a beer-lated birthday party

Meet my friend Elliott. I blogged about this dude a longggg time ago when I had him over for a pancakes and whiskey dinner. A year and a half later, he’s totally become part of my LA family. His girlfriend, Ramya (FYI: major girl crush material), decided to throw Elliott a surprise party for his 25th. I co-planned because they’re my favorite couple in the world, a because birthdays are my favorite, and because beer/ice cream/sprinkles were very involved.

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The party was a week after Elliott’s actual birthday (we were brunching on the real day). We made a build-your-own-beer float bar on my porch for the adults, completely with all of the good ice cream flavors (coffee/chocolate/vanilla), walnuts, coconut, and maraschino cherries. We had some little guests at the party too, and I was completely impressed with their sprinkles-to-ice cream ratio.

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We popped a couple pizzas in the oven, opened more beers, and boom! We had a party. I’m completely in love with my porch and my friends, so it made me so super happy to be able to host my first real porch party at my new place.

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Cheers to the good things: birthdays, beer with ice cream in it, and the sunniest Sundays I ever did see. Happy birthday, Elliott!

beerlated

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blood orange upside down cake

A thought I had in that middle ground between being awake and nap sleeping: “Want to be cool and interesting? Be happy as f*ck. No one is happy as f*ck anymore.”

My nap brain says bad words, but my nap brain is right.

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Things that make me happy lately:

citrus season (also, avocado season)
getting my car washed
sitting on the porch with my friends
not setting an alarm clock
eating green things
planning trips and parties
baking cake

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I’ve been busy checking as many things off of this list as possible. Lots of kale, lots of cake, lots of parties (and party planning). I made this citrus upside down cake for my down home pop up brunch, because brunch dessert is a thing. It’s a cross between corn bread and pineapple upside down cake, made in a cast iron skillet (which is my favorite). I love being able to to melt butter and sugar on stovetop and then throw the whole dang thing into the oven. I served this with more roasted citrus, whipped coconut cream, and pistachio dust–you can see photos of that on my beautiful friend’s website, duckshots.net!

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blood orange upside down cake
based on a New York Times recipe

2 sticks + 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 blood orange, 1 valencia orange, & 1 lemon
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (I used gluten free, but all purpose works as well)
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Zest one orange and set aside. Prepare your citrus by slicing into quarter inch slices and carefully cutting off the peel. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet and then add brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is melted, about three minutes. Turn off the heat and press citrus sliced into the butter and sugar mixture.

In a large bowl, combine orange zest, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream 2 sticks of butter with sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then beat in sour cream and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the skillet over the butter/sugar/citrus layer. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes or so before running a knife along the edges of the skillet and turning onto a large plate or cutting board. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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down home: a southern pop up brunch

Internet, I have some parties to catch you up on! I’ve been baking cakes and throwing confetti like a mad woman over here, but it’s time I sat down and filled you in on what the heck the DPA is up to. Today I’m going to tell you about my latest pop up, because it was major.

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Who remembers my indian summer pop up all the way back in October?! We were crazy enough to do it again, in the same pretty yard in Venice with my chef and friend Mariana Carvallo (check out her awesome menus, here). This time we brunched southern-style, complete with shrimp, grits, fried chicken, waffles, and BISCUITS! I don’t have a favorite because everything was my favorite (check the menu, below!).

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I don’t brunch (or do anything, really) without coffee, so it was a big deal to make sure coffee was on point. 3 Coffee LA came in and totally blew us away with their coffee bar set up. They served up both hot and cold coffee (their cold brew is EVERYTHING), plus they even took the time to glass etch some rad jars for each guest to take home. A small secret about myself: I don’t start my day without 3 Coffee in my body. Call it an addiction if you want. I call it happiness.

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We were lucky enough to be featured on Eventbrite’s ‘Best Events in LA‘ list, so we had a lot of new faces who had just heard about us on the internet. I think the coolest part of the day was when a group of four people who had just met hung out for a while after and then went to drinks together in Venice. These parties are totally a learn-by-doing situation–they’re all I talk about for weeks leading up (sorry family/friends), the reason I scour flea markets for vintage hankies and sew napkins until 3 AM. Through the hustle it’s easy to forget why I host things like this altogether, but moments like this bring me back. Meeting friends over good food and drinks is a special kind of something, the reason this blog started and continues to exist. The warmest thanks to everyone who attended this brunch, or any of my parties ever. I love you guys!

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downhomemenu

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maxrowe

My good friend Max taught me a dinner party trick that’s sure to make everyone love you. He once brought bread dough to a dinner party of mine and then popped it into the oven when he arrived. The whole place smelled amazing, plus we had fresh bread. How brilliant is that?

Other than his bread making skills, Max is also a super talented painter. He created some Dinner Party Association inspired paintings that I just adore (that DONUT!), and wanted to share them all with you. To see more of his work and maybe order a print for your kitchen, check out his store on Society 6.

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a ramen housewarming party

For me, a house isn’t a home until my friends have tracked dirt all over my white kitchen floor and I’ve got a well stocked bar of random booze gifts. I made things official with my new home this weekend, complete with friends, beer, and dirty floors.

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I’ve been wanting to have a ramen party for the longest time, and I figured my housewarming was the PERFECT time for hot soup. Everything about planning this party was fun for me, but especially the shopping-for-asian-snacks part. I went sort of crazy in the Asian market and bought all of the snacks with interesting shapes and bright colors. Wasabi peas are probably my biggest weakness in life. That, or like, men who play instruments. Both are equally bad for me but acceptable in my early twenties (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself until my next birthday).

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I spent my Valentine’s Day party prepping and slaving over this Momofuku ramen broth. It was definitely a labor of love that involved searching the city for pork neck bones and a bacon-scented facial, but I’m still totally having dreams about that broth. Instead of BYOB, I made this party BYO ramen toppings and my friends totally brought their condiment game. They showed up with major topping winners like a dozen soft boiled eggs, fried tofu, and mung beans, PLUS other fun things like sriracha beer and salted caramels. I end the night full of noodles and very thankful.

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momofuku ramen broth
from the momofuku cookbook
makes 5 quarts

two 3X6 inch pieces of kombu
6 quarts of water
2 cups dried shiitakes, rinsed well
4 pounds free-range chicken legs
5 pounds pork neck bones
1 pound smokey bacon
1 bunch scallions
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
tarĂ© (I wasn’t able to find this, so I used part sweet soy sauce & part kosher salt)

Fill an 8-quart stock pot with 6 quarts of water and the strips of kombu. Bring to simmer over high heat and then let steep for ten minutes before removing the kombu. Add in the shiitakes, bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The mushrooms should have plumped up and are actually a super tasty, mid-soup-making snack. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon after about thirty minutes.

Heat your oven to 400. Put your pork neck bones on a baking sheet and roast them for about an hour, turning after 30 minutes. Just after you pop the pork neck bones in the oven, add the chicken legs to the stock pot let simmer. Remove the chicken for about an hour (the meat should pull away from the bones) and save the meat and bones for soups and broths. After the chicken has been removed, replace it in the pot with the roasted pork neck bones. Add in the smokey bacon and let lightly simmer for 45 minutes. Once the bacon is removed, simmer the broth for as long as you can–6-7 hours if you have it. The last 45 minutes, add the carrots, scallions, and onion for flavor.

The following part is my own spin on this broth: let the pot cool and place the whole thing in the refrigerator, bones and all. Let sit overnight until the fat forms a layer at the top. This way you can easily remove it with a spoon and discard the next day. Pour the broth into another pot over a strainer to remove the bones and spent vegetables. Season liberally–I used about 7 Tablespoons of soy sauce and and 4 Tablespoons of sea salt.

You can find plain ramen noodles (read: no seasoning packet) to add into this at Whole Foods or Asian markets. The broth will keep for a few days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.

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