Our first meeting experience also gave us our first hot pot experience. While I'd heard of the concept, I'd never actually done it. I'm going to say here that I am a finicky eater. I don't like most vegetables and I hate seafood. Ethnic dishes take a lot of courage for me to try. So when I was told it was a Chinese Hot Pot, I was...cautious.
For anyone not familiar with hot pot, you basically start with a base then throw all kinds of things in. For example, they started with a chicken broth base and added spices, seaweed, noodles, pork, dumplings, zucchini, and tofu. After letting it all cook together, everyone picks out what they want and adds their choice of sauces and dressings.
It was actually really really good! I enjoyed it immensely once I got past the scorching mouth from all the spices, soothed a great deal by a spoonful of peanut sauce.
Not only is this tasty and fun, but it's pretty cost effective too. We were informed that it's fifteen dollars per person at the local restaurant that does it, which for us wouldn't be cost effective because "all-you-can-eat" isn't that much anymore. But when you're feeding several people in a gathering, it's pretty cheap depending on what everyone brings.
Talk was that we're doing it again before the next meeting, and I've already got an idea of what to take for it (chicken and sausage). Of course the meeting was great too...definitely not a bad way to spend two Wednesday nights out of the month.