Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dinner with the O'Mearas

I was lucky to have an invitation to have a home-cooked meal from Patrick and Wendy O'Meara.  Patrick is an engineer who has been working on the design and fabrication of the mobile X-ray truck.  Wendy is one of the co-field directors for research at AMPATH on the facutly at Duke.

Luckily, I had a bar of dark chocolate Santander (Lisa's favorite) to take as a gift for my hosts, it was well received as good dark chocolate is hard to find in Kenya.  For dinner, they shared salad from their garden, tasty beef stew made with slow cooker imported from Scotland, and a whole-grain bread that includes spent grain from Patrick's home brewing. 

Yes, I said home brewing.  Apparently when they moved to Kenya six years ago they decided that they needed to start learning to brew if they were going to survive.  Kenyan beer, while refreshing and quaint for the occasional visiter, it looses it's luster quickly.  It would be akin to drinking Budweiser and nothing else for years on end.

Over the past six years Patrick has definitely had some practice.  I was able to enjoy a wonderfully made IPA, which put a nice cap on the week.

The salad was particularly nice because I thought that it was an impossibility for my trip.  Lisa and I had lots of salads and even picked a dinner restaurant based on salad before I left.  Typically vegetables that need to be washed before cooking are a bad idea in places where the water can be suspect.  Wendy went all out with the cleaning process to ensure that I wouldn't get sick.

After the general formalities - what do you do here etc - we had some great conversations about places to hike, travel, and food.  It's obvious that Patrick and Wendy care about food quite a bit so we had a lot of stories to share.  They showed me some large blocks of exotic salts from their recent trip to Nepal and shared some peppercorns that had a strong orange note.  The one salt was a dark-brown almost black color and apparently had some sulfur content which gave it a pungent odor.

Oh yeah - and their pup is ridiculously cute, lives indoors and doesn't smell badly like most kenyan dogs.

It was the second special dinner of the week, life doesn't get much better.

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