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

August, 2010 browsing by month


Hot Tomato (and mango sorbet soup)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Last month, when Eric and I were in New Orleans, fabulous Chef Matt Murphy hosted us at the Chef’s Table at The Ritz-Carlton’s M Bistro. Oh, it was divine.

I can’t spill all the details yet, because the story is being picked up by a national online magazine, but I can tell you about one dish he spoiled us with. And how we tried to replicate it at home.

You know how it goes – you have something that drives you wild at a restaurant and you are sure you can make it at home. But it never quite seems the same, does it? That’s because they are trained chefs. They went to school for years to drive you wild at the restaurant.

But you can come close.

Come see what we did with this.

What the what?

More Recipe Building Inside

Playing Rough

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

You all know how much I adore living in Atlanta. It’s a town filled with surprises. We are genteel, we are foodies, we love a parade, we love a spectacle. Sometimes we like  it rough.

Saturday night was one of those rough nights. Besties Crystal, Teague, Denise, Rick, Eric and I all packed up the food and tailgated before the Atlanta Rollergirls bout at the Shriners Temple. This was my first time seeing the Rollergirls in action, and what a treat it was. But first, we must eat.

Hanging With Denise and Crystal Pre-Game

See How Rough It Gets After The Fold

Fun Find Friday – La Tienda

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Recently, I have been getting so much advice on monetizing the blog that sometimes I just want to scream. I  don’t want sell stuff just for the sake of making a few pennies here and there. Plus, I am so woefully bad at it.

But, I am always online looking for cool new stuff for my parties! This Labor Day we will be hosting a paella party for a passel of friends. Maybe 40, maybe 70, who knows? What I do know is that it will be a ball. And that I have got to get cracking on finding the freshest ingredients for our humongous paella pan.

Last year we had a devil of a time locating spanish chorizo. The kind that does not dissolve when cooked.

Guess what?? I found it online this week! The folks at La Tienda offer about a gazillion types of tantalizing spanish chorizo, just perfect for our paella soiree. Yay!

And I almost fainted when I spied the Extra Large Paella Burner. Who knew? Okay, I don’t know if we will be picking this up with its hefty $285 price tag, but golly, it would sure make things easier. We will probably still cook the paella the old school way, over a blazing fire (please, Mother Nature, make it cool this Labor Day).

But all our chorizo will come from La Tienda, for sure. Ole, y’all!

Eric and Teague man the paella station last year. Action shot!

Monetize, smonetize. Lets have fun!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Aretha Franklin – Spanish Harlem

Media Blitz!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

This has been quite the week. Starting with a fab dinner with Mr. Kerry Howard on Sunday night, followed by rising at 4 a.m. the next morning to appear on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, the podcast that afternoon and finishing up with speaking at the Crave event on Tuesday. It has been a true whirlwind!

I am just now getting some rest, but wanted to share all the fun with you.

Monday morning found our group (the ever-adorable Laura Scholz of Scholz Communication – our camp counselor for these two days and her gorgeous assistant, Brittany, the amazingly glamorous Meridith Ford Goldman, Former Atlanta Journal-Constitution dining critic and food writer and now editorial director of the Atlanta-based marketing and public relations firm, The Reynolds Group, and my sweet friend Christy Annis, CEO of Peas for Prosperity), bleary eyed and in need of coffee at 4:45 a.m. at the CBS studios to talk about “When Life Hands You Lemons, Start A Lemonade Stand” with Tracye Hutchins. We were met by Amanda Harley, segment producer, who made us all feel very at home. And we gabbed. There’s a lot of hanging around when you appear on tv.

Christy, Brittany and I wait for Laura and Meridith

More Media Fun Inside

Dinner With Mr. Howard

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

As any fan of design shows would know, Top Design is the ultimate contest. You all know Eddie Ross, and of course you know Kerry Howard. Remember our fun dinner party here?

Well, this time, we were the lucky ones to be hosted by our dear Kerry. I swear, if you met him, you would just want to eat him up with a spoon. He is that sweet.

And there were new friends to meet! You know how I love that.

First off, I know you are dying to hear all about Kerry’s place – fab. fab.fab. Everything is gorgeous – from the old church-inspired mirrors to the original art on the walls. It truly is a showplace. And of course, that fine design aesthetic made its way to the dinner table. I loved the cushioned bench that off-set the dining chairs.

But most of all, I loved the company.

Meet Maria.

Glowing Maria

Come inside for all the scoop about Maria!

West Egg With Miss Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Miss Elizabeth and I recently met for lunch at West Egg Cafe on the Westside. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get here, as my buddies Laura Scholz and Shameeka Shy Ayers have been singing the praises of Chef Patric Bell forever.

But now that I’ve visited, I will not be a stranger.

The cafe has an open, airy feel to it, making you feel welcome immediately. The menu looks like a secret assignment from CIA, only your assignment is “Burgers and Draft Beer, $10”.  Much better than the CIA, if you ask me. Unless your version of the CIA is the Culinary Institute of America.

The very photogenic Miss Elizabeth

Follow Me Inside for More Lunch Fun

TV Makes You Sleepy

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I didn’t want you to think I had abandoned you, but I was up at 4 a.m. to appear on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta.  Here’s a link to the page. The video is called “Start A Lemonade Stand, Part II”.

Patti’s On TV, Y’all!

For some reason, I can’t get the video to load, but it could be my mac. Not sure.

But I have to be at a podcast at 1:30pm, so I think I need a nap.

I love you all and there are a ton of fun things to report this week. If you will just allow me this one hooky day….

xoxo, Patti

The Four Most Read Posts – Number 1!!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Happy Birthday to my little blog! She is one today! So exciting.

I bet you are dying to know what number one is. The most read post this year comes from the weekend I spent getting to know Eddie + Jaithan, and meeting the divine team from Larson-Juhl. I have to mention my friend Arlynn, first, as she is so sweet to always follow the blog and leave the nicest comments, there are also big hugs for Lynn and of course, Larson-Juhl’s wonderful CEO,  the charming Steve McKenzie.

Before I link you to the number one post of the year, I hope you will indulge me by letting me thank some very special people who have been amazingly generous to me over the past year.

1. As always, is the love of my life, Eric, without whom there would be no blog. He planted the idea. I love you, Honey!

2. Erika Rich, who swept in like a fairy godmother and so generously offered to host the blog and tutored me on the fine points of blogging. You are my mentor.

3. Brooke McLay, the adorable, darling author of Conversations With A Cupcake/Cheeky Kitchen, who came up with a banner so beautiful that I just sat at the computer and wept when I saw it. And then just gifted me with it.

All the amazing folks I have been so blessed to meet this year – Laura Scholz, who is determined to make me famous; Tami Hardeman, who invited me to some of the most fun events ever and introduced me to Sandra Ryder, who, in turn opened the door for my column about The Ritz-Carlton hotels for Design Is. Walt Ray, the Editor-In-Chief of Design Is, who told everyone I was the new Lifestyle Editor before I even knew. Shameeka Shy Ayers, Queen of All Media, for just being fabulous and for introducing me to Eddie + Jaithan, who I love so dearly. Spencer, Allison, LaToyin and Neil from Black Tie BBQ, who have become dear friends to us!

Then there are the besties – Bless their hearts for allowing me to photograph every morsel of food before it went into their mouths. Clint, Matt, Lisa, Crystal & Teague, Holly, John, Danny, Vickie, Diane, Chioke, Taruan, Curtis, Jay, Valerie, Denise & Rick. There would be no blog without you. You are the stars here and I love you!!! Thank you for putting up with me and my incessant picture taking!

I leave you with the number one post of the year – The Larson-Juhl Experience. And because it’s my blog and I can do what I want, some of my favorite photos from the last 12 months.

Clint & Me. Christmas 2009

Crystal & Teague. Christmas 2009

Danny, Taruan, Chioke, John and Me. Christmas Party 2009.

Popeyes Chicken and Wine Tasting. 2009.

Halloween 2009. End of the

Gay Pride 2009

Tina, Allison and Me. Cinco De Mayo 2010

Tami and Me. Bloggers Bake Sale 2010

Holly and Me. Thanksgiving 2009

Miss Sylvia, Clint, Eric and Me. St. Patty's Day 2010

Miss Sylvia, Clint, Eric and Me. St. Patty's Day 2010

Eric, Me. Taruan, Chioke and Holly. Sugar Coma 2010

Vickie. Easter 2010

Taruan, Jay, Valerie & Jill. Wine Tasting/Val's Birthday 2010

Jay and Valerie. Val's Graduation 2010

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Andrew Gold – Thank You For Being A Friend

The Four Most Read Posts – Number 2

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Most read post, number two is The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of The Southeast. To be perfectly honest, this might be my personal favorite. It opened the door for me to write travel articles on the world’s premiere hotels and it has been a thrill so far. Last year, when Tami Hardeman took me to Lumen at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and introduced me to Sandra Ryder, I had no idea I would be reporting on some of the planet’s most fabled resort properties. It’s like winning the golden ticket.

And I will never grow tired of entering any lobby at The Ritz-Carlton. Here’s where it all began for me.

As a special treat, I am going to attach a few behind the scenes photos from my first three Ritz-Carlton visits. The full articles will appear each month in Design Is, starting on August 27th.

My Sweetie Enjoying An Afternoon At The Lodge

In The Courtyard at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

One Gorgeous Table Setting In New Orleans

It's Me! Sampling the wines during the chef's tasting menu at Salt - Amelia Island.

Me, with new friends Isabelle and Adrienne, in Amelia Island

Thanks to Tami and Sandra. And now to Valerie and Lisa at the Lodge, Char and Kris in New Orleans, and my friend Joe in Amelia Island. You all are stupendous. Meeting each of you has been a total delight. And next month it’s off to Palm Beach to cavort with my friends Christine and Donald. Can’t wait!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Taco – Putting on The Ritz

The Four Most Read Posts – Number 3

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Isn’t this trip down memory lane fun? Number three comes to us from our sweeties at Black Tie Barbecue. It was their Cinco De Mayo Secret Supper and it was a fine time indeed. It seemed like everyone read this post. And why not? It is almost as fun to read as it was being there. Almost.

Time to relive Cinco De Mayo! Ole!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valens – La Bamba