And I’ll cry if I want to. And I did. Birthday beer tears, get me every time.
This past Sunday I hosted a dinner party for 16 of my nearest and dearest home friends (including significant others, because that’s what you do when you’re cough cough 29 cough). I love party planning and cooking, so a Feinberg-style birthday buffet was the perfect excuse to combine both. The whole weekend was right up my alley – I slept in the Momcave with Henrique Pantalones on Friday night, got up early on Saturday and went to Arthur Ave. in the Bronx for Italian groceries, then spent the day doing quality father-daughter cooking with Larry. Woke up early again to bake apple pies with Linda, then headed back to the city for set-up and dinner. Here’s how it all went down, with photos I managed to take before starting my 2nd bottle of vino, and a few hostess tips from yours truly:
Beezus’ last year in her late twenties.
Phi Gamma Mulberry, i.e the glorified frat house that is my apartment in Nolita.
Indoor garden party. I got inspired by a picture on a subtle revelry, a design and craft website that’s Martha Stewart meets Williamsburg.
I bought a bunch of paper lanterns from Pearl River Mart, an Asian emporium of Chinese knicknacks and supplies in Soho. I screwed some hooks in my walls and strung twine back and forth over the living room, then hung the lanterns from the twine. I used plain white, but I love these patterned ones too:
Next came candles, the more the better. You can never have enough candles when entertaining. I save glass vases every time I receive flowers, so I filled those with pillar candles, and used tall candle holders in various heights and votives from Ikea and scattered those among the bar, buffet, and coffee tables. For plates I went a little Etsy-crazy buying blue and white dinnerware to complement china inherited from my grandfather. I also had a bunch of blue and white paper napkins from Ikea in contrasting patterns.
Most importantly was the gorrrrgeous foliage provided by Patrick. We made an early-morning excursion to the flower district on 28th St. for branches and blooms. Branches are a Feinberg family favorite, they provide drama and height. The place to go is US Evergeen on 6th btwn 27th and 28th. For flowers we hit up Dutch Flower Line, they have aisles of every flower imaginable arranged by color. Real tippy-top.
Italian Family-Style, with some Feinberg faves thrown in for good measure. Given the headcount, most of the food had to be make-ahead. For the entree that meant one thing: LASAGNA. I cannot stress enough how perfect lasagna is for a crowd, especially a crowd of 6’3″ dudes who expect to eat. Here’s the official menu:
Roasted peppers and artichoke hearts
Fontina and Parmesan cheeses
Larry’s Famous Trout butter and caviar
Cerignola and Moroccan olives
Carmine’s Antipasto Salad
Rao’s Lasagna Bolgnese
Spinach, Pesto and Fontina Lasagna(I amped up the bechamel sauce in this recipe with a hefty dose of pecorino and a whooole lot of white pepper)
Little Pie Company Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
Fresh Strawberries and Schlag (German whipped cream)