In keeping with the theme of a simplified 2018, gone are the days of a stuffy, perfectly plated dinner to impress your guests. Instead welcome a casual, no fuss approach to your next gathering using this dinner party that served fried chicken paired with champagne (on the floor, no less) as your inspiration. Farra of Hostess Haven imagined and created this intimate, laid back and of course, beautiful dinner party in San Diego at a local wine bar.
Opting for a fantastic finger food inspired menu filled with fried chicken and ice cream, the creative team behind this gathering decided against flowers for the table to make room for, well, more chicken. Guests sat on the floor surrounded by a plethora of pillows to keep the vibe casual and communal. Read on to get all of Farra’s hosting tips to create your own bubbly and finger food dinner party.
Tell us about this gathering :)
The Rose is my favorite spot for natural wines and simple experiences. They have an event space next to the restaurant, The Rose Sidebar, and that's where we setup. I've known Chelsea, The Rose's jacqueline-of-all-trades, to have the most discerning and approachable palate for the perfect experience. We wanted to create a dining experience together that was fun, approachable, still fancy and played with a ton of juxtaposition – that means Jill from Layered Vintage hung florals directly on the wall and we opted for fried chicken instead of florals on the table ;)
Where was it hosted?
We reveled at the Sidebar of The Rose in South Park which is a cozy neighborhood bar and wine shop that surprises you with its great food and extensive natural wine list.
Give us a brief overview of the design :)
The inspiration was taken from an image of a dinner at an old warehouse that looked minimal and warm. I'm continually drawn to how warm you can make a space with less. We used layered fabrics in neutral colors and pillows on the ground. It was less about one pillow per person and more about a specific stack of blankets next to the perfect stack of pillows that could be stacked, unstacked and shared with your neighbor.
We opted for no flowers on the table to make room for the fried chicken. Instead, Jill, from Layered Vintage installed a foraged and found wall installation. She says, "I was inspired by this dead tree I had been driving by for weeks. Its leaves started to fade into this pretty golden brown and I just knew it had to be used in some way. A white wall is a floral designer's dream. I just went wild and let the pieces tell the story." It felt easy, simple and inviting. It broke down beliefs of how to sit at a table. We ran white butcher paper down the middle and the fried chicken was served right on the paper, grease stains and all.
What cocktails & drinks were served?
Keeping with the we-do-what-we-want theme, we went ALL bubbles for all three courses. Bubbles are super versatile and pair really well with fatty foods (hello, fried chicken!) and shellfish. Because we were calling this a "Bacchanalia" (a hedonistic celebration of the god of love and wine in ancient Rome), we emphasized the vibe by going exclusively Italian bubbles – one white, one pink and one red. All naturally fermented and dry to offer some diversity of flavor profiles and to pair well with the food. Then, to top it off, every two people got a bottle of bubbles to take home or drink there! Cuz, WHY NOT?
What was on the menu?
Fried chicken and sundaes! I watched the episode of Mind of a Chef about Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his fried chicken obsession. I said fried chicken thinking we'd do some fancy French rustic dish and Chelsea jumped in with, "Fried chicken and sundaes!" We started with oysters and caviar, naturally.
Any special or funny moments?
Seating was on the floor and watching guests figure that out was enjoyable. Some guests spread out and took up more room so we needed to squeeze in some extra seating while others wanted the perfect pillow stack. It forced guests to figure it out and let go of expectations, which is not typical for a dining experience. In the end, guests were leaning back and moving around, reaching for fried chicken, making the whole dining experience very casual and warm. It felt like we were all enjoying dinner in someone's home.
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Photography: Madeline Barr | Venue: The Rose Wine Bar | Design/Styling/Tabletop: Hostess Haven | Furniture Rentals: Pow Wow Design Studio | Floral Installation: Layered Vintage
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