Tag Archives: Dinner Party

C&C Dinner Party Series: Chandeleur to Save us from Winter

Once again NYC is in the throes of winter. I’m not amused. Living in NYC has actually made me hate a season I once thought of fondly while growing up in the suburbs. It’s dark, it’s windy, it’s downright frigid. I can’t wear fashion boots because of the slush and corrosive salt. I stay at home more which makes me just want to binge eat, which I can’t do effectively on a paleo diet, meaning I binge eat on almond butter (This will not be a sustainable habit when I get older). I stand by my proclamation that it’s troll season, necessitating me to be somewhat of a recluse, opting for Yoga rather than scoping out men.

Not all is lost however because at Chez C&C, cold weather provides the perfect opportunity for a dinner party. For us francophiles, the logical choice for a February fête is to celebrate Chandeleur – the glorious holiday all about crêpes. I remember when I studied abroad, coming home on February 2nd to 3 courses of crêpes! How can you go wrong with that?

In the wintertime, to combat the harsh weather, the menu should aim to be decadent. For appetizers I made Chorizo-filled, medjool dates, wrapped in bacon. I don’t need to say more other than to say that these are paleo-friendly. Along with some classic French cheeses and a mushroom tapenade, you can tell we were going for a lite menu, no?

Nancy dazzled by making a Provençal Omelette Cake. 5 stacked omelettes finished with a tomato coulis. Completely decadent, oh-so eggy, and quite the crowd-pleaser – this main course of layers was purposefully picked to play on the theme of crêpes.

For dessert, I aimed to impress with another layered centerpiece, a Crêpe cake filled with layers of chocolate-brandy whipped cream. Finished with a chocolate-brandy ganache and truffles, I must say this is surely a show-stopper.

If that wasn’t enough, Nance made some extra crêpe batter and we had dessert crêpes made to order (with options like Nutella, sugar, honey, and Rum) for anyone feeling extra gluttonous. It was a lovely evening – the feel perfectly homey – with just the right amount of wine-drunk conversation, where good food and friends meeting friends proved to be an accomplished goal.

Circling back to my passing thoughts amidst this drab NYC deep freeze, I can’t help but feel slightly off my game in winter. My New Year’s resolutions were all about priorities but winter has a way of making question the worth of the daily grind. For me, as I tackle the goals  at the top of my list, I sometimes wonder if I am focusing on the right priorities. As I focus on shifting goals, my free time and energy shrink, a trade off I realized I would have to make for somewhat overexerting myself. Though I’ve lived through almost 3 cycles of Manhattan seasons to know that spring will bring a blossoming of beautiful weather and renewed superhuman drive for us New Yorkers. So I keep telling myself to stay zen and razor-focused. I tell myself I’m building character – let’s hope that’s sound rationalization. Screw you polar vortex.

Winter in NYC is horrid. But honestly, it doesn’t make me love NYC any less. I liken it to the mood swings of a lover, something I can look passed due to its countless redeeming qualities. So where the hell are you Spring? My limited optimism can’t hold out forever.

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C&C Dinner Party Series: Intimate Betch Dinner

It’s safe to say that my list of dinner party invites is rather short. Event invites? I’m good. But not so much for “want to come over for dinner so I can cook for you?” invites.

I get it. We live in NYC, space is at a premium and not all of us have a bougie cougar who comes well-equipped with a beautiful UWS apartment. Also, in a city where takeout is a facet of life, it’s so easy to opt for Seamless rather than cook a good meal (or even learn how to cook a good meal). Add to the list that my friends are bougie betches who are young and wild and free (maybe that’s a stretch). I  play the old soul the corrals the betches together.  I’m OK being the one in my friend group to host. For godsake I love entertaining.

However when an invite comes for dinner, I make sure to take it. Faye invited the Cub and Cougar over for a Sunday dinner at her new apartment on 9th Ave. In true Faye fashion, the doors opened to a hallway lined with designer shoes likened more to an art piece than a shoe collection. Nance swooned as I marveled at her tasteful furnishings.

Her mother was visiting from Korea so she essentially prepared the menu but did disappeared before we came over.  To start we had Jeon, Beef and Seafood savory pancakes. For the main we had the Korean dish, Bulgogi Deopbap, essentially a beef stew rice bowl. How perfect! Faye seems to be broadening my culinary horizons to include Korean food. This adventurous foodie has no problem with that.

Dinner was intimate yet special. I channeled slight basic betch and made a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. Possibly a bit basic…It was perfectly satisfying for the onset of fall. Nance supplied the Prosecco with good conversation and a beautiful view making for a perfect end to the weekend.

I’ve said this before. I like hosting because I like the idea of bringing people together, cooking for the people I love, impressing with “a big reveal”. But dinner at Faye’s made me think that you don’t always have to host an over the top extravaganza, but dinner with close friends tête-a-tête-a-cougar can be just as extravagant. I’m waiting betches, where are my invites to have me over for dinner?

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C&C Dinner Party Series: Hamptons Virgin No More

C&C Hit the road? We did just that and took a trip together to that haven of NYC socialites, the Hamptons.

Nance, a seasoned New Yorker, has her long list of “in-the-know” contacts and so we took off after work on Friday to spend the weekend with an old friend in East Hampton. Me, being a Hamptons virgin, completely relished the experience from start to finish. To preface, I never understood the allure of having a separate house, 2 hours away, that New Yorkers visit every weekend. No thanks. I’ll just invest in a beautiful Parisian apartment overlooking the Seine and skip the Hamptons home.

However my intrigue got the best of me and I took the trek to the far side of Long Island. I must say, my understanding for the distinctly New York City fascination is growing. The Hamptons, in my mind, epitomizes an idyllic suburb. Every house is adorned with quaint cedar-plank paneling with perfectly manicured lawns, often accompanied with perfectly trimmed hydrangea bushes or hedges, that provide an undeniable allure. The aura is somewhat pretentious, as we took an evening stroll by the yachts stationed in the harbor (betches), but it’s clear the streets are lined with New Yorkers who simply want to get away from the bustle. We stayed at a house in the wooded area of East Hampton, so no clubbing on the agenda this time. Though frankly, that was fine by me. The house screamed retreat house, each room separated distinctly from all others, with large windows accentuating the peaceful forest outside.

While at the Hamptons, when not lounging by the pool or taking long naps, I did the cooking for the weekend. I mean I had to remunerate my host in some way, no? Summertime fare included an Arugula salad with tarragon-orange vinaigrette, grilled chorizo and clams atop cauliflower rice, and cumin-spiced ribs with pinapple-avocado salsa. Dessert comprised of LeVain cookies, fresh from the East Hamptons shop, Coconut milk almond-chocolate chip ice cream and a Peach crostata. The food was simple and summery, as I wanted more to relax than to dazzle. I stayed Paleo for most of the weekend, but I’m sorry it’s humanly impossible to resist indulging when you throw LeVain cookies into the mix.

The houses are beautiful. The money seeps from the private driveways. But the feeling of relaxation is ubiquitous. As I thrust myself further into establishing my career path, I get the need for a retreat from NYC as it really can be too much sometimes, and frankly too hot in the summer. For me the Hamptons is a little too waspy for my taste, I’d much rather be at a Villa in Ville-franche-sur-le-mer. However as I work more and more, having a respite to go where relaxation is an established state of mind makes so much more sense now as a New Yorker. What a perfect weekend to get away and be a bougie betch… Oh wait Nance and I are perpetually bougie betches. Such a nice weekend to get away and ponder about what’s in store next for this bougie power couple* 🙂

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CC Dinner Party Series: Dinner with Miss Universe

Since I am frequently lamenting the lack of a “dinner party” mentality in New York City social life, Brian and I recently decided to entertain “chez nous” with greater regularity.  That this coincided with the onset of colder weather works for us. Since our mentalities meet at around age 40, he was open to my suggestion to have a “Miss Universe Pageant Viewing Party” this past November.  A few of my friends came, those who weren’t otherwise busy having migraines or too tired to walk 5 blocks, so Brian and his betches rounded out the party.

Part of the joy of throwing a party, a bash, or a shindig is the preparation.  I actually love the hustle and bustle of making the apartment ready to receive guests.  Since I love Chiaroscuro, the lighting, appropriately dimmed, gave it all a soft glow, including me. The menu, previously discussed in detail between us, focused on a communal meal to be consumed while gathered together around the TV.  Could you guess that we had cheese fondue? It was accompanied by a simple green salad and a healthy choice olive oil-ricotta cake with concord grape coulis.

Watching The Miss Universe Pageant is actually a tradition that dates from my married days. I’m not sure why this took hold but I think that it was rooted in having other couples over for dinner and the pageant happened to be on.  Those guest in finance and law became characteristically competitive as we wrote lists of our Top Ten, narrowed it down to finalists and gave a running commentary about bust size, national costume, evening gown choice.  It was catty and bitchy and fun which never goes out of fashion.  Those who accurately predicted the winner were a little smug about spotting a real beauty among all those beauties.  Did they feel like Donald Trump (the current pageant owner) who in real life has made a career out of finding beautiful women?

Although it is certain that some of the male species (excluding Brian and those of his persuasion) watch these pageants through the lens of fantasy, that night we women were grounded in reality.  A few of us commented on the irony of happily lapping up bread and cheese, washed down by a dry white, while women with perfect body proportions (surgically enhanced we opined) paraded before our eyes in swimsuits.   We were appropriately snide about Steven Tyler, Tara Lipinski and Melanie Brown’s (oh Spice Girl what have you become?) B-list slide into irrelevance on national television.

At the end of the evening, Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela was crowned Miss Universe 2013 and later accomplished her first duty to pose in a ruby cum diamond encrusted swimsuit.  Although it was near unanimous among our group that Miss Ecuador should have won, I noticed that Miss Venezuela owned the crown from the start.  She acted as if she was Miss Universe already and the universe obliged her fantasy.   That should instruct us to think seriously about our fantasies so that we make them come true.

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Introducing C&C Dinner Party Series: Summer Soirée

To add to our bougie laundry list of things that we have in common, Nance and I are both masters in the art of throwing dinner parties. And it is an art. Make the often elaborate menu, time when each course will be ready, orchestrate what guests are bringing, ensure your invited guests mesh to create fluid conversation chemistry, etc. It must be from the years of helping my mother throw dinner parties for family friends, but regardless, I for one enjoy entertaining the people I love and treating them to fancy fare. You’ll find that even though I’m in my 20s, I have taste that surpasses my age… and salary.

Recently to kick-off the start of the blog, celebrate friendship, and toast to a few other momentous life-happenings, Nance and I hosted a Summer Soirée. The food served was decadent yet lite, the company arrived well-dressed, and wine, champagne, and hard liquor flowed freely into Nancy’s Reidel glasses as we discussed life.

Don’t think that we cater. Both of us could easily add chef de cuisine to our resumés.  While Nancy’s braised Veal Osso Bucco still makes my mouth water, I’d like to think my Nutella Banana Brioche Bread Pudding can change your life. Just to give you a tease: we started the evening with beet pesto served on parmesan crisps, followed by a caramelized garlic-goat cheese tart, finished with a plum and ginger cobbler to keep it summery and fresh… Yes, we’re both single.

As the wine and champagne bottles popped and kept popping, the idea of a game of never have I ever came up. No kings, circa college, just a standard, fingers up, let’s get to know our friends a little better game. After giving Nance a DL as she had never played before, as per always, the game turned sexual almost immediately. Ironically I was the first to get out, less indicative of my sexual prowess and more so of being an easy target. Of course Nance did not fail to upstage my friends… I’ve mentioned she’s a legend and for now I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just say that there a few things that I still need to learn from this cougar.

Nance-Brian dinner parties have been established as re-occurring, wonderfully-bougie events. Who’s up for being on the next guest-list?

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