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

August 31st, 2009 browsing by day


Hostess Secrets

Monday, August 31st, 2009

All successful hostesses have a bag of tricks up their sleeves. Normally, I want all my guests to think I’m magic, but now that I am a responsible blogger, I should share.

1. Matthews Hamper House: This is the mac daddy of all things containerable (I think I just made that word up). If you want to give your guests a parting gift and need something nifty with which to present it, these are your folks. Their space is very big and they have everything from little cello bags to giant baskets and everything in between. I could spend hours in this store at the State Farmers Market and just lose my mind. If you need something to put something else in, they’ve got it.

2. Ikea. No surprise here. The best prices on wine glasses and my beloved .49 tea towels that I adore using as napkins.

3. Goodwill (multiple locations). I consider the Goodwill my own personal treasure hunt. Every piece is unique. From vintage champagne flutes to pitchers painted to look like watermelon, I find something cool almost everytime.

4. Super H Mart This grocery store is outstanding. The absolute freshest produce at ridiculously cheap prices. The last time I shopped there I bought a beef tenderloin for $5 per pound! Its a bit of a hike (Duluth, Kathianne!) but so so worth it. 2550 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth – (678) 543-4000.

There you go. A few of my secrets are now yours. Go and seek out little shops off the beaten path. You never know what you will find.

xoxo, Patti

OMD – Orchestral Manuevers at Dinner

Monday, August 31st, 2009

A smaller dinner party gives you wiggle room to be creative. Six guests is perfect for creating an intimate night that allows you to use your imagination. Take fun pieces from around your house and use them to concoct a delightful tablescape.

Saturday night’s dinner party gave me just such a opportunity. With a most interesting group of folks – two of our favorite dog trainers, a cnn editor and an artist/writer friend I had not seen in 15 years, the evening seemed ripe with the promise of a lively time.

The menu was simple. Grilled leg of lamb, bacon laced green beans, sour cream mashed potatoes and honey-ginger carrots, topped off with cake and ice cream. The table setting was a bit more lush. Hand beaded placemats from Mexico were placed over gold braided cloth placemats to give them substance. Gold napkins with beaded and tasseled napkins rings were set on the plates. I lined the table with textured votive holders for the candles and placed two wine decanters on either side of the table for easy access.

This was a group of people I had not brought together before and yet, our artist friend knew our dog trainer friend – I love little surprises like this. Atlanta is such a “small town” big city that you are bound to know someone in common with a majority of people you meet.

Funny stories were shared and everyone filled up on lamb, wine and laughter. It was a divine evening. The evening ended with a rousing game of Wii bowling on our brand spanking new gaming system. It was a sophisticated party that ended with games. Good times.

xoxo, Patti

Bloggers Note: Many thanks to our darling guests who allowed themselves to be photographed for this posting.