Sunday, July 31, 2011

Croatian Valentine's Day Party in July

For about the past 30 years, we have been a part of a group of four Southern California couples who share graduation from the University of Washington and friendship as among our most cherished possessions. We try to meet at least once a year for dinner at one of our homes near Valentine's Day in February.

While the make up of this eclectic group has changed somewhat over the years due to people moving back to Seattle or, in some cases, working in Europe, the energy generated continues decade after decade.

In recent years, as our lives have gotten even more complex, the exact month of Valentine's Day, by necessity, has become, like Hemingway's Paris, "a moveable feast."

Often these affairs have a theme selected by the host couple. I shudder at the thought that it was we, the Contreras family, that started this new twist by hosting a "Famous Love Couples" party one year. We went as Ricky and Lucy . . . type casting.

The hosts this year were Paul and Joanne Sabolic who live in Northridge, California. Paul's grandparents immigrated to Pittsburgh from Crotia in the early part of the 20th Century.

Thus, on Saturday evening, all of these events conspired to bring about our first ever Croatian Valentine's Day Party in July!

The MUCH better halves

From left to right: Laurie Contreras, Susan D'Antuono, Sherlyn Claridge and our hostess Joanne Sabolic

They all were excited to see each other again, no matter how much stress their respective husbands put them through since our last gathering.

The Gentlemen

From left to right: Peter Claridge, me, our host Paul Sabolic and Michael D'Antuono

Lots of UW war stories were exchanged yet again on this spectacular evening. Husky expectations throughout the night for the fast approaching 2011 PAC-12 season ranged anywhere from a modest 6-6 to an overly enthusiastic 14-0 National Championship campaign.

Did I mention that alcohol was served?

Croatian H'orderves


And lots of them to boot.

Paul and Joanne did all of the cooking and everything from these h'orderves to the main dishes and the desserts were delicious.

It turns out that Croation food is primarily meat and potatoes . . . what is not to love about this hardy, filling cuisine?

The Claridges

The D'Antuonos

The Sabolics

The Contrerai (?)


If this isn't Croatia's #1 export, then it damn well should be!

It goes with anything including ice cream and great friends.

Next up is a January 28, 2012 Valentine's Day Party at Casa Contreras in Camarillo all factors permitting.

Remind me again, why don't we get together more often?

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