This weekend it is a Marriott Hotel at the Los Angeles airport, where we are attending a conference. The guests come from all over the country and indeed some of them from abroad; the speakers are international. This is the tenth annual installment of this particular conference; all have been at this hotel, for the hosting organization is based here in Los Angeles.
We met a couple tonight from near us, Palo Altans retired to Sebastopol, north of San Francisco, but we dined at a table for eight among people from Maryland, Michigan, and Orange County. These people are not like us, but they are agreeable and friendly.
Conversation was difficult, for a dance band was playing throughout the dinner. We smiled and nodded and occasionally caught a few words and responded, we think, appropriately.
We began dinner with a pretty good salad: carrots, cranberries, orange segments, toasted pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and sesame ginger dressing. I think I mentioned we are in Los Angeles.
The main course was grilled mahi mahi with pineapple relish, rather piquant, and baby carrots, "haricot vert," and polenta. The lady from Michigan remarked that this was not mashed potato. No indeed: it was polenta.
Dessert: "Dulce de Leché", with the acute accent, caramel, and raspberry sauce, and of course half a big unripe strawberry.
And then we danced, the contessa and I, not expertly, but with pleasure.