Food & Wine
December 01, 2006

There are more parties in December, it seems, than in all the other months of the year combined. And although I think it would be wise to take some of the burden off revelers by designating another month—say, February—Go to a Party Month, here at F&W we decided to face reality. In this issue we provide more than 60 amazing party dishes, from beef chili to caramelized banana tart.

Washington, DC, chef José Andrés, the Spanish-born culinary dervish, devised a menu that combines Spanish and American flavors. This man is unstoppable. Ask him for one or two tapas and he’ll give you 10! We benefit from his enthusiasm in "Christmas with a Spanish Accent," featuring an extraordinary lobster with fideos (sort of like paella except with pasta instead of rice) and a supremely elegant, juicy stuffed pork roast.

In "Favorite Party Dishes," Maria Helm Sinskey, author of The Vineyard Kitchen, supplies more ideas for serving a crowd. Many of her fabulous, completely doable dishes can be made ahead of time. I’m partial to her Parmesan and herb–crusted beef tenderloin and chocolate-raspberry roll.

For ingenious ideas on how to make any party look fantastic, I urge you to turn to "Entertaining Makeover." Food stylist Alison Attenborough, one of our star contributors, and her chef husband, Jamie Kimm, share inspired ideas—from pouring divine, mysterious black vodka cocktails to artfully arranging store-bought sweets.

Sometimes, after all the cocktail parties and stand-up-and-eat hors d’oeuvres, all I want is comfort food—like mac ’n’ cheese. We got the definitive updated version from Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea, one of America’s most experimental chefs, who grew up making omelets at his parents’ restaurant in rural Michigan. Now here’s an idea: Maybe I’ll serve mac ’n’ cheese at my next holiday party.

Where I’m Coming From

Notes from my recent expeditions.

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
An amazing street cart with superb reindeer sausage.
DETAILS Weekdays at the corner of 16th St. and Arapahoe St.;

The Little Owl
There’s nothing better than the cavatelli with bacon and favas.
DETAILS 90 Bedford St.; 212-741-4695.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Had an unforgettable meal here one night when Joël Robuchon himself was in the kitchen. His Maine lobster on iceberg lettuce with sherry vinaigrette turned me into a groupie.
DETAILS 57 E. 57th St.; 212-350-6658.

E-mail Me
Tell me about a holiday party where you totally broke with tradition or created a new one.

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