Although the weather has been mild, November is here and that means holiday parties are right around the corner. It’s always fun to entertain at home, but between overly ambitious recipes and the proclivity to start imbibing before dinner is out of the over, it can get tricky, quickly. We’ve all had that “There’s nothing to see here moment,” when smoke is billowing out of the kitchen, the fire alarm is urgently sounding, and your hostess smile is frozen onto your face, desperately urging your guests to relax and have a good time. No? That’s just me? Well, whether or not you’re prone to culinary mishaps, these glittery goods will make your next party extra festive.
Unique tablescapes make guests swoon not because of cost, but because of the extra-special effort. This is the time to dust off the candlesticks, pull out Aunt Edith’s chipped china, and fold some cloth napkins. Set the scene with some festive Brooklyn-made linen placemats by Alexandra Ferguson ($28) that will subtly convince your guests that they are having a good time. Choose from 12 foodie phrases to create a personalized eating experience.
Nothing puts a damper on a dinner faster than dish duty. Brooklyn’s own Susty Party makes disposable tableware ($3.49- $9.99) that you won’t feel bad about. Their plates and bowls are completely non-toxic and compostable, and the holiday collection (which includes “Ugly Sweater” print cups) will be available at Whole Foods by mid-November.
Urban living pro tip: Make sure to invite your neighbors when you are entertaining at your casa, so they don’t call the co-op board or 311 with noise complaints. Then wow everyone with a beautiful cheese plate. This Thoman Fuchs Creative hand-carved abalone and white marble butterfly shaped cheeseboard ($375) with iridescent inlays will sparkle up the most basic goat cheese. A more affordable, but still stylish option is the monogrammed cheese board from Brooklyn Slate ($39).
Astound your hungry guests by passing around the bread and spread alongside this ingenious butter knife by Butter Up ($12). The design has a built-in grater, which makes hard, cold butter soft and spreadable. After spending so much time figuring out how it works, they’ll forget how dinner at eight o’clock turned into dinner at nine o’clock.
If things go off the rails–say, everyone brought a kale salad to your potluck, or your guests get into an argument about Bernie Sanders–Brooklyn Chocolate Whiskey ($25) is the one way to turn the tide and lubricate the party. Made by Kings County Distillery infused with cacao husks leftover from Mast Brothers Chocolate, this is the perfect quick transition to dessert.
Once the cocktails are flowing, make sure to protect your furniture with a few decorative coasters like these Pinecone & Holly Letterpress Coasters ($14) from Sesame Letterpress Shop.
Guest of a Guest
If you realize at the last minute that Fresh Direct won’t deliver or that your stove is on the brink, you may find yourself clamoring for a last-minute invite at a friend of a friends. ‘Tis the season to help the needy, and your friend’s boyfriend’s sister just might have an extra folding chair with your name on it. If so, be sure to bring a hostess gift to thank them for the trouble. Sure, a bottle of wine or a dessert will do the trick. But if you want to make a lasting impression (and score a proper invite next time), pull a rabbit out of your hat with a unique and memorable item. The new Made in Brooklyn ($37.50) book is a photo-rich look at the borough’s food and drink artisans, and is practically calling out for a coffee table. Brokelyn’s new Brooklyn Wine Book ($20) is like the gift that keeps on giving, with tickets good for two-for-one pours at 20 different wine bars and restaurants. Or try these cocktail stirrers topped with gold safari animals ($22) on sale at Food52. You’ll be remembered as that party animal, in a good way.