Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner: World Peace One Meal at a Time

Friends of Gil stay past closing time again

You’ve probably espied a bumper sticker encouraging everyone to “Visualize Whirled Peas,” an obvious homophone for “Visualize World Peace.” Some have posited that whirled peas might indeed be the way to world peace. Seriously! I’m speaking, of course, about hummus, a ubiquitous Middle Eastern food typically made of mashed (whirled) chickpeas. There’s a tiny café in Israel employing a unique way to promote reconciliation. The restaurant offers a 50-percent discount to any table in which Arabs and Jews elect to sit together. That’s promoting peace through hummus.

Waiting for Appetizers

Negotiating world peace over dinner isn’t exactly a novel concept. A New York group named World Peace, One Falafel at a Time aims to bring Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths together over food. The group’s mission statement is clear: Through a shared plate of food we create a common ground that fosters trust and understanding. When people share a simple meal together, boundaries disappear, discussion becomes possible, and healing can begin. We come together not as a meeting of a thousand, but as one hundred meetings of ten.

Will it be pizza or another Piatanzi pièce de résistance?

An article published in the Society page of the New York Times Sunday edition on May 5, 1918 posited that “soap-boxers emitting hatred and trust” may be having trouble with their stomachs which sometimes direct human action more than the mind does.” The writer observed that where there are points of disagreement, a good dinner usually settles them.

The Private Dining Room at Piatanzi was a Magnificent Venue for Dinner

So, where is this diatribe headed? Maybe nowhere. Maybe it’s just my reaction to the increased lack of civility (a vast understatement) among politicians and ideologues (on both sides of the aisle) who can’t concede any merit whatsoever about the opposing viewpoint. It’s not enough to disagree with one another’s opinions or choices, dissenters on both sides seem to have a base need to resort to derisive pejoratives and name-calling. All that without ever sitting down and having a discussion about the issues which divide them, without ever attempting to compromise, without ever acknowledging commonalities…

Next Course Please

Maybe it’s too simple-minded and naive to suggest all the world’s problems can be solved over a good meal, but it would certainly be a good start. Might I suggest these “two sides of the same coin” politicos attend the next Friends of Gil (FOG) dinner in October. FOG dinners are an exemplar of decorum and civility. FOG members come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wide spectrum of political and ideological viewpoints, but for at least a few hours, we put aside any differences we may have and enjoy what makes us most alike–sharing great food, great conversation, great fun and great friendship.

The most recent FOG dinner was held on Friday, July 29th at the Juan Tabo location of Piatanzi, a fantastic Italian restaurant specializing in fabulous small plate Italian creations. Twenty-something FOG members, including several first-timers and “another Gil” (we might have been separated at birth) enjoyed a sumptuous repast, several of us staying past closing time.

Kudos to Jim Millington and his beautiful Child Bride for putting together another terrific FOG evening. Barb White has graciously volunteered to organize our next outing in October. Look for details on this blog.

28 comments

  • Shawne

    It’s been too long. Let’s get another one together! Miss you guys!

  • BOTVOLR

    Aah Spring is in the air! Perhaps some Folks might hanker to do a FOG Gathering?

    I’m just a) soliciting possibilities Y’all may have for someone who might stand up to take The Lead in “organizing” it and b) throwing out a couple spots to whittle down wherein we could be accommodated.

    Would 7 o’clock pm during the week on Sun through Thurs be absolutely out for you? Yes – No?

    Could ya please note these as Yes – Nope or Rank them 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, 8

    Crepe Michel….can seat 24 “intimately scattered” in their Back Room….an evolving menu for example http://www.lacrepemichel.com/main/dinner-menu/

    Indigo Crow….$22-$32 https://www.opentable.com/indigo-crow# Not a separate room, but together in some fashion.

    Eclectic with its menu of Pizzas and “Fuori dal muro”(sic…off the wall) creations of Daniela/Maxime http://www.eatdrinkrepeat.us/!

    St. Clair’s Winery…..http://www.stclairwinery.com/albuquerque/ They have a separate and enclosed “back room” as well as a smaller (lest we dare) East (vs larger west) patio http://tinyurl.com/k7c2jfk

    Monte Carlo Steakhouse….It’s been on Rte 66 since ’70 with an iconic ’70s style ambiance with an-old time-in-the-middle-of-the-room seating for groups, featuring Greek tinged steaks http://tinyurl.com/mq7h57b E.g. menu to click at http://tinyurl.com/n2785ku

    Casa de Benavidez on their Tied for 1st Best Patio (IMHO) http://tinyurl.com/l7eaxfs Menu: http://casadebenavidez.com/menu/

    Toro Burger: while there are several menu items http://tinyurl.com/kmfbozh, would be interesting to see if here is the Best GCCB http://tinyurl.com/lk7rstr

    Nick & Jimmy’s: Are you Enamoured with an SO whose taste is way different from yours? Just about everything to satisfy either’s tastes! http://www.nickandjimmysrestaurant.com/dinner

    Albeit in Cedar Crest, how about Bella Vista for their all ya can eat Fried Fish or Fried Chicken! Alas, just yankin yer chain …sadly long gone!
    “Chow!”

  • JohnL

    Any word on the next FOG?

    • Time has run out on us in October and the windows in November and December are somewhat limited considering all the holiday festivities. Stay tuned to your favorite food blog for updates.

  • BOTVOLR

    Caveat: Not about a restaurant per se:
    Elsewise: 2 Thingies!

    Please remind Folks with Family/Friends elsewhere that F/Fs can catch our balloon eye-candy on Sat/Sun Oct. 1, 2 and 8,9 at 7AM MDST via live streaming on their computer via http://www.kob.com, http://www.krqe.com, http://www.koat.com where they can find something like ‘live video’. Once there, put cursor on that screen to find a clickable for Full Screen, often something like [ ] Use Esc key to escape).
    Why am I bothering Y’all? Enticing tourist dollars helps keep prices/taxes down while keeping our Local Fav YumYum Shoppes in business.
    (Of course some of Y’all may be here to ‘avoid’ relatives or even in Witness Protection….. LOL, so let your conscience be your guide.)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Alas, I’m having a Senior Moment regarding the next FOG! Hopefully, Barb is still being most gracious in taking on the task of wrangling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8 the next FOG.
    Can’t remember if a place has been decided upon….sorry if done! If not, any thoughts on these venues in no particular order:
    – The Ranchers Club (maybe too pricey? Do they have a congenial space for 1-2 dozen?) http://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=371#comments (Haven’t been in years; anyone have recent opinion?)
    – Prairie Star http://mynewmexicogolf.com/prairiestar_diningroom/ read as above.
    – **Le Troquet http://www.nmgastronome.com/?s=Le+Troquet altho we might take over the whole place per its size, so a non Fri/Sat nite might be being considerate.
    – La Crepe Michel http://www.nmgastronome.com/?s=la+crepe+michel Alas, I’ve never seen in the back dining room per knowing if it could accommodate our group? Ya, I know parking’s a challenge.
    – The Frontier?
    – Standard Dinner (I’ve never been)
    – **Indigo Crow Review: http://www.nmgastronome.com/?s=indigo+crow Menu: http://www.opentable.com/indigo-crow#
    – Capo’s http://tinyurl.com/zu5nbfn
    – **Scalo’s http://www.scalonobhill.com/ but not in a bare back room; “upper overlook” would be fine.
    – Eclectic, but Hmmm…. no one has commented about the Grand Opening?????.

    • FGFABQ

      I would eliminate the Ranchers Club, too expensive and not all that interesting.
      Ditto, the Frontier, been there done that, not impressed.
      Ditto, the Standard Diner, not very consistent, had a bad experience last time.
      Would like to do Eclectic, seemingly those of us who dined there loved it.
      Indigo Crow is consistently good.
      Capo’s, maybe, although yelp is notorious for phony reviews.
      Scalo, maybe if we can get press passes.
      Perhaps Asian cuisine like dim sum at Ming Dynasty, or Thai food, or Sushi.
      Finally, it’s whatever Barb comes up with. I’m sure she doesn’t need anyone’s help.

      • BOTVOLR

        Thanks for the input FGFABQ! Certainly no need for a disputation with that!
        – Frontier: put that in as a change-of-pace frivolity.
        – Standard: Sorry to hear it may have slipped.
        – Indigo Crow: We agree on something! LOL
        – Capo’s: an out-of-the-ordinary setting where food has been decent.
        – Scalo’s: Alas, when the Journal changed to “Rewards”, Scalo stopped offering
        their generous 20% off.
        – Asian Cuisine: Alas, I’m no expert as stuck in what I was first exposed to as a kid,
        e.g. and Tres Chic for the era, Sweet n Sour Pork; those tiny BBQ bones with duck sauce; Chow Mein! LOL
        – RE Barb: I agree (again!) with whatever Barb comes up with as our brief conversations at FOGs
        reflect she is a Chica with sophisticated tastes
        – Guess I was just getting a bit antsy to schmooze again with FOGGIES as time seems to go by so swiftly
        and I have nothing better to do on for example Nov 8th; thought I’d try to stir up some interest. LOL
        – Elsewise: Given that I think one intent of Gil’s Blog is to help promote Local dining experiences as well as nudge Folks, as well as ABQ Newbies, out of the range of their home Bubble, anyone have any thoughts on inviting Folks who do foodie reviews for the Journal, (including Jessica Dyer), The Alibi, Local IQ, etc. to a FOG Gathering to e.g. have them note (promote) the Blog for more public awareness?
        – Lastly, must give a Shout Out for your recommendation regarding yummy soups in-a-can that are low in Sodium. I just finished Amy’s Bisque and SouthWestern Veggies and didn’t need to shake my shaker for her reduced sodium! For what it’s worth, just happen to see this yesterday http://tinyurl.com/zrd3ktd Ha ha, they missed PF Chang’s “bowl” of Hot n Sour Soup that blows the American Heart Association’s cautionary RDA of 1500-2000 mg of Sodium away by coming in at 8,000 mgs!!!
        – “Chow”!
        PS NYC’s main Katz is closing!

  • Rich Talley

    A great dinner, thanks!

    The only problem is the trend in restaurants these days to have lots of hard surfaces which reflect sound (especially those exposed ‘industrial’ ceilings – yuck). I personally found that the sound level in Piatanzi’s private dining room was way too high for comfortable conversation with twenty some people talking.

    The parmesan fries with white truffle oil were sinfully rich. Obviously fried in some sort of animal fat – the only way potatoes should ever be fried.

    • It was a pleasure meeting you and your son. I hope Carmen is able to join us next time.

      Sadly, some of our other Friends of Gil weren’t able to make it to Piatanzi, but will hopefully be able to join us in October. You’ll enjoy visiting with Bruce and Grayce, Shawne, Mary Ann and other great FOGeys.

  • Shawne

    Sorry we couldn’t make it! Had to help my mother with some things. Looks like a wonderful time with excellent food and wine choices. So glad you all had such a good time! Next time…

  • BOTVOLR

    Kudos to The Child Bride and Jim for Honchoing over another Great FOX Gathering.

    The Camaraderie of 22ish new and old (Eh, as in the faithful) Foodies whizzed 2-3 hours by too quickly. Piatanzi’s offerings were luscious as usual, albeit instead of their Bestie, Carpaccio, I succumbed to the Tre Porcellini…pie as some say…pizza.
    Whoa! the new setting (Moderne Italiene?) is the spitting image of Girard, albeit a bit larger, and I didn’t find parking that much of an issue, IMHO.
    As usual, the same attentive waitstaff service is greatly appreciated….Salud!
    (Wild mitote (http://tinyurl.com/ovru4rq http://tinyurl.com/lwxh6qz) abounded that a Fair Lass was already getting all excited/into the possibility of setting things up in a couple of ambrosial settings for the next FOG!)

  • Jim Millington

    I just want to remind everybody that FOG IX will be tonight at 3305 Juan Tabo, N.E., just north of O’Niell’s. If you haven’t been to this location before it only has one problem, inadequate parking. If their parking is full there is a little (but not much) on Jane Pl. just north of the restaurant but there is a lot near O’Niell’s and Defined Fitness.

  • BOTVOLR

    Whoa! Looking forward to some great Camaraderie and an ambrosial experience as one,,, if not too late.
    (Never able to avoid being boorish, don’t forget to listen to http://tinyurl.com/qggfgfy especially if having the Carpaccio (sic).)

  • Barb White

    Count three of us in – Jim, Barb, John Great choice on venue!

  • A Different Gil

    I’d like to attend. Party of one.

  • Shawne

    Regrettably, we can’t make this one. Have a ball!

  • Sylvia W.

    Two of us will be there

  • Randy

    Hey Gil,

    Enjoy your time with Pete; he’s one of our favorites. Please say “Hi” for us. We considered driving down just for this!!

    Randy and Bonnie

  • Rich Talley

    Carmen and I will be there with bells on.

  • JohnL

    Kay and I will be there.

  • john baldwin

    Two of us.

  • Mary Ann Spencer

    Seeyou there…

  • Mary Ann Spencer

    Count me in. I’ll be there!

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