All this talk about my upcoming half birthday (and housewarming) has got me thinking about my actual birthday. No, not forward to 29, but backwards to 28. I was looking at the photos and realized that while I shared the party plan and recipes with you, I never showed you the final product! Thus, here's a behind-the-scenes look at my 28th birthday party.
I'm hosting my 28th birthday party in my grandfather's backyard. Since the yard is large, complete with pool, patio, gazebo, putting green, and grass, I'll be setting up each part of the dinner in a different area. The cocktail hour begins in the patio. Neat rows of glasses filled with campari cocktails and platters of bruschetta will await the arrival of the guests.
The long rectangular dinner table will be set up on the grass, to the left of the pool. A simple white tablecloth will cover it, along with printed paper placemats, white dinner plates, blue cloth napkins, menu stands that act as placecards, and wine glasses. Candles in mason jars and low vases filled with white flowers will run down the middle of the table.
I'll hang paper lanterns and white lights from the trees, line the fence with tiki torches, and place a fountain in the pool. After dinner we'll move to other side of the yard for dessert, digestifs, and a putting contest!
There's lots going on with the drinks at my 28th birthday dinner. I plan on serving a different wine with each course, but before we sit down to the meal, I'll offer guests glasses of a specialty cocktail. Since the menu is rustic Italian, the cocktail features Italy's most popular aperitif and campari. When mixed with a sweet late-harvest wine and fresh-squeezed orange juice, the vibrantly colored spirit tastes far from bitter.
At dinner, I pair the salad with a crisp, dry, minerally Italian white wine. A fruity aromatic rosé will balance out the richness of the cheesy pasta course. For the seafood stew entree, I'll serve a light-bodied softer red wine.
I'm pretty traditional when it comes to birthdays and I can't remember celebrating one without a special cake. It may come as a shock, but every year, I make my own birthday cake. Researching cake recipes and going through the process of baking one has become a ritual that I look forward to and enjoy — as much as the senselessly extravagant birthday party. For 28, I've decided on a chocolate truffle cake with ganache topping and rum syrup. Instead of serving regular vanilla ice cream, I'm upping the ante and pairing the cake with a tropical sorbet terrine. It has three (coconut, raspberry, and mango) layers of sorbet that I think will perfectly complement the richness of the cake. To look at these scrumptious dessert recipes, read more
Selecting a menu for a large dinner party is tricky. You don't want to choose dishes that require last-minute preparation, and you need to pick recipes that will feed a crowd (or can easily be doubled to do so) and consider the dietary needs of your guests. Luckily, the majority of my friends are adventurous eaters and while two girls don't eat meat, they do eat fish and cheese. Thus I'm serving a rustic Italian meal that's several courses long. When the party begins, plates of tomato and basil bruschetta and chicken-liver crostini will sit — ready to be devoured — on tables in the patio. I'll also set out an assortment of Italian olives, shards of Parmesan cheese, and chunks of salami.
At the table, the first course will consist of a crunchy, Italian salad with mustard vinaigrette. The second course is a decadent baked pasta dish oozing with melted cheese. For the entree, we'll enjoy a fragrant seafood stew with garlic toasts for dipping. This is a luxurious menu that's wonderful at any occasion, be it a birthday party or simply a Saturday night, so check out the recipes and read more
Well folks, it's time for me to plan my favorite event of the year — my birthday party! Since I threw a blow-out bash at a bar for 27 and a big picnic at an oyster farm for 27.5, I've decided that, for 28, things should be more subdued. Thus, I'm hosting an intimate dinner party for me and my 20 closest friends. The dinner will be served in my grandfather's gorgeous backyard, but before I can think about the menu, I have to send invitations. To learn how I made the ones seen here, read more