The cool thing about this is that we've been holding these dinners for much longer than the whole Bean-Sec/Chi-Sec thing has been going on. This evening's dinner was much more enjoyable because it was a much smaller group. We didn't invite many of the first-year students so the group was able to eat at one large table and we were all able to hear each other (a first!).
The only drawback to the entire evening was the food. Since "Mama" at the Biergarden (in Portsmouth) doesn't "drive" the kitchen any more, the quality of the food has slipped to the point where it's recognizeable that it's German food cooked by someone who's not familiar with it. Authentic German food (that is, good food) has a taste that is based not only on its ingredients, but also how the pans are handled, how the stove is operated, and how the prep surfaces are cleaned. All that I can say is that the Biergarden in Portsmouth, VA is now in dire need of a good German cook. If they don't get one, they risk losing a good-sized chunk of their clientelle. (For anyone that has a German grandmother, here's a hint: I didn't have seconds, not even of the spaetzle.)
For those that didn't attend tonight, you missed a good time (food not withstanding). Hopefully you'll be able to attend in the Spring.