No one loves a theme party more than New York City hostess Rena Sindi. For each chapter of her new book, Be My Guest: Theme Party Savoir Faire, to be published next month by Assouline, she staged an amazing event with one of her famous friends. Among the best was a Chinese Pink and Red Dinner and Dancing Party at Manhattan's Doubles Club. I turned up in a vintage embroidered red-silk Chinese robe, with a pair of chopsticks--perfect for poking cheeky friends. Even though I'd opted to leave my Suzy Wong wig at home, I had tons of fun.
More recently, Rena hooked up with F&W editor-in-chief Dana Cowin to throw a dinner party with another fabulous theme: signatures. Dana asked four of New York's top chefs to prepare one course each--a signature dish, of course. Nobu Matsuhisa, the master of Asian fusion, would serve sea scallops with dabs of hot chili paste. Daniel Boulud, who offered to have the party at Bellecour, the newly renovated private room of his restaurant Daniel, promised quail stuffed with figs and prosciutto. Dana tapped Terrance Brennan, of Picholine and Artisanal, for the cheese course--Castelrosso with a mostarda d'uva. Claudia Fleming, the genius pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern, would follow with her delicious warm chocolate soufflé tarts, to be paired with her famous mini chocolate malteds. Joe Spellman of Paterno Imports took charge of the wines--pairing the Castelrosso, for instance, with magnums of the 1993 Pio Cesare Il Bricco Barbaresco, another signature export from Italy's Piedmont. Indeed, almost all the wines he provided were in magnums, which helped put the evening completely over the top.
In keeping with the signature theme, Dana and Rena sent each guest a box containing an invitation, a quill pen and a card, which we were told to sign and return along with a handwriting sample (we'd learn why later). That was easy. We were also asked to wear our signature outfits and advised that renowned photographer Jessica Craig-Martin would be shooting us for the book.