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

The Chad – It’s A Drink!

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

St. Simons Island was a swoony dream. I can’t wait to share all my secrets.

For today, I will leave you with a cocktail I enjoyed when I visited. It’s called the Chad. It was created by, well, you know, The Chad.

Take a look at the recipe here and make one (or three) for you and some friends this weekend. It is divine! Click here to watch the real life Chad show you how to make it! I love that southern accent.

Oh you are going to love this!

Make a Chad or two and welcome the month of May! More to come!

xoxo, Patti

AOADP – On Location!

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

For the next 4 days I will be on location, bringing you tons of fun photos and trip bits.

Where am I going? Can you guess?

Tomorrow I’ll be here!

Join me for more fun!

xoxo, Patti

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

Dinner Parties 101 and Traveller Bar

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

With spring in the air, I am dying to start planning some outdoor parties. Our new (100+ year old) house has a gigantic front porch that faces a very busy and loud road, but I’m still determined to throw a porch party (or three) this spring to bring together friends old and new for adult beverages and fun conversation.

What do I do for inspiration? Why, I do the same as you – I read dinner party blogs! I love this one, Cup of Jo, who gathered tips from tons of party givers. I even learned a new tip or two.

Warmer weather makes us want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Or a drive to somewhere indoors. Recently, Eric and I enjoyed a night out at Saltwood, the hotel restaurant at the Loews Atlanta. I am swoony for a hotel bar and restaurant and Saltwood did not disappoint. Incredibly charcuterie, and gorgeous craft cocktails at their new Traveller Bar, which may be gone by now. It’s a pop up! Take a look.

Traveller Bar, as seen in LA. It looks the same in Atlanta! 🙂

And here in Atlanta. Photo credit, Eater Atlanta

I will admit, instead of having dessert in the restaurant, we retired to the bar for another cocktail. So good. Special thanks to our sweet friend, Rachel Peavy, who is the PR Maven for the Loews Atlanta. It was so much fun running into her and catching up.

Go forth, and entertain your friends. Mix up some fresh lemonade and add a bit of grenadine to make it pink and then some vodka to make it boozy. It is such a lovely springtime cocktail! Here’s a great version!

xoxo, Patti

 

 

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

Happy 2017 to you all. Hope your celebrations were fabulous and safe.

We threw a tiny party for 8. The menu:

Cheese & Salami Platter with Sea Salt Crackers & Holman & Finch Semolina Bread

Caviar Service with fresh buckwheat blini, sour cream and chives

Veggie lasagna

Salad filled with olives, artichokes, bermuda onions topped with a lemon basil dressing
Garlic Bread
Assorted Cupcakes
More than our share of Segura Viudas Cava

Table Decor provided by my friends at TLC Rents. I chose a purple and gold theme. Purple tablecloth with a gold sequined overlay. Purple napkins. Tons of votives. And for extra interest, small plastic dinosaurs were placed all around the table. Always opt for whimsy when you can. Look around the house – you will surprise yourself.

Since our party was so tiny, I decided not to post any photos of the guests. But – you can see the table below.

It’s like you are right there next to me!

Tell me about your night!

xoxo, Patti

Ready, Set Bubbles!

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

NYE 2017 is just days away – how will you celebrate?

We will celebrate in a very different way this year. A tiny little fete’ for 8.

If you have been following me for any time at all, you know my absolute go-to for bubbles is Segura Viudas Brut Cava. Honestly, it’s as tasty as wines that are 3 times the price and its $8 price tag allows me to buy in bulk (truly, I have 3 cases at the house – you never know who will stop by!) My friends can always count on me to provide them with a glass of bubbles. Life is a celebration, drink it in. Does that sound cheesy? It’s okay to be cheesy!

When the lovely folks at Segura Viudas got in touch about their new Reserva Heredad (SRP $25), I jumped at the chance to try it. Look how fancy the bottle is!

THE Drink for NYE 2017

With only a few faves gathering, a few bottles are affordable and why not spoil your besties? We will be feasting on roasted veggie lasagna bathed in bechamel sauce, yummy garlic bread, crisp salad, caviar and a surprise dessert.

The pop of Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad will be our soundtrack as the clock strikes midnight.

It should be your go-to, too! Happy New Year!!

xoxo, Patti

ps – Check out the fabulous music video on their site. It will get you all revved up to party! 🙂

Lemonlicious

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

I’ve been so busy lately, but I’ve missed you! And now it’s almost Easter.

Bestie Melanie is cooking dinner and I am contributing deviled eggs and lemon meringue cupcakes. Don’t these cupcakes sound divine? Take a look at how pretty they are!

LemonCupcakes

Now, that isn’t my finished product, but it did come from the lovely people at Nielsen-Massey, who were so kind to send me their gorgeous vanilla AND lemon extract so I could recreate this masterpiece at home.

And, it would not be kind of me to keep the recipe all to myself. Here you go – make these and look like a superstar this Sunday!

Lemon Cupcakes with Marshmallow Meringue(Makes 2 Dozen)

For the Cupcakes:
2½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (3-4 large lemons)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
3 large eggs
½ cup low-fat buttermilk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350?F. Place paper liners into two standard cupcake tins; set aside. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and lemon extracts. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients one-half at a time, alternating with buttermilk; beat after each addition and scrape sides of bowl as needed. Do not overmix batter.Fill each liner with about ÂĽ cup batter and bake until done, about 18 minutes. Carefully place cupcakes in 2 (9 x 13) pans and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to cool. Make sure the wrap does not touch the cupcake tops; this method of cooling will make deliciously moist cupcakes.

For the Marshmallow Meringue:
4 egg whites
ÂĽ teaspoon cream of tartar
ÂĽ cup sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
ÂĽ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract

Directions
In a large bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase mixer speed to high and gradually add sugar until soft peaks form.Add marshmallow creme, vanilla and lemon extracts, and beat until combined. Using the back of a spoon, mound and creatively swirl meringue onto each cooled cupcake.Place cupcakes on a rimmed sheet pan. Use a handheld kitchen torch or place under a broiler and toast until golden brown. If using the broiler method, watch to ensure meringue does not over brown.

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

Affairs At The Fox

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

Earlier this week Eric and I were tickled to be invited to The Fabulous Fox Theater to experience Affairs At The Fox, Affairs To Remember marvelous reveal of a new type of partnership.

Affairs To Remember has long been a preferred caterer at the famed theater, but now they are creating events that include dishes that are exclusive to The Fox and even themed by shows performed there!

We enjoyed gorgeous decor and delish food in the Egyptian Ballroom. A walk out onto the open air promenade afforded stunning views of the moon on a perfect night. This was all capped by an extraordinary tour of the facilities, ending up with us on the stage! So cool.

Christmas is coming – plan your events NOW!

Pics!

The Stunning Egyptian Ballroom

The Stunning Egyptian Ballroom

Scrumptious Bites made with local sources

Scrumptious Bites made with local sources

Eric and I onstage at The Fox. We'll be here all week! (Not really).

Eric and I onstage at The Fox. We’ll be here all week! (Not really).

Have a stupendous weekend, Darlings!

xoxo, Patti