Monday, September 7, 2009

reader question of the week #1


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! We had our last getaway before baby #2 arrives in 8 weeks, and it was just what we needed. Back to the subject at hand...

reader question of the week #1:

"I live in Chicago, home of a thousand great pizza places.  For my husband's 30th birthday, I plan to get one pizza from a bunch of different pizza places around the city and do a "taste test" with our friends.  While I want to use pizza as the theme, I also want this to be a classy party that celebrates my husband's birthday.  I've thought of trying to create a homey Italian pizzeria in my apartment, but I am having a hard time thinking of great decorations. Also, do you have any ideas for Italian appetizers that don't necessarily incorporate bread and cheese (since we'll be eating a lot of that!)?  -Alissa"

6 comments:

justthelittlethings said...

What a cute idea! I'd love to have a variety of pizza... from the typical Lou Mals/Gino's to Piece/Pequod's! How about meatballs [maybe even some mini buns for mini meatball sandwiches], antipasto tray, cold italian pasta? Hope this helps!

Kristin said...

I think you could go with red/white checked tablecloths, melty wax candles, or votives, sort of cheesy romantic would be fun. Olives are great apps and stuffed mushrooms or caprese stacks (tomato slice, basil leaf, fresh mozzarella). Oh and mood music like violin or quiet Italian opera.

Julie Gallagher said...

As it is a taste testing party, why not do the decor like an Italian Kitchen. Use a grater to hold flowers, a colander for fresh tomatoes and have little terracota pots of fresh herbs, or use empty tins of canned tomatoes. For starters serve Caprese salad on a stick:

Lisa said...

I usually have nothing to offer in terms of the Reader Question of the Week, but I just got back from Italy so I’m excited to actually have something to contribute this time! First, as far as appetizers, some of the things we were served in Italy included prosciutto and melon, rice croquettes, mozzarella caprese, and gnocchi. We were also served brushetta and oil-coated pizza crusts, but I have a feeling they are the very sort of thing that you were looking to avoid…And as far as decorating suggestions, many of the pizzerias in Italy sell pizza by the weight (each slice is actually square-shaped rather than triangle, and then they throw it on a scale to determine the cost) so maybe you can somehow incorporate that? Also, when he went to pizza dinners at restaurants, they would bring out the whole pizza right on the long-handled wooden board that it was taken from the oven on, and then placed right down on the table. So maybe the boards could also be worked in? Some of the restaurants even had a device that would allow the center of the pizza to flame a bit after it was set down (there is a picture of one on my blog)...Another decorating idea: why not pick one Italian city and decorate around that theme? Since you want something classy, I would suggest Venice. With of all the canals, Venetian glass, and lights, there would be plenty to work with in terms of inspiration. Maybe recreate St. Mark’s square at night with the lights, orchestra music, and pigeons?

ohbrooke said...

This sounds like a lot of fun! How about hot wings, sodas with fun straws and custom labels, a big menu board, mustaches for everyone or for the pictures, and I always LOVE bacon-wrapped water chestnuts for appetizers.

Can't wait to hear how it went!

Amber said...

I would make music a huge part. Opera or traditional Italian music.
Look for unique pieces like Italian architecture or art and use them for serving, flowers, centerpieces, holding silverware, just think outside the box.
If I remember right Italy's colors are red, green and white, stick with that.
And I love the ridiculously long and skinny bread sticks.
Catholic churches are known for their candles burning. I would use tons of them. You can find the tall ones in glass in the religious section of supermarkets, Hispanic stores, Target and WalMart also carry them, stick with the Italian colors.