Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A fancy little dinner party

I have quite a few pics to share with you now, so in the event that I am feeling too tired/lazy/hungover on Friday, just consider this your Photo Shoot Friday a few days early. Cool?

Last night, Liza's friends Erin, Joyann and Natalie hosted a fancy dinner party in honor of her birthday. It's so funny that we celebrated our NYC birthdays separately this year. We do have different friends and lives here, so I suppose it's only fitting. Liza has made amazing friends here over the years, and as hard as it is for me to admit, she's a big reason why I also have great friends in this crazy city!

Erin had us over to her apartment. What do I see as soon as I walk in? A wine bar! Score! The girl knows how to make her guests feel welcome ;)

Her West Village apartment is ridiculous. Ri.dic. It's so beautiful, we all commented that we felt like we weren't even in New York--which, is a good thing. Everyone needs a little escape from the big, bad city now and then.

As we sipped/chugged our wine, we noshed on prosciutto and cheese with toast and crackers. Mmm.

Liza's pals all chipped in and got her these Jeffrey Campbell boots they scored on Shopbop.com. (Kate is the Fashion Director for the site--you'll meet her in a sec). She had mentioned several times to me that she just had to have those boots--it was such a sweet surprise!

Look at this beautiful table setting. I felt like such a grown up for a change last night, and I loved it! 

Here's the hostess on the right with (another) Erin. If I had to guess, I'd say their dinner conversation had something to do with Erin's recent engagement—congrats, girl!

This pear salad was the perfect way to start the meal. It was almost too pretty to eat!

Here's Marsha and Kate at their own little table for two. So cute! Love the hat, Kate!

Natalie served up the main course: chicken with shallots. Love the haircut--I forgot to tell you that! Nat's having a going away party on Friday because she's moving to Beirut soon! Tear.

The chicken was paired with spinach and white beans and butternut squash. So, so good. Erin's hubby is one lucky guy!

The birthday girl with her bestie, Joyann. (Yeah, I just said bestie. Got a problem with that?) Looking good, ladies!

Here are Jenn and Tiff, the usual suspects, with Lindsay. Remember Linds from this post?

The best way to end a delicious birthday meal? Chocolate cake! Natalie made it from scratch—it took her six hours to bake! Now that's dedication, y'all.

I got a huge piece, but only ate half--that's all I could fit into my belly! It was so good and moist. The recipe and instructions are a bit long, so I'm putting it in the comments section if anyone wants to check it out!

Erin's pooch, Buddy, came out to play as soon as we were done eating. Isn't he the cutest? Ya know how some dogs just look like they have a personality--kinda like a person? Buds totally has that type of face!

We ended the night with Gossip Girl! And more vino. Everything was PERFECT. In case anyone is wondering, I stayed behind the camera lens due to a total hair disaster yesterday. It was not pretty. I did get mucho compliments on my American Eagle fur vest though, so that was a plus!

Has anyone else been to a fancy little dinner party like this one? What have you done recently that made you think, "Wow, I feel like an adult!"


  1. Looks fun! And the food looks delicious! We really are getting older when we would rather have a fancy dinner party than get crazy at a bar. We have started having more dinner parties too, and it is a perk of wedding gifts since you have fun new stuff to use and show off. See Becky's blog post about our annual practice Thanksgiving.


  2. Speak for yourself, Becca--didnt' you see my posts on our two other bday party nights?! haha.

  3. Here's the cake recipe!

    Serves 12 to 14

    Chef Ed Kasky used Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.
    For cake layers
    3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
    1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
    3 cups sugar
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    3 large eggs
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
    3/4 teaspoon vanilla
    For ganache frosting:
    1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
    Special equipment
    Two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans


    Make cake layers:
    Preheat oven to 300° F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

    Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

    Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

    Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

    Make frosting:
    Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

    Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

  4. True... if you celebrated 29 three times, I am not sure what to expect for 3-0?!?! I am trying to avoid my 29 in hopes that it just won't count :)

  5. Whoa, I can't even THINK about the 3-0 yet! And yes, Becca, you're 29th bday is going to count. You have ME to remind you!!!

  6. That is SOME recipe. I was all excited to try it and then I saw the massive ingredients list and I thought, maybe not.

    I love having dinner parties, which is surprising because I am a mess in the kitchen, but they are a nice shake-up to the norm.

  7. I know, the recipe is quite long! It might be worth it though on a very special occasion. It's pretty fancy and you could just TELL...it was so so good.