Ooh la la!

A table setting for 36

A table setting for 36

So, I think I have mentioned in past posts that not only do I love food and travel, but I have some friends that also share my passions. One of these friends, Danika Boyle, recently threw a small, intimate dinner party for her closest 36 acquaintances. And we were delighted to be a part of it.

Caprese Salad and Carmelized Onion Bruschetta

Caprese Salad and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta

The six-course meal kicked off with a delightful marinated tomato salad and bruschetta with caramelized onions. I have a theory that anything with caramelized onions is good. So needless to say I was a big fan. At this point the table started to get filled up with vats of wine. And the mingling began.

After a half hour of eating appetizers and drinking wine it was time to sit down for the rest of the meal. Danika also had a cute idea of not sitting couples next to each other. I believe this is the correct way of holding a dinner party. While it was a bit awkward at first, it quickly became fun. I even found out that the girl next to me was friends with someone I had recently met. Small world.

Spaghetti with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Spaghetti with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Next up was the pasta course. Danika created a perfect summer dish. For those of you not in Texas it has been hovering over 100 degrees for the past couple of months. So this light sage butter sauce was so fantastic. I am a sucker for carbs and this packed so much flavor. It was one of my favorites that night.

Braised Short Ribs and Sauteed Mushrooms

Braised Short Ribs and Sauteed Mushrooms

After the pasta came the piece de resistance – the braised short ribs. I know this picture does not do the course justice.  So I apologize. I gave the camera to Chris and I think he was more interested in the vino and talking to his new dinner partners. But I digress. The ribs were fantastically fall-off the bone good. I believe there was a bit of chocolate in them. I am not 100 percent sure, so do not quote me on that. Needless to say they were fantastic. And similarly to caramelized onions, I can never say no to a sauteed mushroom. The combo was perfect!

Unfortunately, too much vino was had by all so there are no pictures of the dessert. Danika outsourced the dessert (yes, everyone is doing it!) to her close friend Sandi Reinlie. Sandi delighted us all with petit fours covered in dark chocolate ganache and  topped with a whipped ganache rosette and sliced strawberries. I should mention that  Sandi is a pastry chef at Walton’s Fancy and Staple. Walton’s is a brand new delicatessen, bakery and cafe as well as a floral shop. I have not been yet, but it sounds divine. Find out more here.  So please visit Sandi at Walton’s to try some of her fantastic creations.

The meal while delightful, also served as the perfect venue for Danika to announce a new venture. Ms. Boyle is offering cooking classes in Paris. Interested in learning about Bordelaise sauce? Or perhaps you have dreamed of making the perfect Pot de Creme? Well, why not do it in Paris. Danika’s culinary tour of Paris includes classes as well as tours of famous Parisian markets and bistros. To find out more visit her website. There you can also find out more about Danika’s Austin cooking class schedule as well.

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