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

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St. Simons Island-The Shocking Truth Part 1

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

After spending four days in St. Simons Island, I must confess. There are secrets there. Many secrets.

And I’m going to share them ALL with you! From the local gossip to how the other half lives, I won’t hold anything back.

Let’s start with the cuisine. What are they feeding folks to give them all that dreamy, swoony looks in their eyes? I went in to get the scoop just for you. Research, of course.

The first night there, I dressed for dinner and made my way to the Solarium. I’m pretty sure I saw Jay Gatsby lingering in the corner, drinking champagne. A well-heeled server offered me a Due West cocktail on a platter. It would be inhospitable not to accept. Research, remember. Our group was met by Chef James Flack and I then spied two gigantic displays of 20+ pound fish and an assortment of seafood on a table facing the Atlantic Ocean and its lulling waves. I was starting to feel relaxed. Too relaxed. Was I falling under a spell?

Chef Flack and his fish

A closer look at those fish

Wine glasses clinked and course after course of luscious seafood was brought to our table. Sparkling conversation ensued. I could see how a mere mortal might succumb to such delights. But not I! I was stronger than that.

You know I can’t resist a beautifully set table.

Luscious Crab Cakes

Grouper over grits

Perhaps just one more bite of the creme’ brulee before retreating to my king sized bed where the only sound was waves crashing on the beach.

The most amazing creme brulee.

No, not I….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

xoxo, Patti

Gift Giving Etiquette In Time For Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

Our newest correspondent, Gwen Lewis created this wonderful infographic on choosing the perfect gift for anyone. It is spot on. Take a look. Welcome Gwen!

Hop To It Bunny – At 14th Street Antiques!

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

Easter is right around the corner. I LOVE Easter – all the pretty colors, the nice weather, the leftover ham. What’s not to love?

My favorite thing is to set the table. I attended a meeting this week at 14th Street Antiques and Modern Home and wowza, do they have gorgeous things to set the table with. Take a gander, my little geese.

All that glitters, might be gold!

Swimming in glamour.

Always welcome your guests with a drink.

And for all you Easter fans like me, there’s even a sale on all things spring and gilded. Love.

Color me glitter!

Go visit my fabulous friend Lisa over at 14th Street Antiques and Modern Home and tell her I sent you. You could spend the entire day in there.

xoxo, Patti

The Magic Of Butter

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

Atlanta is grieving after our SuperBowl loss to the Patriots. I thought we needed something to boost our mood.

What better than butter?

Take a look here at how they make the butter at Bordier Butter in France. Isn’t their packaging gorgeous?

Beautifully crafted French Butter

Enjoy!

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

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

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.

Krobar!

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?)

CHOPPED KALE  ARUGULA GREEK SALAD

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

INGREDIENTS:

GREEK SALAD INGREDIENTS:

  • 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)

GARLIC PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE GREEK SALAD:

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

TO MAKE THE GARLIC LEMON VINAIGRETTE:

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:

That

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.

SuperbowlCocktails

THE BRONCO

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

 

THE PANTHER

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’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