Earlier this month, Cooper and I, with Dixon and Bill in tow, drove the trustly 1987 Toyota RV up to Keuka Lake to celebrate America with Alicia and Mike's extended family. Just like last year, the big event of the weekend would be a Saturday night party featuring a massive cooking and costume competition. Also just like last year, Cooper, Alicia's Uncle Joe and I would be judging the food part of the competition.
This year's theme: appetizers (anything you can serve in a single bite) and pirates. This year's energy level: high. The phrase most often overheard, with respect to both the costumes and the snacks: "Wow, this year everybody really brought it."
This year, prizes were awarded for Best Taste, Best Presentation and Most Original/Creative (the concept award). There was also a crowd favorite, which everyone voted on, and a prize for best costume, which was also voted on by the whole crowd. As judges, we picked a winner, pluss runners up, for each of the three categories.
As always, we had a blast. The food was fantastic, the costumes were intense and the company was hilarious. To recap:
|This year's party was held at Alicia's family's cottage. Most guests would arrive by boat and these waterfront banners announced that the Kellys are serious about their throwdowns. And about pirates.|
|A wave of guests (mostly Alicia's cousins) scout out the competition.|
|Dixon was ridiculously excited about his Captain Jack Sparrow-inspired outfit - especially the makeup. Maggie was a little less enthusiastic, especially about her hat, but she did enjoy a brief sword-fighting lesson from the master.|
|The Bargers and Bill show off their best "AAARGH" faces. Well, Alicia does, anyway. Bill was immediately called out for looking more like the Dred Pirate Bret Michaels than the Dred Pirate Roberts.|
|Alicia's Aunt Barb and Uncle Dan got seriously into the spirit. When you look at Danny's costume, keep in mind that it was a very, very hot day. Commitment. UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot to say this, but Danny won Best Costume. OBVIOUSLY!|
|Cooper, Joe and I took our judging seriously. Just like last year, we fell into an easy routine and found that we were on the same page about taste and appearance.|
|Alicia's Aunt Kelly was a Presentation runner up with her "Island Seaweed Empanadas" - spinach empanadas served with a sweet and spicy mango-lime salsa. We loved the salsa and especially loved the cut-up hot dog octopi.|
|Alicia and Mike were disappointed with their "Fire in the Hole," a smoky combination of jalapeno, shrimp, bacon and cheese. We liked it enough, though, to give it a runner up spot for both Presentation and Taste.|
|Lydon was a Creativity runner up with her "Dip's Ahoy" - a tasty BLT dip served in a pretty cute crab dish.|
|Alicia's cousins Kelly, Trish and Murph abandoned the app theme, but they did make us a pretty sweet 4th of July cake, which they pirated-up with the name, "Red, White & Booty."|
|Here are all of the winners, along with Cooper, Joe and I, after the big event. Do I look full?|
Nobody, but nobody, does a throwdown quite like those Kellys.