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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farm To Table Feast for Forty

I spent my birthday weekend in Laguna Beach. The weather was sublime.

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I arrived at Andrea’s home late Friday afternoon to help set up and decorate for a Farm to Table Feast for Forty held on Saturday. My children, who had accompanied me, were corralled into helping out. We quickly became familiar with these lovely brick steps as the space was transformed.  

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A single long table was placed under the loggia. It was first covered in antique French linen and topped with a lovely washed burlap runner. Next came the plates, silverware and crystal for 24.

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Four glass hurricanes were placed in the center and intermittently surrounded by small votives.  A vine was plucked from the garden and was just the right touch of greenery. You can create a garland of greenery with potato vine, ivy, and even pumpkin, but you may want to avoid jasmine as the heady scent may conflict with food.

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Antique French linen napkins were rolled and tied with a bit of soft velvet. A single stem of rosemary or lavender was tucked in for color. A bonus from gathering a basketful of herbs was that every now and again, throughout the evening, I would catch a bit of the lovely scent as it lingered on my hands.

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At the end of the long table a desert station was set up. We moved Andrea’s great pine desk down from her bedroom and topped it with a collection of lovely antique crates.

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Lovely vignettes of nests and silver nestled inside the crates and created a décor of rustic elegance at it’s finest.

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It was a concoction of everything but the kitchen sink that worked beautifully.

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Her best serving pieces were set out as the sun slipped into the ocean.

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As nightfall approached the flickering candlelight made the copper pots gleam.

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Smaller round tables were set up on the upper patio and dressed in a similar fashion. To get the vine to bend in a circular shape I just gently snapped it in the place where I wanted a curve.

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Guests were smitten with the large copper tubs filled with ice, water, wine and rosemary. The herbs scent and color is a lovely addition and it also acts as a cushion for the glass bottles.

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As the platters began to be filled I quickly found my children in the upper tiers of the garden, snapped a photo and reminded them to be on their best behavior.

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They were absolute angels.

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I just adore the stonework that is dotted throughout the property.

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I just wish I had had more time to take a few more shots of the guests.

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Now for the food. Andrea prepared the entire menu. I was just lucky enough to serve it and grab a taste here and there.

My favorite? A simple slice of red tomato and peach topped with burrata, which in Italian means “buttered”. It is an apt description of this luscious cheese. While I have purchased burrata at Trader Joe’s before, there is nothing like fresh. It was topped with mint, a bit of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Delissimo!

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A garden salad with yummy haricots verts, dill and delicious beets.

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Fresh pappardelle pasta with seasonal mushrooms, butter and grated parmesan.

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Then came dessert which was nothing short of bliss~ fresh berries, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, lemon tart….sigh. But the coconut cake...well, I am still dreaming of just a single slice.

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Have you ever hosted a large party like this?


Don’t forget to link up your favorite “pinable” images on Friday!

Yes, it can be a direct link to your Pinterest account.


Linking to:

StoneGable , A Stroll Thru Life, BNOTP, Designs By Gollum


Jenny@daysofchalkandchocolate said...

This party looks fantastic! You did a beautiful job. That table looks like something out of Martha Stewart! Just gorgeous!

My Crafty Home Life said...

I have never hosted a party like that. It is the kind of hosting that I dream of. This is so elegant, casual, and organic. I love it. Not to mention the lovely gardens. Happy Birthday.

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

What a great setting! Love all of the old crates used for display, and all of the natural elements. Just beautiful!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

The party looks amazing!!! I loveeeeeeeee the photos of your babies!!!

Teresa said...

Never. And I'm sure I couldn't have pulled it so grandly as you did.
I bow to you! Everything lovely... from the antique crates with the copper utensils to the Fashionista Amazing Sense of Style. The apple...
Well done, Laura!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Oh what absolute loveliness! I love everything about it! I could just crawl through my screen and into those photos and be completely happy!

Karena said...

Laura I am so happy you showcased Andrea's Dinner Party! She is the most talented chef I know and also sets the scene perfectly. The silver, the copper pots, the deserts, oh my!

A belated Happy Birthday to you! A fine way to celebrate! Thank you so much for sending me lovely Birthday Wishes!

Art by Karena

openid said...

A perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun -- a beautiful venue, splendid table, fine food and wonderful friends and family! Andrea is certainly the hostess with the mostest!
Your Friend,

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

I so wish that I could have attended. Every detail was beautiful.

Andrea is so very talented and giving. As well are you. Bless you and your children for being there to help as the challenges on the parameter of the event grew each day.

Her garden and it's architecture was a perfect setting for the images of your beautiful and chic Fashionista and Sweet Boy.

You have some lovely images to frame for your new home!


ImagiMeri said...

What??? I wasn't invited....;o) wink, wink

It looks faboo girlfriend, and the piccy's of your children are stunning. I know you were wishing it was at your house, but Thank goodness your touches showed up.

Love ya

April said...

It's just beautiful, Laura--all of it. What a sublime setting for a beautiful evening.
I particularly adore the dessert station--WONDERFUL!
I hope your birthday was super-joyful!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Wow Laura, this is unreal, everything is so pretty and the food sound devine. Love the pics of the children, they look fantastic. The fashionista looks wonderful in that dress and jacket. Like her hair too. Hugs, Marty

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Oh my goodness! Absolutely lovely and certainly magazine worthy! I know that you had a wonderful time!

Deanna said...

May you have a sweet Labor Day Week-end! Glad you had a neat birthday!

Yes, I have hosted some large, medium and small gatherings.....puts some spice in our lives.

Enjoyed seeing this one! Really neat. Gives me some great ideas to use.

I remember back in the 70's when I wore my dresses the length that your daughter is wearing. Over the summer that I got married the dresses went from mini to did a number on my head. I had no money to buy maxis so in the jeans I stayed.

Here it is in the year 2012 and in the jeans I stay....except now they're capri length. grins.

God Bless you, Laura. May you be well,

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday! This looks so gorgeous! I know you had an absolutely spectacular birthday. :)

Hollace said...

The picture of the pots by candlelight took my breath away!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Looked a magazine cover! I host 24 at 1515 for a Christmas party, that is the biggest I get for a formal sit down dinner.

Blondie's Journal said...

What a heavenly party! You took some great pictures, I feel like I was there. Everything was just lovely! Love seeing pictures of your children, too!


Vel Criste said...

Fabulous! The set-up was divine, I love that the table set-up was so simple!! The dessert table was pure genius!!!

TracyMB @ Crows Feet Chic said...

Belated Happy Birthday to you! What a beautiful setting and table!! Just gorgeous -- and the angel help looked wonderful too. It looked delicious too... that dinner looked worth turning another year older! :)

Danielle said...

Laura, this is stunning! What a beautiful and amazing way to celebrate your birthday! I love every detail right down to the rosemary accents. Incredible!

Danielle xo

Marilou Bain said...

Laura what a beautiful party, Happy belated Birthday and everything is just lovely! Hugs Marilou

Kelley Highway said...

Oh, I'm speechless. What a belle of the ball you were this day, girl. And I can only imagine the fun you had!

And can I just say that your children ARE angels and that your daughter is absolutely vivid, lively and I love her spirit I feel in your images. I "feel" her bubbly free spirit. Amazing kids you've got!

Alycia Nichols said...

I HAVE hosted a large party like this, but I didn't have a fabulous loggia under which to seat my guests! I'm leaving my husband, for I have found a new love: THIS TABLE!!!!!!!!! :-) I am just tearing up to see it! It is what I dream of: a covered space that has charm and character and plenty of room to stretch out. Bringing the desk down and stacking those crates on it was...for lack of a better word...genius!!! I love the way it looks!!!!!!!!!! I am a major fan of the Tuscan-style table, and this is a perfect example of how beautifully it can work. Super bravo!!!!!!!!!

Dianne said...

I have no words to capture the feelings this beautiful table evoked in me. Just beautiful. What a wonderful way to celebrate the harvest. Dianne

CAS said...

Simple elegance, truly! That is just a gorgeous setting, and everything looks so amazing & charming!

Sophie said...

Oh wow! I wish I had an invite it looks amazing and if I ever get married an alfresco dinner like that would suit me perfectly.

Whimsey Creations said...

I haven't hosted an outdoor party but several large indoor ones. Love the table decor and the crates stacked on the desk - how beautiful! My daughter and her husband are organic farmers and they hosted an outdoor party a few weeks ago called Mater Mixer to raise money for their new interns. It was so much fun. A friend who is a chef in his own restaurant did most of the cooking. Tables were set in one long line - just so pretty at night with the candles glowing. They have one coming up in a week too but it's not a fund raiser - just a potluck - last year there were at least 50 people. Outside again. They have this huge chestnut tree and harvest from it each year. They give about 20 people each a bag of chestnuts and everyone uses them in a recipe they bring. The food was fabulous last year and I can't wait to go next week. But this year I'll be using the chestnuts too so have to figure out something to make with them in it. Love these farm to table dinners!

Carissa Rasmussen said...

we had a bday party for my daughter this weekend with over 30 in attendance. phew it's quite a challenge to cook all that food and make sure you have enough but not too much left over. i love the mousse idea. I came over from Stonegable link up and I'm excited to see what else you have coming up! I am always in need of new recipes

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

My dear Laura, Thank you for posting this "party of the year"! Oh what I would have given to be there!!!! You son looks so adorably handsome!!!! What a lucky lady you are! I'm sure you made many very happy memories!!!
You are such a sweetie for sharing this very unique and special evening at ON THE MENU MONDAY! XO

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

This looks like the "gods" were smiling on all of you that evening! perfect weather, setting and style! I don't know about you, but I would have skipped dinner and headed to the dessert table! So, so pretty and yummy!

Your blog is lovely, too! I hope you'll come join, a state, by state directory of home bloggers and soon, an events calendar!

All the best,

Tanya@takesix said...

What an amazing party, Laura! My favorite is the dessert center. Just gorgeous! I'm crazy about silver cutlery so the serving pieces really caught my eye. Well done my friend...VERY well done!