The Minnesota Edition: This Is How a Sunset Cocktail Soiree Is Done “Up North”

I had the good wait, scratch that.

photoI had the excellent fortune of being at the lake the same weekend that neighbors of ours were hosting one of their much-anticipated sunset cocktail soirees. They happen only once or twice a summer.

I was informed: “Dear, it might be called drinks and hors d’oeuvres, but really, it’s enough for dinner.”

(I’m not sure my grandmother would appreciate this association, but for a few years I attended post-work media functions with exactly that same question on the line: What would they feed us, and would it be enough?)

Anyhow, these parties are really excellent. They begin about 5 o’clock in the evening, and wind down well past sunset. This year, I found myself puffing on a Montecristo white label cigar with an intimate group of about eight, and we sat around the fire, talking and smoking as the last light of day slipped away. It was lovely.

photo-5I didn’t take photos of all the food, but in my mind, the highlights were the baked salmon — Copper River salmon out of Alaska, I was told, along with the requisite (and I’m better for it) background story. Just outside the frame of this photo is a basket of small pumpernickel (or rye) toasts, which you smeared the cream cheese on, added a heavy slice of the salmon, and sprinkled with the capers, if you dared. Delicious.

photo-3And there was a cheese plate; I’m fairly certain that was peanut butter on the cheese plate. I don’t know more about it than that — I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it — although, at some point, I’m sure I had several slices of both the brie and the Monterey pepper jack, and a handful of grapes.

photo-1Then there’s this circular dish. I could figure out the part about the onions, the tomatoes, the bacon … the white base layer completely mystified me. Yogurt? Sour cream? Cream cheese? It doesn’t fit any of flavor profiles of the usual suspects.

The answer: Later, I found out this dish is called a “BLT Dip” — given the Google search results for “BLT Dip,” apparently I’m behind the curve — and the white layer is a blend of sour cream and mayonnaise, maybe a little garlic salt. Which makes perfect sense.

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