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

Tami’s Birthday Party – Chopped & Surprised

Written by Patti on June 29th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

It was the weekend of birthdays this past week. Fun! First, we had Valerie’s birthday wine tour, then it was time for dear friend Tami H. of Running With Tweezers to have her big day.

And what a big day it was! Set up by her sweet boyfriend, Mike, who took great pains to keep it secret. Mike even put together a Chopped Challenge as part of the party. You know what Chopped is, right? It’s a reality/challenge show on Food Network where chefs compete for the highest score from the judges.

Mike chose all the ingredients for the Chopped “Slider” Challenge. Three teams of two competed in the kitchen of friends Brian and Terri. It was a hoot.

But first, Tami had to arrive. A ruse was invented to get her to Terri and Brian’s house and we were all gathered when she arrived, including an dear friend of hers from NYC who had flown in especially for the party. Don’t you love those types of surprises?

The cake was made by Christina Arpante of Mele Cotte. It was the coolest cake I have ever seen.

Camera Cake. Yes, That's Cake.

You would think that making a camera cake would be enough for one person. Well, you don’t know Chris. She had to bake cupcakes, too. Gorgeous¬† cupcakes. Filled with yummy things cupcakes. OMG. Cupcakes.


Brian and Terri did a great job of keeping us all happy before Tami arrived. They fed us and we hung out and talked about, what else? Food.

Nosh, Nosh, Nosh...Gab, Gab, Gab

And finally, the main event – Tami Arrives! Yay! She was so surprised. Um, really surprised. She thought she was going swimming. But she looked super cute all the same!


Oh, she was so thrilled to see everyone there. Especially her best buddy Mike.

Surprise Guest Mike

But before the challenge, Tami must check out that incredible cake!

Tami & Chris

And then the Chopped Challenge began. Just like on television, but with cocktails. It’s a party, after all.

Team 1 – Tami & Mike
Team 2 – Chris & Erin
Team 3 – Martin & Brian

Emcee – Mike Boutte (Tami’s beau)

And we’re off!

Mike Explains The Rules

The teams pick their ingredients.


Erin and Chris Plan Their Strategy

One Group Of Ingredients - Banana Chips?

Martin's Secret Weapons - Schlitz Beer & Wasabi Peas

While The Kitchen Heated Up, Terri & I Giggled In The Dining Room

And boy, was the kitchen busy! We were told not to get in the kitchen during the challenge, but, hey, there was cooking going on and pictures to take. Sorry!

Tami Has It All Under Control

Or Was It Mike That Had It All Under Control?

Anyhoo, it was fun, fun, fun.

Mike Lights The Grills - Don't You Love The Tee?

Mason & Margaret Arrive

Now, it’s time for the judging. I thought everyone was going to be super sweet – we’re all friends here..but no. It was brutal. Funny, but brutal.

Terri & Zack Judge The Turkey Burger by Mike and Tami

Looks like a thumbs up from Judge Zack.

Next up – Chris & Erin’s burger with a cabbage slaw on top. Looked yummy.

And Erin Juggles, Too!

The judges really liked this one. They deemed it tasted like a “swedish meatball.” Then it was Martin & Brian’s turn for judging.

Martin & Brian's Buffalo Burgers

Judges said it was perfectly cooked, but flavorless and the green beans on the side were dry. Brutally honest. Foodies. LOL

Winner? Erin and Chris’s swedish meatball burger. A round for everyone!

Happy Birthday, Tami – this was the coolest idea for a party and we had a ball!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Debbie Reynolds – Tammy


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Chris says:

    It was a great day! So Fun. And, as always…its lovely seeing you! *Hugs*