Extravagant Dinner no. 1

When Brandon and I first got married, we began hosting potlucks in our 900 square foot apartment. We decided we didn't want to "disappear" during that first year of our marriage, and so we emailed a bunch of our friends, told them that dinner was at our place and to bring something homemade.

It was amazing. 

Even though so many of those folks around the table had been friends for years , it was amazing to see those relationships solidify during our post-college years. We all had a passion for food (some for eating, and others for cooking), but ultimately, we just loved being together. 

This is a tradition that has continued, in some form or another, since those early days of our marriage. Whether a potluck for 15 people, or a an extra friend or two around the dinner table, I'm most content when our kitchen is full of friends. 

So, when I saw this dinner online a few months back, I was immediately inspired.

Once again, I emailed a bunch of friends, but this time asked who was interested in throwing the most extravagant dinner party ever. The catch was this - everyone had to pitch in in whichever areas they felt most talented or passionate about. I wasn't about to sign someone up to cook if they loved interior design. I wasn't going to force the musician to make drinks. Really, I wasn't going to force anyone to do anything. Together, we brainstormed a few must-have roles (chef, for one) and everything else quickly fell into place. 

Katie, Stephanie, and Charlotte decorated with burlap, green bottles, and mossy candleholders. Melissa assisted in the decorations, and also hand-painted the portraits of our 13 guests on rocks. Her husband, Jon, handpicked the beer and wine. Stefan was our house mixologist and created a handcrafted cocktail especially for that night, including homemade bitters and orange infused sugar cubes. Janelle and Sydney were two of our talented sous chefs and Adam created our night's playlist. Jessica and Jon (yep, two Jons) created the menu for a truly extravagant 5-course meal:bruscettamarinated olives, and goat cheeseroasted kale tomato soup with rustic rosemary rollsbaby bok choy and avocado salad with a sweet soy vinaigrettehandmade sweet potato ravioli and grilled asparagus, and a chocolate cake served with rosemary honey oranges. (Yes, those are all the recipes. You're welcome.) 

Astute readers will also notice that it was a completely vegan night, which is pretty astounding if you ask me. We had one vegetarian in the group, as well as a dairy/egg allergy in another, so Jon and Jessica were careful to make sure that everyone could eat everything. My hats are off to you both.

Anyways. Enough talking. 

Here are the photos from that wonderful night.