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

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A Birthday Party Worth Singing About

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I had the sweetest time in NOLA with my darling husband, but the birthday celebration didn’t stop there.  This past Friday night, 22 of us gathered to celebrate some more at Karaoke Melody, a terrific spot on Buford Highway that has private karaoke rooms. Most.Fun.Ever.

The photos really tell the story here, so lets begin!

Teague Checking The Mics

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Darling Danny’s Birthday – A Night Out With The Boys

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

On Saturday night, Eric and I were lucky to be invited to join our sweet Danny for his birthday dinner at The Highland Tap .  It’s a fun restaurant in a basement location of Virginia Highland here in Atlanta. It’s super cozy and a great place to meet our old friends as well as make new ones!

Underground Fun!

For Danny’s Birthday Party, Come On Over

Thanksgiving Pictorial

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I thought I was going to regale you all with some pithy commentary on yesterday’s dinner. But I think I will let the photos speak for themselves. A wonderful day was had by all of us. Eric, John, Danny, Holly, Isham and Tracy and I gathered round the table (we were able to set all the dishes out on the new table John brought me for my kitchen that belonged to his grandmother – so excited to have this heirloom!) There was no drama, no kitchen upsets or drunk relatives. It was the nicest, calmest, dearest Thanksgiving ever.

Thanks, Everyone! We love you!
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Thanksgiving Ideas

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Lets talk about Thanksgiving, Darlings.  It is 24 days away, which means you have 3 weeks, 3 days to get ready.

This year, Eric and I are frying a turkey with John & Danny and whoever else we can drum(stick) up to join us.  Let me know if you need an invite!

As much as I love Thanksgiving food, I love setting the table even more. This year I’m thinking of sugaring fruits as the centerpiece (I always try to have a centerpiece that is low to the table -since I am short and can’t see over anything!) What do you think of these?

Photo by Taste of

Find the very simple how-to here.

Now that we’ve figured out the centerpiece, what am I going to use to serve my guests?  I am thinking gold chargers with white plates this year.  Check out this site for crazy cheap serving pieces (24 charges for $48.80!)  I love a deal and restaurant supply sites and stores are the greatest for these types of items.  These come from The gold and white will look pretty together.

I’ve got some beautiful big white platters for the turkey and my French White Corningware with which to serve the side dishes.  I’ll use my cut glass dishes for the relish tray (you cannot have Thanksgiving without a relish tray!) and for dessert….hmmm….I don’t have that figured out yet. Any ideas?

Sides are the place where you can shake it up a bit each year. Everyone has their favorites (mine is my mother’s stuffing with sausage and raisins – I have to have it!), but usually no one minds if you conjure up a new dish here and there.  Here is a recipe that I am going to try again (for some reason, it just did not turn out the first time I attempted it) – Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes. I think they sound divine and I know all my boys will love them, too.

Lets talk more about this during the week.  I will bring you more ideas and hopefully you will share yours with me.

I’m thankful for you all!

xoxo, Patti

So Proud and Holeman & Finch

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Happy Halloween, Darlings!! It’s finally here! First, let me tell you what my angel of a friend, John Pearce did.  He donated 25 pumpkin buckets to the kids in my neighborhood so they would have a great way to carry all their candy booty tonight. He’s my hero today!!! Love you, John!

Also, John and Danny invited Eric and me to join them at the kick off party for Pride Weekend 09 last night at the Georgia Aquarium.  We had a blast!  John Walker, the adorable PR fella for the Aquarium, and close friend of John and Danny’s, had expected maybe 500 party goers. There were 3000! It was crazy!  We had never been to the aquarium and it was breathtaking.  You know I have to share the most fun pictures with you.

One of the four whale sharks

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A French Feast For Four

Monday, October 12th, 2009

There is nothing like the comfort of friends who have known you for years.  I am so fortunate to have quite a few, but there are a couple that go back to my awkward days of middle school.  My longest besties are Vickie and my darling John, who also lives in Atlanta (lucky me!)  He and I know each others every triumph and foible and still love each other.  John is also an incredible cook and invited Eric and I over to his boyfriend Danny’s place for a five star dinner that most high end restaurants could not turn out.  Menu (drumroll, please):

Cheese Board, including Brie and a German Bleu
Butternut Squash Soup
Individual Beef Wellingtons, topped with a Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce
Steamed New Potatoes with Butter and Parsley
Fromage Blanc with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
Assorted Red Wines

I am more than pleased to report that this was definitely one of John’s greatest triumphs. Wow.  It is so wonderful to watch as your friends develop from little kids into the most amazing adults. When did we grow up and start giving such sophisticated dinner parties?

As much as I adore cheese, I tried to limit myself so I would have plenty of room for dinner. I’m so glad I did.  The butternut squash soup was so delicious and creamy – thanks to John’s new immersion blender (what else can we blend!?)  You can always tell by the silence at the table that the food is too good to do anything other than keep eating.  We saved a lot of conversation until after dinner, it was that good.  The beef wellington was just perfect. A savory brown puff pastry cradling the perfectly cooked beef inside, topped with a slice of foie gras and a mushroom duxelles. We all just melted over this dish.  And keeping the wellington company on the plate were more gorgeous creations – pristinely cooked asparagus with hollandaise sauce (who takes the time to make hollandaise anymore? John, that’s who) and the tastiest little new potatoes bathed in butter and parsley.  Ready for some pictures, Darlings?

The butternut squash soup before John whipped it into shape

Darling John getting ready to bake the Wellingtons

Asparagus Grilling (thanks to my Sweet Eric for the photo!)

John and me in the kitchen

The beautiful table setting

One perfect plate of goodness

Our adorable Danny

Even the Simpsons know a swanky dessert when they see one!

So sophisticated! John and Danny even made playing with Simpsons toys swanky!  Ok, so maybe we’re not as grown up as we pretend, but we are still having the most fun ever.

John and Danny, we love you both and we’re so incredibly honored to have been the recipients of your gracious hospitality. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

xoxo, Patti