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

Salad browsing by tag


Chop It Up, I’ll Eat It

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Golly gee whiz, it is HOT here in Georgia. Yes, I know, it’s August. But wow, all I want to eat is chopped salad these days. I’m on a kick and taking Eric with me.

Here is one of the salads we’ve been enjoying recently. I’m a big fan of California Pizza Kitchen and love their BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad. I could eat it everyday. But that would get pricey, so I learned how to make it at home. Would you like to make it for yourself? Let me help!

You can make this at home, too!

You can make this at home, too!

I didn’t say I was dieting, I’m just beating the heat. Add a Corona – don’t judge.

The recipe is from, and I can’t lie, I used tortilla chips and bottled ranch dressing and then threw it all together. If you have the time to follow all these steps, bless your heart.




  1. To Make the Fried Tortilla Strips: In a deep, heavy frying pan, heat several inches of vegetable oil to a temperature of 375 degrees. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, carefully add the tortilla strips to the hot oil, submerging them with a metal skimmer or slotted spoon. Fry the tortilla strips until evenly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully lift them out with the skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer them to paper towels to drain and cool. Set aside, uncovered.
  2. To Make the Garden Herb Ranch Dressing: In a mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together the mustard and cold water, forming a paste. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the bowl and, using a handheld electric mixer at low speed or a whisk, blend together just until smooth, taking care not to incorporate too much air into the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. To Make the Grilled Garlic and BBQ Chicken: Preheat a stovetop grill or the broiler. In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, and salt. Turn the chicken breasts in this marinade and leave to marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Grill or broil the chicken breasts until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Cut the chicken breasts into 3/4-inch cubes and, in a bowl, toss with the barbecue sauce to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. To Make the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuces, basil, jicama, Monterey Jack cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing, and half of the Fried Tortilla Strips. Transfer the salads to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with diced tomatoes and the remaining Fried Tortilla Strips. Top each salad with chunks of Grilled Garlic BBQ Chicken and drizzle the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Garnish with the scallion.

Gobble down like hungry badgers. Crack open another cold beer. Sit in the air conditioning and watch Stranger Things. OMG, I love that show!

What are you doing to beat the heat?

xoxo, Patti

Weekend Snapshot

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

This past weekend was filled with yummy food and fabulous friends.

And zombies, of course.

Dining with Zombies?

Happy Birthday Holly!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

Today is our sweet Holly’s birthday and last night we celebrated by watching the Golden Globes and eating lots of comfort food.

Click for photos!

Lunch With Three Sisters

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

A very special celebration is in the works and it involves my good friends at Three Sisters Vineyard & Winery. Last week I traveled up to Dahlonega with my fun friend Terri (you met Terri here) and we lunched with Doug & Sharon Paul. Chef Dairen was on hand to cater and discuss the event with us. Everything was lovely and I just adore being up in the north Georgia mountains – it’s all so serene. As an extra special treat, Sharon took Terri and I on a fabulous tour of some glorious spots on the property. I cannot wait until I can share the details of our upcoming evening with you!

But I can share the details of our lunch together.

A beautiful salad with homemade dressing started the meal.

Salad Course Paired With Fat Boy White

For More Lunch Goodies, Click Here

Friday Lunch Plans? Black Tie BBQ!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Today’s post will be a shorty – I am readying a dinner party for my darlings Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar tonight (can’t wait!!) But I had to share my lunch last Friday with you.

My Sweeties at Black Tie BBQ have started serving lunch on Fridays! And what a delicious lunch it is! I swung by last week to pick up the Smoked Chicken Sandwich with Pineapple Basil Mayo – oh my goodness it was fantastic! For $8.50, it comes with two scrumptious sides. I chose the mac and cheese & the fresh fresh salad.

Nom, Nom, Nom - Go On And Get You Some!

My Buddy Spencer!

The Lunch Menu - Yours May Vary

So pull on up to their new digs on Dekalb Avenue and say hey to LaToyin, who is back to work after bringing her living doll, Nevada, into the world (and really, LaToyin, how can you look so skinny?), Neil, Spencer and the sweet Allison, who will fix up all your lunch cravings. Tell them I sent you!

The Adorable Miss Nevada!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to The Grease Soundtrack – Summer Nights

Pork Chop and Apple Sauce in a Thermos

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

My friend Dana, who is also a mama-to-be, invited me to her sweet home recently for some lunch to catch up. I jumped at the chance to be able to spend some quality time with her before her little one arrives.

Pork Chop and Apple Sauce and Thermos? What’s that all about? Pork Chop and Apple Sauce are the names of Dana and Steve’s dogs. Pork Chop is an english bull and Apple Sauce is a adorable little pug. Thermos is Dana’s friend’s boston terrier she is baby sitting. It was a lively afternoon!

My Good Friend Pork Chop

More With Pork Chop Inside

Get Fresh

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? I just saw the first episode today online. You can view it here.

Now I don’t usually talk much about my past, but in 2000, I started a catering company in Tampa, Florida. In order for me to cater, I had to find a commercial kitchen from which to work. I found one at a private school, but the stipulation from the principal was that I would have to also provide a hot lunch each day for the students. Yes, darlings, I was the lunch lady. In the beginning, I trotted out my fresh lunch menu, with a different, healthy lunch each day.

No one wanted to buy lunch.

The principal informed me that I was going about it all wrong. These kids wanted chicken nuggets and pizza. I was crushed.

After a year of trying to battle the system, they told me they were going with another lunch lady. My catering career ended there.

So, you can understand, this show hit me hard.

Eric and I have been working hard to try and change our eating habits. More fruits and vegetables. Less fat, sugar and alcohol. Let’s just say it is easier to add something to one’s diet as opposed to taking something away. But we are making strides. This was lunch yesterday:

Ooooh, You Are Soooo Fresh!

As wonderful as I think you are, I want to make sure you love yourself as much. Take the time today to think about what you are putting into your body.

After all, if you aren’t here, I’ve got no one to blog for. And you are so special to me.

xoxo, Patti


Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Good Morning, Darlings! Hope your holiday season is coming along swimmingly.

Yesterday I had the good fortune to lunch with sweet friend Tami, of Running With Tweezers at Bocado, a new restaurant on the Westside of Atlanta (not too far from my house!) Apparently, I am Tardy For the Party***, since I am the only person I know who has not been there yet.  It was wonderful. Full of great conversation and great food.

Tami ordered the salad with cranberries, goat cheese and pecans.  I ordered the cubano – their cuban sandwich, made with homemade pickles! Yummy. And we split a order of the decadent garlic fries – fabulous! Some photos for you:

Tami's Salad With Goat Cheese and Cranberries

Tami's Salad With Goat Cheese and Cranberries

My Cubano, With Those Homemade Pickles

My Cubano, With Those Homemade Pickles

The Oh So Bad For You, But Taste So Good Garlic Fries

The Oh So Bad For You, But Taste So Good Garlic Fries

It was the nicest visit. It was so lovely that we are doing it all again on Tuesday, but this time with the incredible Miss “Broke Socialite” Shameeka.  We will be traveling to Buford Highway, and that’s always an adventure.

Since it was Wednesday, you know what that means – dinner with Miss Diane.  Last night I was kickin’ it old school with a simple meal of fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and fresh steamed green beans. And champagne, because if you get the chance, you should always drink champagne.

More cooking fun tomorrow, Darlings!

xoxo, Patti

***In no way endorsing those awful “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, but I thought the title was funny….