Ragan and I are back with our dinner party series…Lovely Dinners take trois!
Each time we entertain, we learn new lessons, but we also keep setting the bar higher. THE PRESSURE! I thought I’d share some of what we’ve learned and give you a lot of money saving tips. After all, these lovely dinners can add up quickly!
This time we decided to make our guests sit on the ground…but hopefully they didn’t mind. We piled it high with pillows and faux sheep skins so everyone could get a little cozy. This is a very common Pinterest setting. Beautiful low table, decked out in tons of comfy throws. Um…that’s expensive! Lucky for us, Ragan had one large rug and a couple of the cream pillows with the leaf print already. The rest, we got at Ikea–they even have faux sheep skins for $13.00. Hard to beat that! The grass mats are from World Market. They were a bit of an investment, but Ragan plans to use them many times over when she entertains outside.
Since a lot of our guests don’t know each other, we do a little cocktail/wine “hour” before we sit down for dinner. It gives our guests a chance to mingle and get to know each other a little bit. And, let’s be honest. It pads the time because nobody in L.A. is ever on time (oh, traffic).
This go round we were lucky enough to get the wine donated by Judge Palmer wines. You may recall Palmer used to write my Thirsty Thursdays columns and he is now a full fleged winemaker in Sonoma! He just released his first vintage and we were so lucky to get a little taste. We kicked off the party with a sampling of his Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc. They were both a huge hit! Starting this month, he is hosting small groups for tastings, so if you find yourself in Healdsburg, call Palmer and tell him I sent ya!
Our lovely guests!
Christi, Holly, Sarah, Elizabeth, Dee, Melissa, Virginia
So chic that Dee Murphy. I covet every single bauble she’s wearing! Check out her blog for tons of inspo in interiors, fashion and beyond!
I was in charge of appetizers and dessert, while Ragan managed the mains. To keep things easy, I did a crostini bar presented on these gorgeous rustic treestump platters Ragan found for cheap at the L.A. Flower Mart. I was trying to find something simliar for you, but came across this video that made me laugh so hard, I got too distracted to keep looking. I decided that you too can just go out in your yard and pick up a stump from a fallen old tree and turn it into a butcher block (oh, Martha!).
Ragan and I have definitely learned that unless you want to go broke producing completely different dinner parties, you have to reuse things (wine glasses, plates) and mix high with low. Take for example those cool grey tumblers. They are from World Market and were $2.99 each! They are acrylic, but you can’t tell until you pick them up! It also helps to have friends willing to donate their time and talents. Thanks a million to Sterling Landscape Designs for our incredible succulents. They really made the entire table come to life.
So what’s on this beautiful menu? Thanks Taryn for designing them!!
Farmer’s Gazpacho with Basil Oil Drizzle
Heirloom and Ricotta Tart with Fresh Herbs
Roasted Halibut with Wine-Braised Fennel
My Homemade Eucalyptus Ice Cream and Olive Oil Cake. Recipe and details in my next blog post! For all the main recipes, have a gander over at Dee’s blog…she’s got em all up!
Ragan is sponsored by Global Knives and they were so kind to send us little take homes for everyone. It’s honestly the best knife I’ve ever used. Sorry, Wusthof.
Photography by the incredible Christine Chang