game night and mussels

So this is it.

This is the goodbye we always knew would come but never wanted to accept.

After years of “threats” and “delayed forecasts”, Pete and Whitney have finally moved to Texas. And with their departure comes a slew of empty Monday nights and an irreplaceable hole in our Denver community.

Reflecting upon their move, Jason and I have come to recognize Pete and Whitney as our most consistent friends in our adult lives.

It all began six years ago when we started a weekly Monday game night with Pete. We were all new to Denver, and we used the card game Dominion — aka “nerd cards” — as an initial investment in our friendship and in the city. We played in our tiny apartments on tiny coffee tables, and we played in breweries around town, teaching random strangers along the way.

As we slowly added more and more expansions to the game, we also added to our friendship and secured our permanent fourth player in the form of Whitney.

We saw one another through everything.

We saw the early beginnings of Pete and Whitney’s relationship and had the honor of being present during their bachelor/ette parties and beautiful nuptials.  We celebrated with them when they purchased their first home together and when they finally brought home their beloved Rocky dog. We went on our first [and only!] hut trip at their invitation. And we established our annual ice fishing and pickling traditions with their help.

In return, they were with us at every milestone. They loved Watson as their own from the very beginning. When Jason was out of town in the middle of Alaska, Pete was the one who helped Elizabeth move a couch up a flight of stairs to her new Denver apartment. When Elizabeth had suspicions of Jason’s intent to propose, Pete was the only person she told. When the turmoil of back injuries and long distance property disputes threatened to define our lives, Pete and Whitney were there to selflessly help carry the burden. And when we first heard our baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound, Pete and Whitney were the ones who celebrated with us that night.

Sure, our friendship became defined by those Monday game nights. But somewhere along the way, our time together shifted away from how many games of Dominion we could squeeze into one evening, to hopefully — after the prerequisite bread, cheese, charcuterie, and conversation — getting in at least one game before it got too late.

Try as we may, nothing will ever replace those six years of Monday game nights. It wasn’t just the game that defined our relationship. It was the fact that we showed up. Consistently. Despite the long drives to one another’s homes. Despite the arrival of a baby. Despite the arduousness of Mondays in general… we all showed up.

There isn’t a better summary of their friendship than that.

We doubt the Houston-to-Denver distance will change anything in the long run, but we would be lying if we said we haven’t missed their presence every day since they left.

We love you, Pete and Whitney. Thank you for the game nights.


Mussels Mariniere

We didn’t plan on posting this mussels recipe. The truth is that we had hoped to talk about Jason’s absolutely perfect beef tenderloin, but our farewell feast for Pete and Whitney was just so incredibly special that we [read: Elizabeth] forgot to take pictures of the beef. In the end, it’s pretty fitting, as most of our evenings were defined by games and high quality snacks, but they were really founded in friendship and conversation. That said, these mussels were their own kind of perfection and were inspired by our recent travels to France. They served as the second course alongside an appetizer of gingerbread, Dijon mustard, and foie gras; a main course of reverse-seared beef tenderloin, Dauphinoise potatoes, and wilted chard; and a dessert of French silk chocolate pie. Despite the evening ending in tears, it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had the pleasure of making.

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Ingredients
  • 4 lbs. mussels
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 4 ribs of celery, minced
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 c. white wine
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove any cracked mussels.
  2. Sauté garlic, shallots, and celery in butter with salt & pepper in large soup pot. Once softened, add the white wine and half of parsley and bring to boil.
  3. Once boiling, add mussels and cover for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and re-cover and cook another 2 to 4 minutes until they have all opened up.
  4. Garnish with remaining fresh parsley.
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