It is amazing how good it feels to say so long to the old and ring in the new! Besides being thankful for a good year past, we find ourselves hopeful for this one. It is clear we are doing what we love and our plan is to keep doing it in 2011. We had 25 guests at our dinner show last evening who made it a party! We say thanks because without planning it this way, our new way of life here in Cannon Beach seems to fulfill our need for social life too. Now I ask, how many jobs out there do that? Maybe more than I think but for sure this is the one that does it for me. Lenore too, enjoys the hospitality of our experiences here at EVOO. She actually put together foodie games that to my surprise our guests really seemed to enjoy. When they arrived they were given a portion of a silly food riddle and a glass of sparkling Proseco wine. They were then tasked with finding the other half of the riddle. When they found each other they were to learn as much as possible about each other that they could, then introduce each other to the rest of the guests. Nice icebreaker, as we called it in my corporate days. Then there were the guests who showed their competitive side. Dana, why we didn’t know you enjoyed winning so much! And as the games continued I was cooking. I loved the menu–we started with ahi tuna & hazelnut tartar on a toasted sesame wonton served with a hot chestnut soup shooter. My favorite course was the truffle papparadelle pasta with truffle butter and black truffle slices. We topped that with a poached duck egg and frizzled speck. Next course, we did seared scallops and marinated shrimp with potato-cauliflower hash with a hint of curry. And finally we had prime rib with a roasted vegetable pot pie. It was not a typically pot pie—no, no. It seemed to morph as we did it. Started with roasting six different vegetables separately. When we saw how beautiful these were we didn’t want to cover them up with the rich beautifully flavored veloute sauce and then pasty–how could we see these colorful roasted veggies? That is what I mean about morphing. We put the veloute on the bottom of a shallow ramekin; then veggies on the veloute; baked 15 minutes to bring up to temperature for serving and then we added a prebaked pastry top! Fun! Lots of work but resulted in a “do again” dish for me. Of course we had a great dessert finale too. Chocolate sour cream cake with toasted Swiss meringue icing sitting in a pool of warm chocolate ganache. But wait, there’s more. A scoop of chocolate cherry gelato and salted candied hazelnut. Okay! Lots of love in this menu and so appropriate for the night, because we were expressing our appreciation of where we have been and anticipating the possibilities of the new year all in one experience. May the love continue for us all and may the new year bring it for us all!