Finally got the schedule of some friends from different countries together! I don’t normally throw birthday parties anymore (unlike the wild bashes I threw when I was younger). A party I would entail preparing for a couple of days and cooking an entire day and I didn’t want to get stressed out on my birthday week. I just wanted to treat myself to a chillax time at home. I thought, “why not host a potluck party to introduce our favorite friends from different countries to each other?” We thought it would be fun to ask guests to bring dishes from their countries of origin and they all agreed! It would be a good ice breaker as well.
So sent a quick digital invitation. Image below from HGTV via Pinterest. I used Photoshop to add the details and used Buddmo Jiggler font. By the way if you wanna print out the invitation itself, it’s a free printable! Click here to download!
TD’S SIGNATURE SANGRIA
The night before TD made his special Sangria and I prepared 2 desserts. The Sangria is for the Spanish heritage of TD, whose mom taught him how to make Sangria. It’s a secret recipe that they both know how to do without any real recipe at all… I guess you can say it’s in the blood! =P
I made Banana Bread and Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cups. Banana Bread is like my signature baked item and a popular Filipino dessert (Best one is Red Ribbon’s Banana Crunch). It’s comes out more moist and delicious after 1-2 days in cling-wrap inside the ref. I also made the shells and mousse for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cups ahead. This had nothing to do with the night’s theme, but Reese’s are my favorite and not available here. (My blog friend, Starlet even brought some for me when she was home for vacay here!) I thought it would be a treat for people who missed it too. Will post the recipe for this tomorrow!
OUR DIPLO HOME
I had to prune some of our plants so I used 2 of the discarded leaves on the pots by the front door. (Check out my Umbra Lettro Brushed-Aluminum Letter Organizer with key hooks from MakeRoom Manila & also available at ACE Gandaria Jakarta)
Since we usually request guest to leave their shoes by the door (to minimize the amount of dirt/dust that comes in our home and a normal practice among friends in Jakarta) I provided some clean hotel slippers for their use. This is another thing I take home from our hotel stays.
I also left some more hotel slippers (the colored/printed ones this time) by our balcony for those people who smoke so that they use a different set of slippers in our dusty balcony. I made laminated signs which make my job as a host easier. Guests appreciated it! (I laminated them so I could reuse them in the future)
Check out my work-in-progress DIY photowall in the hallway. To highlight it I placed a flower arrangement beneath it.
I love the beach and was going for a beachy feel in our guest bathroom.
Placed some rolled towels in a square capiz vase from Shell Museum Bali for guest to dry their hands on after washing (sorry that was all the towels left when I remembered to take a pic!).
Guests can throw used towels in the fishing basket I bought in the Artisan’s Table’s open house which I bought specifically for this purpose. I decorated it with a sack cloth and placed a laminated sign on it.
I set up a stain station in the guest bathroom for people to use if they accidentally spilled something on themselves. I included the ff:
- Paper towels
- Cotton buds
- Talcum powder
- isopropyl alcohol
- Stain removing spray – I used Stain Tech (esp. for wine stains) from ACE Hardware
- foldable lint remover (for those who cuddled too much with DiploDog & got fur on themselves)
For our bar, I used the Entertaining Crib Sheet on page 148 of Real Simple Solutions as a guide for cocktail-party quantities and supplies. (You guys should check out that book, it’s awesome!) We had the ff:
- Bottle opener
- Cocktail spoon (not pictured)
- Swizzle sticks
- Sangria pitcher + wine glasses + wine tags (Fred Winelines)
- Scotch glasses + glass bands ( I used Fred beer bands)
- Swizzle sticks (I used Fred’s High Five Low Five)
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or Shot glass (I like my clear shot glass with measurement for ounce found in ACE)
- Peeler for twists
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- Cocktail napkins
- Juiced lemon (not pictured)
- Lime wedges (not pictured)
- I laminated and posted these on the wall using 3M command strips to make it easier for guests to experiment and try different drinks. Click on the links below to print out!
- Soda water
- Tonic Water
- Cola and diet cola
- Sprite and diet Sprite
- Different juices (esp. for non-alcohol drinking guests)
SEATING AND TABLE TOPS
Aside from our 6 seater dining set, we also had a bench on the side, which I flanked with 2 boxes from the flooded bathroom. I fixed the boxes with some Scotch Super77 and new material! They were there to serve as extra table tops for our guests.
I wanted to place the names of the dishes + the country the dish is from so that our guests would know what they were eating. I printed it out with a cute font on thick cream card stock, cut them out then improvised by using our silver place card holders, which was wonderful a gift from the MIL (She had it made-to-order from Baguio, Philippines – a place famous for silver)
I also used small trays with a shell to weigh down the napkins instead of normal napkin holders. I think they look prettier. One for the dining table and one for the coffee table. What do you think?
Right before guests arrived I taped up the rest of my To Do List in a corner for my reference and so that if anyone offered to help, I know the tasks that I need help with. Normally I just blank out and refuse help, but I think it’s fun getting guests involved too. Click on the photo below to enlarge
- 1 Chicken Pie (England)
- 2 Vegetarian Ginataan (Philippines)
- 3 Fresh Lumpia or spring rolls with 4 Achara (Philippine style pickled condiment) and 5 Lumpia dip (Philippines)
- 6 Kway Teow (Brunei)
- 7 Chicken curry (Myanmar)
TD and I ordered our favorite Pinoy dish: LECHON to add some pork into the mix for those of us who ate pork. If you would like to order lechon in Jakarta you can get in touch with this number: +62 818 065 48852 and ask for Babi Guling La Filipina (they also have Balinese and HK versions). They deliver with charge.
I made sure to label the dishes properly so that guests knew what was what. To make sure that those with religious restrictions are comfortable knowing what they are eating.
For desserts I made 1 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (because I miss Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and they aren’t available here in Jakarta), Andy made 2 pie and our Indonesian friends brought 3 martabak and 4 pukis. Oh and I also made 5 banana bread. Will post the peanut butter cups recipe next week! Watch out for it!
It was so much fun sharing yummy food and great company. Our guests truly outdid themselves by brining the best versions of the dishes popular in their respective countries – whether bought or lovingly cooked at home. I was impressed. (I still cannot believe Andy made that deliciously creamy chicken pie! Good job!)
There was so much food left over so when everyone was done eating and just enjoying drinks, I had my maid pack everything up in small ziplock bags so that each guest can bring home a couple dishes from another country by the end of the night. I wanted to extend the “sharing” of each others home country dishes to the take away bags. =)
That was a wonderful night with good friends and good food. I hope we get to have another one! Capped it off by sending guests digital thank you notes. I wanted to send out handwritten notes, but I thought digital ones would be more environmentally friendly since handwritten notes would have to be sent via car – and I don’t wanna add to Jakarta traffic needlessly!
I wish I could have invited all our friends but as it was there were 15 out of the 20 people expected and we were already a full house! It was a little bit crazy for me as a newbie dinner party host. =P I used to organize events and parties for hundreds of people with TV coverage when I started my marketing career in PR. But those parties have nothing on hosting a dinner party at your own house hehe!
I hope all the guests enjoyed the party as much as we did! And I hope you readers liked the pictures and got some ideas for party hosting as well! I definitely need more practice in hosting duties and one day hope to be as fabulous and effortless as my MIL in hosting these things! It’s definitely a skill I must master as a diplo wife! =)
Would love to hear your thoughts and comments!