Mission Dinner Party: Success!

Every once in a while, things just seem to work out.Even when so many bits of your life are falling to pieces (or at least you feel like they are in any given moment), some things just. work. out. Sunday was one of those things. 
…And yes, I realize there’s a whackton of glitter all over the place here. Not sure what I was thinking. But whatevs.
I decided to throw my friends an I-love-you-and-am-glad-that-we’re-friends party under the guise of a belated birthday dinner for me. It was 14 people, 5 courses, and a ton of wine. And by a ton, I literally mean a TON! I counted the bottles after (including those that originally contained beer) and I am too embarrassed to name the final total. Let’s just say, everyone ate well and they sure as heck drank well! Thanks for that everybody.
I spent all day Saturday prepping for the party and all day Sunday cooking for it. It was intense. I rented tables, borrowed chairs (if you want to see the lovely lady that was oh so generous enough to lend me them, click here), bought linens, made decorations, assembled menus, planned music, and relied on two very wonderful friends to help with the last minute prep (thank you Dea & Kendra!)…

…While John & Jon ever so diligently washed the plates and dishes between each course and also helped me send out the dishes. Thank you John and Jon for your support! Heart you!! (my John, not Jon).

 The entire night was phenomenal! People actually arrived on time – and in most cases, early! That never happens. Ever. I had planned on having time to finish prepping the food until at least 7:10pm, but most people showed up by about 6:50! Except Kyle. Kyle showed up about 7:30. Leave it to him. (Just teasing, Kyle).
Upon arrival, lovelies got a glass of sparkling with raspberries. Who doesn’t want fizzy liquor with delicious fruit?? Then I herded them all into the living room while I finished getting things ready. I had planned on breaking from the kitchen and being able to sit with them right away but the little fuckers were early! Early! Luckily Stage platters and crackers* were there to occupy them in the meantime. By 7:45pm, we were at the table….
One thing I didn’t factor into my set up – how the ef were people gonna get up from the table to take potty breaks?? The banquet tables were wide enough for an elegant and gorgeous setting, but I didn’t think about letting people get up from their seats! But it became a joke and actually, a bit of a game. Poor Christine – she got stuck in front of the fridge which wasn’t so bad after we all got settled but before that happened she had everything sucked in and smushed against the table while we raided the fridge for bottles of vino, bottles of beer, and who knows what else. Good thing she’s got a rockin’ thin bod! 

 And then we ate. OH! How we ate!! We started with Cazuelitas de Bacalao on a Firm Parmesan Polenta. Heaven! 
Then moved on to the salad course – Grilled Fennel Salad with Stage Bacon, Apple & Blue Cheese Slaw. Um, more please! 
Next, we dined on probably the best Polpette I’ve ever made, sauced up with some Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce on a bed of paparadelle noodles. These were so good, we chowed the leftovers with our bare fingers by the end of the night. Mind you, the wine might have had something to do with that too.
For the entree we chowed down on some (very expensive) Panko Crusted Halibut Cheeks on a Leek & Onion Ragout. That is, unless you weren’t a fish eater – in which case you savored some seriously tender oven roasted chicken. So tender, so juicy!
Lastly, we finished with Wine & Spice Poached Pears with Lemon and Udder Guy’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. A nice, light, refreshing, and tasty way to finish off the meal. 
And the weird part is, everything worked out. So perfectly. See? Some things just come together.
Yesterday friend Haydn asked me what I would do differently. Two things.


A: I would have taken more time to plate the food nicely so it looked prettier. If you’re gonna do something you ought to do it right. That being said, no one really cared. They were just stoked on food. And wine.

And B: I’d have made the speech that I had intended on saying but didn’t due to a fair bit of wine and a little shyness.

I have the very best friends in the world. The meal itself was great – obviously. But it would have been meaningless without my besties. They are what holds me up and give me strength when I need it. I don’t know what I’d do without them. And while this dinner was a little selfish – um, anyone need a personal chef/caterer for an upcoming dinner party? ….it was mostly my way of showing those closest to me how much they mean to me and how very, very much I love them. They’re my life. So thanks, everybody. Seriously. You make my life a success.
And as a result… Mission dinner party….. Success!
* In order to be responsible I guess I ought to mention – since Stage has made it into a few posts now – that I work there. It’s a phenomenal restaurant with a staff that really cares about good, whole, amazing food and wine and service and everything else that you could hope for in a quality restaurant. I’m proud to serve there, which is why I’ve been giving them a little how’s your father in the last couple posts or so. They honestly deserve it. And while they aren’t paying me to mention them in my posts, they are paying me. So responsibly, Ive declared that. Now, go there and eat. OR hire me to cater for your next get together. Seriously. (Not related to my Stage disclaimer but I thought I’d throw that out there).

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Julia Child famously commented, "I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food . . . ” Kristy Gardner has taken this idea to the next level in Cooking with Cocktails. Every recipe is touched with alcohol; the result is a punchy visual adventure with roots in Italian and French cuisine that demands enjoying meals with passion, with friends, and with alcohol.


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  • patience
    October 26, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    so lucky – despite the blurry pictures, i think they really capture the mood of the evening and all the fun that we had!!

    thanks again k

    love k

  • detailsjuliette
    October 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Whaa this party was a real success. I know I wasn’t there, but.. I can see it, haha. and if there’s wine + fruit, well, then the party couldn’t fail. You are so sweet to arganiza such a beautiful dinner for your friends, you truly love them =) It all looks so good!

  • Heather Anne
    October 26, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Look at you! What a party! Love the menus and that food sounds delicious!

  • Kristy Lynn
    October 26, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    @ patience: i kind of like the blurry photos – they capture the movement of the night. That being said, you’re welcome 🙂

    @ Juliette: thanks lovely – I know you were there in spirit. And congratulations on your graduation!

  • Kristy Lynn
    October 26, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    @ Heather: Thank you! It was so much fun to do! I am an excellent planner. haha..

  • AwesomePossum
    January 3, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    I’m glad this made the top list (for the best of new year thingy)… Obviously, it was probably number one dinner for all of us. Also, if you want a little more success, just mention my name more. Seriously, instant cool points. So here’s to a year with more social outings in house.

  • Kristy Lynn
    January 3, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    @ AwesomePossum: oh dear. i actually contemplated it but I didn’t want to inflate your ego anymore than necessary. you know how it is. And yes – more social outings in house. Fo’ Sho’!