Who: (Almost) All the VN Ladies
What: Millennium's Annual Southern Comfort Dinner
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
When: May 22, 2008
Why: Who would want to miss when haute cuisine goes lowbrow?
The Scoop: Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain Oysters. Yes, those are the small round items with the skewers on the plate you see above. When dinner starts out with faux-bull balls, you know you're in for a certain kind of night. The VN team has made an annual tradition of attending this outrageously fun, decidedly down-home event, and we pretty much spend all year talking about what will be on the menu. This year's lineup was just as artery-clogging and decadent as we were expecting. Along with the "mountain oysters," appetizers included beer-battered onion rings, pickled okra, pizza rolls (in the foil), corn bread, bacon cheese bread, and large, icy buckets of the finest Pabst Blue Ribbon around.
From there things just got greasier. Deep-fried Tofurky sausages, anyone? How about salad with a highly thick and creamy bacon-ranch dressing? Remember, this was all before our entrées came out. We had the choice of tamales, barbecue seitan, hoisin-apricot tempeh ribs, or Doritos-crusted catfish. Yeah, you try and pick from that roster. Just in case there was any extra room in our stomachs, Miss Jazz's DIY brownie sundae bar—named for VN contributor Jesse Miner's chihuahua—completed the meal with brownies, rocky road ice cream, hot fudge and butterscotch sauces, and a smorgasbord of toppings.
To complement the over-the-top eats, a few of our group dressed to their trashiest nines, complete with blacked-out teeth and faux-pregnant bellies. As if all this weren't enough to make for a memorable evening, Executive Chef Eric Tucker took Colleen and Elizabeth into the kitchen for a quick lesson in deep-frying onion rings. Maybe they were ecstatic about it. Maybe they totally freaked out and blushed like schoolgirls. Maybe it's not, you know, every day that you get into the kitchen at Millennium.
Here's the whole group of lovely ladies, all of whom, amazingly, were still able to button their pants at the end of the night.