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

Affairs At The Fox

Written by Patti on 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

 

Jambalaya Night!

Written by Patti on October 21st, 2015

Good Morning Darlings,

It is getting SO cold here in Atlanta. Our seasons swoop in like a hawk. First, it’s blistering hot. Then we have one or maybe two weeks of spectacular weather. Then we are freezing.

To combat the cold, Eric and I made a terrific and easy Jambalaya last night, adapted from Epicurious. Try it and you will have yummy leftovers for lunch!

Makes 6 servings

1 large onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 large poblano pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
4 oz andoulle sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 large bay leaf
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-sized pieces

Add oil to a large nonstick saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic, poblano pepper and celery until onion is translucent. Add parsley, andouille, chicken, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, and 1 3/4 cups cold water. Gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour rice into the pan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until rice is cooked and absorbs most of the liquid. Stir in shrimp and cook 5 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt.

Spicy Jambalaya!

Spicy Jambalaya!

Gobble up like mad hungry badgers and sit around the table smiling at each other!

xoxo, Patti

 

A Marvy Time at Mason Tavern

Written by Patti on 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

HOURS:
Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 11pm
Friday: 11:30am – Late
Saturday: 5:30pm – Late
Sunday: Closed

FREE Parking!

xoxo, Patti

 

Let Them Eat Cake

Written by Patti on 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.

Zelda

Happy Monday!

 

xoxo, Patti

 

Chef Ford Fry Has A Secret

Written by Patti on 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— JCT Kitchen, No. 246, The Optimist, King + DukeSt. 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!

CHEF FORD FRY’S TECHNIQUE FOR FAB HOME STEAKS

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

 

The Boys Are Back!

Written by Patti on 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

 

Georgia At The James Beard House

Written by Patti on 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

 

A Sparkling Trip to Italy Via Canoe

Written by Patti on October 13th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

Last week was a whirlwind of parties. I am back in the swing of things and diving in head first.

The lovely folks from Ferrari Trento invited me to join them for an exclusive lunch at Canoe, one of Atlanta’s most romantic restaurants. I tend to forget how close Canoe is, and yet it seems a world away from the city. There were less than 20 of us there for a glamorous preview of the Lunelli family’s stunning sparkling wines, paired with scrumptious cuisine prepared by Chef Matthew. The event was a lavish indulgence in the middle of the day.

Gracing the banks of the Chattahoochee River

Our group was seated in the private dining room and we all introduced ourselves. So many new friends!

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I didn’t want to miss a moment hearing about these exceptional wines, so I chose a seat directly from our guest of honor, Marcello Lunelli, the distinguished winemaker.

Marcello Lunelli

Marcello Lunelli

Did you know that the rest of the world is drinking sparkling wine from regular wine glasses? We are the only ones drinking from flutes. Marcello wants to spread the word that sparkling wine is for everyday, not only special occasions. I concur. He made a great point by saying if he is out with his wife and another couple and they all prefer a different variety of wine, they can all agree on bubbles. I have seen this over and over again at our parties. No one declines a glass of bubbly!

Canoe’s dishes were a perfect accompaniment to the six (!!) glasses we sampled. Here’s a look at the menu and the wines we enjoyed.

Oysters on the Half Shell

Ferrari Rose’ NV Trento DOC Metodo Classico

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House Smoked Salmon on a Crispy Potato Cake, Vermont Goat Cheese

Ferrari “Riserva Lunelli” 2006 Trento DOC Metodo Classico

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American Prosciutto Salad, Compressed Melon, Parmesan

Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore “Giulio” 2002, Trento DOC

Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore “Giulio” 2001, Trento DOC

20151008_131953

The “Guilio” 2001 was a standout for me. It has a remarkable nose with hugely expressive aromas of dried orchard fruits, cake batter and acacia honey. Cake! It was my favorite. And I think it might be your favorite, too, when you try it.

Next course!

Crisped Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Thai Salad, Yuzu

Ferrari Riversa del Fondatore “Giulio” RD 1999, Trento DOC

Ferrari Riversa del Fondatore “Giulio” 1993, Trento DOC

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This was my favorite dish paired with my other favorite wine. The 1993 vintage is one of the more costly wines, but wow, for a special occasion, what a perfect splurge. I found it online retailing from $168 up to $358 per bottle. It was so exciting to be able to sample this exquisite treat. If you are a lover of fine wines, I know you would be thrilled to add this to your collection. Or, send to me as a gift! :) Trust me, you will be in grand company. Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, Andy Warhol, Alec Baldwin, Brooke Shields and the Scissor Sisters have all enjoyed Ferrari scrumptious wines. Their wines were even served at a G8 dinner.

If you are traveling to Italy, you must make Trentino a stop and visit the charming Lunelli family. The vineyard even has a Michelin Star Restaurant, Locanda Margon, nestled amid the vines. I can’t wait to go. Shall we plan a trip together?

The company I enjoyed at this luncheon was marvelous. Joon Lim, who is a server and sommelier at Kevin Rathbun Steaks and I had a wonderful discussion about how most restaurant patrons are reluctant to ask for help when ordering wine. He is so fabulous that I have asked him to talk to me in depth about today’s sommeliers and why you should always ask for help. Look for the interview next week or so.

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Many thanks to Ferrari Trento, Canoe and Palm Bay International. This was a special afternoon with special food, people and of course, the Ferrari Trento sparkling wines that will be gracing my dinner parties in the future.

xoxo, Patti

 

A Touch Of Coffee

Written by Patti on October 7th, 2015

Good Morning Darlings!

I am so grateful for my life. It’s a life filled with love and laughter. And sometimes gifts in the mail.

I LOVE gifts in the mail. This week, I received a fabulous coffee maker (!!!!) from Touch Coffee & Beverages. This machine is a total Betty – gorgeous! And I couldn’t wait to take her for a spin. The package arrived in the early evening, but that did not deter Eric and me from drinking ALL the coffees. We can sleep when we’re dead.

A little background on our new family member (coffee makers are integral to a household, yes?) She came stocked with 3 types of coffees inspired by L.A. iconic landmarks. Now that I don’t live in Santa Monica any more, I can truly appreciate her beauty. The L.A. Coffee capsules are engineered to allow 30% more coffee – WAKE UP Y’ALL! This could replace the ubiquitous Coffee Bean & Leaf stops we used to crave when we lived in the City of Angels (Starbucks is so passe’).

Shall we take a look at our new kitchen art? So pretty!

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Close up!

Close up!

We already own a Keurig and the Touch claims to brew faster, so it was fun to put them to the test.

How did they do? Well, the Keurig does take longer to get ready to brew and the Touch is instantly ready – you just hit the button, choose the size coffee you want and it is done! But, if you wait for the Keurig to be ready and then brew them side by side, the Keurig is faster. Basically, the Touch beats the Keurig hands down for speed. And who doesn’t need their coffee in an instant in the morning? And I love the L.A. Coffee pods. My favorite is the Beverly Hills. It’s a nice medium roast with a hint of sweetness to it.

And I really love the design. It outshines our Keurig in good looks. And it fits with all our other appliances – how did the nice folks at Touch know?

Some facts about the Touch:

  • The brewer is ready to start brewing in under 20 seconds after being off all night.
  • The hot water has more contact with the coffee grounds, which ensures that all of the coffee flavor is extracted. Other machines take much longer to warm up and then shoot water through the coffee grounds too quickly, so you end up throwing away untapped flavor with the used capsule. Even with a slower, more deliberate brew, when factoring in the warm-up time, the Touch still turns out a cup of joe in a fraction of the time.
  • You can now brew larger cups of coffee without sacrificing flavor. Customize your coffee experience by choosing from five cup sizes (6, 8, 10, 12 or 14 ounces) and three brew strengths (mild, medium or bold).
  • Its removable 90-ounce water tank has a greater capacity and is shorter in height than its counterparts, meaning you will be refilling less often, and it will be less awkward when you do.
  • Touch’s single serve cups are larger than traditional K-Cups, allowing more coffee grounds. More coffee means bigger, bolder flavor

Verdict: I am in love with my new Touch coffee maker. Do you need one? Of course you do! Go out and buy one right now and we can be twinsies!!

xoxo, Patti

 

 

Dragon Con 2015

Written by Patti on 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