A New Orleans menu served in a swanky swamp
We’re going down to the bayou for the second dinner party in my Disney Dinners series! When was the last time you watched Princess and the Frog? I watched it for the first time in years while researching for this dinner party and decided It’s an underrated movie. Almost There gets stuck in your head for days! Tiana and I actually have a lot in common: we both love to cook, are laser focused on our goals, and have kissed our fair share of frogs.
I was apprehensive to include Princess and the Frog in my Disney Dinners series because I wondered how I could host a dinner party that’s clearly themed to the movie and not just Mardi Gras. I decided to go for a swanky swamp setting with New Orleans food. Here’s how I hosted my Princess and the Frog dinner party!
The Rose Table is in no way affiliated with The Walt Disney Company.
Photography by My Curly Adventures. Go follow her on Instagram @mycurlyadventures!
The majority of the movie takes place in the swamp while the leads are frogs, not in the French Quarter. I recreated the swamp setting with dim lighting, lanterns all over, and a twinkle light curtain hung in the doorway to mimic fireflies. (Evangeline!) I actually did not use any scented candles for this party. I wanted the aroma to be pure gumbo.
I found the best mint green tablecloth (that also happens to be wrinkle-free and strain-free so you’ll be seeing it on my table often!) that to me looks exactly like Tiana’s iconic dress. I made a makeshift runner by setting dark green lily pads close together down the middle of the table. What says swamp better than lily pads? To continue the swamp idea, I used floating candles in mason jars in lieu of votive candles.
I originally wanted green roses and purple stock but alas, my store didn’t have either in stock that week and unlike our favorite Contessa, I don’t have time to run to multiple stores before a party. I’m thrilled with how the flowers turned out! I went with white roses and green carnations and I think the combination looked so serene and beautiful. I used a green vase, green bottle, and light blue bottle for the flowers. I chose bottles as a nod to Mama Odie’s place in the movie, which has loads of glass bottles hanging from the ceiling.
The Place Settings
I used my favorite Emma plates (and later soup bowls) from Pottery Barn set on top of gold chargers. I couldn’t find napkin rings I absolutely loved for this so instead I tied white napkins with purple ribbon for the tiniest touch of Mardi Gras. Tying napkins with ribbon has become a bit of a party planning life hack of mine. It’s so easy and instantly dresses up a table!
Of course I played jazz. Of course. Jazz is New Orleans. New Orleans is jazz. To me it would be impossible to serve any New Orleans food without a jazz accompaniment. Check out my favorite dinner party playlist here.
I channeled Tiana for Princess and the Frog, donning a long mint green dress that has a bit of a 1920s vibe to it. I added a gold shrug and gold heels to dress up the otherwise casual dress. I threw my hair in a bun, curled two front pieces, and swiped on a burnt orange lip that reminded me a bit of a good roux. My friends looked so snazzy! I especially loved Emily’s perfect swanky swamp cocktail dress.
I swear I’m not going to serve champagne cocktails at every single Disney Dinner but so far, it’s working out that way. I served a French 75 cocktail made with Moet, Courvoisier, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup that was inspired by my all-time favorite French 75 at Arnaud’s in New Orleans. My French 75 cocktail was such a hit that we skipped the dinner wine and kept drinking French 75s through dessert!
“Hey everybody, I made gumbo!”
Now for the reason most of you are here: the recipes! I was so intimidated to make gumbo that I actually considered alternative recipes to avoid a roux. I’m glad I didn’t because the roux isn’t that scary after all and this gumbo is absolutely delicious.
Once upon a time I grilled oysters because it was easier to shuck them after two minutes on the grill. It’s still my favorite way to eat and serve oysters! What’s not to love about salty parmesan, melty mozzarella, fresh Parsley, and zesty lemon juice with an oyster? Get the recipe here.
Gumbo, in my opinion, is better made ahead, making it a fantastic fit for a dinner party. I made gumbo on Wednesday and merely had to heat it up Friday and cook some rice when my guests arrived! Get the recipe here.
In a way I feel like this cake was a turning point for The Rose Table. It was the first time I tried turning a different dessert (bananas foster) into a cake and it was an instant hit with everyone who’s tried it. Get the recipe for this three layer slice of heaven here.
I am pleased to report that not a drop of gumbo was left in a bowl. We swopped up every bit with French bread. It was not only an elegant evening but also an easy menu to pull off as a hostess, with both the main course and dessert ready long before guests arrived.
See more in my Princess and the Frog video!
Want more New Orleans? Read about my first trip to the French Quarter here! Stay tuned next month: March’s Disney Dinner is a tale as old as time.
Make your own magic,