Supper Club :: Superfood Theme

I’m sure you’ve all seen some really incredible superhero kid’s parties in the party-blogosphere. Like mind-blowingly amazing parties.
This is not one of those.This isn’t even a kid’s party. This is a “Superfood” themed dinner we hosted for our supper club (Also known as Gourmet Group.) After about 2 years of dinners, we had pretty much retired every country-specific theme between our group of 7 couples.My huz and I also hosted what was arguably the most gut-busting dinner known to man last year (our Mexican Fiesta!) and we didn’t want to roll groaning people out of our house on dollies after dinner this time. So we cleaned up the menu with the intention of cleaning up our innards and went with a Superfood theme.As soon as we chose this theme, I could not get the idea of caped super-veggies out of my mind. “Super Sweet Potato to the rescue!”A caped coconut, eye-masked eggplant, powerful pepper, brawny broccoli, and awesome almonds became the super centerpieces.I completely felt insane while dressing these veggies… having thoughts like “Oh, your cape needs a little more wind behind it!” and “Let’s just adjust that eye-mask a titch!” Then I thought to myself, that there are people who probably do this FOR REALS in a dark shed and talk to them like they are friends… It made me feel better to know that on the grand scheme of things, I am only tipping the crazy scale a touch in comparison.Stealing my mom’s trophy collection once again – since what’s more ‘super’ than a trophy? – the superheroes flew high above the tables ready to save our stomachs from processed food.Aren’t they cute? It was hard to disrobe them.Mimicking the pattern on the tablecloth (fabric from Ikea), I sewed triangular garlands to hang from the ceiling. The silver paper added such a big punch and kept it from looking too flat.
I’m no perfectionist, so the triangles were cut freehand and sewn up quickly. No real plan… I don’t think this stuff is worth fussing over too much! The impact is there and no one will notice your imperfect stitches!For place settings, we used black plates, black bamboo weapons, placed the napkin in a wine glass, printed out a menu, and popped a seating card in a brussels sprout. On the subject of place cards… do these give anyone else anxiety? I’ve never been a huge fan of them, though I LOVE how they look. I just could never decide if they are stuffy or cool. Mostly, I never want anyone to think “Oh GOD! Why did she put me next to that dishrag?” (not that I know any dishrags!) or “Oh she must like me best because she’s sitting next to me!” I’ve always been more free flow about seating… until this party.What we decided to do was wait until most of the people got there, then we played “Seating Roulette.” Note: This may only work with people who actually know/like each other – I wouldn’t try this with a mixed group right off the bat! In everyone’s presence, I turned all the place cards upside down, mixed them up, then walked around and put them into the brussels sprout. The only rule was that you couldn’t sit next to your other half. Everyone knew how random it was – which took the dishrag pressure off of me! – and I think it really mixed up the conversation in a fun way.It turned out to a be such a fun and delicious night! Look at all the food we devoured…And everyone left on foot! No wheelbarrows necessary!It really was “Super Yum!” But full disclosure here. The table really looked like this:We had to add an extra table since there are so many of us. Shhh! Let’s eat! Super Pepper signing off! Hope you all have a SUPER day! As always, thanks for reading!

Supper Club :: The Structure Of Ours

I have been asked by many people how we dole out the responsibilities in our supper club. I take no credit for it’s structure. My friend who brought this group together did all the thinking in that department. But I think it’s really worked out well so I’m happy to share the details.So here goes (in my friend’s words):
GUIDELINES:
1. The goal is to have a GG party every other month (which can be modified depending on schedules).
2. Each couple will be responsible for hosting a GG party which will be based on rotation (averaging once a year per couple).
3. At the beginning of each dinner party, the date and host of the next GG party will be determined.
4. All food dishes must be home-made. This is the educational part of the group. Nothing can be pre-made from the store, including bread. 
5. To share recipes and learn from everyone’s individual experiences. 
HOST RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. The hosts are responsible for selecting the theme and food menu: options are endless (French, Tapas, Italian, Greek, Clambake, etc. etc.).
2. Creating the food menu involves selecting specific dishes that will be part of the meal and then assigning the dishes to each couple. It will be up to the hosts if they want to provide specific recipes for the dishes or allow others to research their own recipes.
3. The host is responsible for the centerpiece/main dish (example: if the theme was French, the hosts would be responsible for the Rack of Lamb or Coq Au Vin – others could be responsible for Au Gratin potatoes, Crepes, French Onion Soup, etc.).
NON-HOST RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. To research a recipe for the dish that was assigned to them, or make the recipe that was selected for them by the host. 
2. To research a cocktail or wine that either compliments your dish or goes with the general theme.  
3. Most of or all of each dish should be prepared prior to arriving at the host’s house for the party (with the exception of heating), unless last minute preparation is required (example: tossing salad, souffle, melting cheese, etc.).
DON’T FORGET:
1. Again, EVERYTHING must be home-made. For example, if you are assigned Pita Bread for a Greek theme, the pitas must be made from scratch. This means no brownie mix, cake mix, muffin mix, etc. can be used. I know you get the idea!Okay, it’s me again! Hi! So we’ve been at this over a year now and we’ve learned a lot, but also tweaked a lot, from those original guidelines. We realized that each couple bringing a ‘signature drink’ was a little too much… it can get pretty sugary. So this next round we’re having the hosts be responsible for the signature drink and the rest of us will just bring beer or wine. We also have TOTALLY eased up on the “make it from scratch” thing. The real point is that we get together and eat a great meal, so if there wasn’t time to pound tortillas or churn butter (i kid!), no one really cared. Everyone made delicious food… they’re just not out gathering wheat to bake their bread anymore.As for how many people to gather together, I think it would be best with a crew of 5-7 couples – but that’s just my two cents. Less would work but I would cap it at 7 couples for sure. Now what are you waiting for? Go out and start up a Gourmet Group/Supper Club! It’s a yummy way to see your friends!

Supper Club :: Something Sweet

My friend Katherine behind this party you saw a while back, is also in a supper club and recently hosted a “something sweet” themed evening. Each couple had to bring a dish with a sweet ingredient included in the recipe. I love this spin on a theme. I would have totally made cupcake steak. Something else I love? How sweet the tablescape was! Those cupcake pincushions kill me. And I’m loving how she made fake cupcakes for the dessert boxes and threw cupcake liners all over the table. Super pretty.It’s midweek! Are you inspired to start your own supper club? They’re just as fun without all the beautiful decorations but it’s sometimes fun to go all out… especially when your turn to host only comes once a year. Have a sweet day!

Supper Club :: Mexican Fiesta Theme

Ay yi yi! Who’s ready to head south of the border? As I mentioned yesterday, it was our turn to host our Gourmet Group and we chose a Mexican menu. My husband and I could live on Mexican food alone for the rest of our lives, so it was a no brainer. I had also intended to force a Mexican themed birthday party for my son so I thought I could double dip in the decor department… That didn’t turn out so well for me (see here.) but at least the donkeys will be making another appearance soon. Since we’re Southern Californians, Mexican themed parties are somewhat frequent. I was lucky because between my mom and my aunt’s collection of Mexican party decor, I was pretty much set before even starting. (Though the cholo and chola were stolen from my very quirky brother.)They had all the serapes (used as tablecloths), sombreros, maracas, lanterns, pillows, napkins & napkin rings, the chi chi ball buckets and various other knick knacks. I just borrowed their stash. How awesome is that?I brought the donkeys, the religious candles (found at the grocery store for $1.50 each), and the papel picado flags (found on Amazon.com), and the succulents ($1 each at the farmers market) planted in El Pato cans (79 cents at the grocery store) to the table.I think it made our house look like a Mexican restaurant.The fun thing about the night was that we literally moved every piece of furniture in our house. We moved both tables into the living room, put one couch in the dining room to create an intimate lounging area, and another couch by the kitchen. It was nice to surprise people who are at our house so often with something new.I honestly love those cholo/a banks.Another donkey comes out for the party.Alternating plates of red & blue with bright napkins.Hee haw! More donkeys!Outside we hung more flags… it was a little windy but it looked cute:Here’s the former dining room turned into a lounge. I actually really loved it like this. Super cozy. What a pity that a big ol’ table has to live there:Simple serape covered backyard table:
And THE FOOD! Later this week I will get into how we assign courses but everything, as usual, turned out delicious! It’s really cool to eat a full gourmet meal and only have to be responsible for one dish.Cheers! (Or should I say, salud?)Prepping margis in the kitchen:Cannot get enough of these things:Yum! Carne asada!
Notice how I didn’t make ONE paper item for this party? I think I needed a break from creating! But with so many colors, I don’t think it really needed it.

Fiesta! Fiesta! Fiesta! Viva Mexican Food!