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

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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. ūüôā

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.


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


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

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)


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


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

Kroger = KroBar = Louis and Alysa

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Eric and I do all our shopping at Kroger with an occasional stop at Trader Joe’s and if we’re feeling like pretending we are the 1%, Whole Foods.

In Atlanta we like to name our Krogers. There’s the Disco Kroger on Piedmont which used to be the dance club Limelight and the most unfortunately named but most famous, Murder Kroger on Ponce de Leon (which Atlantans all know is pronounced Ponce Dee Lee On. If you pronounce it with a spanish flair ie. Ponce A Day Lee Ahn, you will have outed yourself and we will all know you are from out of town immediately and might say to your face, “bless your heart”, which if you don’t know, is not something you want a southerner to say to you.)

Anyhoo. The newest Kroger is setting the city on fire. Eric and I call it KroBar and my girlene and Atlanta Movie Tours co-founder, Carrie calls it Boozy Kroger, which I think is hilarious. Now why would we call this particular Kroger this name? Oh, boy, wait til you hear this!

This Kroger has a bar in it!! A bona fide, belly up and order craft beer and wine from an honest to goodness bartender. Now in all honesty, this is brilliant marketing. We show up, have a beverage, meet either other friends that are shopping or brand new friends who are also drinking and we stay. For like HOURS! My newest favorite bartenders, Louis and Alysa keep the party going with their witty repartee and bringing us delicious snacks and allowing us to taste beverages we have an interest in.

THIS IS DANGEROUS. We have wiled away 4 hours between drinking and shopping here. But dangerous in the most fun way ever.  The last time we did this, I walked out with 3 lbs of crab legs that were not on the list, but I just had to have for dinner. I rationalized this by the fact that $25 worth of crab legs was much cheaper than eating at our favorite weekend seafood place. Eric concurred and in the basket they went.


If you live in Atlanta, this is a don’t miss, one-of-a-kind treat.

Say hello to Louis for me!

xoxo, Patti


Still Chopping

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Remember when I said I could eat that BBQ chopped chicken salad every day? I might have been exaggerating a teeny bit.

So I have another salad to share with you so you won’t get bored.

This one is a Greek Salad that takes a LOT of liberties with the OG recipe. I mean A LOT. Since it took liberties, so did we. Eric hates kale so we used arugula. We love arugula. We may or may not have bought a bottled basil/garlic vinaigrette that I found at Kroger so we didn’t have make our own. It was still super tasty. Here’s a hot photo of that cool salad.

I've got to switch up my backgrounds. I promise to work on that next week.

I’ve got to switch up my backgrounds. I promise to work on that next week.

This recipe called for chickpeas. I’m not a big fan, but it’s been a while, so I thought I would give them another go. They work really well in this salad and you don’t miss that there’s no meat in the dish.

I found this salad at Gimme Some Oven (how cute is that blog name?)


This chopped kale arugula salad is fresh and full of those Greek flavors we all love!



  • 1 large bunch (about 10 ounces) kale¬†arugula leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • garlic parsley vinaigrette (see below)


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed (or finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper



Toss all ingredients together with desired amount of dressing until evenly mixed.


Whisk all ingredients together until blended. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Gobble down like hungry badgers and add a Corona (or two, no judging here). Go visit Ali at Gimme Some Oven, who lives in Kansas City where my bestie John is now living. COME HOME JOHN!

Ahem. I miss John.

xoxo, Patti


SuperBowl Snack Bracket With Van Gogh Vodka

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

How was your Super Sunday? We had a swell time with a few close friends at our annual Snack Bracket. Everyone brings a dish in one of the following categories:

1. Sweet
2. Savory
3. Dips
4. Vegetarian

Guests will judge the entries in each category and then one winner will reign over all! The winner takes home bragging rights and a trophy.

It’s always a blast. Here’s the table pre-party:


Are you ready for some snacking?

Are you ready for some snacking?

There’s the trophy in the center of the table. Every year I have to find something that might work as a trophy. Last year it was an egg cup with googly eyes glued on. This year we upped our game.

Drinks are an absolutely necessity for every party and this is THE party. The lovely folks at Van Gogh Vodka sent me a couple of bottles along with the cutest and yummiest recipes to match the teams playing. Take a look.



1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Oranje Vodka

3 oz. Orange Juice

1 oz. Club Soda

Pour vodka and juice into an ice-filled highball glass rimmed with blue sugar.  Stir and top with orange juice and garnish with an orange slice



1 oz. Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka

1/2 oz. Blue Curacao

5 oz. Lemonade

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass rimmed with silver sugar.  Garnish with floating blueberries.

Even though Peyton Manning took home the trophy, our guests loved the Panthers cocktail best.

At our party, it was the Panthers 4-1.

But who took home the Snack Bracket trophy?

This was early in the evening. Not everyone had entered yet.

Everyone had a blast sipping Van Gogh cocktails and watching the game.

Look at those happy faces!

But who won the Snack Bracket???

It was Vareck with his famous meringue pecan pie. It was SOOOO good!

Congrats Vareck!

May I recommend that you mix up these cocktails for your Valentine? They will love you for it!

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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒa style of entertaining that¬†doesn‚Äôt 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

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

A Marvy Time at Mason Tavern

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

Friday night found Eric and I at the coolest Decatur eatery, Mason Tavern. Just two months old, we were invited to enjoy dinner there and I can’t wait to share with you!

Bar Manager Paul has put together a solid bar program. Lots of local and national beers and some terrific cocktails. He made our evening an absolute pleasure, along with our dear server, Ellie.

Bar Manager Paul

Bar Manager Paul

Chef Chavez has been around town for a long time, most recently at Two Urban Licks. He’s created a delicious menu. Our favorite appetizer was the Dutch Baby. Normally a dutch baby is associated with fruit and powdered sugar, Chef’s version was filled with marscapone cheese,¬†duck confit, robiola, arugula, lavender honey. It was fantastic. I couldn’t stop eating it! But we had other dishes to try, too.

Savory Dutch Baby

Savory Dutch Baby

If there is ever a cuban sandwich on the menu, I have to try it. The Cuban Sandwich at Mason Tavern was very good. And delivered by Chef!

Chef Chavez and the fab Cuban Sammie!

Chef Chavez and the fab Cuban Sammie!

The sweet pea ravoli with¬†saffron, lime, mint, olive oil was a particular fave of Eric’s. Even the pasta for the ravioli is made in-house.

Sweet Pea Ravioli

Sweet Pea Ravioli

We wrapped up the meal with the S’More Brownie topped with¬†swiss meringue, marshmallow ice cream. WOW! I was full, but this was incredible!! You must order this when you go!

S'More Brownie!

S’More Brownie!

Verdict? Go! And go now before word gets out and you can’t get a table. They also serve brunch, which is next for us. Loved Mason Tavern!

Mason Tavern
1371 Clairmont Rd Decatur, GA 30033

Phone: 404-963-2322

Monday ‚Äď Thursday: 11:30am ‚Äď 11pm
Friday: 11:30am ‚Äď Late
Saturday: 5:30pm ‚Äď Late
Sunday: Closed

FREE Parking!

xoxo, Patti

Let Them Eat Cake

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

I have a quickie look today at an incredible artist who creates the most fabulous cakes. Hoping to interview her soon.


Happy Monday!


xoxo, Patti

Chef Ford Fry Has A Secret

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

I had the supreme pleasure of spending an evening at Guy Gunter Home last Thursday night. The event was sponsored by BlueStar who produce and sell some seriously drool worthy commercial gas ranges for the home. They are so fab that famous chefs like Bobby Flay and Michael Symon cook with BlueStar in their homes.

Sweet friend, Kerry Howard and me ogling the pot filler at Guy Gunter.

Sweet friend, Kerry Howard and me ogling the pot filler at Guy Gunter.

But on Thursday night it was all about famed Atlanta Chef Ford Fry, who is also a devotee of cooking with BlueStar.¬†He has six restaurants‚ÄĒ JCT Kitchen, No. 246, The Optimist, King + Duke,¬†St. Cecilia¬†and Marcel¬†and is rocking the foodie scene in our sweet city.

This was the first time I had met Chef Fry and I have to say, I was tickled when he started talking and he had the most adorable southern accent. For some reason, I thought he would sound all high-falutin’ (no idea why…). Chef Fry was totally down to earth and GASP…gave us his technique for getting an amazing steak house steak at home.

Chef Ford Fry!

Chef Ford Fry!

And because I love you, I’m going to spill the beans and share the recipe!


Start with a great steak. I like a ribeye. The nice lady standing next to me at the party swears by the strip steaks at Costco.

SECRET MYTHBUSTER: Meat doesn’t need to come to room temperature. If it’s cold, the steak will stay juicier as it cooks and you will be able to¬†get a great crust.

Douse it with LOTS OF SALT.

Get your pan hot. Chef Fry said it only needs to be on medium high, but the pan he used was already getting pretty hot on another burner before he put the meat in. You can turn the burner on medium high after you’ve gotten the pan crazy hot on another burner. Of course, this is best done on a BlueStar!

Add your olive oil and then the meat. (The cooks on tv always say, “use a really good olive oil” – but truly, who’s going to buy a $25 ribeye and then cook it in some crummy oil? No one, that’s who.) Rant over.¬†

Add to your pan:

Rosemary & Fresh thyme

When you finish the first side, turn the steak and add a stick of butter. Yes, you heard me correctly. A STICK. And two garlic cloves.

Take a big spoon and tilt your pan so you can bathe your steak in butter. Over and over again. The whole process should take less than 8 minutes. But hang on to that buttery hot pan with the garlic in it. We’re making awesome pan potatoes.¬†

Take fingerling potatoes that have been boiled in lots of salty water. Dry thoroughly.  Smash them with your hand so they lay flat.

Cook smashed fingerlings in the same pan, letting them sit and get crunchy on each side before taking them out. 

Chef Fry sharing his secrets.

Chef Fry sharing his secrets.

Gobble the whole thing down like hungry badgers. Wash down with some Ferrari Trento wine (remember that post from the other day?)

Sit back and say, “It’s good to be the king.” Or Queen. We don’t discriminate around here.

And do it all on a BlueStar commercial gas range. OMGoshie, those things are the Lamborghinis of the cooking world. I am saving all my pennies for one. Oh, and they come in over 750+ different colors. Eeek! I love them so much!

xoxo, Patti

Georgia At The James Beard House

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

A handful of Atlanta’s most-loved chefs are teaming up with¬†Georgia Grown¬†to make the upcoming¬†Georgia¬†Grown Dinner¬†at the James Beard House¬†this Thursday, October 15th¬†a reality, where the state will be recognized for excellence in agriculture and cuisine.¬†Most of us aren’t aware agriculture is the single biggest economic contributor to¬†Georgia’s economy,¬†contributing over 71 Billion annually.
Event sponsors include Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and the Georgia Restaurant Association, among others.¬†Chefs Holly Chute of¬†Georgia¬†Grown, Jay Swift of¬†4th and Swift¬†and¬†Noble Fin,¬†Kyle Jacovino of¬†The Florence,¬†Savannah Haseler of¬†Twain’s Brewpub,¬†Chry?sta Poulos¬†of Rocket Farms Restaurants¬†and Mixologist Julian Goglia¬†of The Pinewood¬†make up the talented culinary team heading to the Beard House.
Left to right. Julian Goglia, Commissioner Gary W. Black, Holly Chute, Kyle Jacovino, Jay Swift, Savannah Haseler, sous to Chrysta Poulos

Left to right. Julian Goglia, Commissioner Gary W. Black, Holly Chute, Kyle Jacovino, Jay Swift, Savannah Haseler, sous to Chrysta Poulos

If you are in the NYC area on Thursday, see if you an get a seat to root for our Georgia All Stars!

xoxo, Patti