Dinner parties are a great alternative to dining out. To begin with, the atmosphere is not only more relaxed (the venue is your home, after all); it’s also more intimate, since all the diners are your friends. But what’s a host to do if he or she has no idea where to begin planning a dinner party?
Luckily, there are some resources out there for you. Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, one of the best restaurants in the Sacramento area, offers the following life-hacks that will help you throw a smashing dinner party, even if you’re not exactly Martha Stewart.
Hire a Chef for the Night
If you’re not too handy in the kitchen, you don’t have to settle with serving cheese and crackers for dinner. These days, some renowned Midtown Sacramento restaurants, like Mikuni Sushi, have “rent-a-chef” programs, in which a personal chef will actually go to your home and take over the cooking for you. With this method, you can wow your friends by serving restaurant-quality dishes without breaking a sweat.
Make it a BYOB Affair
Don’t know what drinks to serve? Here’s a simple solution: Let your guests bring their own alcohol! This article from Food52.com even offers a nifty trick for quickly chilling their wine bottles:
First, toss your ice with a handful or two of salt, and distribute it evenly. Place your bottle in whatever vessel you’re using, then dump the ice over it…
Then fill your bucket with cold water, as high as the neck of the bottle, so that it is surrounded by a mixture of salty, ice-filled water.
Why does this work? In order for your wine to cool, heat (energy) needs to move out of the bottle and into its surroundings… Liquid transfers heat more quickly than the pockets of air that sit between ice cubes, which is why water is key here. The salt helps to lower the freezing point of your ice-water mixture… This way, there’s more ice melting in the mixture; melting requires energy, and the closest place to find that energy is your bottle.
Once your dinner party has – hopefully – gone off without a hitch, you now find yourself confronted with a mountain of dishes that need washing. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize cleanup. If you’re intent on serving appetizers, go for food that can be eaten using napkins and toothpicks. No plates and utensils necessary means no dishwashing for you! Also, label your guests’ straws or glasses so they don’t end up using three or four different glasses over the course of the dinner – this tip also works for backyard BBQs featuring plastic utensils and cups, to avoid unnecessary waste.
(Source: How to Chill a Bottle of Wine Faster, Food52.com, June 4, 2014)