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

Dinner Parties 101 and Traveller Bar

Written by Patti on 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

 

 

 

How To Be The Perfect Guest

Written by Patti on March 28th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

I am asked so often what is the best thing to bring to a dinner party. So many lovely answers. No one ever seems to ask what not to do.

But I am happy to clue you in. Shall we begin?

  1. Never show up early. Ever. Your hostess is putting the finishing touches on everything (including her face). Don’t be early. We expect to give you a 15 minute window to arrive after the announced time. Five or ten minutes late is perfect. We will greet you at the door with a smile and cocktail and welcome you warmly. Showing up early is akin to setting the cat on fire or knocking over an entire bottle of red on a crisply ironed white linen tablecloth (but even that is more tolerable than showing up early). Don’t set the cat on fire, please. And it bears repeating – don’t be early.
  2. Do show up with a small something for your hosts. Wine is always welcome. Bourbon is even better. A couple of fluffy cinnamon rolls for your hostess to enjoy the next morning is so sweet. We love homemade treats. And if you are bringing a beer, something unusual or local is sure to please. What not to bring? Please, for the love of all that is southern, please do not show up with flowers that are not in a vase. The last thing your hostess wants to think about is running around looking for something to put those flowers in.  Also, do not bring a dish that you have not been asked to bring. This is a no-no for a couple of reasons: A. this dinner has been scrupulously planned, right down to the olives & nuts served with cocktails, and B. all of her serving dishes have been coordinated with the table. If you show up with pimento cheese sandwiches on a flowered tray, she (I) might fly into a silent rage. While smiling. We southern hostesses always smile.
  3. Introduce yourselves to the other guests as they arrive. Especially if your hostess has to duck into the kitchen for just a moment. Ask how they know the hosts. That always gives you something to talk about. She has put you all together for a reason and thinks you will be fine friends by the end of the night. If you are shy, think of it this way – you are going to meet your new best friends and it’s way more comfortable.
  4. Have an interesting or funny story to tell. Keep it short. Keep it clean.
  5. Read the crowd. Is everyone drinking and then drinking some more? Well, then. Go ahead and have that third gin and tonic. Is it a school night and the group is having a cocktail before dinner and either a glass of wine or beer with dinner? Follow suit.

That’s a good start. Let me know your favorite ideas. Oh! And here’s a look at our homemade limoncello. Next time we make a double batch. This disappeared in no time. Serve it in a gorgeous cut glass decanter. Or bring some to your hostess. Before serving, put in the freezer so it is ice cold when your guests enjoy it. YUMMY!

Lemon & vodka, ready to mix with the simple syrup.

xoxo, Patti

 

Let’s Get Cheesy

Written by Patti on March 16th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

I’m always on the search for the perfect cheese and charcuterie board. How about you? The same old thing gets boring.

My friends over at The Gander NYC shared their ideas with me, and now I’m sharing with you. Take a well, Gander…

What’s on your cheese board?

xoxo, Patti

 

Sweet Beach Alabama

Written by Patti on March 15th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

There’s nothing sweeter than a beach getaway, especially when your bestie’s daddy has a beach house. We adore Captain Mike and he is sailing off to Cuba next month so we decided he needed a bon voyage party.

So that’s what we did. Lots of delicious food (cuban sammies, empanadas, plantains) and yummy beverages were consumed as we hung around, told stories, sang A LOT of songs and laughed til our sides hurt.

Pics to prove it happened!

Crawfish Bread is DELICIOUS!

It’s all chill at the beach.

Making new friends.

There’s always time for shenanigans at the Flori-Bama!

Mike and Mellie take a romantic stroll on the beach.

 

My buddy, Captain Mike, and me at the Flori-Bama

Can’t wait to go back! A million thanks to Captain Mike, his lovely lady Karen and my bestie Mellie for making Eric and me feel so welcome!

xoxo, Patti

 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

Written by Patti on February 8th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings!

It’s February. Which means winter. It also means it’s my birthday month!

I needed a pick me up to hold me over until my Florida vacay in 10 days (please let it be warm and sunny!) and I had a surplus of lemons I was going to use for that detox drink that gets Beyonce to her fighting weight.

But I never got to making those detox drinks and the lemons were waning.

You know I’m always up for a party, so I decided to use those sunny little orbs to make my first ever batch of limoncello!

First, we have to find a terrific recipe. I found this precious blog called Garden Betty and decided to follow her recipe for my first foray into making adult bevs. Go follow her and get her recipe and then we can make limoncello together!

Aren’t lemons the happiest of fruits? So sunny and they smell soooo good.

So sunny and fresh!

You have to zest them all and then you can’t just leave the juice – those lemons need to be juiced, too! I ended up with about 3 cups of juice from 15 lemons. I can’t lie, Eric juiced most of the lemons. He’s the best.

Thanks, Eric for juicing all those lemons!

You put all the zest into a glass gallon jar and add a liter of vodka. For some reason, friends have been gifting us with vodka, so we have a boodle at the house. It looks like this.

I bet that is so tart!

At second glance, that may be bigger than one gallon. Anyhoo. The jar goes into the dark pantry for 6 weeks.

Have you ever made limoncello? Tell me all your stories!

xoxo, Patti

 

The Magic Of Butter

Written by Patti on 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

 

Grill Out and Rise Up Sunday

Written by Patti on February 3rd, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

It’s almost time for Super Bowl and our Atlanta Falcons are set for a big win.

Our great friends Jay and Valerie are hosting the party this year. I’m pretty happy to be a guest.

Of course, you can’t be a good guest without bringing something yummy to share. My dill chicken salad is always a hit and I love how it tastes when I grill the meat first. That will require cleaning the grill. And it’s been a while. My new friends at Napoleon Grills sent me some tips for a gleaming grill worthy of my chicken.

  • Clean the cooking grids and searing plates. Soak the cooking grills in warm water and soap before giving them a good cleaning to get rid of the grease and food crust that has been burnt on. Season them for the coming season and get ready from incredible grilled flavors all summer long. While your searing grids are soaking, remove the heat shields (give them a good scrape as well) so you can run your barbecue brush over the burners. This is also a good time to check your igniter and rear burner to make sure all is in working order.
  • Clean the grease cup. The more you use your grill, the more you will have to clean or replace your grease cup. Before firing up your grill, take out the old and put in the new.
  • Scrape off the grease tray. All the grease and food remnants from past meals collect and char on the grease tray. No need to get out the soap and water for this one, but give it a good scrape with a spatula or putty knife to clean off all the bits.
  • Check for leaks. Inspect your hose and fittings to ensure everything is in order and that there are no leaks. Do a soap test to be safe: in a spray bottle or small bowl, mix one part water to one part dish soap. Apply the mixture (spritz it or apply with a small brush) to all fittings. Make sure your lid is open and all the control knobs are turned off. Turn on your gas – any growing bubbles are a sign of a leak that needs to be addressed.

There you go – all ready to grill!

Now, what are you cooking?

xoxo, Patti

 

Australia Day Party!

Written by Patti on January 30th, 2017

G’day Darlings!

Last week we were invited to celebrate Australia Day with our friends Liz and Vance at their swanky midtown pad.

I have to admit, I didn’t even know this was a thing. But it is and it was delicious!

Liz and Vance served Australian Meat Pies, which are scrumptious. Topped with mashed potatoes and minty mashed peas, they made a hearty meal on a very cold night.

Pics!

Our sweet hostess, Liz and me – all smiles with them every time we get together.

 

 

 

Yummy meat pies.

 

 

With Jen and James.

For those of you in Atlanta, the Australian Bakery is our go-to for these treats. Buy in bulk and freeze them, because you are definitely going to want more once you try them.

Big thanks to Liz and Vance for hosting and darlings, I promise to get a better camera pronto!

xoxo, Patti

 

Atlanta’s Restaurants By The Numbers!

Written by Patti on January 17th, 2017

Good Morning Darlings,

Today, I’m handing over the reins to my good friend, Travis at Wanderlust Atlanta. If you aren’t reading his blog, you can start now! He’s always up to fun things to do and fun places to see.

He is starting a new series called, “Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants “By the Numbers”.

Number one is, of course, One Midtown Kitchen.

Read all about it here.

Try a new restaurant tonight! New Year, New Tastes.

xoxo, Patti

 

Happy New Year!

Written by Patti on 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