A few months ago we launched a new monthly series, Gatherings from The Kitchn, showing you the real-life parties we host in our homes, large and small. We started off with Faith's cozy Italian polenta party, followed by Anjali's charming book club brunch. This week I'll be sharing a spring dinner party I hosted in my small Brooklyn apartment. You'll read about my light, fresh vegetarian menu — centered around soup, not pasta! — the simple ways I arranged a few bouquets of store-bought flowers, and how I transformed my living room for the occasion with some clever rearranging and a few twinkling lights.
Are you in the mood for a sparkling spring dinner for six? Then come along to mine!
The Party Idea: Spring Vegetarian Dinner for Six
I'm all for rainy days and dark, moody colors, but when April hits, spring is the thing, my friend! Longer, warmer days, blushing blooms, and green, green, budding and bursting all over the place. So to celebrate the change of seasons (and my own desire to buy a bunch of flowers and light a bajillion tea lights) I invited four friends to join my husband and me for a small, spring-themed dinner in our one-bedroom apartment.
Six was a good number for a few reasons: a group of six is small enough to feel chill, yet large enough to have a few different conversations going on. Plus, my dining table — which is normally in its collapsed 4-seater position and pushed against the wall in my dining "area" — expands to sit six people perfectly, three on each side with no one at the head, an arrangement I quite like!
The Party Menu: Small Bites and Seasonal Favorites
As it so happens, none of my guests are vegetarians, but it seemed like a natural fit for this lighter, easier spring dinner. Plus, we also wanted to highlight a few seasonal favorites like watercress, arugula, and radishes. We originally thought of doing some kind of lemony pasta for the dinner entree — pasta being a solid vegetarian main dish — but ultimately decided to forgo pasta in favor of a watercress soup (more green!) with goat-cheese dumplings. I'm a big cheese lover, so we used a few different kinds of cheese throughout the menu, along with lemon, which helped to brighten and bring out the flavors.
The Party Look: Garden Party in the Living Room
As soon as I started planning this party, I knew that I wanted the romance, color, and softness of an evening garden party, complete with twinkling lights. But because this party was going to be in my apartment, not outside, I had to figure out a way to reconfigure my dining/living area to provide a) more space for my guests, b) a setup that would enable me to string lights over the table, and c) a separate cocktail area where my guests could sit once I moved the couch out of the way — all without being too cumbersome to move or costing much money.
Surprisingly, this turned out to be much easier than I'd thought, and I'm excited to share with you later this week the 'before' and 'after' photos of my living room so you can see exactly how I made my indoor garden party happen!
My living room as it normally looks. See the full transformation on Wednesday!
For the table setting, I went for a luxe-rustic mix — my wedding china plates (which I hardly ever use, so this was exciting!) paired with a linen tablecloth, an abaca woven runner, hot pink napkins, and a mix of lilacs, tulips, and wheatgrass for color and life. Oh, and lots of tea lights!
Stay tuned — On Wednesday I'll walk you through the whole party, from prep to cleanup. Later this week I'll also share my tips for super easy flower arranging and my best advice for hosting a dinner party in a small apartment. So, make yourself a cocktail and join me. It's a fine time to dine.
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