Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner: Fabulous Food, Fun and Friends

Pulchritudinous Pam and Loquacious Larry enjoy their dinner at Jinja

When Sheri LaVigne was a little girl, her family moved to a small farm in Corrales. Her mother Kay Lucas bought a Nubian goat they named Mocha which provisioned the family with everything from farmer’s cheese to goat’s milk ice cream. Sheri got up early every morning to help her mom milk Mocha, an experience which helped foster her lifelong love affair with cheese. That love was rekindled when she lived in New York City just around the corner from a cheese shop. A few years later she and her husband relocated to Seattle where, despite a thriving food scene, there wasn’t a cheese shop to be found. Deciding she would be the one to rectify the situation, in 2009 she launched Calf & Kid, an artisan cheese shop. You may have seen Sheri on television not that long ago when she was featured on The Layover with Anthony Bourdain, whom it turns out is quite the turophile (a connoisseur of cheese). He spent an hour tasting various cheeses with Sheri guiding him through a number of the “runny and smelly” cheeses he craved. Not surprisingly the Calf & Kid has become über popular in Seattle where Sheri has cultivated a vibrant cheese culture showcasing fine cheeses from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Her proud mother Kay is understandably very happy that the early morning experiences she shared with her daughter in Corrales proved so inspirational.

Chow Fun Noodles

Kay no longer gets up early in the morning to milk goats, but she remains one of the Duke City’s most passionate and knowledgeable gastronomes. Kay and doting husband John are charter members of the Friends of Gil (FOG). On Friday, January 29th, they organized the inaugural FOG event for 2016. Twenty-three savvy diners–including first-timers Mary and Mack Kroner, Barb and Jim White and Bruce and Soozie Terzes–got together at Jinja Bar & Bistro for an evening of fun, food and friendship.It was a wonderful event enjoyed by one and all. The only thing missing was YOU. Barb and Jim White volunteered to organize the next FOG event and you’re invited. Stay tuned to this blog for more details.

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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36 Comments on “Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner: Fabulous Food, Fun and Friends”

  1. Jim, you must have sat across from Bob, not BOTVOLR, because one is a real person with whom My wife and I have broken bread and the other is an alterego, an entirely different person with an entirely different persona.
    Yes, Bob is an intelligent, well spoken, seemingly well educated gentleman but he didn’t need to disparage those of us who sometimes end up being confused by his off topic ramblings as less educated and therefor unable to understand the depth of his intellect.
    If he wants to control the social aspect of FOG dinners by playing some form of musical chairs let him be in charge of all aspects of the dinners. He can pick out the restaurants, assign seats for each course, in short, get everyone who wants to attend a Press Pass, and let his talents run wild. He can be the DEFOG. Director Emeritus of Friends Of Gil. He has my vote.
    I always thought the person volunteering to lead the dinner should be responsible without input from anyone else.
    Maybe I have more faith in the volunteers than BOTVOLR.
    One more thing Jim, is “lacerating his feelings” worse than disparaging the educational and intellectual capacity of others who find his rambling confusing?

  2. Bob-
    I guess I’m a little surprised when you post so much, you know, nonsense, that you pretend to be offended when someone calls you out for posting nonsense.
    Speak normally, concisely, and stay on topic and nobody will criticize you for anything.
    I’ve met you in person. You are a nice guy, well spoken, and easy to be around.
    This BOTVOLR character is none of the above.
    Be you. It’s enough.

  3. I will admit that I am sympathetic to BOTVOLR’s claims of abuse on the subject of his written comments which I also find utterly incoherent. I was sitting directly opposite bob at the latest FOG dinner and, as usual, found his spoken word interesting, well spoken and the well reasoned voice of an intelligent educated man. I am certain that his comment about his “touch of dyslexia” explains everything. I was listening to Richard Branson (also a very intelligent and very successful man) explaining on Roots that he was a miserable student with very limited reading and math skills due to his dyslexia. Bob has obviously disciplined himself and far exceeds Branson’s skills as a student but he will probably never master his skills as a money machine. If his comments are impossible to understand just don’t read them. There is nothing to be gained by lacerating his feelings.

  4. Bob, my comment was meant to point out only that if people want to visit with others at a social gathering, they just need to get up and go do it. It’s just like a dance or a party…there are those who sit like wallflowers and others who get up and mix around with other guests. It seemed to me that you were describing a similar situation. No criticism intended. Please do note that if you reread your plan, it did kind of resemble some of the chaos deliberately created by the (IMHO) talented clan of Marx Bros of an earlier time. I am actually a fan of those comedic films and found myself picturing what a restaurant would look like on film with the carefully and mathematically planned shifts of the participants, chuckling while reading. Imagine the “choreography” that would be involved in blocking those scenes and shooting them. Again, no offense intended; just a misplaced comment of a person with a weird sense of humor.

  5. Bobo, you sound like a wounded fragile bird who just had his wings somewhat clipped.
    I do think you’re overreacting to criticism by disparaging those who commented on your proposal. Then you disparaged New Mexicans in general as lacking in skills beyond a 6th grade level. Not very nice.
    Thin skinned? Maybe just a tad?
    Was the third comment the tipping point? Not the first (mine), not the second (aptly by “Huh?”), but the third by Roland put you undies in a knot. There has not been that kind of outcry since several folks jumped on you and me.
    I did think you were out of line telling some of us we don’t contribute, even humbly, to the blog. Frankly, you post more comments that have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with food, restaurants etc. than anyone else.
    Instead of accepting the fact that you occasionally go off on strange tangents that leave a few of us scratching our heads you chose to go on the attack. Not cool, Bobo, not cool.
    Try writing for me, one of the poorly educated, so I can learn from your expertise instead of making me feel worse about my lowly BA.
    The only saving grace in this whole matter is that Gloria has disappeared from the blogosphere and can’t come to your defense.
    And no, I’m not Huh?.

    1. I apologize if my Huh? comment sent undies wadding in all directions. As I mentioned, I normally don’t bother with BOTVOLR comments, but figured I wanted to read about the FOG dinner. I quickly remembered why I don’t read them anymore…and I couldn’t help but commenting, as I found myself confused.

      I apologize if my 6th gade educational level showed through that comment (though for the life of me I’m not sure how The University of New Mexico would give a 6th grader a BS in Electrical Engineering…I hope they don’t call and want it back! :-)).

      Lighten up BOTVOLR. You can’t expect to post what you post and not expect some blowback once in awhile. Life will be easier if you can let things roll off your back…

      Noe

  6. OMG! Didn’t intentionally mean to get some of Y’all’s shorrrtez/flossies/T-bars all in a wad by simply suggesting (not dictating!) a possibility per overhearing that some Folks “wished” how they might engage with more Folk during a FOG.
    As I noted, I was as happy as a (fried) clam nestled amongst the Folks at Jinja with whom I was seated for all night long and beyond! So sorry I boggled the brains of some recently by suggesting that, for example, a group of 4 could exchange their place with a group of four on one side of a table in order to interface (meet) four “new” people by sitting directly across from them. In addition, I apologize that my writings are apparently difficult “to get” as I forget that many New Mexicans (possibly herein!?) function at a 6th grade educational (reading?) level or http://newmexicoliteracy.org/literacy-facts For others who consider themselves beyond that, may I suggest Y’all consider http://tinyurl.com/zmu2gja
    Given that I might be seen as now being “defensive”…let alone braggadocious…..given the recent questioning of my verbal skills, I will therefore note that apparently “recognized” universities acclaimed my verbal skills were enough to get me 3 (that is “three”) degrees beyond my high school diploma and those verbal skills worked well…were lucid/logical/and understandable….AND despite my touch of dyslexia….. that I have had 2 (that is “two”) out of 2 submitted articles, published in so called, peer reviewed, scientific journals. Eh! Forget offering comebacks re this as my Vanity, as it were, Y’all are who made the snide challenges and….looking at the Comments listings……YOU seldom even “TRY”…even humbly…. to contribute to the Blog with your own opinions/critiques about restaurants/foods/etc. herein. Hasta….!

  7. Bobo, you continue your descent into advanced HUH-ness with your ramblings. Your seating suggestion sounds like a Rube Goldberg contraption. I can’t wait to hear your psychiatrists report and hope the recommended cure includes electro shock therapy. And I happy to find that I’m not the only commenter left scratching their head. My mother would tell you, “Just be quiet and eat your food, there are starving kids in Europe.”
    Huh, indeed!

  8. Tee Hee To Huh!

    Agreed…If I am B and you are C, you be stuck….LOL!
    I haven’t looked at all the permutations of shifting,
    but, for example, per your example of “16”:

    START AS:

    ABCD EFGH
    I J K L MNOP

    Just 2 SHIFTS instead of 3:

    Just 1 side of the
    table switches both side/everyone moves

    EFGH ABCD EFGH MNOP
    I J K L MNOP OR ABCD I J K L

    To minimize frazzling waitstaff, everyone could shift back before
    the bills are delivered.

    Elsewise, we can help by assigning ourselves A, B, C etc per the
    sequence where we sit so the waiter can mark us as such, on their
    order pad, when taking our orders. If during
    the course of the night, someone wants to get e.g. another drink,
    ya tell the waiter your letter.
    – Over the course of several FOGS, Folks have expressed
    interest in being able to get to meet/know others in the short time
    we have together. This is just an imperfect suggestion.

  9. Sorry to eat and run, but my guest had a sudden and (still!) mysterious food allergy that we had to deal with post-haste. A big thanks to John and Kay for orchestrating a successful (and delicious!) get-together. May the next one be crisis-free, and may we get to actually have a conversation… All of us!

    (BTW, the patient is doing well. She sends her regrets and regards.)

  10. Re Barb hopefully opining about the making a Comments about waitstaff:

    Saw this per running across “Open Table site” while trying to espy the 2nd Piatanzi:

    “Arrived and was seated immediately. The back room was drafty so I asked to be moved because my wife can’t take the cold. A man named Baker moved us to a warm area near the kitchen and brought a steaming cup of water so my wife could warm up her hands!!! Who does that anymore? Baker, that’s who. Our waiter Casper was amazing. From helping us choose a wine to his service, he was Amazing! The pizza was fantastic, the dough was very fluffy and tasted great. My sirloin steak was very tender and the wine sauce was great. The bread was good as well. Short story long, great place and my wife and I will be going back soon.”

    Reminded me of a couple of things I’ve scattered elsewhere herein…Pardon:

    Vegas: Garden Room at the Tropicana where you were first seated by the tuxed Maitre’d. Then the “Captain of the Table” presented you with your menus and later took your order while making suggestions, but only if requested. The server of salads. The silent bus boy and ashtray replacer. The Dude that set down your entrees and most particularly when he served or refilled your coffee from a silver service…he placed a saucer between you and the cup lest the coffee might splash up and out or so frighten you! He was also appreciated for his little silver whisk broom and “dust pan” (today’s upgrade http://tinyurl.com/zk5vq2f) when he whisked even the microscopic of crumbs you dared spill on the tablecloth when breaking your roll/bread! (OMG….have you ever (so rarely) seen the millisecond scooping up and replacement of a tablecloth and setting lest a splash of wine besmirched a tablecloth??? Even Houdini could not duplicate it!!!!)

    Casey: formerly of Fat Squirrel, now of Indigo Crow: The Squirrel is of “only…albeit nice” a pub or casual ambiance. Even after several years, never figured out how he could appear at my elbow to take my order or see what else might be needed without my having to raise my head or arm exaggeratingly…actually, his ESP was spooky at times. Nicely, he remembered (and didn’t make fun of) my drink and entree preference a week later by proffering “A PBR and Plank tonight (of their fantabulous Fish n Chips)? Elsewise, Casey would steathily sidle up to leave the bill in its leather jacket while, in almost a conspiratorial whisper, note, “No Rush!” or “At your leisure/convenience!” Most importantly from day one, he never tried to shmooze up or sociopathically pressure or scam me regarding the gratuity by loudly asking “Do you want change?” He is… “Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey!” [Chez Bob had staff who approached Casey’s caliber.]

    Seriously? am I too fussy (ancient?) in finding fault with sleeve/neck tats and rings? I recently had a comeuppance at Zio’s where I go about once a month for their simple, but tasty grilled salmon atop angel hair; I think it must be all in the addictive garlicky butter!!!! A Dude with those “bottle caps” in his lobes immediately appeared and asked if I was having the Grilled Salmon and Reisling. Whoa! He’s a winner!!! I would have tripped over him if he was passing out 100 $ bills at the Mall! Ok Ok….piercings on protruding belly buttons below shrunked tank tops have not won me over, albeit flossies are making a headway!

  11. Hi FOGgies! What a great time we all had at Jinja. Looking forward to what Barb and Jim come with for the next one.

    Hi Gil
    Thanks for the neat introduction with the comments about Sheri and the Calf and kid. You might be interested to know that she has also opened Seattle’s first cheese bar, the Culture Club Cheese Bar. Anyone who’s interested can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/cultureclubcheesebar/

  12. FOG Mitote and more:
    What a great way to end a week…nestled amongst Loyal as well as Newbie Foggers! Indeed “Attaway” John & Kay!
    Alas and Blush, despite my obsessively occupying the conversation with Barb & Jim, they thankfully, per the relentless urging of Jimmy, of the Child Bride, agreed to Honcha(o) the next FOG!
    As such and per interfacing at the table of 10 of 23, several thoughts were solicited and offered for consideration (as best as remembered) for the next FOG, e.g. Torinos; The newly opened second venue of Piatanzi at JT & Candelaria http://www.piatanzi.com/ has a gathering area as well as one in Chez Axel http://www.chezaxelrestaurant.com/; The Original Range in Bernalillo; The coziness of the main dining room of Indigo Crow e.g. http://tinyurl.com/hv8sspc; In summer: the secluded patio of “ponds and semi-tropicalness” of Casa de Benavidez or the lush patio of (Callate!!!) El Pinto…for their Red Chile Ribs or as some might prefer, they just have margaritas/chipsnsalsa!!!! were noted along with the possibility for a little vintage, downhome funk ala http://tinyurl.com/zhfzgkd No matter what…. we all agreed we’d appreciate Barb/Jim’s choice lest even it were to put ’em all in a hat and draw out a choice!!!!! LOL. The pros and cons of midweek vs weekend gatherings was touched on as well.

    Upon post-gathering reflection, I must apologize for having been happy as a (fried) clam monopolizing one of our Newbie couples, which brings to mind some rumblings about others fearing getting stuck with me at their table or being disappointed not having an Op to visit with All Attendees! As such, I would ask for suggestions and, in the meantime, offer for consideration some options: a) I be offered a one-top table seating or 2) we get a tad “mechanical”, e.g. If we are at one long table, how about we all get up* after a stint of salads/cocktails whetting our appetites and shift 4 seats over** for the entrees, then again for coffee/desserts? Same could apply to changing round table seatings? *I have a vintage Frog Clicker left over from grammar school to use to signal it is time to shift! Caveat: so as not to revive any dormant PTSD for some….you know who you are…don’t open this to even hear the first few seconds of the sound!!!! http://tinyurl.com/hxhn8os
    **So as to be PC and not to offend: for the first segment of a gathering, Gil will flip a coin to see if we will shift to the Right or to the Left!

    – Elsewise: Sure missed others attending. Given many readers do not, please consider putting in a Comment at least once a month. As Gil has so astutely noted, his and Kim’s visits are simply a snapshot in one often very infrequent moment in time. Many snapshots make for approaching a veridical “album”!
    – Hopefully if Barb reads this, she will share a thought for us to consider beyond a place being a “restaurant” or “food”, but makes for the total package while also encouraging those in the waitstaff profession, who can make/break a grand experience/restaurant.

    Thanks!

    1. So against my better judgement, I actually read this. I think the only thing I’ll comment on is the shifting of chairs.

      1) Doesn’t sound like a good idea to confuse the wait staff after every course, especially for a group of 16+…just saying.
      2) You do realize that if everyone moves over 4 chairs, everyone will be in the exact same place as they were, right? In other words, whomever is sitting next to BOTVOLR, will still be sitting next to BOTVOLR. Unless I’m missing something…

      Sounds like it was another great time I missed. It was my sister’s B-Day and we were at Thunder Road inside of Route 66 Casino, so…

    2. Why don’t you just get up from your seat and go visit with another person at the table? The mathermatics of this suggestion reminds me of some of the antics of the Marx Bros. movies. You want to visit; get up and go visit.

  13. I want to give a big shout out to John (attaboy) & Kay (attagirl) for organizing the most popular & well attended FOG yet. Jinja was far better that I remembered it and the food was (in addition to delicious) low calorie enough to enable me to keep my trim boyish figure.

  14. So now we have

    1. 2. El Hefe Gil and Kim
    3. 4. John and Kay Lucas
    5. 6. Mary and Mack Kroner
    7. Dennis Gromelski
    8. 9. Jim Millington and The Child Bride
    10.-11. Shawne Riley (Jen) and one guest
    12. Bob of the Village People
    13.-16. Larry McGoldrick and Lovely Linda, Beauteous Barb, and Pulchritudinous Pam.
    17. 18. John Baldwin & guest
    19. 20. Bruce & Soozi
    21. Mary Ann Spencer
    22. 23. Barb and Jim White

    The reservation is in my name, John Lucas. But I told the folks at Jinja that people might be asking for the FOG

    Hasta manana.

  15. Thanks Jim. So now we have

    1. 2. El Hefe Gil and Kim
    3. 4. John and Kay Lucas
    5. 6. Mary and Mack Kroner
    7. Dennis Gromelski
    8. 9. Jim Millington and The Child Bride
    10.-12. Shawne Riley (Jen) and two guests
    13. Bob of the Village People
    14.-17. Larry McGoldrick and Lovely Linda, Beauteous Barb, and Pulchritudinous Pam.
    18. 19. John Baldwin & guest
    20. 21. Bruce & Soozi
    22. Mary Ann Spencer

  16. Hi there FOGgies! Here is what I have so far for the FOG at Jinja next Friday. Lemme know of any additions, corrections, etc as soon as you can. Look forward to seeing you on the 29th!

    1. 2. El Hefe Gil and Kim
    3. 4. John and Kay Lucas
    5. 6. Mary and Mack Kroner
    7. Dennis Gromelski
    8. 9. Jim Millington and The Child Bride
    10. Shawne Riley
    11. Bob of the Village People
    12.-15.Larry McGoldrick and Lovely Linda, Beauteous Barb, and Pulchritudinous Pam.
    16. 17.John Baldwin & guest
    18. Jen
    19. 20.Bruce & Soozi
    21. Mary Ann Spencer

    1. The only real problem is that Jen & Shawne Riley are the same person (I have been very dizzy & confused by this). She also says that she will have two guests.

  17. I was sitting around thinking about Subaru air bag recalls which expanded into thinking entirely too much as well as too poorly. Since Jinja is a casual place I am assuming that separate checks will be provided but this should be confirmed before we all show up with this assumption.

  18. I’ve enjoyed eating here a few times and look forward to the delighhtful company of the FOGies and some excellent food. Count me in!

    Mary Ann Spencer

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