Happy Friday friends! What a whirlwind of a week it's been. I flew back from Nashville early Monday morning, and have been busy finalizing the details on an exciting book development (cannot wait to share more soon!!). Then, Wednesday I turned 35 (!!) and Brandon planned an all-day scavenger hunt full of surprises that left me feeling like a million bucks. (More on that later, too!) And then yesterday, I launched a new entertaining column for Saveur! I know that's a lot of exclamation points in one paragraph, but it's been an amazing week and I'm feeling so, so grateful. And thank you all for the sweet birthday wishes on Instagram and FB! Means so much.

I am so excited to share with you all my first Saveur story. It's a huge honor to write for a magazine that I've loved for years, and I'm especially pumped that they wanted me to write about my favorite subjects: dinner parties! This week's column featured a dinner party I threw a few weeks back in collaboration with Lindsay Hoopes, of Hoopes Vineyard, and my friend and fellow writer, Erin Hazelton.


(L) Lindsay's friend Kelly Mortensen and the lovely Erin Hazelton; (R) Lindsay Hoopes and me.

I created a decadent end-of-winter feast (featuring recipes from my cookbook) to pair with Lindsay's vibrant Napa Valley wines. Lindsay and I met several years ago through a mutual friend, and after tasting her wines, I knew we had to throw a dinner party together. We finally got a date on the calendar, and Erin was gracious enough to host the party in her gorgeous UWS townhouse, where she lives with her husband Brook, and their two children. Erin has such incredible style – hosting a party in her home was a total dream, as we were able to dinnerware and table decor that she already had. I am totally obsessed with her vintage blue, white, and gold plates. Aren't they stunning?! And that wallpaper...!!


(L) Erin Hazelton lighting candles pre-party. (R) I am in love with her blue and gold plates!


(L) Erin found this green swirly wallpaper in Italy. (R) The Hoopes 2012 Oakville cab was my favorite of the night.


Erin set the table with dinnerware from her private collection; flowers by Blue Meadow Flowers.

The guest list was a very NYC-mix of fashion designers, writers, editors, and food/wine geeks. (I literally didn't feel cool enough to be at this party...which is why I mostly stayed in the kitchen. Ha!) The meal was served in four courses, and each featured a wine pairing from Hoopes Winery: crostini with goat cheese and fig-olive tapenade, followed by a colorful winter citrus and arugula salad to pair with her bright, unoaked 2013 Hoopla Chardonnay; a rich sausage ragu with creamy Parmesan polenta and sautéed broccoli rabe paired perfectly with the deeply aromatic 2012 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. And finally, bittersweet chocolate pudding cakes with Grand Marnier whipped cream were the perfect companion for the easy-going, fruit-filled 2013 Hoopla “The Mutt” Cabernet Sauvignon. I love this menu because it’s not only delicious, but everything can be made or prepped almost entirely in advance.


(L) Guests toasting pre-dinner; (R) Goat cheese crostini with fig-olive tapenade.


(L) Plated citrus salads with arugula & ricotta salata. (R) I apparently take my cooking very seriously!


(L) Maureen Petrosky & Marco Larsen; (R) Citrus salads mid-plating.

Head on over to Saveur for the full story – plus recipes and a step-by-step guide to throwing this party at home. In the meantime, enjoy these beautiful photos from Annabel Braithwaite, of Belathee Photography. (You know how I told you last week that I thought we had lost them?? We held a whole other photo shoot (which I'll share in a future post), but thank goodness these shots were eventually found! It was such a special night, and I can't imagine it not being documented.)


(L) Candles glowed in the fireplace; (R) designer Erin Fetherston.


(L) My sweet assistant for the night, Jana Harrison! (R) My cookbook and Lindsay's wine enjoy a bonding moment.


(L) Parmesan polenta with sausage ragu; (R) me sporting my signature dinner party look: topknot + apron!


Mid-dinner party, Lindsay shared a bit about her wines and her family's story.


Bittersweet cakes with Grand Marnier whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a Simple & Crisp dried orange.

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you're inspired to gather your own friends around the table for some polenta, ragu, and a bottle of Hoopes wine!

xo, Anna

(All photos by Belathee Photography)