Last night, the Northwestern Pennsylvania Kossacks (all four of us! Plus an honorary Kossack) held our now-annual wintertime meet-up in Erie. You might recall that I live in Houston, but I originally hail from the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, and I am currently home for the holidays. Anyway, we met at Casablanca Grill on the west end of Erie, which serves Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. Totally awesome choice, and if you're in Erie and feeling like having some Middle Eastern food, I highly recommend Casablanca. It's a small place with a wonderful staff that needs all the business it can get.

In attendance at the meet-up, other than myself, were gizmo59, tobendaro, Mentatmark, and gizmo59's friend Katie. Follow me below the fold for some photos.

A few of us had some Turkish coffee. I've never really been that big a fan, but I decided to give it another go. I can't have food from this region of the world and skip the Turkish coffee.

And the fabulous tobendaro brought the wine.

Before the meal, we shared the Casablanca Platter as an appetizer, which consists of falafel, hummus, pita bread, and other stuff I can't remember. (but it was all excellent!)

For dinner, I had the gyro platter with lentil soup. All I can say is that it was fan-freaking-tastic.

The table itself was interesting, since we basically sat on the floor. That only added to the experience. Here's a shot of our table and (from left to right) Katie, gizmo59, and tobendaro.

And now for some better shots...

Here are gizmo59 and tobendaro, two of my favorite people in the world.

And Katie, who is apparently an expert on the Whiskey Rebellion (and many, many, many other things). The conversation never gets dull with her around. Did I mention that she's also a Baptist minister? And she went to jail protesting the Iraq War, which you may remember from gizmo59's rec-listed diary. This lady needs to be a Kossack.

And then there's Mentatmark. This was my first time meeting him, and he is an extremely interesting guy. He's pretty much a BAMF (if you don't know what that is, Google it). He's an Occupy activist and has some very cool stories to tell--and pictures to show, as he's also a photographer. If you're not familiar with him, check out his diaries.

And finally, all of us together, with me on the left.

All in all, an amazing time was had by all in attendance, and I'm looking forward to meeting up with everybody again soon!

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