Buddy Levy is… Buddy Levy. And it was his birthday yesterday, so he gets a blog post. My family and the Levys have been the best of friends since… since… Abe Lincoln was alive. A long time. And one of the major perks, aside from excellent company, has been Levy dinners. A perfect blend of raucousness, conversation, music, and good food. You see, Buddy (or B-Uddy as some say) is an excellent cook. And so is his wife, Camie, pumpkin bourbon cheesecake queen who makes the greatest coffee cake in the continental US, possibly the entire world. Anyway, a while back I documented a Buddy dinner, but was in a bit of a blog schlump and never posted it. So here it is.

Knowing I was missing the whole Asian food thang, Buddy made this deeelicious Vietnamese beef dish. Beef marinated in heavenly spicy stuff and cooked with a bunch of onions and tasty tasty things. And Camie made a cold noodle dish full of cucumbers and herbs and went perfectly with the beef. And the entire time they’re cooking, they’re being very amusing. And their daughter, Logan, essentially my sister, was home for Christmas break, so we were all happy to be back together like in the olden days and were even louder and chattier than usual. After being gone for a few months, me in Indonesia, Logan in Seattle at college, we both love family dinners more than ever. Talking about being away from our families, Logie and I agreed that it was food-based events, dinners and traditional meals for holidays, that we missed the most. Sitting around the kitchen stealing schnibs of lamb and eating bread while we waited for the ever-late dinner, then sitting around the table awing at how good Buddy’s gravy is or talking about increasingly abnormal dinner topics. Then making my Dad play our favorite songs, singing along to the Jawhawks hits we were raised on, swing dancing when we we’re feeling real riled up.

Yum, beef.

Yum, noodles.

Tradition, tradition! Crab pre-dinner or Christmas!

For Buddy’s birthday we had yet another excellent meal together, this time a buncha birds Buddy killed. That doesn’t sound very poetic. A passel of fowl Buddy captured for the table. Little Hungarian partridges (I think) and pheasant. On top of a wild rice thang that was the perfect balance of that husky wild/brown rice flavor, and a creamier risotto flavor. Mmm. But here’s the real deal: creme brulee! They Levys have got a cremebrulator (yes, that’s the technical term) which provided much amusement for all. It’s not as hard as one would imagine. You kind of just melt some sugar with fire. Or as Logan called it (via Skype) “that laser thing” and “the fire melter.” (She’s a keeper…) We decided to try putting some sugar in the raw type sugar on a little corner and melting it… hm. Smoky, not necessarily in a good way… Anyway. Delish dinner, high drama dessert. Happy Birthday Buddy!

Creme brulee-ing!