In my recent Simone Digital article I talked about challenging myself (read: more like doing the most). And this dinner was no different. It was really a pleasure to work with Anika, the owner of Nubian Hueman, and build the concept and menu for this event!
Vibrant, elegant, and communal. The dinner was held in honor of all the artists and curators who helped to bring together the Black Love Experience at the Anacostia Art Center. Not only to thank them, but to bring them together. In my mind a family style dinner was the way to go. I wanted it to be dimly lit, bright in color, and sexy. Deciding how you want your guest to feel during and after your dinner is a great place to start. That will help you narrow down lighting options and color palette.
When I began concepting, I became obsessed with matte black plates for the table. I’m pretty obsessed with the matte black plate set that we ended up using from Ikea. They are super elegant and a deviation from most of the table decor that I’ve seen on the interwebs. They also felt like the right mix of formality and familiarity for this particular event. From there I brought in woven place mats also from Ikea to bring in a natural element to the table. Like layering flavor in food, it’s important to layer when it comes to table decor. I focused mostly on texture and color for this design.
For the table instead of flowers I used fresh fruit in vibrant colors to add an additional layer of color and texture. This is a great option if you do not have budget for fresh flowers. And I have to have some foliage on the table. Eucalyptus around the center of the table added the greenery that I needed and also hid the battery pack for the lights. I added the lights to bring a little more drama and add literal and figurative brightness.
I borrowed the serving dishes from a friend (thanks Avis!) who procured them from all over the world. Added a few tea lights, because everything looks better candle lit.
I had lots of ideas, but function was definitely something that I considered because I knew that what I cooked in my home needed to be transported to the venue, heated up there (without overcooking), and was going to be passed around the table family style. I went very rustic, herby, comforting, and bright. (Per the usual)
- Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken
- Slow Roasted Almond & Herb Crusted Salmon - recipe soon come
- Creamy Sweet Potato Rice
- Roasted Root Veggies w/ Balsamic Kale
- Hazelnut Pear Winter Salad
Bourbon Pears & Vanilla Ice Cream - recipe soon come
The Drank! & Cocktail Hour Snacks
Recently I had a drink with gin that was infused with earl grey tea and it felt like it was good for me. It felt like I should be drinking more than one. That is the feeling that I was going for with this drink. Since the food was herby I wanted to carry that into the drink. You can always count on me for a number of things. At the top of the list is getting folk drunk! We also had red and white wine.
I pulled together fruit (apple, pear, grapes), nuts, almonds and cheese (brie and champagne cheddar) for the cocktail hour. Cocktail hour is a good look because it gives the host time to finish things up and gives late guests time arrive before dinner. I find that brie, some kind of cheddar, and goat or blue cheese are the best options for a larger group where you are unsure of everyones taste.
Signature Cocktail: Winter Love - Recipe Soon Come
- Cranberry Purée
- Thyme Simple Syrup
- Fresh Ginger Juice