Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something takes us through a recent dinner party she co-hosted with Sunday Suppers including the design, menu, guests and the process of creating a Sunday Supper.
You could call hosting and planning gatherings an obsession of mine. I love to dream up and craft every detail. I crave planning: even as I’m packing up the last tote at midnight and I swear I’ll never pack a tote full of dishes again, I’m beginning to plan the next one in my head. One of these days I’ll have my own event space and I won’t have to pack 15 totes full of dishes and glassware and ingredients and extension cords, and then load a trailer full of wooden tables and benches and ladders, etc.
One of these days. But until then, I’ll keep chugging away, packing, unpacking and hoping my husband, Joe doesn’t stop allowing me to use his schlepping services. Especially if I can keep using magical venues like this one. I just can’t help myself – creating a beautiful space for others to commune and fellowship is just so incredibly fulfilling.
Just a few weeks ago, I partnered with Sunday Suppers on their Sobremesa Dinner Series. Sobremesa is Spanish for the time after a meal when the food is gone, but the conversation around the table continues.
The best word I can come up with in English is "linger." I wish there were a word for Sobremesa in English, because it encompasses that cherished time so well, my favorite part of the meal. When appetites have been satisfied, relationships have been made, conversation continues and community is built. When the candles have melted into the tablecloth and the flame flickers low.
The dinner was, for lack of a better word, incredible. I love how each gathering brings together a different mix of people – both guests and those who are helping behind the scenes. Each gathering has a unique feel and flair and I love seeing the beauty of each unfold. Everything came together so wonderfully and our guests were so gracious and excited about being together. It’s always a joy to be at LaMontagne at Bluemont and be surrounded by so much history and pastoral charm.
For this dinner, our guests joined us in the kitchen for some communal cooking. We made gorgeous squid ink tortillas together, and whipped up the largest bowl of charred jalapeño guacamole I’ve ever seen. I loved this element of inviting guests into the kitchen area to help cook – it creates a casual, intimate atmosphere and opens up avenues of communication and vulnerability that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I was honored and overjoyed to partner with Karen and the Sunday Suppers team on this dinner, and remain thankful for this opportunity.
For this summer gathering, which featured communal tacos as the main dish, I wanted to take the dinner in a muted, modern, minimal fiesta direction. I didn’t want to fuss over anything. The goal was to create a welcoming space where a meal would be shared, with good food, quality ingredients and lots of intentionality. The table details were very simple: white plates, linen napkins, drop cloth tablecloth, modern glassware, black flatware and a bold and modern menu.
A Twist on Florals
For “florals,” I wanted something unconventional. Something quirky. Something modern. So, I ran to my friends Lori and Colleen at wldwst, and hoped they’d be available to work with me. I showed them my Pinterest inspiration board and they were 100% on board. They dreamt up this fantastic palm frond installation. This installation brings me life, y’all. It’s so muted and dramatic and freaking brilliant. I don’t want to give away too many of their secrets, but all you need to know is that underneath all those palm fronds are these things called armatures (basically a metal framework), and they’re made from chicken wire. Like I said, they’re geniuses. I want to make installations like this for everything now. I’ll probably try my hand at armatures sometime in the future, so watch out.
The menu, which was designed by the Sunday Suppers team, was unbelievable. It was so simple, yet nuanced. It was full of flavor, approachable and interesting. On the day of, I had a small army in the kitchen so I was able to focus on all the other details and our guests!
When guests arrived, we had a display of sliced summer fruit, simply sprinkled with lime juice and sumac. We also served beet cured eggs with creme fraîche, and Manchego cheese with blood orange jam. My new, awesome friends at Pop Culture Craft Pops provided perfectly summery Basil Lemonade and Watermelon Mojito popsicles, and Hibiscus Watermelon Agua Fresca (we spiked it with some white wine). These fruity treats were out of this world delicious! Inside tip: Standby for info about Pop Culture’s grand opening in Purcellville later this month!
For dinner, our first course was sopa de lima, which we served plated. Then we had communal tacos, which were the most delicious, flavorful tacos I’ve ever had. Homemade squid ink tortillas, coconut + cacao black beans, curried cauliflower, green crema, lime pickled vegetables, charred jalapeño guacamole, cilantro + onion and lots of cotija cheese. Heaven. On. Earth. I love a good family style meal, especially among “strangers” because you have no option but to talk to your neighbor and ask for food to be passed. And the act of passing the food is just so unifying.
Dessert was chocolate avocado pudding with cream, cinnamon and hazelnuts and the most delectable buttermilk popsicles from Pop Culture Craft Pops. Buttermilk pops have got to be the most understated popsicles I’ve ever had. They are a must try.
Strangers to Friends
Without our guests, these dinners wouldn’t be possible! They’re the reason, and my goal is to create the most welcoming, beautiful and simple space possible for our guests. This group was a seriously incredible group, and I loved getting to know them! We had a farmer, a farmer’s market organizer, two women from the Air Force, a popsicle shop owner, two floral designers, a journalist, a designer and so many more!