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

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Come On Down To Cabbagetown Market

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

This weekend was packed with tons of fun. Saturday morning my bestie Lisa, reopened her Cabbagetown Market after a brief vacation. Lisa has a new partner, Mike, who is the ice cream guy! Mike is there making gallons of ice cream for your eating pleasure.

Mike and Lisa, Proprietors, Cabbagetown Market

More Cabbagetown Fun Inside

Urban Picnic

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I had the good fortune to attend our city’s Urban Picnic this past Friday in support of Food Trucks in Atlanta. The event was held curbside at The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, one of Atlanta’s oldest operating markets.

It was a lovely event meant to raise awareness of what we could be enjoying on a regular basis like other cities.  Cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago. All the major metropolises seem to possess what seems to be a daunting task here in Atlanta. But the Atlanta Street Food Coalition has taken on this task on behalf of all food lovers in our fair town.

Souper Jenny's Super Soup Truck!

Come Peek At the Picnic After The Fold!

Fry Cook Report, Pantry Pappardelle & Zombies

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

My Friday working as Lisa’s guest fry cook and sandwich maker was a blast. It’s always a treat to squeeze in some girl time while making bahn mis and meatball subs.  It was fun meeting her neighborhood regulars and learning their preferences while catching up with one of my besties.  Some photos:

Down Carroll Street

The outside of Lisa’s Place

Look, Ma, I made Pork Tacos! Yum!

Have you ever cooked with someone in their kitchen? You feel like a neophyte. All of a sudden you can’t remember how to chop cabbage.  It took me about an hour and then I felt at home in Lisa’s kitchen, but boy, that hour trying to find your way around sure makes you feel like you have never held a knife or made cole slaw before.

In the end it was a great day with great friends, old and new. Can’t wait to go back and have fun before Halloween. Lisa and I are cooking up some swell treats for her patrons.  More on that story later.

Friday night after working all afternoon, I decided we needed a very easy dinner. You know, caveman easy.  I opened the pantry and what did I find?  Oh, the joy!  Pappardelle and Boar Ragu. Ok, not everyone has this in their panty, but you could. It was the perfect combination of swanky and embarrassingly easy. Boil the water, cook the pasta, pour the ragu in a pan, heat it up. Cut up some bread you might have about and call it dinner.  It looked and tasted fantastic on our chilly Friday night at home.

Hanging about in the kitchen waiting for pasta to boil

10 Minutes Later….

You need a quick meal when there is Wii to play and Zombies to shoot. This filled the bill. I got all of the ingredients at our local Italian Import store, Toscano and Sons.  If you don’t have a purveyor like this in your town, you can always order online. And think how surprised drop in guests would be if you served them this on the fly.  Always the host with the most, you are!

Saturday came very early as I had made a pinky swear to Miss Crystal I would get up and go to the Annual Grant Park Yard Sale with her.  We jumped in the Jeep and took off.  It was a day filled with treasures for me. Crystal bought one thing. One. Cheeky monkey. While I spent money like a drunken caveman.  I picked up a set of glass nesting bowls for $3, a BBQ set from the Sharper Image for Eric for $5, a couple of blankets (one red wool, the other a precious quilt for my guest room), binoculars, a tripod for $1!!  We also rescued a worn, heavy rattan chair from the side of the road (free!) which I will recover and repaint for the guest room as well.  It was so much fun! But we had to head home to get ready for the Annual Little 5 Points Halloween Parade with more friends and neighbors.  Here’s where the pictures get really good.

Men in Tights!

More Men in Tights.

Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebub

Something for the guys…

Here come the Zombies!
and someone very special…..

Even Zombies love beer

Captain Sisko and The Dude
Halloween brings everyone together!

Edward Scissorhands
Try drinking beer like that!

It really is all about the kids

One of my favorite friends, John Charles

Queen Dawn and Princess Megan

Best buddies, including yours truly (in the center)

This was the most spectacular costume of the day

Giant Puppets. Aren’t they cool?
We really loved the beer hall girl

(click to enlarge photos)

All in all, a perfect day. A very cold (48F) day but a perfect day nonetheless.  After the parade, Eric, Crystal, Teague and I all headed over to Manuel’s for a bite and a beer. It is one of Atlanta’s institutions and they serve comfort food to warm your soul and your tummy.  Then we went home to shoot zombies.  Let me tell you, shooting zombies works up an appetite, so I went into the kitchen and whipped up some beignets. They were so good.

Not too long after, Teague and I agreed that the first really cold day was much like the first day in the sun when summer comes. It just wears you out.  By 10 p.m. we were finished. Worn out. Time for sleep. But in the best possible way, after you have spent the day having nothing but fun with the ones you love.

Hug your besties today and tell them you love them. It’s always the right time.

xoxo, Patti

Very Special Note: New follower, MPB1204…it took me exactly 3 seconds to guess who this was. Hi, Parri!

Lovely Lettuce Cups and Becoming a Guest Fry Cook

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Happy Friday Darlings! I hope you all have a swell weekend planned. Ours is filled with fun. Saturday is the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade, the most fun parade of the year. All kinds of zombies and things that go bump in the day!  Our entire neighborhood is going together so that should bring all kinds of mischief. I’ll report back.

I am also working as the Guest Fry Cook at Cabbagetown Market today with my friend, Lisa. It will be so much fun, so come by and see us at lunch if you get the opportunity.  Her bahn mi sandwich is to die for.

Last night for dinner I went with something super light. We had been eating such rich, heavy foods recently I was afraid Eric and I would come down with gout.  And since I had just been to the Georgia Grown show with Lisa and the peachy folks at R & G had given me the most gorgeous head of lettuce, I decided on lettuce cups. You know – the ones you get at PF Changs and lesser known (read “authentic”) Chinese Restaurants. I substituted carrots for the water chestnuts and didn’t fuss with the dipping sauce.  They sure hit the spot.  Here are some brightly colored pictures for you!

Prep Time!

Supper Time!

One, Singular Sensation….

I think you all would love these. Either as an appetizer or a very light dinner, they are delicious.  Here is the recipe from the nice folks over at Recipe Bazaar.


Special Sauce

Stir Fry Sauce


  1. Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
  2. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
  3. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.
  4. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
  5. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
  6. Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  7. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  8. Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  9. Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
  10. As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
  11. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
  12. When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
  13. With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
  14. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
  15. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce cups.
  16. Top with Special Sauce

There you go – so easy a caveman could do it. Cook some up for your friends and family and watch as they gobble them up.

Autumn is here in Atlanta – how about where you are?  Bundle up, Darlings and make the most of your weekend!

xoxo, Patti

Special Note: Shout out to brand new Follower # 13 – NMOS.  How exciting!! Thanks so much for reading!