Sunday, February 3, 2013

"Putting on the Ritz" for a Birthday Brunch

Today we celebrated the 60th birthday of Julie, one of my Romancing the Home girls. She is my rock- the one everyone calls in to cover absences, the cleaner, the absolute organizer and the one that follows the rules---------- and I wanted to do something special for her  big birthday.  She is such a special person in my life and I am so lucky.  About 16 years ago, she was a customer, shopping  in my store. I remember her buying a leather bound book and she said to me " If you are ever looking for someone- I would enjoy working here"- and I hired her on the spot!  It is a decision that I will never regret. I love this girl! 
 Since the weekend of her birthday is  Super Bowl , we decided to do brunch.  I had my favorite florist, Twigs, create the flowers, while I concentrated on the food.  I wanted to set the theme as a "virtual " week in Paris.  So I decided to turn the kitchen into a French Café.

I took Twigs a collection of pink and turquoise opaline glass . Julie's favorite colors are pink and blue.

Pink Opaline glasses - so pretty and so hard to find.

Love these turquoise votives used for  the party.

She created several little arrangements so that I could place them in several locations.  
 The ones above were on the patisserie stand on the kitchen island.
Vintage tumblers were dipped in cranberry juice and then dipped in
Raspberry and Rosemary sea salt.
Sea salt was placed in the black swan salt cellar that my dear friend, Mariterese gave me.
A grapefruit liqueur ,Pamplemouss Rose, from France made by Cartron  was chilled and poured in the salt rimmed glasses.
A fresh squeezed grapefruit taste prevailed- delicious little aperitif for brunch.
Beautiful color.
Fresh berries ready to go on honey vanilla yogurt parfaits with apricot granola.

 Tarragon egg salad in little champagne glasses, topped with crumbled bacon, pear bread, strawberry bread in little pink wraps on the 3 tier stand.

Close - up of the Strawberry bread wrapped like a present on a 3 tiered tray.

Bacon and Eggs the easy way - egg salad with crumbled bacon and a sprig of fresh tarragon.

A pink opaline vanity piece substitutes for a votive on the breakfast buffet

French Toast Bread Pudding with fresh raspberries and whipped cream- great recipe.
An over night recipe - no hassle and very good!   I finally found 12 gold ramekins just before the party!  I have been looking for them for years.
Fresh hot chocolate croissants from Trader Joe's- right out of the oven.
You simply cannot beat them for taste, a wonderful smell in the kitchen and convenience.

We made  brunch casual - served in the kitchen and eat where you want! 
 Laid back and easy for a snowy Sunday morning.
Mariterese sent a special delivery of macaroons from a  Belgian bakery in Chicago-
and trust me -they were divine!

I decided to set up my hotel serving cart for the dessert course and covered the salted caramel chocolate macaroons with the French patisserie cloche.


My friend Gail gave me this old hotel serving cart about 5 years ago and I love serving dessert on it!

Simply decadent taste- just look at the filling! These little babies are about 3 inched wide and 1 inch thick and have a gooey yummy filling.
Of course Mariterese sent enough for an army, so everyone got to take a couple home.
Next it was time for some lovely wrapped presents.

Several of the girls gave Julie flowers from Twigs in special containers.
 I love this blue opaline vase that Katha found.

Vintage flower bows- I just love ....

Absolutely exquisite Venetian dish - I realllllly did want to steal this !

And look at the divine Venetian perfume bottle.
Julie has this awesome blue and crème toile paper in her powder room.  I can just see these in there.

Another exquisite floral with the little  bee pin on the quince stem- can you see it?
Such a clever idea from Jill.
A pretty Strawberry Crème cocktail  for " after  the gifts"!
We spent the afternoon on a virtual tour to Paris- lots of photo-shopped pictures with our faces super imposed  on great bodies ( not ours!) - found ourselves as fashion models, super wealthy shoppers and jet setters in the City of Lights- Paris- with all the fantasy  pictures synced to the big flat screen in my family room. We sat back on the sofas and drank Champagne and laughed and sometimes wondered- could I really look like this if I lost weight????? Or maybe if I was 10 inches taller????
 Nope- no way ever!  Can I have another croissant please??!!!!!!!!!!!
Just a lot of laughs and memories between friends.
Happy Birthday Julie- I love you!


Sarah said...

Love this idea for a special party. The food was amazing with wonderfully clever serving suggestions. I'm making notes! I'm smiling at the thought of the movie you put together with photoshopped images. I can see how this would be great fun. Happy Birthday, to Julie. And thanks for sharing the exquisite details of "Putting on the Ritz" ~ Sarah

M.A. the 2nd ~ Frances Russell said...

What a beautiful beautiful gift to give to your friend! Absolutely stunning! I love the pink opaline glass and all the flower arrangements .... you have done a wonderful job! well done!
best wishes

The enchanted home said...

This is so incredible! Your attention to detail is just over the top incredible. I can tell this was a total labor of beautifully done. I have to try the Trader Joe croissants and that Venetian dish...sigh!

Mary Palumbo Collings said...

Looks like it was a gorgeous party, and so fun too!

Debe said...

OHHH! What a lucky lady to be celebrated like that! I sure wish I could have gotten to your shop before you close. Texas is too far right now but I just love looking at what you do!

Debe said...

And me again, do you stock the Maison Cote products? I want some of that salt and he isn't shipping to the states yet!! Looks so yummy as does much of his products.

Alycia Nichols said...

Now THIS is the way to toast a friendship!!! This is just SO pretty and SO beautifully executed! I am sure Julie is still smiling a smile big enough to light the Eiffel Tower!!! The flowers were all so pretty and feminine. I love lots of individual arrangements that can be scattered about to bring a little bit of beauty far and wide. The food looks delicious, although it would be hard to dig into those little works of art! You went the extra mile with the virtual trip, and all the little touches added up to a HUGE special birthday for someone you care for very much. Bravo! Happy Belated Birthday to dear Julie!

Christy said...

The best way to spend an afternoon surrounded with dear friends and filled with an abundance of beauty and love. Gorgeous flowers, scrumptious food and wonderful entertainment.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love this post.Could not help but laugh out loud at "wondering if I could look like that model if only I would drop a little weight" and then pop another macaroon into your mouth.My RTH Entertains book arrived last week & if any of you don't have it BUY IT!! Also made the crazy apple dumpling recipe. Grandkids said it was the best dessert I ever made. Terry Zella Benske

Emily said...

Wow- you really put on the loveliest of soirees Susan! I am completely enamored with the swan salt cellar and those turquoise votives...well really all of it is pretty fab!

Laurell Banner said...

Such a beautiful afternoon. The food was fantastic and so pretty to look at how it was displayed with your magic touches.
The virtual trip to Paris was so adorable. We all looked HOT.
Thanks for a wonderful afternoon,
Happy Birthday to Miss Julie

-Lisa said...

This is one of my all time favorite posts of any blog I have ever read. I frequent it often. The way you present your food, the amazing patisserie shelf, the dessert tray, the staging of absolutely everything is so beautiful. I know your guests must feel so special to know you have spent time on their enjoyment of the get together.
Thanks so much for sharing.