languished. Then after a few friendly and delicious dinners at Kafana, New York City's first Serbian restaurant, opened by architect and beloved former Mona's bartender, Vladimir "Vladdy" Ocokoljic, John and I realized we'd found a new home.
This past Monday was our fall gathering. In attendance were the usual suspects mentioned above, along with Max's lovely girlfriend, Maya, as well as Steve and his wife Kristine, who I got to hang out with for the first time. As usual, the wine (this time a juicy, light, red Montenegro, Plantaze Pro Corde 2007) flowed with the laughter. And it was hard not to gorge ourselves silly.
I had forgotten my good camera at home, and so you'll have to put up with the slightly blurry images from my iPhone here. As Shawn sang while I snapped, to the tune of the Smith's "Boy With the Thorn In His Side," I was the Girl With the Phone and the Blog:
The water is served in these great milk jars that say, "Milk is your best food buy."
The food came to the table in abundance family style. First out, the cheese and spinach pies along with the smoked meat, pickles and cheeses.
Then my personal favorite, warm, fresh baked pita style bread with soft cheese melted inside.
Little fried spelts. Spicy aoli on the side (not pictured).
We were then served bright purple cabbage slaw with tangy vinegar sauce and tomato and cucumber salad with feta cheese.
Then the meat platters! Roasted pork loin, chicken skewers, chorizoesque sausage, link sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken livers and dates. My heart "thanked" me repeatedly, building speed.
This is served with perfect, crisp fries and smoky-sweet baked beans. I love that they use large butter beans for this.
Sadly, the limitations of my phone camera did not allow the photos of the group to come out. But just know we were smiling.