Settler's Cafe, where I spent Friday evening with the usual crowd (with the inclusion of Ed and Cheryl and Cara's 3 friends), is quite a cool concept. It's more like a games library where patrons may select a (non-gambling) card or board game to play at their tables while they eat.
These games are not necessarily the Parker Bros variety but other games that do not get that kind of marketing push. There are games with names like "Munchkin" and "Guillotine" which I've not heard of. We started with "Dragon Delta," a game of building bridges across a span of water in order for your token to get across to the other side. It has rules similar to the familiar team-building game of using "planks" to cross a river, but with more strategy as the player's objective is to be the first to complete the crossing. On request, a cafe staff member will sit at your table to explain the rules of an unfamiliar game.
Can't comment on the food as I didn't eat, but if you are ordering a float, you have to remind them you just want the ice-cream with your coke; and NO ice. Cara left early so I took her ice-cream which came with the set she ordered (there seems to be a pattern developing here). After eating we proceeded on to the EL Dept's favourite games, "Taboo" and "Pictionary," 'cos we were already too exhausted from the morning's Open House to learn any more new games with new rules.
Tonight I went to MJ's for dinner. MJ's a great host and she cooked up a storm of pasta for us: Gid, 'sif, Adam, Jas, Yee and me. It was a starter followed by 2 courses of pasta-mania. The starter was a lightly steamed spinach dish topped with an cream sauce made with thinly sliced champignons and scallops. This unusual combination worked because of the similarity in texture of the two ingredients. First course was a baked herb-based shrimp linguini, which had a nicely balanced flavour between the herbs and the shrimp. Second was an enormous platter of tomato-based seafood linguini heaped with mussels and what was probably shelled shrimp. Excellent meal, though MJ may have overestimated our capacity to eat. We were well stuffed already by the time dessert came round. Sliced mango, pomelo segments and Häagen-Dazs lychee ice-cream. Mmm... (though ice-cream was a bit sweet).
Nice meeting MJ's mom and sis too. Quite a well-behaved dinner, and quite a change from our usual style. Thanks, gal!