Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Breakfast For Dinner - with lots of Champagne!

Sharing some Sucessful Party Ideas...

Unbelievable as it might seem, I am now forty years and one week old. To celebrate, as regular readers already know, I spent a fantastic six days in New York with my family and Fred. They all spoilt me rotten. As if that wasn't enough, I couldn't return to San Francisco without throwing a blow-out party with the generous help of my Bay Area friends. I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by: Hitting a new decade is a great excuse for a par-tay! I rented a 10,000-song state-of-the-art karaoke setup and declared that the evening's theme should be Breakfast, Brunch, Champagne and Cocktails.

photograph picture bretagne crepes with maple cream and raspberries and tayberries and candied pecans
I had ambitious catering plans which were thwarted by the arrival of the karaoke machine early on Saturday afternoon. I should have been in the kitchen, cooking, but I couldn't help practising my singing instead. (Believe me, I needed it). The dish above was intended to be several layers of crepes sandwiched with fruit and cream. Instead, for the sake of speed, I ended up quickly caramelizing the crepes with the help of some sugar and my handy blow torch, covering them with a cloud of whipped cream folded with some excellent Blis Maple Syrup, and then topping them with raspberries, tayberries and some candied pecans. [Batch number two, the first lot burnt whilst I turned my back for a song second].

photograph picture lemon poppy seed muffins
My lemon poppy seed muffins also suffered a Karaoke-induced inconsistent fate. There is only one variety of muffin on this plate but the colour of each was determined by how much too long I left each batch in the oven whilst wharbling away to myself. Silly me!

photograph picture fatted calf bacon - the best ever bacon in the world
The Fatted Calf - my favourite Bay Area Charcuterie artisans - have recently taken posession of a new smoker. I wasn't prepared for what a difference this would make to their bacon. Taylor seems to be cutting it thicker than ever and it is beyond delicious. If you live in the Bay Area you owe it to yourself to check out The Fatted Calf's bacon at your earliest convenience. You will thank me. This batch of bacon was diced up to go in a custardy Portobello mushroom and bacon bread and butter pudding. Mmmmmmm. Other rashers were left whole and put out on the table for nibbling. They didn't last long...

Dozens of wonderful friends arrived with their own versions of breakfast dishes for the pot luck. Soon our table was laden with french toast, berries, blueberry scones, tortillas, smoked salmon open sandwiches, herb and pinenut scones, strata, shrimp, amazing homemade stickier-than-sticky buns, strawberries, waffles with nutella, sausages on sticks and all sorts of other delicious goodies that had all the guests, and me, groaning with delight. We washed it all down with copious bottles of Veuve Cliquot and other sparkling wines that people were kind enough to bring along, Kir Royals made with Hangar One Framboise, freshly squeezed orange juice, Bloody Marys made with Hangar One's rare Wasabi Vodka and experimental ingredients like freshly grated horseradish and English Mustard powder. [I don't think I ever did get to sample the result of that particular, peculiar mix].

I wish I had managed to photograph everybody's wonderful contributions to the meal but, you know, real life got in the way of blogging potential. The lights dimmed, as yet unknown superstars oiled up the karaoke machine, the eating the drinking and the dancing started and we partied on into the small hours. Photographs of people (and food bloggers) losing their inhibitions in front of the karaoke machine are not really suitable for sharing on a food blog. You'll just have to believe me when I say everyone seemed to be having a very good time indeed...

PS. Thanks again to everyone who joined us in such good spirits and helped me round up a wonderful week of celebration in perfect style. It meant so much to me that all my friends were there. I am a lucky girl, I have wonderful friends. I thank you all. And thanks also, to all of my readers, who left such treasured good wishes as comments on my special day too.

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Bay Area Resources:

Buy Fatted Calf Bacon on Saturdays at | the Farmers Market in SF or Berkeley.
Framboise and incredible Vodka | from Hangar One and St George Spirits.
Raspberries and tayberries | from Yerena Farms
Where to rent Karaoke in San Francisco? | Nick Foster for excellent service.

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Rice at the W in San Diego

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Breakfast For Dinner - with lots of Champagne!


  • At 13/6/06 08:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks like it was a fab party Sam - glad you got to celebrate your birthday in style!

  • At 13/6/06 10:03, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wish I could of made it, ah work. You'll have to let me take you out to celebrate on our own. Keep the birthday going!

  • At 13/6/06 10:54, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Good use of the word "Spoilt"!!!

  • At 13/6/06 11:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm so sorry we couldn't make it, but that may have been a blessing in disguise unless you are keen on Robbie Williams' Angels, which is my always and forever karoake song. It sounds like you all had a blast! Happy bday!

  • At 13/6/06 18:51, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy Belated Birthday Sam! Looks like the party and NY were great fun! My brother turned 40 this year too, on June 2nd!

  • At 14/6/06 01:07, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    happy bday! i am so sorry i missed out.

    please point me to the pics! i can handle them :)

    all my love!!!!!!

  • At 14/6/06 02:47, Blogger Jen said…

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    I've only just discovered your blog not too long ago. I know, where have I been...living under a rock or what? But wanted to say it's such a great read and your photos are just wonderful.

  • At 14/6/06 07:11, Blogger Cate said…

    Sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate, Sam. You're going to have to start thinking now to top it for your 50th!

  • At 14/6/06 07:56, Blogger s'kat said…

    40? I would have guessed 30!! At any rate, it sounds like a blast, and happy late birthday!

  • At 14/6/06 10:18, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Hi Sam
    Looks like a fantastic party - and I do have to agree that I think a karaoke machine might have distracted me from the kitchen activities too!! Nothing like a good warble when you're in the kitchen...

    Glad you celebrated in style - and remember, you're only as old as yuo make up your mind to be. Somebody asked me the other day how old I was and it took some painstaking calculation to come up with the real figure - I have so convinced myself (and everyone else!) otherwise! :o)

  • At 16/6/06 10:00, Blogger Sam said…

    Anita - I should have commissioned you to make me a cake. I always seem to forget the cake on my birthday these days, probably just as well since it would probably collapse under the weight of the candles!

    Amanda :( we should go out soon, any excuse, I think the birthday has partied itself out by now.

    I think I deserved it though!

    Catherine - you will be pleased to know that I am unable to do karaoke withut singing Angels at least once.

    Bea - did you manage to celebrate with him? I like being 40 I must say.

    gibby -we missed you: but perhaps you are a bit young for my crowd now?

    jenjen - thanks for the kind words, and welcome to B&P.

    Cate - 50?! no, no, please dont remind me!

    s'kat? Are you saying I my writing is immature?? ;) Surely not - you meant I look fabulous, surely????!

    jeanne - i think we are on the same age of the same book.

    thanks everyone



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