(quinoa salad - see recipe here)
This past weekend we had some friends over for a blind wine tasting. It's such a fun party concept, and I completely encourage you all to host one of your own.
(spanish tortilla with sofrito - see recipe here)
Pick one wine varietal (we chose Pinot Noir) and then ask everyone to bring their favorite bottle maxed out at $20. When everyone arrives, have one person remove the foil and cork from each bottle and place it in a brown bag. Then have another person label each bag with a number (i.e. if you have 6 bottles of wine, each bag gets a number 1-6). This way no one knows which wine is in each bag.
Your guests can try all the wines and then vote on their favorite. For an extra competitive edge, we have each guest bring $5. We bought a nice bottle of Pinot Noir for the person who brought the most favored bottle.
(devilled eggs and skewers of fingerling potatoes, blood orange, and avocado)
To go along with all this wine tasting, we put out a large display of tapas. We didn't want a formal dinner since everyone would be more focused on the wine tasting. The small plates let people munch on food at their will and keep coming back for food all night long.
(bacon wrapped dates)
All the tapas (except for the bacon wrapped dates) were made the day before and refrigerated. So all that was left to do the night of was simply set out the food and quickly throw some bacon wrapped dates in the oven.
I wanted the setting to be relaxed and sort of rustic looking. I bought one roll of kraft wrapping paper and set it across all of our dining surfaces. Using a marker, I labelled all the food directly on the kraft paper. I set out dishtowels from Ikea as napkins and used simple white platters.
For flowers, I picked up 2 bouquets of orange flowers ($4 each at Trader Joe's) and a bundle of purple wax flowers ($4 at TJs). I put the arrangements together loosely in some wine ceramic square vases and set them among some gold mercury glass votives I picked up at Target for $2 each.
The party was a success and totally worth all the wine glass clean up!