Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gabriel's 4th birthday party - Soda Shop & Diner fun!

You can purchase the "Retro Diner & Soda Shop" Printable Collection inspired by this party in our "SHOP" section or here on Etsy.  Thanks!!

As promised in this post, here are more details about the party day.  It was so much fun!! And I think both kids and adults who were present agree :-)
The drinks & ice cream table

These retro-style diner bar stools were my big splurge for the party.  But they were worth every penny!  I was afraid Mr. B wouldn't be supportive or understand the "absolute need" for them, but to my surprise, he even suggested we use them permanently replacing the ones we currently have...

We had an electrician coming the day before the party and as soon as he saw the stools and the checkered tablecloth covering the buffet he said the place looked like a 50s diner. Yes!!!  Even though it is pretty random, that's the feedback I wanted :-)

This vintage (working) jukebox replica came from eBay, and the old records from Etsy.  On top of their original labels, I placed cut circles from the aqua and red pattern papers. I hung some records dangling from the ceiling and displayed some more on the buffet table.

Soda fountain-style drink mixer. Not just for milkshakes! We use it to make healthy fruit and veggie smoothies as well :-)
Remember the retro napkin holder I painted red?
Instead of plates, I piled some food baskets lined with red-striped paper (red ones from Crate & Barrel, blue ones from a lucky "hunt" at Michael's - found these together with the reusable totes!!)
Love the rotating ice cream cone holder!
Retro EAT tin sign from Amazon (although I spotted it first on Retro Planet)

Milkshake flavors - malted milk, organic strawberry and dark chocolate

The table menu...
...and a wall one as well!
"Tips are greatly appreciated in the form of hugs and kisses"
For "cuteness", I used a round metal ring to cut the bread for the cheese sandwich. I try my best to not let anything go to waste, so I froze the leftover bread crusts for a later use.  I did the same when I ended up with a bunch of pita and sandwich bread crusts after Gabriel's Elvis Presley's birthday party last year. My easy no-fail solution?  Croutons. Cube or torn the crusts into a big bowl, add plenty of olive oil or melted butter, whatever fresh or dried herbs you have on hand, season with salt and pepper and bake at 400º degrees Fahrenheit (200º Celsius) for 8-10 minutes to desired crispness.  You can also process them into breadcrumbs (tip: rosemary, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper go really well together. In the case of the pita bread, olive oil and za'atar usually do the trick!)
Smoked Mac & Cheese (recipe below)
Clockwise from top left: turkey burgers, white chili, sweet potato fries and mini chicken "pot pie"
Red cabbage, carrot & apple slaw
Burger fixings - whole wheat multi-grain bread, heirloom tomato, mixed greens, pickles, ketchup & mustard (in retro squeeze bottles, of course!)

In the back you can see my retro looking toaster and citrus juicer (the revolving candy jar was also on display)

Near the cake table on the left, a turquoise retro kitchen timer & wall clock 
My wonderful parents helping me in the kitchen. I really couldn't pull it off without them here!! 
Party favors - mini gumball machines
Time for cake!!

"Let me eat cake"
Takeout boxes - you can see the prep work here!
Goodies to take home: takeout boxes, 50s cat eye and nerd frames, paper soda jerk hat and gumball machines.  All inside a reusable cute bag!
The face of pure joy!
Yes, my polka dot dress matches the red table runner :-)

(adapted from a Bon Appétit magazine recipe)
  • 2 cups grated smoked mozzarella
    2 cups grated smoked Gouda 
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    5 tablespoons butter, divided
    1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular all purpose)
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    4 cups whole milk
    1 3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
    1 pound whole wheat cavattapi (also known as elbow) pasta
    8 teaspoons whipping cream (if making 1 day ahead)

    Mix all cheeses and set aside 1 cup for topping.  Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to use. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until mixture turns golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add thyme and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until thickened and smooth, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add cheese mixture and stir until melted and smooth.
    Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir until golden, about 2 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 375°F (190º C). Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender but firm to bite. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over and toss. Divide among eight 1 1/4-cup custard cups. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Place cups on rimmed baking sheet. 

    DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover assembled cups with foil and chill. Drizzle each with 1 teaspoon cream. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with breadcrumbs(partially baked and chilled or just assembled cups.) Bake until beginning to bubble and tops are golden, about 20 minutes.

    Happy eating!

And a big, heartfelt OBRIGADO to my parents who came from Brasil to honor Gabi's special day. We are truly blessed!

Check out this and many more creative parties on Bird's blog here: Link Party at Bird's Party!
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