Hosting Like a Boss for the Holidays

Note: I do not mean “boss” as slang. I am not some B grade rapper.

I mean boss in its literal sense. A boss is effing busy, no? I am boss to some, and my days are cra cra. So when a boss has to act as a host to friends, family or coworkers during the holidaze, things can get really chaotic. Tantrums can get thrown, schedules fall apart, speeding tickets can get handed out, and one is left with no other solution than to buy some tragic three day old shrimp cocktail package from Sam’s Club.

Here is some soapbox advice for my boss b*tches: you are a boss because you do not compromise quality. You are a leader. Therefore, you should dress as a leader, behave as a leader, date as a leader, and friggin entertain like a leader. Don’t dress like an a-hole. Don’t get hammered in front of disproving audiences. Don’t bring around some lame significant other with an attitude (in fact, dump him. Merry Christmas, I just saved you $ on a present). But most importantly:  DON’T BE A CHEAP, ILL-PREPARED D*PSHIT WHEN YOU ARE HOSTING.

WWAD?

WWAD?

When in doubt, think WWAD: What Would Anna Do. As Chief Editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour is THE boss. I mean look at her. She is dressed like the ultimate glam holiday b*tch with that fur collar, pop of red, and those layered necklaces. I die. But more importantly, I KNOW that the devil may wear Prada, but she ain’t hitting up Costco after work when she entertains. My God, that would mean the end of my world as I know it.

Anna definitely farms out her catering and has some trembling, verbally-abused intern oversee it. But believe me: the outcome is amazing and looks homemade because she probably had a Michelin star-winning chef at her house making it. Unless you are that baller status (you’re probably not), you should make at least something on your own, and have some variety. Depending on the guest size, I’d have one dip or cheese plate, one stackable finger food, one cookie or desert item, and one signature boss dish. Make your standout signature item. It shows you give a sh*t. Here is a small cheat sheet on how to fake the rest (if you must):

 

Dip/Cheese:

Guacamole and chips from Las Delicias: Many Memphis grocers (Miss Cordelia’s, select Krogers, Fresh Market to name a few) carry this local brand. It is amazing and very fresh, and the chips are like crack.

Asiago and artichoke dip from Amerigo: You will have to call this in and tell them how many you are feeding. Make sure you request plenty of the toasted focaccia bread, too. So darn good, and so unique.

Cheeses from Lucchesi’s Ravioli and Pasta Company: Located on Sanderlin, this place has been an entertaining staple for east Memphis for years. Click here! They have a page on their site that pairs wine with available cheeses. It’s just that easy.

 

Stacked Bite:

(You will still have to put forth minimum effort of construction. Get the eff over it, lazy.)

Smoked salmon and crackers from Whole Foods: Grab a box of entertaining crackers, a small tub of sour cream, a package of smoked salmon and some fresh dill. Tear small pieces of salmon and place on crackers. Then add a tiny dollop of sour cream. Top with a small top of fresh dill. Now go take a nap because that was so tough.

Tom’s Tiny Kitchen pimento cheese on crackers with bacon crumble from Kroger: It is CRUCIAL you use Tom’s Tiny Kitchen pimento cheese, available at Kroger. It is by far the best and can be passed off as homemade. Spread that on a cracker and top with REAL bacon crumbles.

Fancy- Ass caviar and pumpernickel stack from Fresh Market: Fresh Market is running a special on their caviar. They ALSO have bite-sized pumpernickel loafs by the entertaining crackers. Spread sour cream on a piece of pumpernickel then spoon a tiny bit of caviar atop that. Garnish with dill and serve with champagne, and that’s a panty dropper.

 

Cookies/Dessert:

Seasonal chocolates from Phillip Ashley’s Chocolates: Click here for hommie’s website. This shiz is the real deal. It also makes a great host(ess) gift. He is located on Cooper in the Cooper/Young District.

Ooey Gooey cookies from Lucchesi’s Ravioli and Pasta Company: Again, this place is a no-brainer for entertaining. These cookies are a hit every single time.

 

Boss Standout Item:

photoThis is where you become creative or at the very least show some damn ingenuity. Pick up a 4Memphis or click here  and check the recipe section (shameless plug). See this tasty galette? Click here to learn how to make it. It’s super easy.  You can even cheat by purchasing a roll-out pie dough and it will still be amazing. I made this one with fig, cranberry and orange marmalade. I also salted the rim and added pecans. This satisfied both sweet tooths and savory fans alike.

Your standout item should also be easy to serve and should not be messy. No one wants something spilled on their silk. It is probable that they are juggling their plate and a cocktail, too. Something that can be divided easily and creates little “goo” is ideal. NOTE: if guests are not seated, chili and soups are not a wise choice.

 

In addition, have ample red and white wine as well as one signature cocktail. The cocktail can be as easy as champagne with a splash of St. Germaine, cranberry juice and a sugar cube. Sound expensive? It can be, so if you can’t afford to do it right, don’t effing host. duh.

 

Ho Ho Ho

-Stephanie

 

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Gifts for tha Chickenheads in Yo Life

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone (thank Zeus), and chances are you still haven’t finished shopping for Christmas/Chanukah/Festivus/Ullr Feast/Whatever-Pagan-Ritual-You-Support. Fear not: I have found the CUTEST gift idea for cooking enthusiasts, White Elephant, and host(ess) gifts (yes, you should ALWAYS bring a gift to a party, whether it be wine, food, or small token of appreciation. You’re not being invited to a frat house party, you loser. The host put time and cash into having your a** over. Don’t be that trash that shows up empty handed. Bring a damn host gift. But I digress….)

Kellyn Gowen is the owner of Crafty Chicken, and she makes the cutest custom aprons, bibs, and gift sets EVA. Kellyn gets my full support because she started making bibs and aprons as a means to fundraise for disability awareness. She is a gracious soul, loyal to her Memphis community, and I am honored to promote her. HOWEVER, it is when I saw a little girl being gifted this cute apron this summer that I nearly fell out:

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The gift was presented with a cute Le Creuset rubber spatula and cookie mix or something of that nature. I mean, this is SUCH a cute idea to pair with an Easy Bake oven from Santa (Zeus, whoever). She also makes bibs for the kiddies, and they come in 3 different styles: modern, traditional and kerchief. What makes Crafty Chicken’s stuff unique is the FABRIC. Yea, it durable, but it’s FUN. Check out this bib for a boy:

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Amazing, right? But her shiz is not exclusive to babies (because Lawt knows I don’t have nor want one in the foreseeable future). What I ADORE about her half apron design is that the belt is a chic obi belt. This detail may seem trite, but it’s FLATTERING. It gives the wearer a defined waist AND protects trousers/skirts/dresses when playing hostess. See that cute synergy right there?

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Adorable, right? And, again, she has a whole mess of fabrics to choose from! And all of the aprons have pockets to store cell phones, recipe cards, whisks, emergency vodka airplane bottles, etc. Here’s a cute full apron for the menfolk:

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And she even does reduced-priced Mommy/Daddy and kiddie sets!

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Perfect for the entertainers/aspiring chef’s in your life, the wares from Crafty Chicken are precious and extremely affordable. These are made locally, and they are from the heart. Check her out at http://www.craftychicken.com/ and order from her. Ho Ho Ho and whatever.

 

-Stephanie

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20140415-154840.jpgWhat better way to spend refund money (or drown sorrows) then get a cheap happy hour drank?! There isn’t a better way so stop pondering.
Itta Beana, above BB Kings on Beale Street, is an AMAZEBALLS place for a happy hour or early cocktail dinner. Why? Because there’s no filter on this photo: the windows are actually blue glass, making everything blue and trippy, dawg. But be mindful that you need SUNLIGHT for this effect (although the lights on Beale offer a really cool glow in the evening). PLUS they run the following bar special:
-$3 off appetizers until 7
-Monday: $3 off martinis (shwing)
-Tuesdays: Dudes in ties get $2 off drinks
-Wednesday: House wine for $5
-Thursday: Ladies get $2 off drinks
-Errday: $3 pints, $5 wells, and $6 select wines
Nothing in life is guaranteed in life but death, taxes, and booze on Beale.

Happy Tax Day, Dummies

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