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

atlanta

...now browsing by category

 

Serenbe and Sleepy Hollow

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings,

My friends are so fab. They always know the cool places to go and the fun things to do.

Travis suggested we all go see the Sleepy Hollow Experience at Serenbe Playhouse. Oh, this would be perfect to kick off the Halloween Season. And truly, it was. You follow the actors through the woods as the play unfolds and it is incredible. The actors, the sets, the costumes and the Headless Horseman – you heard that right – all thrill.

Selfies while waiting for the play to start.

Selfies while waiting for the play to start.

If you get there a bit early, you can grab a bit at The Hil, Serenbe’s cozy restaurant on the, well, hill. We stopped in for a cocktails and the charcuterie platter before making our way to the middle of the field (it’s seriously in the middle of a field, so be prepared to drive your car on only dirt roads).

The Sleepy Hollow Experience.

The Sleepy Hollow Experience.

I really need to get the camera on my phone fixed.

Anyhoo, if  The Sleepy Hollow Experience is not sold out, go. Go – gogogogogogo. It was the best. And before you leave the field after the play, look up. All the stars are visible in that expansive field. It’s gorgeous.

xoxo, Patti

Venkman’s

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Last week John was in town and so we had to celebrate. We chose Venkman’s, one of faves. There was also an acoustic set of Beatles tunes thrown in for free.

Have you been to Venkman’s? Named after Bill Murray’s character in Ghostbusters. Thursday night their special is an entire fried chicken served with pickled veggies, slaw and potato wedges. All for $29. Eric and I decided to go for it and were rewarded with crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside chicken with puckery pickled veggies and creamy slaw. The potato wedges were a nice foil to all the tartness. And after we ate our fill of chicken, there was still plenty left to craft into a fabulous breakfast hash on Saturday.

And jalapeno corn muffins, too!

And jalapeno corn muffins, too!

I love Venkman’s. You should go. And say hi to Chef Nick Melvin.

xoxo, Patti

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – DragonCon

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

DragonCon – could there be anything more magical? Cosplay, meeting all your favorite characters and then drinking with them.

Photos really tell the story best.

Visiting with Robbie the Robot.

Visiting with Robbie the Robot.

The land of Oz

The land of Oz

Mojojojo and Me.

Mojojojo and Me.

Captain America was there, too!

Captain America was there, too!

Bestie Melanie met two old friends. Like Jurassic Old.

Bestie Melanie met two old friends. Like Jurassic Old.

It was the place to be! Were you there? I’d love to hear your stories.

xoxo, Patti

 

 

Venkman’s

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

If you know me, you know I love Bill Murray. Love love love.

This weekend Eric and I popped over to the brand new eatery in town, Venkman’s. Named after Bill’s character in Ghostbusters. Because these people must be awesome.

They are. The brunch was fabulous.

PICS!

Big Ass Sticky Bun. Yes, that's the name.

Big Ass Sticky Bun. Yes, that’s the name.

 

Duck hash. OMG.

Duck hash. OMG.

Eric's breakfast sammie with homemade sausage. Nom nom nom

Eric’s breakfast sammie with homemade sausage. Nom nom nom

 

Esteban took amazing care of us. We got there way late for brunch and they didn’t even try to kick us out. We kept ordering mimosas and they all smiled kindly and kept ’em coming.

Go – order everything and say hi to  adorable Carrie at the hostess stand and Adam the badass sous chef. You’ll love it.

“Who you gonna call?” Venkman’s!!

Oh! And they have a PUPPET BRUNCH!! I have no idea what that is, but I’m going next time.

xoxo, Patti

 

BLT Salad

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I was starting to wonder if I could face another salad – can I keep the magic going?

Surprisingly, yes.

This little number comes from How Sweet It Is, which is a daily obsession. Jessica is always coming up with the tastiest dishes and she is also completely adorable.

There is everything to love about this BLT Salad – bacon, fresh corn, grape tomatoes, feta (to be honest, I ran out of feta and used goat cheese), but besides that, we followed this recipe to the letter. And we were greatly rewarded.

It counteracts those Krispy Kreme donuts I had for breakfast. Ok – you can judge me. But just a little bit. 🙂

Go make this with someone you love.

Seriously, these salads keep getting better!

Seriously, these salads keep getting better!

blt chopped salad with corn, feta + avocado

Totally lifted from Jessica at How Sweet It Is.

ingredients:

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1 pint grape tomatos, quartered
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup sweet corn
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

directions:

As a note, to chop my lettuce I like to lay it out on a big cutting board and just continuously run my knife through it (in all different directions) until it’s chopped as much as I like.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, corn and avocado. Add in salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice then toss well to coat. Fold in bacon and feta then divide evenly amount 2 plates. Serve!

That Jessica knows her stuff.

And for extra inspiration, go visit my girl and fellow co-founder at Atlanta Movie Tours, Carrie, at her blog, Cre8iveone, where she is slaying it! So proud. Go, visit, leave a very sweet comment.

xoxo, Patti

Sometimes, It’s Just Snacks

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Same theme – it’s HOT here in Atlanta. Even too hot to make salad. Last night I threw together this fun platter of treats from rummaging in the fridge and the pantry.

Crab dip, baby carrots, club crackers, grapes and pistachios. It was like a tiny cocktail party without…gasp…the cocktails. Even we have to take break every once in a while.

 

It doesn't have to be difficult to be delish.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to be delish.

Pull out your cute little bowls and a nice white platter and add some colorful food and you have an instant party. Voila!

xoxo, Patti

Farro Salad – Yes it’s cold…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Yes, I am still on a chopped salad kick. Today’s entry comes to us from Ellie Krieger, who served her adorable little salads in tiny mason jars.

I don’t want to eat out of a mason jar. I want a real bowl, so I can get every bite. Sue me.

But I digress. If you want to layer this salad in a mason jar, you go right ahead. I’m sure it will be precious. But I’m just hungry!

This salad is just as good the next day. I mean – it is TASTY!

Farro Salad. You should make this. Like right now.

Farro Salad. You should make this. Like right now.

Layered Farro Salad (or not layered – I won’t judge)

Ingredients

1 cup farro
11/4 cups walnut pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded kale leaves
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
11/4 cups crumbled feta cheese (6 ounces)
2 cups quartered red or black grapes

Directions

Cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Drain well, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Place the kale in a medium bowl, add half of the dressing, and toss to combine. Add the onion, parsley, and remaining dressing to the farro and toss to combine.

To assemble the salad, place the farro in the bottom of a large glass bowl, patting down slightly. Add the kale on top. Sprinkle with the feta cheese. Then layer with the grapes and finally the walnuts. Alternatively, make individual salads by layering the ingredients in wide-mouthed 12-ounce (500 ml) jars.

Makes 8 servings

You know the drill – gobble down like hungry badgers and wash it all down with something delicious. A margarita would be nice here.

xoxo, Patti

Time to Get Valentining

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Is Valentining a thing? It is now!

How will you celebrate? E and I like to stay home away from the crowds and cook a romantic meal together. Complete with cocktails, of course.

Flirtini – isn’t that a fun name? It just makes me want to kiss and hug my sweetie! Here’s the recipe:

Flirtini

FLIRTINI
Time to get your flirt on!
2 oz. Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
Splash of cranberry juice
Chilled Champagne
Float with champagne chilled to the top of the glass.
My friends at Van Gogh Vodka are always on the cutting edge of yummy cocktails with their flavored vodkas. Love them!

 

Oooh, and who doesn’t love chocolate? A Chocolate Almond Kiss would do the trick!

Chocolate Almond Kiss – with extra kisses!

 

CHOCOLATE ALMOND KISS
2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur 
1/2 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
Splash of Cream 
Shake vodka, hazelnut liqueur and dark crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker with ice. Top with a splash of cream and garnish with a sprig of mint.

 

For dinner, I’m thinking a nice spaghetti, like in Lady and The Tramp.

 

Little candlelight, some nice pasta. Amore!

What are your plans?

xoxo, Patti

New Friend Wednesday – Joon Lim, Sommelier Extraordinaire!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? We are kicking it very low key at our house tomorrow. Just Eric and me. I can’t wait.

If you are going out to eat or are looking for the right wine, let me introduce you to my friend, Joon, the sommelier at Kevin Rathbun Steak. He is so passionate about wine and he will steer you in the right direction.

That's Joon to my left.  He is the wine guru!

That’s Joon to my left. He is the wine guru!

Q: Who was your biggest influence in deciding to become a sommelier?

 

A:  My biggest influence is a gentleman by the name of Bob Stepic, my then-GM and sommelier at a little bistro I worked at called Park Cafe in Duluth, GA.  I started as a server having just the very basic knowledge I had gained through a Dummies book on wine.  I didn’t know how to go about becoming a sommelier and didn’t know anyone, having just moved to Atlanta from Kentucky.  As time went, I expressed much interest in being a sommelier and knowing about the industry as a whole, service and beverage.  I’ve had bosses in the industry prior to working at Park Cafe, but Bob was a true mentor to me.  He was full of wisdom and just plain common sense.  He was one of those who could put two and two together like no one can.  Though not a certified sommelier himself, he planned a detailed path with a timeline as to when I would accomplish certain steps, that would lead to me becoming a professional sommelier with the certification that goes along with that.  There was an atmosphere of accountability and without it, I couldn’t have stayed on track.  Bob Stepic also introduced me to many industry professionals, namely people involved in education and distribution of wine.  That in turn gave me the opportunity to network with other sommeliers in the city and around the country.  My career, current place of employment, certifications, great people I’ve connected and have become friends with over the years, were all made possible either directly or indirectly, through Bob Stepic.  It all started with him eight years ago.

 

Q: What do you believe is most diners’ misconceptions about consulting a sommelier at a fine restaurant?

 

A:  Misconceptions of diners – I think more diners are comfortable now than ever before in approaching a sommelier for help in selecting wine.  There are some though that still approach us with much apprehension mainly because of a fear that they’ll be looked down upon for either saying the wrong thing or just coming across as less experienced.  One of my favorite movie scenes is from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris and his two friends go in to the fancy french restaurant that his father frequents, called Chez Quis.  The stuck-up maitre’d gives a glare of disapproval the moment they walk in to the restaurant, given their youthful age and the way they’re dressed.  Ferris didn’t know any better to make a reservation so he claimed to be the sausage king of Chicago and the maitre’d just scoffs at him.  I think some diners still have that image of that maitre’d when they think of sommeliers.  The truth is, we’re there to help you.  We wouldn’t have jobs if it wasn’t for you asking for help.  Some lists can be quite lengthy, we don’t want you to be lost in a sea of pages, robbing you of your time to enjoy with other guests.  We curated the list and take pride in every bottle of wine that is offered, so as far as we’re concerned, you can’t make a bad decision!

 

Q: Why did you choose to become a sommelier?

 

A:  Why did I choose to become a sommelier?  I love wine as much as life itself.  I feel that I’m called to do it.  I feel that God smiles at me when I take time to hone in on my craft and cultivate the desire he placed in my heart.  In particular, I love how historical traditions are so closely intertwined with the style of wine that is produced.  Only when you gain a revelation of the history, the culture, and politics, can you truly understand why a wine from a certain country tastes like the way it does.   I’ve had many “ahh” moments when tasting wine simply because I understood the historical and legislative context in which the wine was made.  The topic of wine encompasses many disciplines and the amount of information is endless.  It always keeps me striving…  and humble.

 

Q: When should we start choosing our wines for the holidays? Are there any new varietals that we should be taking notice of?

 

A:   When you should choose wine for the holidays?  I’m not sure that a correct time exists.  The choices are abundant and more readily available than ever before.  For Champagne and sparkling wines in general, I like to shop for them some time before thanksgiving, for enjoyment on Christmas or New Year’s.  There’s an assurance of supply for your favorite producers, especially if what you’re looking for is a small grower producer.  As for varietals, I’m excited about California petite sirah and petit verdot.  These two are typically regelated as blending grapes for Bordeaux blends but more and more winemakers are realizing their potential as a stand alone variety.  They produce delicious wines with good color, floral aromatics, good tannin structure and rich berry fruit.  Another variety that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is Austrian Zweigelt, with its intense cherry fruit, freshness, and savory herbs.  Like Rodney Dangerfield, it just can’t get no respect!  The price to quality ratio is in favor of the consumer as well.  Try a bottle of Umathum and you’ll be hooked.

 

Q: Where would you most like to travel to learn more about your craft?

 

A:  Where would I like to travel to learn more of my craft?  South Africa.  Everyone I have spoken to attests to its beauty.  They too have a long history of wine production dating back hundreds of years, much of which remains a mystery to the rest of the world.  The future is bright for South Africa with much creativity, innovation, and value coming out of this country.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

xoxo, Patti

Meet Annette Joseph

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

Who is Annette Joseph you ask? Why she’s only an expert on entertaining, cooking, and styling. She regularly appears on The Today Show and Martha Stewart Sirius Radio. Her recipes and party ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Epicurious, DesignSponge, MSN, The Huffington Post, Southern Living, and Woman’s World among others.

Her first cookbook, Picture Perfect Parties published by Rizzoli NY, is an engaging how-to guide that provides blueprints for a year’s worth of get-togethers, covering every holiday and occasion.  Her focus is always on making use of items that are already at hand in the house, ingeniously transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary—a style of entertaining that doesn’t require spending a lot of money.

In other words, an Icon. I had the supreme pleasure of meeting Annette at the Ferrari Trento luncheon a few weeks ago and inquired to see if I could interview her so you could get to know her, too. She said yes! Here is the interview. Enjoy darlings! All photos courtesy of Sarah Dorio.

Meet Annette Joseph. She is going to make you a party maven, too!

Meet Annette Joseph. She is going to make you a party maven, too!

Who inspired you as you were starting your career?

 

There are so many people that inspired me coming up. I think that one of the first people was my boss at my very first job. He taught me about looking at everything and seeing how cohesive a composition was.

 

Then later I met my very first Art Director, and she was a huge help and influence in making my eyes see like a camera. 

 

I was very inspired by stylists I assisted while learning my craft, each and everyone of them contributed in a different way to what my style has become to date.

 

Photographers always inspire me and help me see things in different ways. Even clients have inspired me. In the world of styling the goal is to give the clients what they envision while staying true to your own style.

 

This is a lesson that I feel is most valuable when starting a career in styling. It will keep you working and it will make more work come your way.
What can you share with other working women on making it all work and not feeling guilty about taking time for themselves?

 

I think taking time to recharge your creative battery is the most important aspect of the keeping it fresh. This idea of working and not taking anytime off is one that will kill your career.

 

If you have a family, children you should make time for them and make time for yourself. I take the summers off ( most summers are my slowest time) and live in Italy. The inspiration is astounding and makes me a better stylist.

 

What are the newest trends in party giving, both in food and decor?

 

Not sure there is a trend, good parties are good parties. I tend to do parties that are very me.

I think a new trend of outdoor parties with hanging globe lights and long tables is on point, but all the parties  tend to look alike and it’s most important to do you, you’re unique and your parties should reflect that.

 

The most important thing in my mind is to just entertain in your home.

 

Find your style and do you. I am not a trend person I am a style person.
You can give fab parties, too! Exactly like Annette.

You can give fab parties, too! Exactly like Annette.


Where do you feel your most comfortable?

Definitely in the Kitchen, I am lucky to have one here in the States and one in Italy. I enjoy them both equally.

Cooking to me is relaxing, creative and my happy place.

How would you like to see your future unfold? Any future plans you can share?

About 2 years ago I started my Style + Photo Workshops http://annettejosephstyle.com/annette-joseph-workshops/

The next one is in February in Marrakech, and then in June in Italy, in my hometown. There is great satisfaction in teaching people how to make the best images they can, plus pass on the 20 plus years of experience I have in the business.

 

In big future news : We are in the process of buying a farmhouse in Tuscany that will be the location for my Style + Photo Workshops it should be finished in about 1 year. In the meantime I am still styling for clients, styling cookbooks and working on my second book, which will be about my food experiences in Italy. The school is probably my future, I hope to bring all the amazing creatives I know to the school to teach, we will have cooking, art, writing , styling and photography, yoga lessons. I am really excited about this. All my years styling are now turning into the best possible scenario, passing on knowledge, inspiring creative thinking and working with people I love.

 

Thanks, Annette! Picture Perfect Parties would make the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list. I’ll be buying one for myself, too! Treat yourself!

 

xoxo, Patti