Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic
 

Brunch Time

Written by Patti on August 24th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

Brunch is my favorite meal. And since it really only makes sense two days out of the week, you can really make it special.

At our house, brunch can turn into a 7 hour affair that can become quite raucous. But we like that kind of thing.

What to serve? Champagne is a must. Cava and prosecco are perfectly budget conscious replacements. Just think bubbly. Then you can add orange juice for a mimosa, peach puree for a bellini and anything else that strikes your fancy. A bloody mary bar is always appreciated, too. Fill bowls with olives, onions, stalks of celery and let your guests build their own. Add worcestershire sauce as well as salt and pepper or hot sauce to top off the fun.

This is the time to break out your best everything – china, wine glasses, flatware, napkins. You can arrange some pretty flowers around the table, making sure not to create an arrangement that is so high your guests can’t see each other from across the table. Hydrangeas set in a pretty bowl would be nice this time of year.

Lovely hydrangeas

Next – what will you serve? I like to try and keep it simple, with a make ahead menu that will allow me to spend more time chatting with my guests instead of feeling like a slave in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, this is what we served for a group of 6:

Mimosas

Starbucks Coffee Cake (it’s so easy and delicious!)

Chipotle Candied Bacon

Hashbrown Casserole

Fresh Strawberries

Coffee

Notes on the menu:

Coffee Cake: Next time I make this (and I WILL make it again – it is so good) I will line the pan with aluminum foil so it overlaps the edges and I can lift the entire cake out. Not lining the pan caused the cake to stick to the bottom because it was so moist. I know, first world problems. I also made this the day before the party.

Chipotle Candied Bacon: I prepped two pans of the bacon, set on cookie racks sprayed with Pan and then wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge the night before. The next morning, I took them out so they could come to room temperature and popped them in the oven with the casserole.

Hashbrown Casserole: Not sure what went wrong, but I’m thinking I didn’t cook it nearly enough as the potatoes weren’t particularly crunchy, which I would have liked. My guests were super polite and ate it anyway. Lol.

Brunch is such a fun and economical way to get friends together. If everyone brings a bottle of bubbly, your cost goes way down, while the fun stays waaaaay up. If you don’t bake, pick up a coffee cake or bagels from the store.

It’s all about having fun. Don’t stress out. :)

xoxo, Patti

 

 

Buttering Up To Bulldogs

Written by Patti on August 21st, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

If you know me well, you know that I am a complete sucker for all things bulldog. My beloved Chelsea was the flower girl when I married E, much to her distaste of wearing a tutu.

Wedding

Chelsea went to heaven many years ago, but my love for English Bullies stays strong. The wonderful folks at the Georgia English Bulldog Rescue are always taking in stray and abandoned (how can that even be a THING?) English Bullies and give their all doing so.

They are having a fundraiser to pay for all the great work they do and all you have to do is show up and eat and drink (half priced bottles of wine, y’all!) Take a look:

GEBR eclipse di luna 2015

 

So go out next Sunday and grab some yummy treats for a great cause.

 

xoxo, Patti

 

Sip Up the Last Bit of Summer

Written by Patti on August 20th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

The days are getting shorter and we are almost through August.

Yet, I cannot let summer go. I love the heat and the lazy weekend mornings.

This summer Eric and I have been discovering the wonderful breweries all around Atlanta. Every Friday we pick a new one and off we go to learn about the complexities of one of time’s oldest beverages.

Here are a few we’ve tackled so far:

1. Sweetwater Brewing. One of Atlanta’s oldest. We loved the party vibe here and I loved the Sweetwater Blue, which had a hint of blueberry to it. Yummy!

Always a party at Sweetwater

2. Eventide. New to Atlanta, but home to one of my favorite brews this summer, a Kolsch. Light and refreshing, this has become my go-to drink.

My new fave.

3. Monday Night. A playful tasting room encouraging you to “Tie One On” with some of Atlanta’s best beers. The brewery is tucked away in West Midtown, so it’s close by. I like the Nerd Alert.  The name and the beer!

Tie One On – and use Uber!

4. Wild Heaven. One of the first breweries Eric and I explored. A group of us went last year to celebrate E’s birthday and we really loved the laid back atmosphere here. Their Let Their Be Light is scrumptious. Grab a brew and play some cornhole for a couple of hours. Afterwards, hop over to Pallookaville and eat some tasty corndogs in their adorable dining room.

Relax with a Let There Be Light at Wild Heaven

 

5. Red Brick Brewing. Red Brick had a band playing the Friday we visited that made me wish I could take them home – they were Ah-mazing! This place gets packed and the brewing room was melty hot on the scorching day we went.  But the tasting room was nice and cool and with that many folks hanging around and sipping, you are bound to make a new friend.

Make a new friend at Red Brick!

 

All of the tasting rooms averaged $10 to $12 for a tour including a signature pint glass and 6 tasting tickets. That’s a steal! And everyone we met that worked at the breweries were all so nice and eager to teach us about what was on tap. This is a perfect way to kick off the weekend.

There are more breweries that we haven’t tried yet, but they are on our list. I will keep you updated!

How are you holding on to the last bit of summer?

Xoxo, Patti

 

Magical La Hacienda

Written by Patti on September 15th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings!

Eric and I have been so busy this summer that there’s been no time for a getaway.

We remedied that this past weekend at La Hacienda.

Our sweet friends, Ed and Tera Hattaway, are the owners of this Shangri-La.

Define Shangri-La:  Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance.

My view from inside the pool!

My view from inside the pool!

Because you are my darlings, I am willing to share La Hacienda with you. Brand new, magical, marvelous. Step in and allow time to slow down. We spent over 6 hours between the pool and hot tub and at the end of the evening, we fell into the deepest sleep in the most comfortable bed. When the sun rose, Ed and Tera were in the kitchen whipping up a delicious mexican brunch of machaca. What’s machaca? It is a yummy beef dish, topped with a sunny side up egg. Refried beans, fresh fruit and piping hot coffee completed the meal.

This could be your breakfast!

This could be your breakfast!

I almost hate telling you about this slice of heaven. Less for me…but more for you!

xoxo, Patti

 

Delicious Summer Evenings

Written by Patti on September 12th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings!

The nights are getting cooler….NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I’m not ready for summer to end. I never even made it to the beach!

But, I did hit some swell parties and fun places.

Here are just a few.

1. Piedmont Park Arts Festival VIP Party – business partner Carrie and I schmoozed our way into this one. And it was a doozy. Marvelous food by Chef Shane at Ocean Catering Company and a virtual who’s who in Atlanta. And us. We had a ball.

 

Hanging with Chef Shane!

Hanging with Chef Shane!

 

2. Sister Hazel at the Buckhead Theatre. Ooh, this was another VIP that Eric and I got in to.  I hadn’t been to the Buckhead Theatre since it had been the Roxy Theatre. This was a blast. We were invited by our friends Cyndi and Sally, who are the superstar concierges at Pinewood Studios.

 

 

3. Dragon Con. I wait for this every year and it never fails to thrill. The costumes this year beat out anything I had ever seen. I was beyond excited to meet Groot. How cool is this?

 

How was your summer?

 

xoxo, Patti

 

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Written by Patti on August 8th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings!

I had the extreme pleasure of attending a very special viewing of The Hundred-Foot Journey on Wednesday night.

The VIP affair was catered by S3 Catering of Atlanta. S3 was brand new to me and I was seduced by their cuisine. Calling themselves Multicultural Cuisine Concierges, I was delighted by their offerings the night of the viewing. Duck and chevre samosas, coq au vin and the most adorable cups filled with chai mousse set the tone for the rest of the evening. Did I take photos? Um, no, I was too busy tucking into to all of that amazing food.  Sorry.

What is also distinctive about S3 is that the founders are filling a niche for the desire for  South Asian ethnic cuisines and a company who caters such deliciousness. What was also distinctive about the majority of the audience was that they were mostly of South Asian descent, and with the main characters in the movie hailing from India, it was a winsome way to experience this film in the way it was meant to be seen. Most of the audience was able to totally identify with many of the characters, and they understood when Hindi was being spoken. I didn’t, but I loved being with such a multilingual crowd.

As for the movie? I loved it. Helen Mirren is, as always, absolute perfection. Manish Dayal, who plays Hassan Kadam, put me in mind of a young Johnny Depp and is everything a romantic leading man should be – handsome, sweet, sexy. The rest of the movie is well cast. I fell in love with all of them as they fell in love with each other. I cried, I laughed, I cheered for our hero. And as you might expect, I have a soft spot for food related movies. I started Anatomy of a Dinner party after seeing Julie and Julia, and one of my top 5 favorite movies is Big Night. 

Om Puri, Manish Dayal & Helen Mirren

Go see this film. It is the perfect date movie. Plan dinner either before or after at your favorite Indian restaurant and be prepared for romance.

Watch the trailer here:

xoxo, Patti

 

July Fun

Written by Patti on July 15th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings!

How has the summer been treating you? I can’t believe it’s already mid-July – how can that be?

I thought we could catch up by sharing our summer fun photos so far.  I would love it if you shared yours with me, too!

Oooh! Woody Harrelson was spotted on one of Atlanta Movie Tours outings! How fun is that?

Atlanta Movie Tours has been taking up my time and I apologize for not making time for us to get together. But…Woody Harrelson!!

It was so great having our dear friends Rick and Denise visit us for July 4th. It was one wild weekend!

My sweet Eric put together a paella for 40 on the 4th. It was deeeeeeeelicious.

We discovered, Bartaco – which feels like being at the beach in the middle of Atlanta. Check it out.

My new favorite place – Bartaco Atlanta

Jane had a very special birthday and we were so excited to celebrate with her at the Greystone Building at Piedmont Park. Under the stars, at a very posh, catered affair. It was swoony and a perfect way to fete one of the loveliest people on earth.

 

Those are the highlights of July so far – how has your summer been?  I would love to hear what you’ve been up to!

xoxo, Patti

 

Guest Post – A Twist on Blueberry Pie!

Written by Patti on June 14th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

I am so happy to hand the reins over today to my dear friend and business partner, Carrie. She is an incredible cook and can whip up a party in a moment’s notice. It’s truly fabulous to behold.

Southern Living Magazine is one of our favorites, so when they asked if I would pick something to try from their newest issue, I was just dying over the pie on the cover.  Carrie picked up the ball and ran with it…here’s her story. Enjoy!

Take it away, Carrie!

 

Baking Fails

Written by Patti on June 13th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

Does every cake turn out perfect?

Um, no. I really felt for these baking fails. I laughed so hard I cried.

 

 

And here’s one from my own archives. I tried to make Crystal a lemon layer cake. I swear that cake was trying to run away. It kept sliding off the bottom layer. A personal best! Not.

 

Share your baking fails with me!

xoxo,
Patti

 

TV Stars and Healthy Eating

Written by Patti on June 12th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

I know Memorial Day has come and gone, but you know what? We still have an entire summer of cookouts ahead of us.

What does this have to do with anything?