Hawaiian Themed Cocktail Party

This post has a soundtrack.

Now, of course I think it is fun and totally healthy for couples to socialize with other couples. But if you don't think it is neccessary, and also totally healthy for people to also have separate friendships, then you should go read some Rachel Bertsche. It just kills me when I hear people say they force their husbands to go outlet shopping with them - that is why you are supposed to have girlfriends - girlfriends who would love to go outlet shopping! Instead, you see the guys sitting outside the dressing room, totally bored to tears.When I hear someone say their boyfriend is their best friend, and then totally demonstrate that they don't think their friendships are a priority through their behavior, it kills me, but I also think it is not good for their relationship in the long term. Your boyfriend does not want to go shoe shopping with you, and he really doesn't want to analyze "Real Housewives of Any City". Rachel Bertsche says in her book that for women, the years 25-40 are the hardest in making and maintaining friendships because of child rearing and careers. Of course, it isn't as easy as other times in life like high school, summer camp, or the soccer team, but I think what is important is to make female friendships a priority. Also, people move away and it is always good to meet new people. Because of all this, I get a huge amount of joy in introducing people to each other. I would totally love if there were people who became friends and could one day say "Oh yeah, we met through Emily". 

So that all being said, when I worked at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York we had a lot of the Putumayo CDs including the Hawaiian one. Listening to it made us feel like we were on vacation even in the middle of a rainy Manhattan morning. I also noticed all the Hawaiian stuff at Party City a few months ago. You could go a lot crazier on this crap than I did - leis, hula skirts, coconut cups, tiki centerpieces. I actually really liked the look of the coconut cups, but at $3 each, I thought it was a good time to use the beautiful margarita glasses my friend got me as a wedding present. It fits into the spirit of our relationship to use her gift as part of a girls' night. Check out the spread:

What we have above is tropical chicken salad (with orange, lemon, and lime juices in the dressing and hearts of palm in the mix) and "Galloping Horses" (pineapple and pork with garlic, chiles, shallots, ginger, fish sauce and brown sugar) both from the Big Flavor Cookbook. We made the pork earlier in the week because I was going to freeze it, but this recipe was so tasty we ate them all. Then I had to make the recipe again for the party. Also, smoked salmon on sesame wonton triangles with a wasabi/sesame oil dressing from the Bon Appetit cookbook from 2008. Then there was the fruit salad, which I think was actually my favorite thing. It was from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, a cookbook about a small cafe in Paris. I don't eat fruit very often, but this is great. It is delicious enough to perhaps rival my watermelon gazpacho.

You just chop up the melons, and boil some sugar with some water. You put a bunch of ginger in your sugar water mixture and let that infuse as it cools. Then, add some lemon juice. Then mix it all together and deliciousness ensues. I ate a huge bowl of it after everyone left and again this morning. Ginger and melon is a great combo. Also, cakepops - yes cakepops. I used a lemon cake recipe from the New York Times Essential Cookbook and a coconut cake recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I am not going to rehash the cakepop argument again - but I will say master cakepop judger Elizabeth has a verdict: cakepops baked in a sphere and not smushed with frosting into a sphere shape, and then dipped in glaze and not candy melts are delicious. I agree with this very scientific finding.

More party photos! Including the waiter "Garcon, bring me more water!"

Me showing off my fabulous Party City find (hula girl plates!)

The cocktail - Blue Hawaiians! (cream of coconut, pineapple juice, blue curacao, rum)

And finally some of the classy ladies on their way out:

Previously I had a Mexican themed party. I know in the movie "The Descendants" there was a line like "You don't need a new outfit and a signature cocktail every time you want to have people over", and that is fair enough. But Joy the Baker points out having a party isn't just having people over - it is something a little more than that - like maybe the presence of a festive, celebratory mentality. Also, why not have a theme? Don't be such a grump! When everyone left I tried to think of a theme for next time I feel like having a party, and Scott suggested a Pioneer Woman themed party. By that I mean baked beans, corn bread, pulled pork sliders, drinks served in mason jars, and doughnuts. Of course you could just serve red wine and cheese plates all the time - but even the planning of a Hawaiian party felt a bit like being on vacation. There is something about testing out tropical cocktails - pina coladas anyone? - that makes you feel like you must be laying on a beach somewhere. It was the same with the music and searching for any "sun" beach" "vacation" tracks on my itunes. It seemed like a great time all around!

The next day I woke up with Hawaiian music still running through my head, and it was a good feeling.


  1. I am heartbroken not to have made this party! Looks like it was a blast! Next time : )

    xoxo, jess

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