A Greek menu fit for a demigod!
Disney’s Hercules has a special place in my heart. For a long time I said it was my favorite Disney movie, narrowly edged out by Mulan. I was severely bullied as a teenager so the opening of Hercules really resonates with me. I can’t tell you how many times I’d workout to this song and dream about finding the place where I belong. The Rose Table is that place so thank you for your love and support. In my opinion, Hercules is the funniest Disney movie. You laugh the whole time! My regular readers know that I studied abroad in Greece and that Greek food is my favorite so I’ve been counting down the days for this Disney Dinner for so many reasons.
The Rose Table is in no way affiliated with The Walt Disney Company.
Photography by Darling Photography TX.
This was also a very special Disney Dinner because my best friend Sarah, affectionately known to many of my readers as Caribbean Sarah, flew in from Los Angeles for this party. It was fitting because her sister was actually my ancient history professor in college. That’s how we met! It’s really come full circle now.
I was inspired by Hercules and Megara’s date. They stroll through this fabulous Greek garden with vines and statues, where Meg literally gets hit by Cupid’s arrow and sings one of my favorite Disney songs of all time: I Won’t Say I’m in Love. I got that Greek garden feel by hanging wisteria in the dining room and replacing all of my dining room art with Greek art.
That might sound excessive except that my bedroom has been Greek themed for a decade! I actually brought three of these paintings back with me rolled up in my suitcase after watching a street painter paint two of them live in Athens. The center print is a photo I took in Nafplio of the sea foam and had printed on a canvas.
I also burned a citrus candle (shoutout to Rockwall shop Candles by Carol for this incredible citrus scent – everyone commented on it all night!) because Greece smells like oranges. I know that sounds crazy, but every day all over the Peloponnese I’d wake up and smell oranges! So I knew I had to include that in my Hercules ambiance.
I scoured the internet for a dark blue and white striped tablecloth. This is actually an outdoor tablecloth so expect to see this at future garden parties! The table was very simple for Hercules because I was going for impact here. I used my giant gold candlesticks, which normally sit in front of my fireplace (never on a table!) with white pillar candles. I did this for two reasons: I wanted candles that were Herculean in scale and I wanted the candles to be above my guests’ heads as a nod to Hades’ fire hair. The tapas platter sat family style in the middle of the table during the first course but the Hercules cake was center stage the rest of the time.
For the side tables, I decorated my main side table with olive branches (after all, Phil calls Thebes “the big olive”), a plate with Greek mythology on it brought back from Greece, a tiny statue from Athens, and a Greek vase. I loved including this vase because teenage Hercules breaks a shop full of Greek vases in the beginning of the film.
I styled the gold side table with a copy of the Illiad and the Odyssey, eucalyptus branches, a hand painted box from Greece (fun fact: inside the box is where I keep a few sea shells I plucked out of the Mediterranean), and the orange scented candle noted above.
This was a radical move. I opted out of a floral arrangement in favor of hanging white wisteria from my chandelier. Again, I was going for epic scale here that would match the themes of Hercules. Plus I knew I couldn’t find wisteria at a grocery store. My guests were shocked to find out that the flowers were fake – they thought I hung real wisteria! This is such a cool look, I would leave it up year much of the year if I didn’t change my dining room every month for Disney Dinners.
I did do one floral arrangement for food photography at Hercules: white stock flowers and yellow roses in a gold-tipped vase. So that’s another option if you want actual flowers on your table!
The Place Settings
I have been waiting for six months to talk about the place setting for Hercules! I bought this gold flatware in January and have been stubbornly keeping it hidden away so as to not spoil the fun for this party. Gold is significant in the movie: Zeus and his lightning bolts, Olympus in general, Hercules when he (spoiler alert!) becomes a god, his life string when it can no longer be cut by the fates, et cetera. I incorporated as much gold as possible at this dinner party and the flatware was no exception.
I also used gold napkin rings with white napkins pulled through one end for a super easy, fluttery napkin look set on top of masculine white square plates.
This could be a good party for a pop playlist but I played my favorite Dinner Party Playlist.
This was my favorite Disney Bounding by a landslide. I saw this dress and just had to have it. Could it be more modern day Megara?! I wore the sandals that I had custom made in Athens ten years ago. (The family has been doing it for a thousand years. Can you even? They’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned and I WILL get on a plane when they finally give out.) I did purple makeup and wore gold leaf earrings.
The hair really made the outfit. I created bangs by grabbing the whole front part of my hair and spraying it forward. I pulled the rest back except for a single piece to curl by my ear. I then curled the pony tail and wrapped a piece around the hair tie, teased the bang (okay, Sarah teased the bang – I’m not that talented!), and popped a single curl to put some wave in it. I loved this look so much, you might just see me around Dallas sporting the Megara!
Some pictures of my lovely friends:
Ouzo is enormously popular in Greece. I served a strawberry ouzito that I named Zero to Hero during the mezze platter. If you don’t like ouzo, give this a shot because no one at my party (including me) really cares for ouzo or licorice and we all loved this drink. Full of mint, fresh strawberries, ouzo, and club soda, this is actually a fairly healthy cocktail too! Get the recipe here.
For the main course, I served Mystique wine, a Mediterranean red blend that pairs well with lamb.
I love Greek food so much that the only difficult part of planning Hercules was narrowing down which dishes to make. I decided on a simple mezze platter with many Greek favorites (including homemade tzatziki!), lamb lollipops drenched in feta cheese sauce, and an epic cake covered in edible gold.
This family-style platter has tzatziki and hummus, pita bread, feta cheese, kalamata olives, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, marinated artichokes. Yum! Get the recipe.
You’ll want to make this again and again! Get the recipe.
Lamb Lollipops with Grilled Potatoes and Feta Cheese Sauce
I’ve been making this all summer long and it never disappoints. The sauce takes just five minutes earlier in the day and is great on so many meats. Don’t be scared to cook lamb – I think it’s way easier than chicken! Get the recipe for lamb lollipops, grilled potatoes, and feta cheese sauce.
Each fiori di sicilia cake layer is cut in half and topped with honey frosting for a grand total of twelve layers, one for each of the twelve labors of Hercules. The real kicker though is that edible gold leaf that adorns it. The Internet said it wasn’t possible to cover frosting with edible gold but I figured it out! Get the recipe.
Stay tuned next month for Disney Dinners: Cars!
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Go the distance,