April 19, 2013

Parisian Bistro Birthday Party

The invitation said "Champagne & Onion Rings, Oysters & Absinthe".  This party was off to a good start!  And though one needs little more for sustenance, we took the Parisian bistro theme and ran with it.  Getting the French jazz band Avalon to perform set the perfect tone for this backyard fete.  While they charmingly sang and played, guest enjoyed plenty of champagne cocktails, sazeracs and mini croque monsieurs.  For dinner, we kept it totally simple and classic--e.g. steak au poivre and frisee with lardons & egg--with more ever-present champagne (and onion rings, of course!).  Bistro lights over small cafe tables made the whole night feel cozy and Amy's use of garden roses throughout the party was stunning and chic.  I'm longing for a trip to Paris and this party with a glimmer of my associations: Hemingway's obsession oysters, my favorite restaurant's profiteroles and a semester abroad filled with boozy love and fun.  Bon Anniversaire Ryan!!  xx

The Menu


French 75
gin, champagne, lemon

lavender champagne cocktail
lavender, champagne, bitters, sugar, lemon

kir royale
cassis, champagne, twist

rye, absinthe, sugar, peychaud's bitters, twist

burnt sugar, water


raw bar with oysters on the half shell & mignonette 

mini croque monsieurs

duck confit, pickled cherry & ricotta on endive

french cheese boards, grilled toasts & accoutrement

to share

steak au poivre

onion rings with remoulade

potato & fennel gratin

haricot verts with cherry tomatoes & thyme

frisse salad with lardons & egg


profiteroles with espresso chocolate sauce

photos by Hana Ardelean 

April 2, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

This year my friend Leah went all out with a kid's fantasy Easter: an egg hunt, egg on spoon relays and pin the tail on the bunny.  It was a pleasure to create a menu that lived up to all of the fun.  Bunny and chick shaped finger sandwiches accompanied bunny mac & cheese and bunny snacks (aka carrot sticks).  The kids provided the dessert by sharing treats from their Easter baskets and decorating sugar cookies.  If you've ever wondered who likes Peeps, think no further: kids (they freak out for them!).  There were treats for the adults as well: starting with spicy Bloody Mary's and rhubarb fizzes.  A Greek Easter Luncheon was a great buffet for a day of grazing.  Grilled leg of lamb filled pitas with plenty of dips, sauces, veggies & a big Greek salad.  The whole day got me excited for warmer weather and days filled with good food, good drinks and great friends.  Lots of parties to come...

The Menu


pink lemonade

rhubarb fizzes

spicy bloody mary's


stuffed grape leaves

spinach & ricotta spanikopita

curried deviled eggs


buttermilk chicken tenders

bunny pb & j's

egg shaped turkey & cheese

bunny mac & cheese

carrot sticks

to share

grilled rosemary leg of lamb

hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, tabouli, eggplant caviar, parsley mint sauce, honeyed onions & currants and pita bread

swiss chard with tahini yogurt sauce & pine nuts

smashed fingerling potatoes

little gems with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, french feta, kalamata olives & red wine vinaigrette


Easter baskets