Food Network Star Donatella Arpaia knows how to entertain. As an award-winning New York restaurateur, she’s no stranger to throwing fabulous dinner parties. In this guest post, she shares her tips for hosting a casual alfresco meal.
Summer is all about enjoying delicious food and drinks with family and friends. I love alfresco dining because it lends itself to a wonderfully casual atmosphere filled with great conversations and lots of laughter. And though the party may be relaxed and laid-back, it can still look beautiful. Use these tips to perfect your presentation, and remember: it’s all in the details.
Splashes of color help set a festive scene. I like to pick a shade for each season, and turquoise is my favorite for summer. I’ll find ways to work it into my table settings – like my Tritan Glassware collection. These BPA-free glasses are absolutely beautiful, and they provide a lovely pop of color without the fear of breakage.
Throughout my career in the restaurant industry, I’ve learned that presentation is crucial. Serving delicious food alongside beautiful plates, flatware and linens takes your meal to a whole new level. Sometimes I’ll even set the table the night before to make sure everything is perfect. (Plus, it saves time the day of the event.)
I love candles and lanterns; the soft light is warm and inviting, creating a more intimate atmosphere. A little background music always enlivens the party. (Pandora makes it easy to create a custom playlist.) And a tasteful floral arrangement with hydrangeas or peonies adds an elegant finishing touch.
Serve your meal fresh from the oven in stylish baking dishes – like my French Cookware collection – that look right at home on your tabletop. It’s effortless and so chic! Guests can dine family style, and you’ll get to step out of the kitchen and enjoy the food too.
I don’t know about your guests, but mine usually arrive early… and hungry! While I’m taking care of last-minute preparations in the kitchen, I keep my guests happy with an assortment of snacks.
Try mixing things up (and get out of the chips-and-dip rut) with this light, delicious fava bean puree.
1 pound small, dried, shelled fava beans
1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, coarsely chopped
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
8-12 slices rustic Italian bread (or substitute with pita chips)
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings made with a vegetable peeler
Put the dried beans in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. As foam rises to the surface, skim it off with a spoon. Add the potato, carrot, onion, celery and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then cover and cook on low heat until the beans are tender, about an hour. (Add up to 1 cup of water to the beans if the liquid evaporates before the beans are cooked.) Puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Meanwhile, brush the bread with olive oil. Using tongs, “grill” the bread slices on both sides over a gas flame or by placing it directly on the coils of an electric burner, taking care not to let it char. Spoon the puree into bowls, top with shaved Parmigiano, and serve warm with the grilled bread. Or, serve the puree with pita chips.
Before you dine out this summer, shop Frontgate’s exclusive Donatella Entertaining Collection for all your alfresco entertaining essentials.
Parrotheads know how to entertain. It’s a lifestyle that lends itself to spending sun-soaked afternoons with good music and great friends, sipping something ice cold. And whether you’re hosting a get-together on the shores of St. Somewhere or in your own backyard, it’s all about atmosphere.
From the food and drinks to the decorations, every detail should capture the fun-loving spirit of island living. Margaritaville is filled with colorful characters, frozen concoctions and cheeseburgers in paradise, and your party should be too.
Before you invite your flock over for a summer soiree, read on for our list of must-have Margaritaville products. Then create your personal Parrothead paradise right in your own backyard.
Whether your drink of choice is an ice-cold Landshark or a colorful tropical beverage, the best way to savor summer spirits is with our Margaritaville Beverage Collection. Featuring a double-walled beverage tub and dispenser with an innovative chill cell insert, this exclusive collection will keep your libations extra frosty, even on the hottest afternoons.
Margaritas, piña coladas, daiquiris or smoothies … craft your favorite frozen concoction with ease. The first fully automatic machine that shaves ice and blends drinks, the Margaritaville Bali Frozen Concoction Maker offers a perfect pour every time. Plus, it features a large-capacity reservoir so you won’t get stuck behind the bar all night.
Complete with martini glasses, vibrant Petey the Parrot serveware, Margaritaville dinnerware and our exclusive stainless steel beverage tub, this Parrot Head Serveware party pack has everything you need to host an island-inspired soiree or alfresco dinner party.
A little mood lighting goes a long way when the party is still in full swing after sunset. Our exclusive Party Torches add instant island ambience to your outdoor space. Plus, the margarita glass-inspired reservoirs hold up to 20 ounces of paraffin oil, so your tiki bar can stay open long after sunset.
Now you have everything you need to create your own entertaining oasis. All that’s left to do is pour some frozen concoctions, set out the snacks and enjoy the party!
Check out our entire Margaritaville Collection, featuring more than 200 exclusive items, for even more island-inspired summer essentials.
This Monday marks America’s 240th birthday, and the party is going to be grand. There will be fireworks, parades and backyard barbecues all across the country. And if you’re hosting an event, the time is right to infuse some color into your outdoor space.
Incorporating red, white and blue into every detail of your party – from the flag out front to the table settings – is a wonderful way to pay homage to our country. And you don’t have to be limited to old-fashioned decorations like star-studded paper plates and streamers.
With the right selection of outdoor furniture, accents and entertaining accessories, you can showcase your spirit without sacrificing style. That’s the beauty of New Americana. It’s a design-minded take on tradition that favors new and exciting decorations over the old standbys.
Before you fire up the grill and light the sparklers, take note of these decorating ideas inspired by Old Glory herself.
Food is a big part of any Fourth of July celebration, so make sure the table is set for the occasion. Serveware, linens and even dishes are an easy way to incorporate color. And the right mix of red, white and blue makes for a lovely presentation.
There isn’t a specific formula for creating a New Americana tablescape. But don’t be afraid to use different patterns, textures and even tonal variations of the classic color palette. Just make sure every item on your table has an element that complements the theme.
The right accessories add a subtle patriotic panache to your outdoor space without overwhelming it in kitsch. Think beyond tabletop flags and streamers to more high-style accents like throw pillows, a colorful statue and even a garden stool.
There is no end to interesting, tasteful accent pieces that work within an Americana theme. Choose items that intrigue you and enhance your outdoor decor, so even after the festivities have ended, your new decorations can remain.
Does your guest list exceed your current seating, or are you looking to update your outdoor furniture? Use this as an opportunity to further enhance your New Americana aesthetic with color-coordinated furniture pieces – like bistro-inspired seating, chaise lounges and even our renowned Market Umbrellas.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our New Americana Pinterest board, and get ready to throw an unforgettable Fourth of July celebration.
Done well, eclectic furniture collections create texture and warmth. And intrigue. To Jack Ovadia, there’s beauty in being bold. “Never be afraid to try,” the New York-based designer said. “The harder you try, the better the results.”
And so Ovadia balanced glistening metallic pieces with expressive textural works in designing the poolside seating area at the 2015 Hampton Designer Showhouse.
Mixing two collections, he set a foundation in hard metals. Then he softened the scene with texture, using woven wicker seating, sphere-shaped and shaggy pillows, and dimensional table accents.
Within that framework, balance perpetuated. Glamorous gold accent pieces offset clean, white leather seating. Matte finishes juxtaposed with shiny ones. Pillows ranged from sharp geometric patterns to soft floral prints, from fluffy feathers to Pollock-esque paint splatters.
Working exclusively with our contemporary Porta Forma line, Ovadia placed artful accents everywhere. Dramatic, angular Pascal Tables made a riveting statement poolside.
“They’re the piece that people say, ‘Wow, what is that?’ ” Ovadia said of the Pascal Tables. “That’s what I love about the space. We used really unique pieces that we don’t think you’re going to be able to see anywhere else.”
Artful elements aside, the goal was warmth – figurative and literal. Seated round the hammered copper firepit, as the sun sets poolside, there’s plenty to admire. “When people use this space,” Ovadia said, “I want them to feel like they never have to leave.”
“That’s what I love about the space. We used really unique pieces that we don’t think you’re going to be able to see anywhere else.”
Speaking of blue and white... Bliss at home revealed her holiday tricks on her blog today, and we are loving her unique uses for our ornaments! Check it out... ---> bit.ly/BlissAtHomeHoliday