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

September, 2010 browsing by month


Lights, Cameras – Dirty Dishes!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

On Monday I was on the set of “Dirty Dishes” as the guest star of this fun series made popular on You Tube. My friend, Barry and his co-star, Cori Davenport invited me to come on and be a guest on the episode entitled “Open Faced Sandwiches With Two Faced Friends”.  You all might remember Cori as Kim Kolciac’s friend on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. We filmed in Cori’s palatial mansion in Gainesville, Georgia. The house even has an elevator! And of course, we dished – Cori had all sorts of delicious tidbits to share with us about being on reality television. I love to know what happens behind the scenes. And no, I can’t divulge….that would not be nice. Ok, a little divulgence. The producers of the reality shows make sure everyone is in serious party mode before they start filming. I guess it should come as no surprise that the chardonnay is flowing, but I never knew for sure. But now I do!

Barry, Troy and I board the elevator - going up!

Visit the set with me, won’t you?

Birthday Donuts, Chili Dogs and Macaroni & Cheese

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Whew! The past week has been crazy busy. Last night we celebrated Eric’s birthday with a handful of our besties. It was so nice. And I’m hoping that I can get by today by just posting photos. Because I am lazy and the laundry is piling up. And I’m lazy. Wait, did I say that already? Well, it’s true today.

Thanks to our nearest and dearest for making Eric’s big day so special. Boy Howdy, do we have a bunch of beer at the house. And now a contraption for making beer can chicken! But that’s a post for another day.

Thanks for allowing me to be lazy today. And a million thanks to all our darlings for helping Eric celebrate his birthday by eating chili dogs, chips & dip, donuts and mac & cheese.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to The Macaroni Cheese Song (I love all the hilarity of You Tube!)

Eric, It’s You

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Yesterday was a wild whirlwind of a video shoot, but today, it is time to celebrate. It is my perfect husband’s birthday. Tonight we will celebrate by recreating all his childhood faves. Chili dogs, Groovy Mike Sells Potato Chips, Onion dip, Real Coca-Colas in glass bottles. A group of our besties will gather together in our home and it will be a ball.

And macaroni and cheese. Apparently it’s everyone else’s childhood favorite. What was yours?

Anyhoo, I am going to indulge myself by posting some of my favorite photos of Eric from the past year. Happy Birthday, Honey. I love you madly.

xoxo, Patti
Today blogging to Three Dog Night – Celebrate

and…Etta James – At Last

Dirty Dishes

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

If you will forgive me for keeping it short this morning – I am off on a video shoot with my friend, Barry Belcher and his fab friend, Cori. Their videos are called Dirty Dishes – gossip and cooking! Isn’t that fun?

To give you an idea, here is one of their hilarious videos. The episode I am going to be featured on is Open Faced Sandwiches With Two Faced Friends. Fun!

I am running around furiously trying to get ready for uber-early call. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, let me introduce you to Barry and Cori:

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Buck Owens and His Bucaroos – Act Naturally

Hotel Blake – Da Bears & Deep Dish Pizza

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Our buddy Tammy Peterson has been super busy lately. Here’s some news from her about Hotel Blake in Chicago (one of my favorite cities!)

Cheer on the Chicago Bears with Hotel Blake’s
“Get Your Game On” Package

One of the closest hotels to Soldier Field, Hotel Blake Offers Convenient, Luxurious Way to Enjoy Monsters of the Midway and Windy City to the Fullest.


Chicago, IL – Headed to the Windy City to see the Chicago Bears play on their home turf this fall?  Make it a winning overnight getaway with the Get Your Game On Package at the South Loop’s luxurious Hotel Blake, one of the closest hotels to Soldier Field.

Join me inside. Chicago is waiting!

Oooooh, A Yoga Retreat!

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Today travel news comes from Mexico. Like yoga? Like the beach? This may be the place for you!

From our friend, Tammy Peterson:


Boutique Riviera Maya Luxury Resort Partners With Lifestyle Outfit to Host “Mystical Mayan Adventure”

Puerto Morelos, Mexico – Elemental Yoga Retreats, a lifestyle division of Elements Yoga & Wellness Center, an award-winning boutique studio based in Darien, CT, has selected Ceiba del Mar Beach & Spa Resort, an intimate Riviera Maya property located on the picturesque, white-sand shores of peaceful Puerto Morelos, as the site of its “Mystical Mayan Adventure,” a culturally-inspired yoga retreat, November 7-11, 2010.

Mystical Mayan Adventure
Abundant natural beauty—an ivory-white beach bordering brilliant Mexican Caribbean seas, breezy palms, lush greenery, and exotic flowers—surround boutique Ceiba del Mar, which boasts numerous hospitality accolades but is otherwise secluded, providing unrivaled serenity for spiritually connected physical practice, meditative inquiry and indulgent self-care at the heart of the “Mystical Mayan Adventure.”  In keeping with the resort’s commitment to providing guests with exceptional respite at all levels, and Elemental Yoga Retreats’ desire to infuse the “Mystical Mayan Adventure” with aspects of holism and an exploration of local culture, the Mesoamerican-influenced yoga and wellness retreat will include the following:

•    7 sessions of spiritually-based and specialty yoga at unique locales throughout the resort;
•    4 guided sessions of morning meditation amid a soothing, centering backdrop;
•    A specialty Aromayoga Restorative session;
•    A Temazcal Ceremony, a contemporary spa therapy based on an ancient Maya purifying ritual conducted by a local shaman;
•    15% off all other spa treatments;
•    Complimentary use of land/sea sports equipment; and
•    Calming sanctuary in one of the resort’s 88 sublime, sea-facing guest residences, each with a full bathroom with shower and separate bathtub; local wood accents and handcrafted furnishings; complimentary wireless Internet; 300 thread-count Premium Cotton linens and pillow menu; complimentary in-room morning coffee daily and nightly turndown service; International cable TV and DVD/CD player, and 24-hour room service.

Adventures for an additional cost include:

•    Spelunking (cave diving);
•    Journey to ancient Mayan ruins;
•    Zip lining through the jungle;
•    Scuba diving (from the dive shop at Ceiba del Mar); and
•    A golf outing.

All-inclusive “Early Bird” rates for the “Mystical Mayan Adventure” are per person and start at $1593 for double occupancy and $2093 for single occupancy.  Full Yoga retreat package, including four nights in luxurious, ocean-view accommodation included. Rates for non-yoga participants sharing a room with a yoga retreater start at $1263.  Rates increase by $200 if booked after September 15, 2010. To book call Ceiba del Mar at 1-877-545-6221 and mention the group code: Yoga Retreat. Reservations must be secured with a credit card. Cancellations received within 120 hours (5 days) of arrival will incur a full stay charge.

Elements Yoga & Wellness Center
Voted “The Best” yoga studio in Connecticut for six consecutive years by Greenwich Magazine, Westport Magazine, and New Canaan, Darien & Rowayton Magazine, Elements Yoga & Wellness Center is a unique, spiritually-centered school that offers various styles and levels of yoga as well as expert instruction from acclaimed teachers who represent a full and diverse spectrum of disciplines. In addition to weekly classes; specialized workshops; advanced teacher training, mentoring and study programs; and healing massage and bodywork for yoga practitioners of all ages, the studio’s retreat division is actively working with boutique luxury resorts to develop intimate yoga retreats aimed at invoking total-body transformation.  Culturally and spiritually influenced by their locations, retreats will uniquely combine inner work with outdoor adventure to rebalance the mind, center the soul and nourish the spirit. Enriching activities inspired by local custom and heritage in concert with deep yoga practice and spiritual meditation create a singular experience for soul-searching travelers and both avid and casual yoga practitioners.

Elements Yoga & Wellness Center is owned by and operated by the husband and wife team of Bruce Bassock, a former commodity and equity trader turned yogi whose effective Yoga for Men program garnered national attention from The New York Times and Yoga Journal; and Donna Kuebler, a Fairfield County 40 Under 40 recipient, supporter of many non-profits, a charitable event co-chair, and the Program Director of Fit Yoga Magazine.   Bassock and Rita Trieger, founder and editor-in-chief of Fit Yoga Magazine; author of Yoga Heals Your Back and Tranquil Mind; a highly-sought yoga conference speaker; and a well-respected yoga and meditation instructor, will lead Elemental Yoga Retreats, including the “Mystical Mayan Adventure” at Ceiba del Mar.

“Our goal is to provide modern travelers—individuals who want to cultivate self-awareness while relaxing, staying fit and having fun—with exactly that opportunity,” says Donna Kuebler, co-founder of Elements Yoga & Wellness Center.  “When practice is over we enjoy getting to know the people who attend our retreats to develop a traveling community of like-minded, fun-loving, adventurous yogis. ”

For more information about Ceiba Del Mar Beach & Spa Resort, which was included on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2009 and 2010 Gold List, earning perfect scores of “100” in “Best Rooms” and “Best Service” categories for Mexico, visit, or call 1-877-545-6221.

Ceiba del Mar Beach & Spa Resort is an award-winning, oceanfront boutique resort in the Riviera Maya district of Mexico. This intimate resort is situated on half-mile of a private white-sand beach and offers 88 deluxe Ocean-View rooms and suites, seven of which are penthouses; two restaurants; a swimming pool; the wellness and aromatherapy Spa at Ceiba del Mar, and beautiful indoor/outdoor spaces for events, meetings and destination weddings.

This sounds like the perfect place to unwind, doesn’t it?

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Yoga Sunset Chill

Fun Find Friday – The Salsabol!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Don’t you hate when the salsa falls off your chip? Me, too! Check out this specially-designed bowl so you never have to worry about errant salsa jumping off your chips.

Called the Salsabol, it features a unique, patent-pending lip that pushes your salsa or dip back onto your chip for the perfect scoop, every time!

They’ve combined incredible functionality and unique modern design to create a playful party piece that adds style and flavor to any table. It’s half revolutionary, half brilliant, and half ridiculous–but it will make your parties awesome and your chips (and guests) happy.

Ole'! No more empty chips!

Buy Now

I have to order this for my next party. Even the color is pretty!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Chica Boom – Mi Bomba Sono

The Reading Corner

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Remember my post about Bookswim? Well, I dove in head first and am reading up a storm. And since cooking, dining and travel are my three favorite subjects, I picked books that reflect those interests. Here are the two I just finished.

Born Round – The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater, by Frank Bruni. (Special note: It looks as if the subtitle has been changed for the paperback edition).

Sit. Read with me inside.

How We Met Two Friends

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Remember our gratitude dinner from Monday? We had invited our two new friends, Teresa and Nick. People ask how I meet all these people. Here is one tale of meeting new friends.

Eric and I had decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out two weeks ago and made a reservation at Shaun’s through Open Table. You know about Open Table, right? The more reservations you make, the better chance you have to earn dining gift certificates. This is an especially great idea for all you executive assistants who make a lot of reservations for the office. The more they dine out, the more you earn. Win-win!

Anyhoo, our reservation is made and we arrive at Shaun’s about 5 minutes early. It is packed – everyone is trying to use their Scoutmob coupon before it expires the next day (I have to admit that two of those people were us). You would think the restaurant would take this into account when allowing folks to book a table. But alack and alas, I don’t think it crossed their minds. We waited. And waited. And waited. 45 minutes go by. We are about to walk out and order a pizza when we are told that our table is ready. Ok, we’ll stay.

We are seated next to a nice couple and through the shared experience of being made to wait, we get to talking. She previously worked at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, where I just visited and he is a nice chap from England. Just add wine – instant friends.

And food. You need to share your food. Here’s what we ordered.

Pork belly buns - Scrumptious

Crabcake with slaw. Good but tiny...

Chicken Liver heaped on toast. This was huge. So I guess it all balances out.

Flatbread with greens. I don't think I touched this. I was too busy gabbing.

Swell new friend, Teresa, and me.

Eric and our new friend, Nick.

And that’s how it happens. It’s a small world and we are all in it together. Make a new friend today.

oxox, Patti

Today blogging to Joe Cocker – A Little Help From My Friends

Slainte With Chef Matt

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Last night, Eric and I had the most fun with our friend, Chef Matt Murphy of The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. Chef was in town on business and arrived a bit early so he could spend some time with us.

We wanted to make sure he had the best time, so I came up with this itinerary (you know how I love a list).

7:30 Meet at Rathbun’s for drinks and apps

8:45 Dinner at Iberian Pig

After dinner – drinks at Mac Magee’s Irish pub

How was it, you ask? Oh, we had a mighty fine time.

Chef Matt and me at Rathbun's

More Toasting Inside, Come On!