Monday, June 2, 2014
A Kitsch-Free Hawaiian Party
I love a plastic lei and grass skirt as much as the next person, but Aaron grew up on Oahu and can't stand kitschy Hawaiian stuff. He owns a couple Aloha shirts but he won't wear them (or get rid of them. Because, sentiment). I told him I wanted to get a lei at the airport in Kona last week and he gave me a big old stink-eye. He LOVES Hawaii but hates how commercialized and gaudy it can be. So when we decided to go with a Hawaiian theme for our turn to host our monthly dinner group I knew I was going to have to be careful to avoid plastic tikis and fabric hibiscus!
We were planning on hanging our misting system and some Christmas lights up in the backyard but then spent HOURS that morning and afternoon shopping for a new couch (and somehow ended up buying two?) and came home with very little time to spend on getting everything ready. Aaron squeezed in a quick shower after our guests arrived. We were seriously down to the wire! We decided to use our totally empty front room instead of the back patio (it's pretty hot out there anyway). It's missing the outdoor ambiance but it was certainly much cooler under our high-powered fans!
I found this fantastic tropical print jute fabric at Wal Mart on clearance and grabbed 3 yards. Aaron found it inoffensive and I love the purple color. I used my regular trick of cutting up paper grocery bags as placemats. They're perfect for a dinner with a more casual vibe and they add a little texture (plus you can just toss/recycle them after dinner rather than having to wash placemats). I also picked up a couple gorgeous orchids from Trader Joe's the day before and I am totally smitten. If you have tips for keeping orchids alive, I'm all ears.
Also, votive candles in mason jars. Because it's easy and adds some pretty mood lighting.
Aaron is pretty passionate about Hawaiian food so it was really hard to narrow down our options! We finally decided on mochiko chicken, which isn't something you find very often on the mainland. I also grilled some marinated pineapple and vegetable skewers and, of course, we had plenty of rice on hand. For dessert I made chocolate haupia pie, which is a standard at our house (not to mention super easy to make). For drinks I made real Hawaiian punch and it was SO ridiculously good. We only have a tiny bit left and both Aaron and I are in mourning. Time to stock up on pineapple juice...
The party all came together at the very last minute without ANY inflatable palm trees or neon faux leis, which made Aaron happy. The food was delicious and the company was, as always, lovely.
Recipes coming this week!
What did you do this weekend?