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

Autumn browsing by category


Making Meatballs – How Did I Do?

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

You all know I love to cook and entertain. When I saw this video, I about lost my mind and knew I had to try this recipe.

I bet some of you have seen this meatball stuffed with mozzarella video, too, right?

Here’s what my meatballs looked like before adding them to the sauce in the crockpot.


And here’s what they looked like all cooked and ready to gobble down.


Don’t you love that tiny plate? I get them at CB2. Here is a link to their new holiday line which I must order immediately. How cute are these? No, I don’t advertise for CB2, but hey, if they feel like sending me the new line, I would not complain. :)

So, how did they turn out? Not as expected. Here are my notes:

1. Make bigger meatballs so you can stuff a bigger piece of cheese inside. For some reason, I thought I counted 22 meatballs in the video. Math is not my strong suit. My cubes of mozzarella were small and totally disappeared in the meatball. NONE of the meatballs had that cheesy center I was hoping for. Next time: Make 15 big meatballs with a much bigger cube of cheese. Heck, slather them all with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese. You can never have enough cheese.

2. Brown the meatballs before placing in the crockpot. I know this rule, but got lazy and thought they would be just as good. Nay nay my darlings. The sear really adds to the flavor, so I will be taking this extra step next time.

3. Make your own sauce. DO NOT USE JARRED SAUCE. This probably goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyhow. I make mine with an entire bottle of red wine. Do not judge me.

4. Don’t use almond milk in place of whole milk in meatballs. I thought this substitution would work. It did not. I think it contributed to much tougher meatballs than I would have preferred.

5. After making the meatballs, put them in the fridge overnight and then reheat. Why? They get greasy and after a nap in the fridge, you can skim all that fat off and have nothing but meat and sauce.

Verdict: I would definitely make these again, but with the above tweaks. What a fab way to feed a crowd. Eric and I made spaghetti with this and each had 3 meatballs, which left us with a ton of meatballs and sauce leftover that went straight to the freezer for a busy night. I don’t know about you, but November is going to be crazy busy around here!

Happy cooking!

xoxo, Patti

Night of Ten Thousand Gods

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

This weekend was a whirlwind. Whew. Tons of parties.

I have to admit, the book release party for my friend, Jim Hodgson, was really special. His darling, Meghann and he hosted the loveliest evening and made us all feel like, well, Ten Thousand Gods (that’s the name of his newest book. Click the link to read Episode 1).

Besties Melanie and Mike rode with Eric and me up to their house in Suwanee. When we arrived, we were in for the biggest treat. Take a look at their backyard. Swoony.


How pretty is this? And there were 3 stations of nibbles. Eric met some new buddies while Mike, Melanie and I grazed and drank for a bit. Here’s one of the lovely appetizer set ups.



Take a close look at the purple. I thought it was silk – it’s CABBAGE! How gorg is that?

Our host and hostess were just the mostest. Love them to pieces.



Aren’t they beautiful? Inside and out.

We met the most wonderful new friends, including Jim’s dads, Jim Sr. and Steve. They are the best! They live in Montgomery and love to entertain as much as me. We were like peas in a pod.



That’s Steve in the middle with Meghann and their friend Bear, from Asheville, who I swear had the best southern accent I have ever heard. It was like music. Golly, I love the south.

The food and wine was divine. No one took their cell phones out (except me, to take photos, only) and everyone talked about books and art. It was the kind of dinner party you wish you could create, but only happens organically. And when you invite the best people. These were the best people.



My handsome husband and new friends Seth, Mary Beth and Emily.

There might have been some illegal moonshine proffered later in the evening after coffee and dessert, but I will not confirm or deny. It might have come from a toothless bootlegger in North Carolina, but again, I just cannot say. I would like to be invited back.

Each place setting had a gift for every guest – a piece of art created by Bear of the book cover. Take a look.



The centerpiece was filled with tiny pumpkins, lemons and pomegranates. Fabulous.

We laughed, ate and drank until it was time to gather up the posse and head back to Atlanta. Thank you so much for the absolutely perfect evening, Jim and Meghann. And thank you for allowing us to toast your success with your newest book – we are all so proud of you!!

xoxo, Patti

The Boys Are Back!

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

If you are a fan of divine parties and fab furnishings, then you must be tuned into Eddie Ross, yes? He is the East Coast Editor for Better Homes and Gardens and I am so lucky to call him and his incredibly charming partner, Jaithan, my friends.

Have you been with me for a while? If so, you will remember the night Eric and I hosted Eddie, Jaithan and a flock of other marvelous friends in our home for a grand dinner party.  We had the best fun!

Eddie and Jaithan have been hard at work on their fantastic book, Eddie Ross Modern Mix.

Featuring never-before-seen photographs of Eddie’s own homes—his eclectic apartment in New York and Pine Hill Farm in Connecticut—Modern Mix cracks the code to navigating thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets with confidence.

And if you are lucky enough to catch him when he comes to your town, you might be able to join him on a shopping expedition so you can find your own treasures!


Buy This Book!

The book is chock full of delights! This past Thursday I had the chance to catch up with my friends when they arrived in Atlanta. Steve McKenzie gave a fab party for the boys in his own new outlet filled with things you have to have for your home!

Me, Eddie and Jaithan

Me, Eddie and Jaithan

I apologize for the size of this photo. Next time I will not use the phone and bring the Canon along with me.

Some fab photos of Steve McKenzie’s goodies!

I need all of these for the holidays!

I need all of these for the holidays!

I also had the distinct pleasure of saying hello to NY Times best selling author, Mary Kay Andrews and renowned food stylist and party maven, Annette Joseph. Annette will be giving us some tips for the holidays in November. Stay tuned!

Me, Mary Kay and Annette

Me, Mary Kay and Annette

Go buy Eddie’s book for Christmas. Everyone will want one!

xoxo, Patti

Dragon Con 2015

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

How was your Labor Day weekend? Was it filled with goblins and ghoulies? No? What?! Then you must not have been in Atlanta, my loves!

Dragon Con marks the end of summer for us here in Atlanta, with a big flourish! I think of it as the precursor to Halloween. Over 70,000 delightful individuals descend on our city dressed in the most amazing costumes! It is a revelry for all things weird and wonderful.

Here are a few of my favorite shots of the weekend. Come see us next Labor Day in Atlanta and stay for Dragon Con. It is a MUST DO!

Meet my fine feathered friend!

Meet my fine feathered friend!

Archer is my favorite show. And look, a Tardis!

Archer is my favorite show. And look, a Tardis!

Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

Eric and I readying for a little time travel.

Eric and I readying for a little time travel.

And speaking of Dr. Who....

And speaking of Dr. Who….

And one of my favorites from the weekend – a meet up with Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows!

Barnabas and Me! BFFs. :)

Barnabas and Me! BFFs. :)

Now it’s time to think about all things pumpkin! Woo hoo! Welcome Autumn!

xoxo, Patti

Thanksgiving Appetizers – Sausage Balls

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

When I am asked to bring an appetizer to a party, sausage balls are my go-to recipe. It is ridiculously easy and they taste so good.

A couple of weekends ago, I had 3 parties to go to, so I whipped up 3 different versions of the basic recipe.

Pop in and get in the kitchen with me!

Thanksgiving Prep

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

Turkey day is almost upon us. What are you serving at your house?

Lets talk turkey.

A’Foraging We Will Go!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

My love affair with the Ritz-Carlton hotels continues.

How are they courting me now?

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

Life has been whizzing by in a blur these days. Everyone is so busy. But we try to get together for dinner with a big group of friends to catch up – and that goes by too quickly, too.

What’s new with you, Darling?

Ooh! We’re Going Foraging!

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

I have always been interested in searching the great outdoors for dinner.

Alack and alas, I don’t even camp. But I certainly love the idea of it.

Hey! I have an idea!

I’m In Beer Heaven and It’s Wild!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

Happy Friday. I hope the fall weather is starting to creep in where you are. Cool mornings and evenings, chili in the crockpot…

But, I have been SO busy lately that I have barely had time to cook.

Whatever shall I do?