It was a grand occasion in the Li family household on Sunday for an epic once-in-a-lifetime event: the 150th birthday party! Once-in-three-lifetimes, to be exact – it was a springtime celebration of our mom’s 60th birthday, Irene’s upcoming 20th birthday, and our dad’s upcoming 70th. Obviously, 60+20+70 = BADASS PARTY TIME. And no badass party would be complete without roasting a 50 lb pig in the backyard. Or grilling a 30 lb fish. Or baking 10 desserts, including 4 crack pies. Or making 3 kinds of homemade pickles. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of beef brisket, pulled chicken, barbecued ribs, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, three bean salad, collard greens, and sandwich rolls from Lester’s Barbecue and three sheet trays of cornbread from Andy’s restaurant Harvest. And an accompanying approximately 20 cubic feet of alcohol. How else would you celebrate such a once-in-three-lifetimes occasion?
By the way, the top photo and a few others below were taken by our awesome cousin Justin who rolled up from New York for the party. You can see some of his other party and guest photos here. Thanks Justin!
Now back to the food. Let’s start with the reason that big brother Andy rolled up at 7am with a rented mechanical spit roaster: Antonio the simultaneously adorable and grotesque but ultimately super delicious pig. We’re doing a separate post covering all the pig roasting action complete with some oh-that’s-amazing photos and some oh-god-that’s-creepy -and-disgusting photos, so we’ll keep it low-key for this party overview. Although no party utlilizing over 16 sticks of butter can really be called low key. Here’s Andy, Daniel, cousins Tyler and Josh, and friends David and Joyce admiring Antonio as he slowly rotates over a bed of charcoal.
By the way, we’re not entirely sure this setup was legal. Don’t tell, or you won’t get invited over for delicious pork sandwiches topped with spicy mustard, hoisin sauce, and homemade carrot, red onion, and cucumber pickles.
For a lusciously closeup view of the pickles, look no further. We’ll post the incredibly easy recipe soon. You’ll be spearing these refreshingly zesty pickled bits of goodness onto everything you eat in no time.
However, despite being the center of attention at the party, Antonio was only a tiny percentage of the available food bounty at the party. He only barely outweighed Tyrone, the enormous striped bass that Irene and I could barely hold up ourselves.
We stuffed Tyrone’s gaping pink belly with soy sauce-soaked smashed garlic, scallions, and ginger. I would like to be stuffed and marinated like so when I go.
Then we wrapped him up in a cozy burrito of banana leaves and took silly photos.
Then we rolled him in tin foil and tossed him onto the grill. He came out looking like this.
And eventually like this.
Tyrone was simply enormous. Which is what we’re going to look like after we finish the leftovers. There weren’t too many dessert leftovers though, which is what happens when you make red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting (cream cheese+ butter+powdered sugar+ vanilla+ heavy cream = OH HOT DAMN) and Christina Tosi from Momofuku’s crack pies. Let’s just take a few looks at these insanely addictive, ridiculously rich, burnished golden pecan-pie-without-the-pecan circles of beauty. Let’s ogle from the top…
…and from the side, with berries…
…and surrounded by luscious pale yellow sponges of light and moist grapefruit yogurt cake.
Here are Irene and Daniel with cousin Tyler taking a quick break from the dessert table. But only a quick one.
Or by this lovely pot of tea.
All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful day of friends, family, and food food food. We had loved ones come from as close as next door and as far away as New York, Chicago, and Hawaii. The final attendee list probably totaled around 70 people or so, but the house is still filled with enough leftovers to feed an army. Of T-rexes. Who haven’t eaten since the Pleistocene Era.
Luckily we’ve got plans for the leftovers. Once we’ve recovered from the food coma….
…which just might take another 150 years.