Jun 12, 2017

Create Dinner No. 5: Sobremesa

The theme for dinner no. 5 in our “create dinner” series was “sobremesa” – a Spanish word that doesn’t translate directly to English but describes a tradition of  conversation and relaxation that happens across the table after a delicious meal.

The theme for dinner no. 5 in our “create dinner” series was “sobremesa” – a Spanish word that doesn’t translate directly to English but describes a tradition of  conversation and relaxation that happens across the table after a delicious meal. Everyone remains gathered around the table, talking for hours after they are finished eating. I love this tradition and happen to agree it is usually my favorite post feast tradition. The concept reminds me of being home in New Jersey with all of our friends over. After I’ve cooked a big meal we all just sit around the table telling stories, reminiscing, laughing, drinking and being happy with stomachs full of food.

For our early summer dinner party Kate, the ultimate party planner, found a loft downtown nestled in the “Arts District” above a trendy boutique. This was our first indoor dinner and it was a perfect fit – the bright and open space was fitted with hardwood floors, industrial glass windows and a full recording studio in the corner (which we did not make use of). The long wooden table easily accommodated all of the 15 guests in attendance. This ambiance allowed for a more colorful palette for this dinner and the tablescape featured bright reds, blues and pinks.

dinner table no. 5

dev and i cooking

seated dinner party

flowers dinner no. 5 creative dinner elli lauren photography

Naturally when I thought of food for a Mexican theme my mind jumped immediately to tacos! They also happen to be an easy dinner party option because most of the fillings can be prepped ahead of time and reheated when you are ready to plate and serve the tacos. For appetizers, I settled on the classic dip duo of guacamole and salsa served with tortilla chips. While choosing the chip to accompany the dips can seem like a task as simple as grabbing a bag or two from the chip aisle at the grocery store – the chip can take the appetizer above and beyond the standard. I like a corn tortilla chip that’s salty and sturdy enough to scoop without breaking inside the dip. Okay, please forgive me, I have spiraled too far into “the theory of a chip”.

Since guests often have various food allergies or dietary restrictions I went with three different taco options in order to be sure to accommodate everyone. The first was a Mexican street taco – small corn tortillas doubled up and filled with seasoned, roasted chicken thighs and an onion salsa of sorts – a mixture of chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and a bit of salt. The second taco option was braised Al Pastor tacos. While with this type of taco the meat is typically slowly cooked on a vertical rotisserie, I opted for braising the meat to make it more “at home accessible”. The braised and seasoned pork was served with diced pineapples and an avocado-tomatillo salsa. For the final taco option I decided to include a vegetarian option. Sweet potato and black bean tacos were served on soft flour tortillas and accompanied by chili lime almonds, cotija cheese and smoky chipotle salsa.

Kimberly, our resident bartender, created a paloma sangria, starring, as you would expect with the theme, tequila! Paloma, a popular citrusy Mexican cocktail with grapefruit and lime, is combined with tequila and white wine for a refreshing summer drink.

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