Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipie for a Birthday

How does one plan a birthday party? How to choose a theme, a style, an ambiance? I say, “give ‘em what they want.” Recently, Mom had her 75th, and she made it clear that she wanted lots of pink, a coconut cake, and Champagne. She knows I indulge her whims, and she is never disappointed on her Birthday.

This week my most-loved sister had her birthday. On that day, her husband was working late and asked if she might pick up her own birthday cake at the market. I know~ MEN! We celebrated her birthday properly this Saturday, along with my nephew Dennis’ (her son), for his 18th.

I was noodling over what to do for their birthdays. The best gift I can give my sister is time, so the dinner party was at her house. I showed up with the food and began to cook while she watched a PBS video about Italy with our Dad and all the dogs (Gift).


I settled on a theme of French Brasserie, since my sister and I used to love to dine at Balthazar in New York when she visited me there. At Christmas time, those large mirrors are draped in cedar, with a terminus of an XL pine cone. Do not miss this restaurant if you visit New York City! Balthazar is to me a dialed-down version of Le Grand Colbert; another not to miss in Paris, and featured in the film Somethings Gotta Give; be sure to view their videos on the website, though not if you are hungry! I went to Le Grand Colbert hundreds of time, long before the film, since it’s just near the Louvre, and now there are tour buses which stop for meals. Go late afternoon for a leisurely lovers lunch. Oh that’s another post, but here is a pic of Balthazar; you might see designer David Easton here for breakfast, or any number of celebrities~


Oh back to the birthday parties…those Champagne and water bottles got repurposed again, for a long serpentine candlestick; I layered in a pretty quilted French runner over the French linen sheet, so we knew we were not in a diner~


Hector had Orange Tulips at the market Saturday, so that’s what I got and that’s what went on the tables; pale pink just wouldn’t do. Orange positively glows at night, do not discount it; it is warm and went well with the pinks!


I used Point a la Ligne candles in 8” and 12” lengths, in pinks and a few orange, with the bottles for holders; fill the bottles with water for weight; trim the candles down with a paring knife to fit the bottle necks~


See what I mean about the orange? Even if you hate orange, it’s great for a party~


Let’s not forget the Birthday cakes; for my family, we usually have like five, but as I was short on time with the markets and other demands; we had the requested Red Velvet Cake and a Chocolate Ganache~


For my sis, I got a book from French publisher Assouline, perfectly wrapped. When in doubt, a book or Champagne, that’s my motto!!


In bistro style, the table was set with white dishes, ordinary glasses and white Matteo linen napkins; ok you don’t get Matteo at bistros but I do not have white cotton~


Dinner was oven roasted asparagus from the market~


And Alaskan Halibut; “restaurant style” pan fried in half butter half veggie oil; dog gone this was so over the top I want a taste of this again!


I served the Halibut with the tomato mango chutney according to Balthazar; forgot to mention, the menu was all from the Balthazar Cookbook~


The Balthazar salad was delicious, with julienned beets, various greens, haricots verts and radishes. And what bistro would miss steak au poivre, coated with pepper, and home made pomme frites; if you doubt the expense of a great camera, look at this; the Canon Rebel picks up the French sea salt on the fries; these were Super Yummy~


I think the bottles will be stored for summer. While they are “dripless” in no wind, with a breeze they do this~


I think the Champagne bottles coated in wax will be lovely. My sis of course kept them all. Here’s to more fab birthday parties!


  1. You give the BEST parties my friend! I remember your Mom's pink bubble birthday party and now this for your sister! You are so special!

  2. The gift of time is the best of all. What I have to say about this fabulous dinner party (and multiple cakes) birthday is in September!

  3. Absolutey a fantastic party. What a great sister you are. I wish I had a sister, if wishes came true it would be you. Just love red tulips this time of year.

  4. I doubt your mum would want a clown at age 75! Let's have some respect. This age does not mean senility.

    What a beautiful table and the menu looked delicious. I adore steak and frites; and the decor was scrumptious; just perfect for our wintery weather!

  5. Bonjour Andrea,
    What a fabulous birthday celebration! The orange tuplis and the tapers look divine.
    Bonne semaine,

  6. Hopflower, a little more figurative than literal on the Clown! Safe to say I have indulged my Mom on her every whim and want for a long long time! Cheers~

  7. Oh my I do love it all! Yes, you must DO a post on Le Grand Colbert. My heart beats faster just thinking about an awaiting treasure.

  8. What an amazing celebration of love! Everything is so beautiful! Thank you for coming by and wishing me a happy birthday and even saying you wish you could give me a cake! That is so sweet! I don't live close to family....and have not had a party since I was a child. I think that is something special I would like to of these days! I enjoyed sharing your special celebration in this post! Hugs! ♥

  9. Oh Andrea you do know how to entertain! The oranges and pinks in the candles glow and then the rest of the tablescape, fabulous.

    The cakes, yummy as well as the menu!

    I have given you an award, come see at my site!

    Art by Karena

  10. What a lovely celebration. I'm always touched by how you shower your family with such love and heartfelt gifts. Could you please plan my next birthday?


  11. wow, I'm going to have to set my table for dinner one night like this! beautiful!