Do you ever just have a dinner party concept strike you like lightning? That very phenomenon happened to me recently while I was typing away at work. The entire menu just sort of came to me all at once. I love this because it just so happens to be a classy Halloween fete. Here’s how I hosted my Dinner Noir.
For Dinner Noir, I invited some of my biggest foodie friends. The famous Kat (you may remember her from Girl’s Trip to Disneyland) and her boyfriend Matt, theatre lovers Jason and Rebecca (who have starred in multiple Rose Table episodes), and Candy, who is always down for a theme party (and starred in my Rosemary Grilled Salmon episode). It was important to me to invite guests who would have fun with the black tie dress code.
I asked one of my friends if it was too much to ask guests to dress in black tie attire for a dinner party and she said, “Honestly someone really shouldn’t be friends with you if they dislike formal wear.” For Dinner Noir, I asked my guests to have fun with black tie outfits. I wore last year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala dress, whose neckline screamed Dinner Noir!
It’s amazing how often I find a use for my black tablecloth! I decided that tall taper candles in silver mercury glass holders would give the dining room a gothic look. I wanted the table to look opulent and elegant but a little spooky. Miniature pumpkins and gourds completed the look.
When you go for height, it’s important to stay airy so that your guests can see each other. It drives me nuts when I see enormous centerpieces in magazines that you could never and should never replicate in real life. A couple of dark black and red bleeding roses anchored either side of the table while a third acted as the centerpiece with purple blooms and cherry laurel stems cut from my front yard. I arranged more purple blooms and cherry laurel stems in my mom’s antique pewter vase for the side table to enhance the room.
The Place Settings
I used my Emma dinner plates, salad plates, and soup bowls from Pottery Barn for the place settings. Each guest also had a printed menu with wine pairings at their place setting, which instantly screams, This is An Event.
I thought about using a Halloween playlist for this but I didn’t want the music to distract. The minute I turn on jazz, I’m ready to entertain! Check out my Dinner Party Playlist.
All of the food at Dinner Noir was black. That’s what made it Noir! Here’s the menu I came up with.
Dinner Noir Menu:
Steamed Mussels with Fresh Tomatoes and Parmesan
Bleu Blueberry Spinach Salad
Simple Squid Ink Pasta
Light and flavorful, this mussel dish is a snap to pull together. It’s ready in ten minutes!
This simple salad is as good for you as it is tasty! The saltiness of the pistachios balances the sweetness of the blueberries.
This dish comes together in mere minutes and I promise it doesn’t taste nearly as scary as it looks. My most skeptical guest ate a second helping!
This dessert is as dark as it is delicious! It’s not for the faint of heart but chocoholics will adore it. The blackberry mint sauce sends it over the edge.
I was so excited about my wine pairings! It’s something I aim to get better at. We started with a lovely Mumm Napa champagne to pair with the mussels.
The reason I really came up with this entire menu idea was to pair dramatic looking squid ink pasta with Gnarly Head’s Authentic Black. It’s dark and inky and perfect for Dinner Noir.
The final pairing was a chilled Stella Rosa red wine Il Conte that’s specifically bottled to be enjoyed with dessert.
What I loved the most about this menu was how easy it was for me to execute. The most important part about entertaining that often goes overlooked is to enjoy the evening as the hostess. The salad was done, the dessert was done, the pasta took mere minuets and a single pot, and the mussels I could make in my sleep so it really was a relaxing evening with some of my favorite people! Cheers to that.
P.S. My photographer was not available this evening so all photos are courtesy of my iPhone.