They say food unites the world. I’m not sure who “they” are, but they’re damn right. Last night, Charles (my lovely host when I went to Beijing last year), had a group of friends over for a potluck dinner on one of the nicest nights this summer.

Ah, but the eternal question: What to make? Since moving into my kosher apartment, cooking has been an adventure, and an expensive one at that. Finding decently priced kosher cheese and meat requires patience and time (since most grocery stores only carry the very basics in terms of hekshered food items). But then, enter Trader Joe’s. Ah, my good friend TJ, provider of kosher cheddar and mozzarella. And $3 wine.

Inspired by Alex’s brunch quiche last month, I was fairly confident that I could make one myself. But have you ever shredded an 8 oz. block of cheese on your own? It’s tiring as hell, but makes the end result that much better. It also makes you that much more invested in the end result, which my roommate Jo will testify to. We’d lose ourselves in conversation/hookah, only for me to remember the food in the oven, jump up from the couch, run into the kitchen, fling open the oven and yell out, “Oh my god, the quiche!” This happened three or four times over a 15-minute period. The quiche was fine. Every time.

And then, the moment of truth. The quiche, with its golden brown top and flaky crust, was a hit. To be fair, everything at the table was a hit — pesto pasta, homemade dumplings, zucchini challah, guacamole, eggplant parm. With Charles’ permission, I stole a few of the photos he posted from last night.

And lastly, my baby.

Stuffed and happy, we carried the party from Charles’ house to nearby Wonderland. It was nice to spend an evening with strangers, who over the course of food and wine became friends. We’re trying to convince Charles to make this a monthly thing. After all, it’s almost autumn and I’m going to need people to eat my pumpkin spice cupcakes.