A green carpet welcomed us to the Superhero Soiree at Hibernian Hall on Thursday, and it didn’t take long to see that we should have taken the suggested dress code for the evening seriously. Capes and tights surrounded us from every angle, and although there were a few normally clothed partiers, we were definitely wishing we had added more Superman and less Lois Lane to our ensemble. Nonetheless, we started making the rounds of the room as DJ United mashed classics with dance-y pop music.
Icebox’s pumpkin cocktail (Cathead pumpkin vodka, cream soda, and sage) got us in the mood, and Cypress’s charcuterie provided superhuman strength. One weird thing about the party was the lack of actual plates. We respect the Sustainability Institute’s desire to reduce waste, but reusable plates would have been a better option than trying to eat salami with mustard on paper napkins.
As the night wore on we sampled some more of the food and drinks. Republic Reign had a delicious ginger beer cocktail and Fuel’s chicken burgers were big hits — we even saw another restaurant’s crew sneak across the dance floor to grab some.
We surveyed the crowd to try and get some Halloween inspiration. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a Super Mario crew, and a few versions of Wonder Woman roamed the rooms. More out-of-the-box creations included Ti-Tee Wi-Tee man and a Piggly Wiggly saving soul (or just a man dressed in a Piggly Wiggly button-up, hoping to be the last man standing and fighting for its survival). The creepiest of them all was the man wearing the Guy Fawkes mask — he sent shivers down our spine as he managed to silently pop up all over the place. And one word of advice as All Hallow’s Eve’s rolls around and spandex becomes more prevalent: let’s make sure that everything is sufficiently, um, hidden.
Saturday we donned some loose-fitting clothing and got ready to get our mac on. Gouda, cheddar, and even mascarpone took center stage at the Mac Off, and cheese-loving diners took over Patriots Point. Guests meandered from tent to tent, grabbing bites of the Southern staple. We decided to start with last year’s winner, Crave. The shells topped with cave-aged cheddar and parmesan were pretty delish, but we were a little disappointed that they rested on their laurels and served the same recipe that won them the title in the past. We think Rue de Jean may have given Crave some competition with their bacon-infused creation. Every time we passed by, the line stretched through the crowds, and as we waited for our taste, we overheard a few repeat customers eagerly anticipating another bite. The pulled barbecue mac n’ cheese from the Angel Oak Restaurant and the Green Goat’s Newcastle dish with potato chip crust were some other faves, although we found the latter a bit mushy.
Sipping on Shock Top, Sam Adams, and Bud, guests washed down the dairy dishes and relaxed as an acoustic duo performed radio hits. The weather couldn’t have been better, but after a few tastes we were already in a cheese coma. We managed seven samples and commend anyone who managed to grab a sample from all tents.
Eins, zwei, drei, zuppa! Boot-shaped beer sipping and lederhosen stole our Sunday as we made our way to a long picnic table in the parking lot beside Gene’s Haufbrau. Children danced to the polka music of the Hans Schmidt band. A woman wearing a chicken hat (for the chicken dance, she later clarified) sipped on beer while a few other leather-panted men spoke with friends. Brats were served, potato salad dolloped, and suds were poured. Expecting a rowdier crowd, we were surprised at the laid-back attitude of the party. We almost changed that when we innocently asked if anyone had tried to chug from the boot and knew the secret. Sadly — or maybe not sadly — our beer chugging references will never go beyond Beerfest. Somehow this was seen as a chugging challenge, so we decided to slip away with our dignity still intact and our shirt not doused with beer dribbles.