For the second year in a row I have made the pilgrimage out to the Double Tree hotel in Torrance for the end-of-year Redondo Union High School band banquet.
As Dad aptly put it, the event marks the end of our family’s sixth year of high school. Two for Aly after I finished my four. The whole band portion is obviously newer to me personally, but we’ve spent more than enough time discussing the fact that my sister is a great musician (whose performances you can see in my blog posts here and here).
One thing that stood out about this year compared to last year is the fact that my friend Tiana was not in attendance. Her brother graduated from RUHS last year, so she had no reason to go back.
As silly as it sounds, I actually missed seeing her for what had become a regular game of phone picture tag at most of the high school band events.
But oh well, I suppose that’s life. Just made things a bit more boring than before.
Even if she wasn’t there, however, the room was certainly packed:
RUHS has a huge band program, but it wasn’t just the band kids and parents, the school’s dance guard was also represented at the event.
Essentially the banquet was a celebration of a year’s worth of hard work. Graduating seniors were given a sendoff, the booster club that fundraises for the program passed the torch off to next year’s leaders and awards were given out.
Unfortunately, the microphone didn’t work. All night. So because I was in the back of the room, I couldn’t hear anything that was happening in any detail.
So instead of doing that, I figure I’ll make this post something a bit different.
I’m going to review the banquet food. Consider it a tribute to the great Anthony Bourdain on the day of his passing.
Let’s do my man proud.
First impressions are important. Often one can judge how a meal is going to be based on the salad course.
At least, that’s what my brain is making up as something that sounds intelligent.
This salad course was decent, I’d say. It was mostly just leafy greens with shredded carrots, a single cherry tomato and a single slice of cucumber. While I ate the whole meal happily, some of the greens left a rather bitter aftertaste that made everything feel a little less great than it began.
The rolls that were also laid out alongside the salad tasted quite good. They were perhaps a little dry and grainy, but with just a bit of butter it made up for that small flaw.
Really the worst aspect of this part of the meal, I’d say, was the lemonade. Maybe I’m too accustomed to a sweet, sugary lemonade, but this one tasted somewhat blandly sour. I quickly replaced it with water as soon as I could finish the glass.
For a fancy dinner banquet that fed probably close to 500+ people, the dinner course was better than I might have expected. For the most part.
The chicken was good, though it did have dry patches and a few bones that messed with the experience. What helped it shine was the sauce, which tasted something like teriyaki to me.
That was not only delicious with the chicken, but mixed in with the vegetables and mashed potatoes too.
On those two subjects, the vegetables were hit-or-miss. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots were all tasty. All the squash wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m not a huge fan of squash in the first place so perhaps that bias colored my opinion coming in.
The mashed potatoes, however, were easily the star of the entire meal. They were fluffy and honestly delicious, especially when run through the sauce like I mentioned. I could’ve eaten a few plates of the stuff by itself, and my Dad readily agreed on the ride home.
Double Tree, your mashed potatoes won my heart. 10/10.
It’s hard to go wrong with dessert. Especially when that dessert is vanilla bean ice cream with a little whipped cream, some chocolate sauce and a vanilla wafer cookie.
It was about as good as it sounds really, I don’t have a hell of a lot to say about it.
Perhaps my only complaint with this latter portion of the meal was the fact that the ice cream tasted a little grainy at times, perhaps too heavily stuffed with the ground vanilla bean.
To be completely honest, the ice cream almost took a back seat to the secondary dessert that was laid out at each table — not as a part of the hotel’s meal plan:
Some genius in the band program decided to put out chocolate and taffy at each table.
While most of my personal consumption came after the official dessert course, I happily gnawed on chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses and licorice-flavored sea salt taffy throughout the night.
Thank you whoever made that decision.
With that food review out-of-the-way, I’ll be sure to make this post a part of my resume whenever I wind up at some Lifestyle magazine somewhere.
Because I couldn’t really hear much of what happened, like I said, I suppose that’s also all I have to say about the banquet. The night ended on a high note, with the speaker for the music that was going to play not working.
Up until it did work and blasted music from right above our table specifically out of nowhere, scaring everyone. That was about the point where Dad and I decided to skip out early, as Aly stuck back to dance with her friends.
In the end I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Aly got to have a great time with her friends. She is pretty much the social one, after all.
I do appreciate that she wanted me to come along though, if I can be real for a second. It may not have been the most fun event in the world for me, but I was still glad to come along and support her.
P.S. — I also wanted to say that I remembered the fact that last year at this time exactly I was still playing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Even more specifically, I remember playing the mission where Alm’s army was approaching Nuibaba’s Mansion under the table at Aly’s freshman banquet.
I say that, again, because I know Aly hates it when I bring up video game stuff in the middle of posts about her music stuff.
You’re welcome, gurl.