Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest

Are you free this evening? We would be delighted if you could join us at our Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest. The party begins with “Cava on the Lawn.” We’ve moved some furniture out to the side yard, so get comfortable because tonight promises a gorgeous sunset and a meal lovingly prepared to surprise and delight your tastebuds. Relax, enjoy each other’s company, mi casa es su casa!

A brilliant meal we enjoyed a couple weeks ago at Chef John Sedlar’s Rivera Restaurant in downtown LA got us crazy-excited to cook in his style. He is the master of Modern Southwest Cuisine; a blend of Spanish, Mexican, Native-American and Anglo-American food married with the technique of nouvelle French cooking. It is an exciting vibrant cuisine with countless possibilities for the imaginative cook.

The Wine List

We’ve chosen stellar Spanish wines to accompany our Modern Southwest dinner. A sparkling Cava to enjoy “on the lawn,” a refreshing white Albariño, a voluptuous red Garnacha (superb with the brisket), and we finish the evening with a caramel-y Oloroso Sherry. Spanish wines are a terrific value, all these selections were under $25/bottle.

The Foodies

Lauren, Father Adam, Sally


Gail, Lori Lynn, Lauren

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet everybody, please, have a seat, nibble on some popcorn tossed with truffle oil, grated manchego, and snipped chives, sip some of the delightful Cava – you’re in for a treat!

When the sun starts to set we’ll be heading indoors to feast on Modern Southwest Cuisine.

The Table

Our Modern Southwest Table is set with earthy Southwest colors of terra cotta, orange and turquoise.

The Zuni tecolote (owl) statue presides over our Modern Southwest Table.
She symbolizes family & friends, wisdom, and the nighttime as in “luxury dinner parties.”

The Menu

Lauren lights the candles.

The Courses

Tres Layer Verrine

carnitas pâté/ perigord truffle
viognier white port gelée/ cilantro/ serrano
sweet corn & fennel panna cotta

Kudos to Lauren for creating this fabulous amuse bouche.
She fit all those Southwest flavors into a 2 oz. verrine!
Serve with toasted corn bread.
The jaunty food picks are from

Dos Sopas Uno Plato

The center soup is a smoky Anasazi red bean soup flavored with fresh lime and ham hock. The other is a creamy mayocoba yellow bean soup flavored with roasted New Mexico green chile. Guests pick up a bowl of hot soup from the kitchen and bring it over to the “soup bar” to garnish their own –  with choices of smoked sausage, Mexican crema, sweet pickles, radish, pepitas, hard-boiled egg, cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper.

Father Adam garnishes his soup. The “soup bar” was a big hit!

To plate two soups in one bowl, place a ring or round cookie cutter in the middle of a warmed empty bowl. Ladle one soup into the center of the ring then ladle the other soup outside the ring to the same height as the center soup. Lift the ring from the soup. The two soups should be of similar consistency for best results.

Ensalada de Escargots

John Sedlar’s legendary cookbook, Modern Southwest Cuisine, provided inspiration for the salad course. He serves “Butter Lettuce Tacos of Escargots.” Here we turned his idea into a salad of butter lettuce, stone-ground cornmeal breaded escargot, fried shallot, parsley, and garlic cream sauce.

The escargots salad is dressed with a drizzle of rich garlic cream sauce.

Ladrillo de Brisket

From the “brick” presentation to the rioja chipotle agave black bean sauce, this brisket is a winner. The sauce is just barely sweet, with hints of smoke and heat, with a consistency that is slightly creamy from a small amount of pureed beans.

Ladrillos (bricks) of brisket.

I posted the Ladrillo de Brisket recipe on Taste With The Eyes yesterday here.

Gail fries the dessert ravioli.

The crispy wonton ravioli is filled with apricot preserves, mascarpone cheese and dried apricot. The sauce is crème anglaise spiced with New Mexico red chile powder and pinenuts. Garnish with mint.
UPDATE: This terrific recipe in now posted on Taste With The Eyes, here!

Wilson hopes we saved him some brisket.

Taste With The Eyes Entertains:

  • Company – I am truly blessed with the best friends and family in the world, my only regret is that you cannot meet them in person. They are kind, funny, fun, smart, vivacious, generous, helpful, and boy oh boy they can really cook!
  • Menu – every party starts with an inspiration, this one from two cutting-edge restaurants, Rivera in LA and Laurelhurst in Portland. Rivera gave us the cuisine idea, and Laurelhurst gave us the presentation idea.
  • Food – always top quality, but not always the most expensive. Brisket is a terrific meat to serve to a crowd. Cook it low and slow, and make sure it is excruciatingly tender. Be sure to check out the “brick” technique, it makes a great presentation.
  • Presentation – we do taste with the eyes, after all!
  • Wine  – tonight we served exclusively Spanish wines which paired perfectly with our Modern Southwest cuisine. Choose interesting esoteric wines to delight your guests, ones they may have not tried before. I spent 7 years in the wine business, if you are stumped on what to serve, shoot me an email with your menu and price range, I’m happy to give my recommendations.
  • Table Setting – this is one of my hobbies. I love to set a beautiful table, not a table-scape. I always use candles, fresh flowers from my gardens, pretty linens, and interesting colors to enhance the meal. I like to add an artifact or centerpiece that reflects the meal’s theme. I am not particularly a fan of a matchy-matchy themed table.
  • China, Glass, Silver – different courses can get different types of china and silverware, not everything has to match. I always use my finest glassware, even if the party is casual, wine tastes even better that way, no?
  • Lighting – candles make everyone look spectacular, and the lights are on dimmers for that perfect ambiance.
  • Music – Pandora internet radio is a perfect accompaniment to any party. Choose a genre that fits the mood and pipe the radio through your speakers. We chose “gipsy kings radio” with the Modern Southwest dinner.
  • Movement – to avoid a long dinner in one chair, add movement. This party started on the lawn, and required guests to get up from the dinner table to garnish their own soup at the soup bar. Relax after the meal and sip the sherry on the couches.
  • Ambiance – the intersection of music, lighting, decor  and attention to detail will make everyone feel special. When the details are attended to, the guests feel how much the host cares about them. (And don’t forget the powder room, put out charming hand soaps and individual towels).
  • Execution – my friends are foodies, and everyone had input with the menu and helped with cooking, serving, and cleaning. We love the camaraderie that comes with cooking together and wouldn’t have it any other way!
  • Clean-up – clean as you go, the kitchen motto, but as the host, remember it is most important to spend time with your friends. The kitchen shouldn’t be a disaster, but it need not be immaculate at the end of the party either. I put an extra folding table right next to the kitchen door to hold dirty pots and dishes, yet still keep them out of sight. I couldn’t be happier the next morning with a cup of coffee – finishing up last night’s dishes in the afterglow of a wonderful event the previous evening.

“Cold Cava, warm hearts, and hot spices add to the camaraderie of cooking together on an early Autumn afternoon. As the sun sets, we dine together at a lovely rose covered table, laughing and toasting, and groaning with pleasure at every new twist on a beloved cuisine. . . ‘Muy excepcional!’ ”
from Lauren

“Readers often comment in Taste With The Eyes blog the desire to have an experience at Lori Lynn’s table. Well, I am one LL’s privileged friends who is often the beneficiary of her test kitchens, brainstorming sessions and dinner parties (casual to luxurious). What makes these events even better is the opportunity to cook, eat, drink and celebrate with other foodies. LL’s dinner parties are where foodie friends (old and new) come together to learn, share, have fun and experience a luxurious meal that cannot be found in any restaurant. For a luxury dinner party is not just about the food; it is about the entire experience.”
from Father Adam

You are always welcome here at Taste With The Eyes. I hope you enjoyed meeting my friends and dining with us. Oh, before you go, let’s sip from tiny glasses of oloroso sherry and toast once again to great friends and an enchanted evening!

Buenas noches mis amigos…

Project Food Blog

Competition Overview

  • Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on for one year.
  • Voting for entries on the first challenge will kick off September 20th, and contestants will be whittled down over the next 12 weeks via exciting challenges related to food blogging.
  • Entries are voted on by Foodbuzz Featured Publisher peers and rated by our panel of judges including: Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE Magazine; Nancy Silverton, Founder La Brea Bakery, Co-owner Mozza; Pim Techamuanvivit, Author of and The Foodie Handbook
  • Winners advance to the next challenge, including one lucky Reader’s Choice winner who earns auto advancement to the next challenge (solely based on Reader votes; not applicable in the final round).
  • Join the fun! Follow Project Food Blog for contest updates and help us discover the next Food Blog Star!

(from here)

Challenge #3: Luxury Dinner Party

Challenge Prompt: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family. Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. Share your hosting secrets with readers, like how to cook for a crowd, plan a menu, or involve guests in the prep.


Votes may be cast now through Oct. 7th. If you are a fan of Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest, please vote here! Muchas Gracias!

54 thoughts on “Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest”

  1. Beautiful! You’re sure to advance!

    If I understand the next challenge correctly, you must create a “how to” photo shoot?

    Interesting! Or should I say “Piece of cake!”?


  2. An amazing 5-star feast! I love the Southwestern flavors in your sophisticated modern dishes! And those Spanish wines are excellent to pair with this meal! Wonderful!

  3. Congratulations, LL, on a fine dinner party and thanks forincluding me. Your post of the evening is well described (not as good as being there, of course). Good luck with this next round of competition. FA

  4. There’s no one like you, you’re in a class all your own! Your attention to every minute detail is amazing! You are so going to win!

  5. That is a truly memorable dinner party. You have outdone yourself and gone beyond elegance to some super hyper elegant world. I would love to attend any event you’d give. Patsy says that Wilson is dreamy! Good luck in this next round.

  6. I love the black and white photos paired with the colored photos. Your dining room looks like something out of a beautiful South Western magazine…not to mention all the gorgeous foods, and the presentation. Everything is extremely amazing! Congratulations!

  7. Well…since every meal served on TWTE is luxurious to the nth degree, I knew we’d be in for a treat here. Great menu and spectacular presentation but it is the warmth and invitational quality of your parties that linger…and make one want to be invited to the next one. Congrats on a great entry.

  8. Oh Lori Lynn…girl, you know how to throw a party! I want to come! What thought and detail was put into your meal and decor. Stunning, like everything you do. It felt like a mini vacation looking at the pictures. Fabulous, dahhhing.

  9. I have to tell you, I was really looking forward to reading about your dinner party! You never fail to impress, I love reading about every little detail and thought that went into this.

  10. I would never ever say no to an invitation from you Lori Lynn, even just an invitation to look at your elegant table. Great job! I voted.

  11. *picking jaw up off the floor now* Wow, what can I say to popcorn with truffle oil, to soup bar, to fried wantans and all the wonderful dishes and wines except for wow! And btw, I love owls. Don’t even have to ask, you’ve got my vote 🙂

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