Weddings are the truest celebration of life and love. They are hopeful, beautiful and full of promise. The sheer act of choosing to spend the rest of your life with just one person is wildly romantic; certainly well deserving of a party that goes out of its way to be both extraordinary and delicious. Memorable and seductive. Detailed yet humble in its focus on family and friends.
I had the pleasure of attending both the wedding and reception of Deborah and Tomas! The ceremony was intimate with tearful, hand-written vows followed by dinner under the stars in the Pasadena garden of the bride’s mother.
A week later the celebration continued in Napa Valley, known for its world-renowned wine, food and unparalleled setting. Home to the French Laundry, Oakville Grocery and some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.
My husband and I arrived in Napa two days before the party. Plenty of time to wine taste, play bocce ball and picnic.
We picnicked in the 100 degree weather sipping wine from plastic cups and feasting on Tomas Keller’s famous fried chicken–saving room for chocolate cake from the Oakville Grocery.
As good as our picnic was, I think Tomas’ dad might have trumped us with his home-grown tomato and sea-salt lunch.
The Napa landscape reminds me of Minnesota farmland, minus the abundance of vineyards, of course. Miles and miles of land where the soil is so rich and fertile anything seems possible.
It’s been nearly two months since Deb and Tomas’ tied the knot. They are settling into married life, back at work, and sorting through the myriad of photos that will serve as reminders that life can be beautiful, romantic and delicious all at once.
I’m crazy about Fourth of July Sparklers. We have a stash of them at Sweet Butter that we adorn celebratory cakes, cupcakes & petit fours with.
When I was a kid, sparklers were my favorite firework because they reminded me of a magic wand. But they never lasted long enough. So much in life is like that…not lasting long enough. That is why I believe in (sorry for the cliche) living in the moment; and if those moments happen to be a birthday, then add as many sparklers as you can, right?
We recently catered a 60th birthday party where all the guests toasted the birthday girl with sparklers in lieu of champagne. It was nothing short of magical, and a moment the party guests will not forget, I am certain.
The Birthday Girl requested a Cheesecake….and vintage 50″s menu.
Laurie picked her favorite childhood dishes, which just so happened to be some of
Sweet Butter’s specialities!
And what’s a party without a party hat? These were handmade and purchased by
the hostess of the party. Each one was different. They were the most beautiful party hats
I have ever seen.
Catering parties is like putting on a show, except each one plays for just one night.
Which is just fine with me. I love variety.
Life is short. Celebrate with sparklers whenever possible…and eat cake along the way.
And have a great Valentine’s Day! XOXO
I just returned from a much needed sojourn to New York City with my family to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday and my (eeek) 52nd.
We ate and ate and ate. Walked a bit of it off strolling through the Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Strolling isn’t exactly the right word…we were sandwiched between hundreds of guests and maybe worked off two spoonfuls of soup, but at least we were using lots of brain muscles.)
Mario Batali’s Eataly was packed with patrons. The wait for every restaurant was 45 minutes to one hour. But we waited! There was much to see, so we didn’t mind a bit.
I love how up close and personal you are with the food preparation.
Minnesota collectibles abound at Sweet Butter. That is because my husband lives there. We’ve been enduring a long distance relationship (first a romance, then an engagement, and now a marriage) for 10 years. Many people say, “Now that’s the key to a happy a happy marriage! But for us, it is just plain difficult. There is so much we’ve missed these past 10 years, simple things like sharing a closet. But somehow we’ve managed. We really don’t have a choice. We’re in love.
Sweet Butter has been all consuming these past six months. So the last time I visited Minnesota was for my husbands 46th birthday in September. As a result I’ve missed two seasons, fall and winter. In Los Angeles missing seasons is like skipping breakfast, no big deal. But in the midwest each day brings change. In the fall, the leaves turn the colors of a Malibu sunset, and in the winter our house crackles when the temperature dips below zero. The lakes turn white and rigid, and snow blankets our small town like a Dickens’ novel. It is such an exquisite contrast to the frenzy of LA, and I am so lucky to be able to retreat to this beautiful part of America as often as I do.
One advantage of a long-distance relationship is waiting at the airport for your love. I couldn’t wait to descend the escalator…it had been six months!
Wow….what a site for sore eyes.
Dining in MInnesota can be a challenge…..fried foods abound, they even fry cheese! But we know certain, special spots, like The Mediterranean Cruise. They buy their produce at the Farmer’s Market and have the best hummus I have ever tasted, hands down. I was starving after my flight so we stopped there for a quick bite.
My Fatoush Salad…..yum…..the champagne was the best they had…..the vintage or winery wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t matter!
I spent the rest of my time snuggling with my husband, drinking martinis, reading stories from the stack of New Yorker’s that had piled up on our kitchen table, and antiquing.
Restaurants are greedy. They want all of you. Reading a book, playing a game, taking a jog all become extravagances.
But…..all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. My husband and I own a restaurant! And it is called Sweet Butter!
I just love how life takes you to places you never thought you’d visit.
Sweet Butter got a new toy today, and she is over the moon. It is called a Low Boy.
I don’t know why it’s called that. Maybe cause it’s lower than a fridge and sassy like a boy. It’s sleek and shiny as the new bike you couldn’t wait to ride on as a kid. Okay…maybe I’m going overboard here, but I tell you, this new piece of kitchen equipment has our line cooks in an uproar. It looks good and it smells good and has all these perfect compartments to organize all our salad stuff in. Now salad making is going to be fun! Right, Evet?
Today we debuted our Chicken and Waffles. It was a resounding success. We didn’t know if anyone would order it, but they did!
The restaurant business is certainly not for the weary, it is hard work and the day never seems to be over. But the simplest things, like getting a new Low Boy, or watching our customers eat Chicken and Waffles makes us happy. How great is that?
Sweet Butter opened in 2010…and now it’s 2011! I feel so “established!”
The past few weeks has whizzed by almost as fast as we sell out of Nan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mia’s Bolognese & our Chicken Pot Pie Soup. I truly think we have the best staff of any restaurant, anywhere. We hit the jackpot here, believe me. We started with 12 employees, and now have 36…and they are all, each and every one of them, AMAZING. I know we have kinks to work out, like crowd control and doggie accidents, (yes, dogs are allowed almost everywhere at Sweet Butter) but I believe we’ll get there.
I think it is going to be a very exciting 2011 in Sherman Oaks. I can’t wait for Sweet Butter’s next door neighbor to move in. Tonight, my daughter Emily and I got a sneak peak at Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott’s new store, Inventori, a collection of the MOST amazing antiques and home decor one-of-a-kinds. Sweet Butter already has her eyes on the French hand-painted armoire and rustic Screen Door. I can see it now….the bride of 2011 goes to Mark’s Garden for her flowers, Sweet Butter for her Cake, Belle Gray for her Trousseau, and Inventori for her new house. Who needs Melrose?
If you’ve ever had a baby, then you know how joyful and difficult those first weeks can be. A blur of moments held together by a bond so strong that you are able to withstand the string of sleepless nights and colicky days that lay ahead.
Opening a restaurant isn’t much different. Your idea is fertilized when the lease is signed and then, quite suddenly, (after months of hard-work), your baby is there for the world to see. Some days are good, and some days are not so good. But I can tell you this, they are never boring.
In a single hour you can expect at least one person to tell you that you have brought life to an otherwise forlorn corner, three people to tell you that you should extend breakfast and start lunch earlier, and at least one major malfunction with either the plumbing, POS system, dishwasher, trash pick-up, linen delivery, outside heaters or bathrooms. Add it up….after twelve hours, you have put out many fires, but also encountered many generous, kind guests who remind you why you went into the hospitality business in the first place.
Sweet Butter is only three weeks old, but I am proud of her! She has a lot to learn, but I have faith that she will mature gracefully.
My son, Andrew, turns 23 this Monday. I know it sounds trite — but it feels like yesterday — all those sleepless nights and colicky days. Hemingway said it best. “Memory is hunger.”