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One of the many joys of city living/being young is not always having enough places for people to sit. And not just chairs, table space too. One of my quick fixes is a card table and folding chairs. But not the crusty kind that you would find in your parent’s garage … there are some stylish versions out there now that can even stay visible year round.
The way I do it is keep the basic table, and then just upgrade the chairs. The reasons for this route are a few:
- A quick tablecloth jazzes up the table, making it look better than it is.
- Also, the nice folding tables take up more space, and make a bit harder to fit under the bed (as it’s not like we have much storage space either).
- Plus, many of the wooden tables have cross legs, and so it is a bit tougher to get chairs (and legs) tucked in.
But an upgrade on the chairs can make it all look not so temporary. The ones I have are from Pottery Barn a few years ago, but it looks like they stopped selling those. Many stores carry these “fancy” folding versions, so there is an option now for every style an budget.
And if you really need more space, you can always add a little table top extender (or even plywood) to the top of the table, just under the tablecloth.
What trick do you have under your bed (or up your sleeve) to make room for more guests?
There are many great things about joining families, but one of my favorites is learning new traditions. Growing up, we often did tamales on Christmas Eve, and it has always been my favorite – until now.
A full table with mounds of crab legs and champagne and family may be the new preferred meal for the 24th.
It is great because if you have any last minute wrapping to do – it takes almost no work. Buy some good crab from the fishmonger and keep it cold. Serve it with an easy salad, crusty bread, lots of lemon and a few dipping sauces and you’ve pulled off a perfectly decadent holiday meal.
If you think you may still be hungry, you can always start this meal off with a first course of soup.
Still figuring out plans for New Year’s Eve? Invite a few friends over, pop open the bubbly and get cracking.
What you’ll need:
As you are running around finishing up (or starting) your holiday shopping, you may find that you have some new gifts to give each December. The chilly months tend to be most popular time of year for proposals (last year I had 3 friends who got engaged within a week of each other in December – granted one was me).
It is fun to begin the celebration right away with a little something for the betrothed … I received this book from a friend, and like it so much (the pictures are pretty amazing) that I have returned the favor to others of the newly engaged set.
Of course champagne and champagne glasses are always fun, but there will be plenty of time for those gifts with parties and showers and the wedding too.
This really can be the most wonderful time of the year!
What is your favorite way to celebrate a newly engaged couple?
This one is for my friend A. She is going to Christmas Eve at her brother’s house and is bringing a side to help out. We chatted about options – anything warm was out, because she didn’t want to take up any oven time (a nice thought when you are not quite sure what all the host may have on the menu).
So it seemed like salad would be in order. Fennel/orange is always a great combination, as is beet/orange. I love citrus in salads – particularly in the winter, as a nice bright contrast to the primarily heavier meals.
And then I remembered this super simple (no cooking of any parts required) salad – and it is a great use of seasonal ingredients. I love persimmons and wish they showed up more in savory things.
I love the fact that my friends are all so talented – the doctor/lawyer crew balance nicely with the creatives and the finance folks are great for splitting up a group bill. But its the wine friends who often get my attention. I’m not going to lie – I love the fact that two of my friends are sommeliers … not bad, not bad at all.
And you are getting the benefit too!
I asked E to recommend some wines for you guys for the holidays … ones that taste good enough to have for a special occasion, but with a price that you can buy by the case.
She offered up a red, white and bubbly, with the tasting notes to match. All of these picks can be found here in NYC at September Wines in the Lower East Side, but you can likely find them at your own wine store too.
Regardless, I really recommend finding a wine store – the people working there are always incredibly knowledgeable, and can offer you suggestions to fit any occasion, meal or budget.
Here are the picks:Sparkling: Francois Montand ‘Blanc de Blancs’ White: Peirano ‘The Other’ Red: Chateau Tire Pé Diem Bordeaux
For more information, tasting notes and prices…
There are no shortage of gift guides out there – you’d be hard pressed to find a website or blog this month without one. And after a few back-and-forth conversations (in our own head – please don’t start) about whether or not to do one, we decided to kind of go for it…
Basically do a round-up of the best parts of all the ones we liked – from our favorite sites. Some from here, some from there, some from just about everywhere.
Have more great gift ideas? Please share and leave them in the comments!
To get more info on the goodies above and other ideas…
Is it cold and rainy where you are? If not – jealous, very, very jealous! This little Angeleno still doesn’t know quite what to do with “weather.”
Make soup – I think that is really the only thing that can be done with it. Particularly if the morning was spent hustling ’round the city trying to attack the gift list. Thank goodness I smartened up and did at least a bit of it online…
But back to the important things – like soup, particularly my nana’s “pot of beans” white bean soup. It seems during the holidays she always has a pot of the stove or some tucked away in the fridge, ready for whomever will stop by.
This is really a perfect pre/post-holiday food, when you are busy running around, it’s nice to have something so filling and nourishing right in one bowl.
To be honest, I don’t know if this was inspired by the vanilla pudding we made at Sunday Suppers, the third box of clementine’s I have bought in 2 weeks, or just wanting some chocolate (which is rather strange in and of itself). Most likely it was a combination of them all.
At Sunday Suppers we made a silky smooth, light vanilla pudding with candied kumquats and I have been thinking about it ever since (a whole 4 days, I know). It was not as thick as a traditional pudding, and I really liked the consistency. I was about to use that recipe, just altered for chocolate, when found the same chocolate pudding recipe of two of my favorite sites (thanks Deb and Luisa!) with rave reviews no less – so it was apparent that was the route to take.
With an (over) abundance of clementines on hand, I figured they should get the same treatment as those kumquats. Since they have a thin skin, I knew they could be candied in their entirety, rather and just the peel like a traditional orange.
I recently attended snazzy little event for a great new cocktail book, Vintage Cocktails, and while I thoroughly enjoyed my sidecar, I must admit the sugared rim was a bit much. I know it is supposed to be there, and one sip with sugar is great, but after that, it is almost excessive. You could solve that by only drinking from the same spot, but that requires paying a bit too much attention for my taste.
I think instead only half of the rim should only be sugared (or salted or candied, etc.).
Especially when preparing glassing before guests arrive, they are then ready for any taste… and saves you from asking “with or without salt?” on the margs!