Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
03/01/2011 04:35AM ● Published by Style
Food & Drink Photos by Dante Fontana
Most of us are capable of throwing a pretty good party, but what about a truly GREAT party?
In our youth, parties sure seemed a whole lot easier: run around with a crowd of kids from school and overdose on cake; or later on, call up a bunch of friends, go to the beach or someone’s house and voila! But now that we’re grown up, it appears that truly great parties require a bit more creativity and ugh, planning. We here at Style love to help, so instead of leaving you to consult your own muse for your next great party idea, we’re doing all the legwork for you! We put on our party-flavored thinking caps and came up with three great themed party ideas, each complete with a mouthwatering dish and cocktail recipe to really help you get your party started! (It’s okay, you can thank us later.) Ready? Set! Party!
THEME: ‘60s/MAD MEN
Ladies, set your hair; fellas, pour yourself a Scotch...time for a ‘60s themed brunch party!
“THE LOOK OF LOVE”: DRESS
Sure, you could make this an informal brunch party with just some fun decorations, but what would be the fun in that? For ‘60s ladies we recommend colorful full-skirted sundresses, pearls, twinsets (skirt and jacket combos), knee-length pencil skirts and swing coats.
For the ‘60s men we advise suits, suits, more suits and hats! On the casual side, think plaid slacks, polo shirts, golf attire or a classic tennis costume. (Do we have to say it? No jeans!)
“COME ON-A MY HOUSE”: DECOR
Aim for simple elegance. Try a fabric tablecloth in yellow, pale blue or white; cloth napkins; and set out the “good china” or a set of thrift-store china. A low flower bowl centerpiece filled with roses, dahlias, or lilies will add a touch of class. If you are feeling playful you can have a bit of fun with your centerpiece, maybe include some beloved items from the ‘60s – a rotary telephone, cocktail shaker or a bowl of candy cigarettes.
Another alternative is the tiki-bar look: Grab a brightly colored tablecloth, a set of tiki mugs and go all-out with the tiki-themed accessories and table settings.
However you decide to decorate, don’t forget to create and stock your “bar.” Martini shaker, martini glasses, highball glasses, wine flutes, ice bucket and ice tongs are crucial if not mandatory.
“TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS”: GAMES
Try a social, interactive trivia challenge. Put up visual clues (photos, posters, etc.) around the room and assign each clue a number. Give each guest a sheet of paper with the same list of numbers on it. Allow guests the duration of the party to identify all of the visual clues around the room/house. Whoever answers them all by the end of the “soiree” gets a prize!
Play hardball and offer no clues; or make it a little easier and give questions with each item on the list: Who is this actress? Who recorded this album? What is this item of clothing called?
It’s a great conversation starter for guests who perhaps don’t know each other. You will find perfect strangers helping each other, or even competing with each other for the right answers!
One important note: Make sure your guests are using brainpower only – have guests leave their smart phones at the door when they join the party!
Visual clues can include:
- Classic ‘60s advertisements for products like Coke, American Airlines, Lucky Strike – with the product names blanked out
- Photos of famous actors and musicians
- Movie posters or movie stills
- Album covers
- Items of clothing
- ‘60s inventions
“JUMP, JIVE AN’ WAIL”: PLAYLIST
Try to keep the mood light and nostalgic, and don’t be afraid of instrumental numbers. If you get completely stuck for music, look to the Ultra-Lounge collection of CDs, offering some very classic, loungey versions of popular songs, TV and movie themes by popular performers of the ‘60s.
“Jump, Jive An’ Wail” Track Suggestions:
- Theme From A Summer Place: Percy Faith Orchestra
- “Something for Cat” (from Breakfast at Tiffanys) – Henry Mancini
- “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” – Neil Sedaka
- “It's Now Or Never” – Elvis Presley
- “PS I Love You” – The Beatles
- “What's New Pussycat” – Tom Jones
- “Sugar and Spice” – The Searchers
- “I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself” – Dusty Springfield
- “What The World Needs Now” – Jackie Deshannon
- “I Go To Pieces” – Peter & Gordon
- “Ferry Cross The Mersey” – Gerry & The Pacemakers
- “Glad All Over” – The Dave Clark Five
- “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” – Dionne Warwick
“SUGAR AND SPICE:” EATS AND DRINKS
Sunny Breakfast Quiche
- 6 large eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6-8 oz. grated Gruyère cheese
- 8 slices bacon, chopped and cooked until crispy
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped with 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper
Sauté chopped onion in pan with 1 tbsp. butter until caramelized (about 15 minutes), then add pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs, cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, cheese, bacon, peppers and onions, and then pour into pre-baked pastry and bake for 20 minutes. Loosely cover with foil (to prevent burning top of quiche) and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Let quiche rest for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
- 2 1/4 cups of flour
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
- 9 tbsp. of ice cold water
Place flour and salt in food processor and mix. Add butter pieces to flour and pulse until mixture is in pea-sized pieces. Add water and mix until pastry begins to form together in large clumps. Roll on floured surface, roll out until 1/4” thick and place in a tart pan. Crimp edges, poke bottom with fork and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Place pastry in a preheated 425° oven for 15-20 minutes and bake until bottom is golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of Francie Cruz at Bocca Catering in Folsom.
Hand Shaken Ramos Fizz
- 1.25 oz. Broker’s Gin
- 0.5 oz. Joseph Carton Triple Sec
- 1 oz. cream
- 0.5 oz. egg white*
- 0.25 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 0.25 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
- Scoop of ice
- Splash of soda
- Orange slice for garnish
Shake all ingredients except for the soda for 30 seconds. Add scoop of ice, shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into a Collins glass Add splash of soda water. Garnish with orange.
Recipe courtesy of Paul Martin’s American Bistro in Roseville.
*Use caution when consuming raw egg due to slight risk of salmonella or food-borne illness. Use fresh, properly refrigerated eggs and avoid contact between yolk/white and shell.
A pirate theme is ideal not only for kid’s costumes, but parents can dress up too!
DRESS UP YOUR LITTLE HEARTIES
Encourage your guests to arrive in costume. If you have a few guests who couldn’t manage, or are maybe “too cool,” pre-make some cardboard eye patches, fashion some bandanas out of old colorful t-shirts, and have an old eyeliner pencil handy for a quick mustache or goatee. Have a stash of gaudy clip-on earrings from the nearest thrift store for those who want some extra bling. Instant pirate!
Gather up strings of Mardi Gras beads, fake pearls, or glass beads, old trophies, chocolate coins, medallions, hand mirrors, sparkly Christmas tree ornaments and anything that looks treasure worthy, and pile it in the middle of the table as your “pirate booty.” Get some red and white checked napkins, and give your dastardly pirates as much finger food as they can handle.
ARR ME HEARTIES! GAMES ARE AFOOT!
Capture the Pirate’s Flag
The classic game of Capture the Flag, refitted with a pirate theme. This one is best for a wide-open outdoor space.
Divide the group into two teams. Assign each team an “island” (i.e. the front yard, and the backyard). Give each team a pirate flag to hoist. Have each team put their flag in an area easily visible, with a 10” safety zone around it (i.e. make sure no one “guards” the flag).
Teams send members to invade each other’s islands and attempt to capture the flag and safely return to their own island without being captured/tagged.
Fashion the rules to fit your group by deciding what to do if a team member gets tagged: Eliminated? Converted to the opposing team? Sent to a “deserted” island to be rescued by a fellow team member?
Get your teams in the spirit of defending the flags, and planting lookouts and spies. It’s a fun game that can easily take up a whole afternoon with the right-mix of enthusiastic kids (and adults)!
Some good fallback CDs for a pirate party are the Pirates of the Caribbean movie soundtracks. Also highly recommended, a CD put out by Disney called Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs that collects the most classic of pirate songs including “Yo Ho Yo Ho,” “Blow The Man Down,” and many more familiar piratey-pirate songs. On a more traditional bent, there’s an excellent compilation put out by Smithsonian, Classic Maritime from Smithsonian Folkways that collects traditional sea chanteys.
Here are some must-have songs!
- “What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor” (traditional)
- “Blow the Man Down” (traditional)
- “Six Months In A Leaky Boat” – The Wiggles
- “Pirates Who Don't Do Anything” – Veggie Tales
- “Scurvy” – Captain Bogg and Salty
- Spongebob Squarepants theme song
- What’s a pirate’s favorite food?
- What does it cost for a pirate to pierce his ears?
A buck an ear (buccaneer)
- Did you hear about the new pirate movie?
It’s rated ARRRRRRR
- Why does it take pirates so long to learn the alphabet?
Because they spend so many years at C!
- What’s a pirate’s favorite vegetable?
- What do you get when you mix a pirate with a vampire?
Kid’s Party Game!
Long John Silver's Treasure Hunt
Gather up some candy, party favors or small trinkets and hide them around the house or the yard, and stage an Easter-egg-hunt-style treasure hunt. Alternatively, plant small “treasures” throughout the house or garden. Attach to each “treasure” a piece of paper with a clue on how to find the next treasure. Pirates then collect clues as well as the treasure. On the back of each clue illustrate part of a map. When all the clues are collected they can piece together the map on the back and find the “buried treasure.”
EAT AND DRINK UP ME HEARTIES, YO HO!
Flatbread Treasure Map
This map is only limited by imagination, so use this as a start and have some fun! Use your favorite flatbread or pizza dough recipe for the bread, or pick up a pre-made pizza crust at the store. Follow baking instructions, or cook until golden brown.
As seen in photo:
Sand: Sprinkle one cup grated or shredded Parmesan on crust.
Island Trees: Cut the top off of an eggplant and hollow out the center. Steam broccoli crowns for two minutes, bunch together and place in hollowed out top of eggplant.
Cave: Cut end off lemon so it sits straight on plate. Carve out center of lemon to create tunnel, and top with the top of a tomato carved like a starfish.
Swamp: Spoon cold pesto to any size you wish your swamp to be. Insert “swamp monster” if desired.
Mountains: Take any size button mushroom and create notches. Trim stem to sit straight.
Pirate ship made from thick-sliced French bread, one wood skewer and a paper sail.
Red bell pepper coulee: Cut bell pepper free from seeds and “skin” pepper by cutting extra flesh from the outer skin. Very thinly slice and place in cold ice water for three minutes to curl.
Fresh dill stem leaves: Simply strip and place on plate.
Plate on dark green leaf lettuce and garnish lavishly with gold pirate coins.
Recipe courtesy of Bravo Pastaria in Roseville.
The Captain’s Mojito Mocktail
- 20 mint leaves
- Juice of 1 lime (fresh)
- 1 part simple syrup
- 2 parts soda water
Put all ingredients into a shaker, shake extremely hard and strain into a martini glass.
Recipe courtesy of Visconti’s Ristorante in Folsom.
DINNER PARTY…for the adults!
The 2011 Academy Awards may be over, but it’s never too early to plan the ultimate Oscar gala of your own for 2012!
BEST EVENING DRESS ON AN ARRIVING GUEST
Encourage fake furs and tiaras...anything goes. Have your guests come in their best eveningwear, and encourage the men to wear suits or tuxedos. If you want to really up the ante, place a family member or two at the front door with flash-cameras as “paparazzi” to photograph your guests’ arrival. Velvet rope optional.
BEST TABLE SETTING FOR A DINNER PARTY
A lush red tablecloth is ideal, or go for the classic all-white tablecloth and napkins. If you have any old rolls of unwanted camera film lying around, un-spool it and incorporate it into a “movie” themed centerpiece. For place settings, go online and print out old movie posters of Oscar-winning films and place them under clear plastic placemats. Or, if you’re a movie buff, maybe you have a lot of those movies on DVD: A simple alternative is to remove the DVD artwork from the case and use them under clear placemats. Include Oscar trivia tidbits at each table setting. For example, “Did you know: Star Wars never won an Academy Award,” or, “Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are the only two married couples to win Oscars for acting.” At the end of the night, give out your own awards to guests (Best Costume, Best Party Foul, Best Conversationalist, Best Cocktail Mixer, etc.) so no one goes home empty handed!
BEST OSCAR PARTY PLAYLIST
The long list of Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning movies offers a treasure-trove of music from which to create your Oscar party playlist. The possibilities are endless. Here’s a list we created from Best Soundtrack/Score Winners.
- “As Time Goes By” – Rudy Vallee
- Theme from The Apartment – Charles Wiliams
- “Maria” (West Side Story) – Jim Bryant
- “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” (My Fair Lady) – Marni Nixon
- Theme from Sound of Music – Julie Andrews
- “Everybody’s Talkin’” (Midnight Cowboy) – Harry Nilsson
- Love theme from The Godfather – Nino Rota
- Theme from The Sting – Marvin Hamlisch
- Theme from Rocky – Bill Conti
- Theme from Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
BEST GAME PLAYED BY OSCAR PARTY ATTENDEES
The best Oscar party game that you can play is of course to have your guests be the Oscar voters.
If you’re one of those fabulous super organized “hostess with the mostest,” pre-arrange to send your guests their own “Oscar Ballot,” and have them cast their votes before the party.
If you just want something fun on the night and less preparation-heavy, hand out ballots at the door when your guests arrive, and give them up until the time the Awards air on TV to finalize their votes (that way there’s no sneaky vote-changing as the winners are announced).
Make it fun! Have your guests’ play Joan Rivers with the pre-Oscar broadcast and nominate some best and worst dressed celebrities. And during the show have them cast some fun votes: Best thank you speech? Worst thank you speech? Best fake smile upon losing? Best overreaction to winning?
Once the show is over, hand out your prizes for winners, runners up, and ask them to give an acceptance speech.
BEST FOOD AND DRINK SERVED BY AN OSCAR PARTY HOST
Tinsel Town Tuna
- 6 oz. very fresh Ahi tuna, blackened on the outside and thinly sliced into 2” x 1/4” slices
- 3 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced and mixed with pink ginger
- 1 cup pickled pink ginger from Asian market
- 1 1/2 oz. sesame wasabi dressing (you may purchase Tamari Wasabi dressing and mix with a few drops of sesame oil)
- 5 each large slices of cucumber (oval medallion size)
- 2 oz. daikon radish, made into curls for garnish
- 1/2 oz. red and pink pickled ginger
- 1/4 oz. daikon sprouts
Mix cucumber and ginger with dressing and mount on center of serving plate. Place sliced Ahi on top of the cucumber/ginger mix. Fan out large cucumber slices behind mound for decoration. Top Ahi with dressing and garnish with daikon curls, pink and red ginger and daikon sprouts.
Recipe courtesy of Fat’s Asia Bistro in Roseville.
- 4 oz. Bacardi® white rum
- 2 oz. Galliano® herbal liqueur
- 8 oz. orange juice
- 8 oz. pineapple juice
- 2 oz. grenadine syrup
Shake all ingredients except Grenadine with ice, and strain into a chimney glass. Float grenadine (it will sink) and garnish with an orange slice, pineapple chunk and maraschino cherry.
Recipe courtesy of Sequoia in Placerville.
Tinsel Town Fun…More Drinks!
- 1 oz Ohrange vodka
- 1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 1/2 oz Lemon Lime
Place Ingredients in shaker cup with Ice, Shake not Stirred, Strain into a Martini Glass and Garnish with An Orange Twist.
- 2 1/2 cl Kahlua® coffee liqueur
- 2 1/2 cl Sambuca
- 1 cl Gold Tequila
This is a Layered Drink; in a Sherry glass or similar size pour Kahlua first pouring over a Spoon add Sambuca then with spoon add Tequilla.
- 1 1/2 oz Scotch Whiskey
- 3/4 oz amaretto almond liqueur
Mix over Ice in Rocks Glass Garnish with a twist.
- 1 oz peach liqueur
- 1 oz amaretto almond liqueur
- 1 oz sweet and sour mix
- 1 oz Lemon Lime soda
Mix Pour over Ice In tall Hurricane Glass, Garnish with a Lime.
- 1/2 shot gold Tequila
- 1/2 shot whiskey
- 1 shot Champagne
- 1 Sugar Cube
Mix into a Champagne Glass, Dropin Sugar Cube Garnish with a twist.
- 2 oz bourbon whiskey
- 1 oz dark rum
- 1/2 oz heavy cream
Combine ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass.
A Clockwork Orange
- 8 oz Lemon Lime soda
- 4 oz Orange juice
- 1 oz gold rum
- 1 oz vodka
Mix Pour over Ice in a Bucket Glass Garnish with an Orange twist.
The Green Mile
- 1 oz melon liqueur
- 3/4 oz coconut rum
- 1/4 oz orange liqueur
- 3 oz pineapple juice
Shake and serve in a cocktail glass.