On a whim inspired by his recent success at perfecting an authentic carne asada burrito, Kent decided to share his success with pretty much everyone he knows. A few days after returning from a weekend training with some of the Young Men in our ward--they have been the tasters for his repeated attempts at making carne asada that tastes like the burritos at his favorite taco stand in Baja California--Kent and I sat down to estimate the cost of throwing a barbecue. It worked out to about $5 per person, which sounded like a reasonable amount per person for dinner...if they paid their own way. Kent wrote up an email and sent it to family and friends from all parts of his life, including the entire neighborhood! 109 people replied that they would come, and I think a few more besides that showed up too.
After a week of planning, collecting money, borrowing extra grills, shopping nine grocery stores for the best prices on various items, and barely claiming a pavilion on Saturday morning before they were all taken...the anticipation paid off and the party was on!
We spent a good chunk of time on Saturday at our friends' home, the Gonzalezes, chopping, blending, dicing, stuffing, and otherwise prepping the food. David put a ton of time and effort into fulfilling this dream for Kent, and I appreciate that his help saved me from doing it all!
#1 offered to help as a (successful) attempt to be included in the high-school-and-older party.
I promise, Kent washed his hands before serving the food...
...in fact, we wore gloves.
The menu included lime-soaked cucumbers, seared radishes, chips for the guests' favorite salsas, Mexican Coca-Cola, limeade, and lots of grilled goodness: green onions, jalapeño poppers, pineapple...mmm!
But what everyone really came for was the smoked meat.
They lined up...
...and at Kent's encouragement/insistence, they continued to line up all night.
We had one little glitch when we ran out of cilantro, but other than that, the night was a success and we think everyone left full and happy to have visited and enjoy the gorgeous weather.
Everyone better have left with full stomachs, because we ended up with 100 tortillas and about 60 lbs. of meat left over, not to mention a fridge full of everything else--except Coke; #1 finished the last one during clean up. So what do you do with enough extra food for another get-together? You have another get-together!
At Church, Kent invited families who had expressed their deep regret to him at missing Saturday's party to come for the "after party", which reminded me of a college "break the fast" event.
Friends showed up with side dishes,
and helped out in the kitchen.
Kent stoked the grill...
...and we enjoyed another lovely summer evening with 51 more of our favorite people.
Thanks everyone who could come! I love that we had friends of all ages and connections at our dinners. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and if you missed it, post a comment and we'll be sure to invite you next time. Now that we know the quantities and pricing, we will likely make this an annual tradition. (Thanks also to Angela for buying the meat that was still left over after Extravaganza #2. The irony that we, the people who are supposedly mostly vegetarian, hosted a steak fest was not lost on me. But I surely would have been lost figuring out what to do with another 20 lbs. of steak!)