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Old 08-27-2005, 02:15 PM   #1 (Print)
mercurial
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DC: Fonduely Looking Towards New Year (An Exploratory Thread)

A while back some of us were all talking about fondue and I mentioned what my wife and I have put together in the past for a New Year's fondue party. One thing lead to another and the joke began that we were having everyone over for a fondue party at New Years. Fast forward to now and after having been to three of the four meets I've made, my wife has heard the rumor and has indicated that she's open to hosting if we can work out some of those issues.

That said, let me describe WHAT a fondue party is at our house, then what the issues are, and then open the floor up to discussion.

The way the fondue evening progresses is we start out with salads or a vegetable crudite. Given the size of this gathering, I'd guess the latter with some hot hors d'oeuvres (homemade and/or the Costco variety...). Next we do a traditional cheese fondue with various veggies and assorted cubes of bread for dipping. Then we go onto a either an oil or broth fondue (or maybe both if we can get a third fondue pot) with veggies and meets to cook in them with various dips and sauces to try over them. At this point, we also fire up the Raclette (RACK-let) grill for grilling meats, sausages, melting cheese on potato slices, and broiling eggs. So far as meats/sausages it's usually a cubes of chicken, steak, and salmon, shrimp, scallops, and slices of polska kielbasa (but I'm sure someone will tell me the REAL type of sausage we should be using). Basically what you do is lay the meat or potato slices on top of the grill and sprinkle them with shredded cheese and grill them to perfection. The bottom shelf of the grill has little cups with handles that you can put meats/veggies into or whole/beaten eggs and sprinkle with cheese and stick under the top grill to "broil". For desert, there is chocolate fondue (we usually do a dark) with various fruits, cakes, etc. to dip. If we pull this meet off, hopefully we'll have someone there who'll give us access to a chocolate fondue fountain <hint, hint> and then we'll maybe do a white chocolate fondue in the dessert fondue pot..

Anyway, trying not to delve too deeply into details but give you an overview of what it is like. Essentially you take your time and eat, talk, and drink and just let the evening pass by with good food and good company. So far as activities, we've got the big screen upstairs and an iPod dock on the stereo for those of you musically inclined and downstairs we've got the bar, air hockey table, "video game station" (e.g. TV with Xbox, PS2, and free inputs for a Gamecube if someone brought one), and a whiteboard that seems to work well for drunken Pictionary... Just ask the folks that came to the BBQ after the tubing trip, we've got plenty of room to party and mingle and lots of stuff to do other than eating fondue until your comatose.

So that's how the evening looks... Now the logistics issues.

1) We live in the suburbs of the suburbs of DC so there aren't a lot of things to do pre-/post-meet and the hotels aren't quite as close (probably same travel time but further distance). There is also very little public transportation out by us and, while cabs are available, they probably cannot be had quite as quickly as where Deaklet lives. We'd probably need to have a few DDs setup for shuttling to hotels after the evening is over. The only alternative is crashing here and I don't know how comfortable that would be for folks and we only have so much floor space so probably not an option.

2) We have two kids, our family lives in NC so the chances are very high that the kids will be there since we don't really have anyone else who could take them overnight. Unless people are shy about telling me otherwise, this wasn't too much of a problem at the post-tubin' BBQ, they went to bed at 8, that's when the party cranked up and the only issue was we had to keep the volume sensible on the ground floor so rowdy folks to the basement, please... I don't know how uncomfortable that makes people. I wouldn't have them around a lot of drinking but we're OK packing them off to bed while the adults have their party downstairs.

3) Do to the large mount of mis en place (that means prep work cuttin' victuals and prepping sauces) involved and the time of year, it would probably be best if we picked up most of the food required and staged it. That said, since there is no caterer, how would people feel about chipping in cash towards the expenses based mainly on my guesstimation? Or does someone have a better way to estimate a per-head cost for this sort of thing that would be more accurate?

4) While our house could handle as many people as Deak's, if it got that large, the fondue process tends to break down a bit... So while I'd hate to put a cap on it, we will have to adjust the party plans a bit if it were to get that big. I'm guessing the time of year might limit potential participation but this thread is here to gauge the level of interest.

4) That time of year, there is always the chance of snow/icy weather but, usually that doesn't hit our area with any force or regularity until late January/early February. So not an issue you can do much about but just a heads up and perhaps an issue for folks coming in from the NE.

5) We do have 3 cats so anyone with a sever allergy to them that can't medicate it for an evening probably wouldn't have so good a time..

Ok.. That's the gist of things. I just wanted to start this thread for a feeler to see what folks thought, if there was serious interest, and if anyone thought any of the logistical issues presented were show stoppers or had thoughts on them. Not committing to anything just yet. Comments?

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Old 08-27-2005, 02:40 PM   #2 (Print)
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It really sounds like fun, Merc, but I don't think we would be able to make it at that time of the year (even though we'd like to).

Logistically I think you have it pretty well thought out. I know if I/we were going I'd/we'd be glad to chip in $ toward the party. The kids being there wouldn't bother us (we understand, we have one of our own).

I think it's great of you to offer up your place for a TCF meet!!!

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Old 08-27-2005, 03:23 PM   #3 (Print)
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Huh. New Year's Eve is SATURDAY this year. And we have Monday, January 2, off too! I can do this!

It'll be great to spend NYE with friends.

Color me interested.

Last edited by Graymalkin : 08-27-2005 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 08-27-2005, 03:24 PM   #4 (Print)
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Great idea Merc. I'm only a six hour drive away. I would gladly attend.

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Old 08-27-2005, 05:38 PM   #5 (Print)
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This sounds like a lot of fun, mercurial. None of the issues you've highlighted would cause me to give it a second thought. Please count me in the "I wanna be there, hopefully I can make it" column.

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Old 08-27-2005, 06:33 PM   #6 (Print)
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Like I have anything better to do on a Saturday night. I want to go, I want to go!

Just somebody remind me a week or so in advance.

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Old 08-27-2005, 08:45 PM   #7 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb.x
Like I have anything better to do on a Saturday night. I want to go, I want to go!

Just somebody remind me a week or so in advance.


Tivo Teasing again? ;-(

I'm interested. With Dad's health, I won't be able to commit till much closer but I can't think of a group of people that would be more fun on NYE. Or at eatin crabs.. Doh! ;-)

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Old 08-27-2005, 10:44 PM   #8 (Print)
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I am definitely interested, although I can't commit right now. The fondue party sounds like a blast!

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Old 08-28-2005, 12:20 AM   #9 (Print)
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Interested, possibly hopefully so. I think it all depends on what Sean thinks of the small St. Louis thing, and if he's too weirded out about it.

If one thing could get me to go on a trip, it'd be fondue and raclette.

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Old 08-28-2005, 12:28 AM   #10 (Print)
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I am in!

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Old 08-28-2005, 08:50 AM   #11 (Print)
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Definitely interested.
And it sounds like you have it pretty well planned out.
(And as an attendee of the tubing/BBQ I'll confirm your statement that having the kids around wasn't a problem.)

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Old 08-28-2005, 09:40 AM   #12 (Print)
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Thanks for the generous offer, Merc... As I believe we mentioned last night, we currently have a commitment ceremony on New Year's, so for now we'll have to be in the no column.

You never know, though .

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Old 08-28-2005, 10:05 AM   #13 (Print)
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Old 08-28-2005, 12:26 PM   #14 (Print)
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I have a classic electric fondue pot from the 1970s that still works like a charm. I stole it from my parents because I don't think they've used it since the heydey of the fondue pot. I will happily volunteer my crockpot to help feed the masses.

I'm not 100% sure I'll be in town, but even if I end up being in Buffalo with the family instead, I'll make sure my crockpot is at mercurial's place if you want it.

Your menu is very ambitious -- you could actually cut back on the options and I'm sure everyone would still be happy.

The way I remembered raclette from my year in France, it was much simpler: boiled potatoes (red potatoes with skin on, I believe), jambon cru (cured ham), raclette cheese, and cornichons (little vinegary French pickles). In fact, I believe in the original version, there was no meat at all. So all the meat options you listed are nice, but they add complexity that isn't really necessary. If you have 10 meat options, people are going to want to try all 10. You could still make everyone happy with fewer meat options, and people wouldn't have to wear elastic pants or loosen their belts in order to make it through the night.

Like TCF meets, fondue and raclette are really "all about the peeps." They are a very slow group meal that give you an excuse to sit at a table with a bunch of your friends and family for several hours, nibbling away and chatting until the last bit of melted cheese has been consumed.

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Old 08-28-2005, 02:25 PM   #15 (Print)
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I LOVE the fondue.

I'm not sure I can make it... probably not, what with a week in the Midwest immediately preceding it.
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:32 PM   #16 (Print)
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Good points, Allie. However the meat options really are the same as those used in the oil/broth fondue. But, as the size of the potential gathering becomes clearer, we'll probably settle on 2-3 simple options. (I'm a hopeless carnivore.)

The offer of a fondue pot is much appreciated. When you said crockpot, did you mean a crockpot too or were you just refering to your fondue pot as a crock pot? Cause that reminds me that we have one too and some crockpot meatballs would be a simple dish to have... I wonder if there is a simple crokpot side that could be done too if we had acess to another pot...?

So many ideas...
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:20 PM   #17 (Print)
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Hrmmm... I'm interested... I might be able to make it down for this.
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Old 08-28-2005, 04:01 PM   #18 (Print)
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Quote:
The way I remembered raclette from my year in France, it was much simpler: boiled potatoes (red potatoes with skin on, I believe), jambon cru (cured ham), raclette cheese, and cornichons (little vinegary French pickles). In fact, I believe in the original version, there was no meat at all.

Yep, the way you had it in France is how we've always had it. But the more meat, the more chance I can convince Sean it's a good idea.

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Old 08-28-2005, 04:17 PM   #19 (Print)
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Oh I also have a pot we can use. I have yet to use it. It is still in the box!

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Old 08-28-2005, 08:04 PM   #20 (Print)
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I'm in!

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Old 08-28-2005, 08:23 PM   #21 (Print)
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Don't tempt me, DC people...

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Old 08-28-2005, 08:57 PM   #22 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercurial
When you said crockpot, did you mean a crockpot too or were you just refering to your fondue pot as a crock pot? Cause that reminds me that we have one too and some crockpot meatballs would be a simple dish to have... I wonder if there is a simple crokpot side that could be done too if we had acess to another pot...?
While I do have a crockpot, I was mistyping when I used the word. I was offering my fondue pot. You can have the crockpot, if you want, but it won't really be helpful for the fondue and raclette themselves.

Crockpots are very handy for stew, soups, chili, baked beans, and so on.

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Old 08-29-2005, 12:05 AM   #23 (Print)
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I'd be really interested, but I most likely have a New Year's gig... the highest paying night of the entire year for musicians. Last year, I cleared pretty close to a grand for the night. Pretty hard to turn that kind of money down.
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Old 08-29-2005, 04:29 AM   #24 (Print)
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I'm definitely in. I can't imagine a better way to ring in the New Year than with the peeps!
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Old 08-29-2005, 09:15 AM   #25 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edhara
I'd be really interested, but I most likely have a New Year's gig... the highest paying night of the entire year for musicians. Last year, I cleared pretty close to a grand for the night. Pretty hard to turn that kind of money down.


You can web-cam in a set for us... ?

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Old 08-29-2005, 09:29 AM   #26 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inundated
Don't tempt me, DC people...


Oh you know you want to come to DC!

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Old 08-29-2005, 09:31 AM   #27 (Print)
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Stop bumping this thread!!!!

So, it's a Saturday, huh? Hmmm....

Damn the UMF!

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Old 08-29-2005, 09:37 AM   #28 (Print)
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Old 08-29-2005, 09:55 AM   #29 (Print)
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OOhh... this sounds like fun... wonder what plane tickets around that time are going for?
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Old 08-29-2005, 09:58 AM   #30 (Print)
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..and I didn't mention this before but the kids being there are certainly not an issue for me, and I think most people would feel the same way. The rowdy bunch could easily be delegated to the basement but I believe that our group is respectful enough to be considerate of the noise level. Also, I would certainly be willing to chip in cash for the event, however you decided to figure out what was needed.
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