HoLiDaY PaRtY TiMe!

Happy Holidays!

It’s holiday party time!
Are you planning a gathering for your work or business?
Perhaps some of these ideas will be useful…

For the second year in a row, we held our party at The Depot Restaurant in Torrance, California. The banquet room is a warm space with red walls decorated with kimonos. Just the right size for 75 – 100 guests, the lighting is flattering and the acoustics generate good energy in the room yet allow for conversation.

Full bar, great wine by the glass, festive non-alcoholic drinks.

Live Music
Barry Anthony Jazz Band playing Christmas favorites as well as snappy jazz tunes.

Jalapeño Cheese Wontons
Reception with passed appetizers to encourage mingling among the guests.

Ahi Tuna Tartare
Neat little bucket to place used spoons.

Chicken Empanadas with Thai Chile BBQ Sauce
Global Flavors!
 And Fried Macaroni & Cheese (not shown)

Each place is set with party favors, Holiday Jam and Sugar Plum Jam by Stonewall Kitchen decorated with ribbons and bows and a recipe sheet for the Chef’s cooking demonstration.
Chef Shafer prepares the first course, Smashed Potato Corn Bisque, as a demonstration. Everyone gets a copy of the recipe to recreate at home. We had so much fun at the Depot last year, we came back again this year. Last year Chef Shafer demonstrated a Wilted Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Bacon, excellent recipe, here.
If you are cooking for A LOT of people, this recipe scale is for you:
  • 25 Red Skin Potatoes
  • 1/2 c. Canola Oil
  • 2.T. Course Salt
  • 2.T. Course Black Pepper
  • 2 T. Chopped Garlic
  • 1 T. Basil Dried
Soup Preparation:
  • 2 c. Diced Onion
  • 2 c. Diced Carrots
  • 2 c. Corn, Fresh off the Cob
  • 1/4 c. Canola Oil
  • 1/2 gallon Cream
  • 1 gallon Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Toss the potatoes with the list of ingredients above, roast on a baking sheet at 350° F for 35-40 minutes. Let cool then smash the potatoes by hand.

To prepare the soup:
Sauté onions and carrots in oil until soft.
Add cream, heat through.

Add smashed potatoes.

Look at this kitchen equipment, would ya? Oh, I love that pot, and how about that immersion blender!!!

Blend briefly, then add stock and heat through.
Add fresh corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste, then…

First Course: Smashed Potato Corn Bisque
Wouldn’t it be neat to recreate this demonstration for guests in your home during your next dinner party?

Main Courses:
Curry Roasted Salmon, Cashew Veggies

Roast Sirloin with Mixed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes
And Buttermilk Chicken & Fries (not shown)
All Served Family Style

Banana Cream Pie

Berry Cobbler
Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Pie with Strawberries
Some tips I have learned over the years from planning holiday parties for the workplace:
  • Save the Date. Let guests know the date well in advance of the party.
  • Plan business party date early in the holiday season so as not to conflict with personal holiday parties.
  • Choose a convenient location, not too far from place of business.
  • Have clear communication (in writing) with the Chef regarding food and with the Manager regarding expectations for set up and service.
  • Encourage employees to bring a guest whether it be a spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend.
  • A pretty and joyful invitation indicates your intention to throw a special party.
  • Have specific start and end times (not too late).
  • Insure safe transportation.
  • Accommodate special dietary needs.
  • Full bar, good wines, special seasonal non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Live music.
  • Entertainment (We love the cooking demonstration)!
  • Employer to make a brief speech, welcome guests, share good tidings.
  • Have unique party favors to take home. (Since we have a cooking demonstration, we give food related gifts).
  • Festive atmosphere and decorations.
  • Encourage guests to wear holiday attire.
  • Pay attention to detail.
If you have holiday party tips for the workplace to share, we’d love to hear them!

26 thoughts on “HoLiDaY PaRtY TiMe!”

  1. Nice behind the scenes! Good advice too. As an employee, I’m always a fan of an open bar too. Mind you, that could be dangerous.

  2. maryann, i have to agree. i MUST snack when viewing this blog. but then i just become disappointed because my crusty bread and jam seem pretty bland when i’m enlarging photos of cobbler and tarts. this leads me to the emergency candy shelf, you know, to cure the disappointing feelings. emotional eating, anyone?

  3. Everything looks so amazing!
    Yes.. that blender looks a bit intimidating! 🙂
    But that salmon.. wow! I wouldn’t hesitate in the least gobbling that down.. of course using the best holiday manners though! 🙂
    Thanks for the tips Lori Lynn!!

  4. That looks like so much fun and the food looks fantastic ! I am starving now !!! Thanks for dropping by my blog. I am just getting started and have so much to learn.

  5. What a feast! What a party! I would have eaten so much that I would’ve thrown up everywhere.

    Did you say Sugar Plum jam? Mmm.

  6. Thanks for commenting in my blog! I get to know yours now :D. You’ve got lovely food and pictures and this Feast must have been amazing!!! Lucky you 😀

  7. Lori – thanks for keeping track of me! I missed visiting here.
    I cannot believe that I never came across this restaurant. The event looks out of this world as is the food. Where can I try that Pumpkin trifle?

  8. OMG those desserts have me drooling on my screen … and that bisque sounds so good for a cold winter day. What a feast!

  9. Oh my goodness,
    I wanna come work for you!
    I do miss these American food spreads, almost any item you mention makes we want to book a plane, starting with the Jalapeño Cheese Wontons! You have no idea how often I have been trying to make people here understand that there is incredibly good food to be found in the good old US of A, sometimes I wished there would be a job out there as ambassador of good American food!

  10. Look at that immersion blender. The food looks sooo good. especially the desserts, Ahemmm

  11. I forgot to mention the first time that I read this: I get tasked with planning most of the parties in my workplace. I hate it. I mean, I adamantly DESPISE party planning, unless it’s *my* party at *my* house, in which case I turn into a crazy party-Nazi.

    That said, your tips were PERFECT (and I wish that I had read them 5 years ago when I started having to do this), your venue looked phenom, and if I could I would have traded up the holiday party that I went to (and planned) for yours. Just saying. I live in Canada, but you can still invite me if you want…….

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