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Perfect Recipes For a Summer House Party

On a small and idyllic Maine island, madcap couple Alexandra and Eliot Angle invite friends to their weeklong house parties with seriously wonderful food.

"I was trying to look like John F. Kennedy," Eliot Angle says. "I slicked down my hair and wore a slim suit with a white handkerchief." Not the usual beach-escape look, but beach escapes don't typically involve a 1961-inspired dress code. When Eliot and his wife, Alexandra, vacation on her family's private Maine island, they take their extravagant entertaining ethos with them. Giving parties is how they make a living—they are the founders of Aqua Vitae Design, an event and interior design company based in Los Angeles; the hosts of The Perfect Summer Party on the Fine Living Network; and the authors of Cocktail Parties with a Twist—and it's also how they have fun. That's especially true for their weeklong house parties on the island, which an ancestor of Alexandra's bought in the early 19th century for logging timber. Guests—the Angles invite up to 17 at a time—spend their days sailing, hiking, horseback riding and taking turns in the kitchen; in the evenings everyone convenes on the porch and croquet lawn dressed in tuxedos, turbans or other lavish apparel. For brunch one day, the Angles served a frittata made with onions and herbs from their garden, followed by a crumble made with sweet blueberries and raspberries that grow wild on the island. Dinner later in the week began with cocktails mixed with cilantro and mint; then came vibrantly flavored minestrone thick with just-picked vegetables, followed by a pork roast drizzled with a pungent garlic-mint sauce, prepared by a friend who'd recently traveled to Italy. Another night, the Angles followed Maine tradition and dug a sandpit, lined it with stones and seaweed, and baked lobsters, clams and mussels—the ultimate beach party, whether you're wearing a tuxedo, a turban or a bathing suit.

Published June 2004
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