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

January, 2011 browsing by month


Guest Post – Dr. Seuss Baby Shower

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Today I am handing over the reins to my sweet friend, Arlynn, who loves giving parties as much as I do! She created a baby shower around a Dr. Seuss theme, which I think is just adorable.

Please help me welcome Arlynn! Take it away!

I have a confession to make here on Anatomy of a Dinner Party (ADP)… I am
a party-a-holic. Yes, there may not currently be a support group available for people
in my state of “distress,” and although my husband may wish otherwise, I’m totally
cool with it.  In fact, I’m thrilled to have such an exciting addiction – I mean, who
doesn’t love a party?!? Oh yeah, back to the Hubs. I wouldn’t go so far as to grant
him the title of Party Pooper, but he certainly doesn’t appreciate my panache for all
of the excitement generated by a nicely organized party. Especially one in which
he’s kicked out and  asked to leave our home for a few hours, ha! Lucky for you ADP
readers, sweet Patti does appreciate & that’s why she asked me to share my story of a recent Dr. Seuss themed baby shower I had the pleasure of co-hosting at my house! Lucky for me too, to be able to share with you – thanks a million P!!!

Well, this sordid tale of a Dr. Seuss baby shower fit for a soon-to-be precious
Princess all began when the Hubs and I purchased our first home. We’re OTP’ers
(out of the perimeter of Atlanta) – please don’t hold it against us – and found
ourselves to be living in the midst of lots of families with kids. Well, there was one
couple, right around our age who were, at the time, childless. Score one for crazy-
fun-young neighbors like us! Well, before long they wouldn’t find themselves
childless… Commence immediate party planning – and I’m talking before they even
have time to show us the first sonogram image.

More Whimsical Fun Inside

Fun Find Friday-Mixer Mate!

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

The nice folks from Beater Blade sent me this fab new bowl to try for mixing.

They sent me the sassy red model – to match the ribbons on my kitchen curtains. Red makes everything feel happier!

So, how does it work? Its curved sides keep batter (or icing, or meringue – you get the idea) from flying all over your just-cleaned kitchen.  Remember Uncle Matt making birthday cupcakes for Eric’s birthday in the mountains? This could have been avoided if he had the Mixer Mate. Although we did get a great laugh out of the chocolate covered kitchen.

It takes just a smidge of getting used to. I had to find the right configuration for my mixer. But that could just because I am left-handed and everything seems a little backwards to me. But once you get the hang of it, you will be hooked. It even has grippy material underneath the handles for easy gripping and sides with spouts for simple pouring. Oh, I just love it.

And I have been giving it a workout lately. I made a cake yesterday for sweet Shane’s birthday last night and another cake today for dear friend Kerry’s birthday – lemon curd layer cake with a fluffy 7 minute frosting. Mmmmm. I will post photos and details from both parties next week. Today I am grappling with a bit of a head cold. And it’s Friday? Why not get a cold on Monday so I could be better for the weekend? Ah, it’s okay. I needed to slow down, lay on the couch, read and cuddle the dogs anyway.

Enjoy the weekend my darlings!
xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Bob Marley – Stir It Up

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Yesterday had me gushing over blogger Beth at Budget Bytes (have you checked her out yet? doesn’t she look like Mena Suvari?)

About Me

Anyhoo, I made Beth’s stuffed poblano peppers last night for Eric and he loved them. We had a big lunch of chinese takeout leftovers so I only made two stuffed peppers, which was perfect for us. I didn’t photograph my peppers because they weren’t very pretty. Here are Beth’s stuffed peppers. Just pretend mine looked like this.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Photo courtesy of Budget Bytes

Come on in to cook with me!

Saving Money Can Be Fun!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

I have been on a crusade to save money recently. And I bet you might be, too. Let’s help each other, shall we?

There are more than a few websites and blogs that specialize in just this thing. One site I found recently that I have fallen in love with is “Budget Bytes” written by an adorable blogger named Beth. So it is “Beth’s Budget Bytes”! She dissects each recipe and tells you how much each ingredient costs and it all looks mouthwatering. I am making one of her dishes tonight but I am surprising Eric so I will share it with you tomorrow.

My sweet friend Aimee is the author of the blog “The Coupon Diva“, another amazing way to watch your pennies. She works very hard to bring you the best deals, so go check her out.

For flat out fun and all out hilarity, visit my friend Susan at her blog “The Frugal Hostess” – she is a hoot and has some wonderful ideas to boot. Hey, that rhymes!

What am I doing to save? Well, I am certainly throwing more interactive parties. We really debated over having a Super Bowl party, and decided to invite everyone over to share their favorite football watching snack, bring their own beverages and we will rev up the Pop Corn Machine (did I tell you about the POP CORN MACHINE? We bought it for a song at a yard sale. In fact, when they told us the price, Eric and I just howled because it was exactly the amount of money we brought to the yard sale. To the penny. And it is the big kind – like at the movie theatre. So now my house always smells like pop corn. But that’s not a bad thing.) We will whip up another snack or two to share and we will open our home. Because that’s what matters – having everyone together. Not how much you spend. If you treat each guest like royalty and greet them with a huge smile and a hug, they will always be happy to contribute.

And if they don’t  – well, you don’t want them in your home anyway, now do you?

Please share your money saving tips with me!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Ginger Rogers – We’re In The Money

The Next Cool Thing

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Last weekend was such fun. Eric and I got all dolled up to attend “The Next Cool Thing” here in Atlanta. The event brought together designers with furnishing vendors to create the most amazing spaces based on movies. It truly was the most!

My beloved friend Kerry Howard of KMH Interiors teamed up with Mitchell Gold and our dear friends at Larson-Juhl to furnish an alcove centered around the film, “Mommie Dearest”. It was not the biggest space, but it packed a punch. The chic sitting room boasted not only room dividers made of wooden hangers but the showpiece was an enormous chandelier made entirely of wire hangers. It was one of the most exciting ideas I have ever seen. Kerry is full of wonderful surprises and this might have been the best to date.

Join the fun inside!

Cake Again?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

You would think that after my fiasco of trying to bake two failed cakes for Holly’s birthday that I might just give up. Oh no. I have not learned my lesson yet. Plus, I am hosting a tiny dinner party for my beloved friend Kerry (check out his gorgeous new website here) on Friday night for his belated birthday.

I needed something sassy, sweet and chic, just like Kerry. Lemon layer cake seems to fit the bill. America’s Test Kitchen made it and if they can do it, I should be able to as well, yes? Isn’t it pretty?

Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Stay tuned. And please cross your fingers for me and say a little prayer to the kitchen goddesses that I can get this one right.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Average White Band – Pick Up The Pieces

Weekend Edition-Ritz Round Up

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Hope you all are having a splendid weekend filled with fun.

You know how I love The Ritz-Carlton. Not only are their properties to die for, but I have made some fabulous friends there, too. And they are always coming up with new and exciting things to delight visitors with. And with the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, they are planning the most divine scenarios imaginable. Take a look:

From way down south, my friend Paulina at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun shares a unique dining experience at Twelve. With seating for only twelve guests, you are welcome to step into the kitchen with Chef Rory and help prepare the night’s meal, if you would like. The Viking equipped kitchen overlooks the Caribbean Sea – Eric and I were so privileged to indulge in this gourmet fantasy over the Christmas holiday, so you can trust me when I say it is the ultimate foodie experience. Three set menus in Mexican, Southern and Mediterranean cuisine await you in this five course experience that you will never forget. How about that for whisking your darling away for Valentine’s Day? Perhaps to pop the question?

Cook with Chef Rory in this magical kitchen setting.

To Experience The Glamour, Click Here

Fun Find Friday-The Perfect Grilled Cheese

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Usually I feature a product or place on Friday, but I’m in a grilled cheese kind of mood.

I’ve only become proficient at making these beauties in the past few years. Before that, I would always burn the bread and end up with cheese that wasn’t melty, stringy and delicious.

But no more. If you find yourself with unmelty, unstringy and not quite right grilled cheese, worry no longer. I am here to help. And it’s easy.

Photo courtesy of The Glam Society at Blogspot

First, make sure your butter is softened. I would say at room temperature, but in the winter, at least at my house, that would mean rock hard. If you have a microwave, you might zap it for just a few seconds or let it sit on a warm stove for a bit. Spread the outsides of your bread with your softened butter and move on to the cheese.

Second, use grated cheese. Grate it fresh if you have to. I adore Jarlsberg for my grilled cheese and feel that the extra effort to grate a hunk of it worthy of the perfect sandwich. Grated cheese is going to melt up much easier than sliced cheese. Trust me on this. Almost all cheese will work for grilled cheese, except maybe parmesan.

Stove temperature – I set the burner to medium, melt a little more butter in the pan and when it warms up, place my bread buttered side down into the pan. Now, take a mound of  your grated cheese and heap it on top, followed by the second piece of bread – buttered side up. Give the sammie a few minutes, pry up the bottom with a spatula and if it looks brown, turn the whole shebang over to grill the other side. This can be tricky, so don’t be afraid to use your fingers to hold the top piece in place. Just don’t burn yourself. Owie! Give it another few minutes on the second side and voila, you have yourself a tasty treat.

I have to admit that a very guilty pleasure of mine is grilled peanut butter and jelly. Don’t scoff. If you have never tried this, you are missing out. So go on over to the pantry and pull out the pb&j and give it a try.

Happy Weekend!!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Little Chris Moyles Show – Brand New Cheesy Song

So What’s New Around Town?

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Our fab friend Caren West sent me this info on the equally fab Cafe Circa, which is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary with some fun events. Take a look!


Specials and Tasting Experiences this Wednesday, January 19 through Saturday, January 22, 2011

Atlanta, Georgia (January 18, 2011) – Café Circa, a distinctly local restaurant and social destination located in the Old Fourth Ward of Atlanta, is celebrating its three-year anniversary by hosting four days of special events and offerings Wednesday, January 19 through Saturday, January 22, 2011. Owned by Randy Hazelton and Kevin Holt, Café Circa offers a casually sophisticated atmosphere that merges classic style and modern elements with scrumptious signature menu items and a premium bar offering classic and innovative cocktails, select spirits, and a full wine list for every taste. The culinary team led by executive chef Hopeton Hibbert prepares fresh, deliciously seasoned food with a Caribbean Latin twist including creative small plates, inspired entreés, and tempting desserts. Café Circa is open Monday through Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. Call (404) 477-0008 or visit

Café Circa’s Three-Year Anniversary Celebration Lineup:

Thursday, January 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. – Three-Year Anniversary Happy Hour
Since Thursday is the new Friday, Café Circa is hosting a special celebratory happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. with sounds provided by DJ SugarCut and $5 Ciroc cocktails, $5 small plates and $10 entreés.

Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22 beginning at 5 p.m. – Three-Course Chef’s Special Menu
Executive chef Hopeton Hibbert has created a three-course dinner that includes a glass of champagne for $25 in honor of Café Circa’s three-year anniversary. From Australia to Belize, Amsterdam to Istanbul, tasting new cultural delicacies has been his passion of Hopeton’s, which clearly influences his flavorful cuisine. With a degree in culinary arts from Johnson and Whales, Hopeton has mastered his skills working with The Buckhead Life Group, Eclipise di Sol and Atmosphere – one of Atlnata’s finest French restaurants. In 2010, Hopeton joined Café Circa where he executes Caribbean and Latin cuisine at its finest.

Three Courses to Celebrate Three Years
Chef’s Menu

1st course:
Cuban spiced chicken and plantain spring roll with guava dipping sauce.

2nd course:
Curried goat with peas and a rice cake and buttered baby cabbage.


Jerked salmon fillet with tomato and spinach sauté.

3rd course:
Mini chocolate love dessert.

Coconut and rum cupcake w/plantain icing.

For more information on Café Circa visit or call (404) 477-0008.

Mmmm….mmmm. I’ll be there!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to White Oak Trio – Cafe Music

I Love A Little Tart

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

You know, I was thinking about you and how I listed all those yummies Eric and I made for Holly’s birthday Sunday night with nary a recipe for you. I’m sorry, that was mean. Let me fix that today with the recipe for the Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts.
They are very similar to the tarts I buy at Trader Joes for $6.99 for 12, but tastier and far less expensive.

Click Here For The Recipe