Party anticipation is never complete without the careful consideration of what dish to bring to the occasion! Should I go with a tried and true favorite or try something new? Stick with a theme or go out on a limb?I had just such a debate when determining what to take to this evening’s St. Patrick’s Day party hosted by our good friends. As a previous post indicates, my first attempt at a theme related dish was a bit misguided. My dilemma seemed perfect work lunchroom conversation fodder (safer than politics or religion, I say) and soon recipes were raining down on me: Irish Soda Bread and Guinness Stout Ginger Cake! I thought, why not? Add to that my husband’s family recipe for Almond Poppy Seed Bread (which is as much a dessert as it is a bread) and I knew I had the perfect dessert platter to add to the party mix.Well, perfect might be stretching it a bit, it turns out. The Irish Soda Bread would have turned out perfectly – if only I would have let it bake for 10 more minutes. The toothpick test failed me and I ended up with a soda bread loaf with a soupy middle. Think Jelly Doughnut but much less appetizing. Consequently, it was benched for the last minute replacement of Jewel seasonal cupcakes. I watch Top Chef enough to know when to keep a dish in the kitchen, if you know what I mean.Next, I discovered that the never-fail Almond Poppy Seed Bread does, in fact, fail if you leave out the almond extract. OK, I admit that it did not completely fail since it still tasted good, especially with the sweet almond glaze (I remembered the almond by then) that creates a wonderful and tasty crust.The big winner today was the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake! With ginger, Guinness and molasses as main ingredients the finished product was dark, flavorful and ultramoist.All-in-all, we had a fun night with great friends and great food. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!