The sliding door is wide open, projecting a rectangle of light on the wall across the alley. Blinking slowly above it, the red neon sign spells out obscure foreign characters; its faint buzz periodically drowned by the cries and calls erupting from the entrance and the windows. Spurred by the sting of the wind on your neck, you duck your head and step in swiftly ... only to stop as abruptly.
Moved by the force of habit, you expected to see the same low ceiling, scratched counter and diffused red light. You instead find a large new counter leading from the entrance to a wide, lit up room where the crowd sits at round tables. On the back wall, stairs climb upwards to serve two stories of sliding doors, some open, some closed. Casting their warm light, massive paper lanterns seem to hover above on the scene. Solid, dark hardwood floors answer to the light tones of the wood panels on the walls. New hand-painted posters shout the names of bizarre drinks and old glories. The whole place manages to feel cozy and spacious at the same time.
A couple of waiters weave in and out of the crowd, holding large wooden trays overhead. The owner thrones behind the counter, giving them orders and waiving his arms, his polished pate shining under the glow of the new lanterns. He turns his gaze and sees you, a wide smile already spreading under his pencil mustache. Waving and calling, he steps quickly around the counter. In a second he's now facing you, patting your arm. "Welcome! Welcome! I was waiting for you. I knew you would come. I hope I find you well."
He pivots and pulls you by the elbow to his side "Look, look at this". You can hear the pride in his voice. "Lots of change since last season. We expect much more customers! Bought the building, you know? I hated the low rafters, now we have two floors of private rooms upstairs." His gesticulations try to embrace the whole place at once. "But we kept the regulars in mind you know!" He punctuates his words by solemnly shaking a raised finger. "We kept your old seat. Come, come!" You let him guide you to your seat, dazzled by the strange mix of cozy familiarity and brand new excitement.
You sit once again at the counter, enjoying its dark red color and faint smell of wax. Behind it, the owner ducks and you hear the faint gurgle of the beer pump. He stands back up to plop the usual glass of cold beer in front of you with a wide smile. "I had to take some people in, none of them are here full time, nor up to speed yet, but we're getting there! I'll be right back with a menu." As the words still hang in the air, he turns on his heels and dives smoothly behind the curtains of the kitchen. Your neighbors are already tucked in, head low over their trays; so you turn to the rest of the crowd.
Sitting around the tables on low stools, the patrons offer many silhouettes which you are now familiar with. A couple of the grunting fellows share a table with two dark clad elves. The noisy, fur hat wearing bunch nod in your direction when you look at them. At another table a ragtag band silently looks down, as if observing a minute of silence. Further ahead two bearded, evil-looking ones seem lost in the contemplation of a hat magazine. The usual pointy-eared cast is now found above, leaning on the railway and looking down on the rest of the crowd. The waiters navigate the maze of tables, dodging skimpy blue lizards; their tray held high, out of reach of the small, hooded chittering figures.
The owner returns, embalmed in the scents of foreign spices from the kitchen. "Relax my friend, enjoy your drink!" He slides a slate on the counter and winks at you. "You know the drill." He's gone again, and you still did not remember to ask him the name of the place... Well, first things first: you pick the menu up and start looking at the specials for this week...
Div 1: Our prime selection for gourmets and greenhorns
School of Dance (1810 Woodies) vs The Rat Way To Go (1910 Rats) - Recipe
The return of Wood Elf venison to the forefront of our cuisine, paired with some unique Skaven sour cream for a delicate Stroganoff façon Big O. To be cooked and savored slowly.
5-4 for The Rat Way To Go
Lazy Lounge Lizards UTD (1830 Lizards) vs Bash Incorporated (2130 Orcs) - Recipe
You can never really go wrong when mixing together Lizardmen fish broth and Orc meat chunks. Result? A strong stew, with a texture more subtle than one would expect.
Div 2: The piquant section, if you like it sharp and bloody
The Scuffling Dead (1620 Necro) vs Never Swapping (2050 Necro) - Recipe
In an alley with only pungent products, this one was to be expected. Cold cuts with salty and sour pickles, you can hardly get more Necromantic than this. Not for the weak stomachs.
1-0 for The Scuffling Dead
Da Kahoonaz (1630 Orcs) vs Leaping Lizardss (1820 Lizards) - Recipe
Another go at a classic, because they should always be revisited. Connoisseurs know to always appreciate a good "Surf&Turf", beginners learn to.
Div 3: Rare spices for exotic dishes
Celebrity Veg 2.0 (1700 Kislev) vs Gods Of Fate (1700 Helves) - Recipe
For those in search of lighter tastes. A cold buttermilk soup from the land of Kislev, spiced up with the subtle nuances of High Elves' fresh herbs.
Div 4: The surprise box, the perfect palate cleanser
Liverfull (1780 Dorfs) vs Chaos from Laos (1480 Chaos) - Recipe
A new take on the Reuben sandwich, filling and tasty. The strength of Dwarven rocksalt bread with the twist of cured meats only Chaos chefs can prepare.
2-1 for Liverfull
Divs 5: The dessert tray, with classic and new recipes
r/theredpill (1190 Delves) vs That's Chaos Theory (1090 Lizards) - Recipe
Lizardmen egg yolk biscuits with a nice spread of Delven molasses jam. An elegant way to finish your meal, or for a snack during the day.
1-0 for That's Chaos Theory.
Salty Necc (1050 Necro) vs Mal Fario (1120 Helves) - Recipe
Looking for something lighter to finish in style? Look no further than this: freshly shaved ice, Necro style, with its topping of sweet Helven fruit syrups.
2-1 for Mal Fario
Deepest thanks go to all the admin staff and tech wizards making possible for all of us to meet, play and write about Blood Bowl.
Here's a list of Big O streamers you should follow; for future time, quality Blood Bowl:
- AussieViking: Coach of "Winged Centaurs", co-host of Div 3 recaps with Fyrs, resident radical Chorf
- Cynergy: Coach of "The Nurgtown Crooners", host of Div 2 recaps with Nick, secret future Necro star.
- Fyrs: Coach of "Saturday Nyght Femur", co-host of Div 3 recaps with AussieViking, commentator of few words.
- GdayNick: Coach of "The Ball Pinchers", co-caster of Div 2 recaps, the epitome of good-nature and chill.
- Krusader: Coach of "Muten Roshi's Bear School", host of Div 1 recaps, ReBBL's Top Caster™ for Season 9.
- PapaNasty: Coach of "Bash Incorporated", host of Div 5B recaps, a fellow connoisseur of proper post formatting.
- Rhys: Coach of "That's Chaos Theory", host of Div 5 A recaps, ask him anything about Jeff Goldblum.
- Seriassam: Coach of "Leaping Lizardss", prays so much for stat-up freaks he will become a Skink priest.
- Tommo: coach of "The Arcana", host of Div 4 recaps with Jamus, secret emperor of Yu-Gi-Oh Duels.