Buying a home is always cause for celebration. We fell in love with our 1925 craftsman, complete with indoor columns, chandeliers, stained glass windows and crown molding. But we needed to baptize our home, so we threw the doors open and invited our friends and neighbors in to eat, drink and poke around.
We wanted our party to reflect where we came from, Los Angeles. But we realized that California cuisine is a bit vague. Some say it’s Asian fusion. Others say it’s regular food with alfalfa sprouts and avocado slapped onto it. In reality, it’s Mexican food.
Instead, we opted for an old-fashioned oyster roast, and Southern comfort food – a nod to our genteel future.
Guests were invited to mill about the home, peeking in closets and bouncing on beds. One adult even volunteered to give kids a tour of the old, mysterious attic.
Keeping with the Southern theme, I served mint juleps with fresh mint leaves from the yard. To make it easy on guests, I made a huge vat of the cocktail ahead of time. That way, guests could simply pour. Plus, I could regulate how strong the drinks were. I always set my cocktails to strong. It keeps people social and really, only the first few sips burn. For the teetotalers, I brewed sweet tea, of course!
Blues and jazz guitar played over the stereo and rooms were lit with candles in Mason jars. Since we’re newcomers to Richmond, we placed a suggestion box on a table, urging guests to recommend restaurants to try, fun weekend road trips, etc.
Adventurous friends gathered around the bar to do raw oyster shots with tequila and cocktail sauce. Every time a fresh batch of roasted oysters were brought in from the grill, friends circled the table. We had a few dipping sauces for guests, like chopped parsley and garlic in butter sauce, and of course lemon slices and Tabasco for purists.
Last but not least, I made sure our friends didn’t go home empty-handed. Especially since so many were kind enough to bring housewarming presents. I made small batches of rosemary popcorn, fresh from our backyard rosemary bush. Stuffed into quaint brown paper bags with a Southern-style label, these awaited guests on the front porch on their way out.
This party felt like a warm hug, and was the perfect way to kick off our new life in Richmond.