My friend Stephanie is truly incredible. She flips houses, she builds furniture, she surfs, she snowboards, she is a wealth of celebrity gossip and trivia, she cooks (in fact, she provides all the dinners for every awards show party), she blogs (Stephanie's Bookmark if you aren't already a follower) and she's a supremely talented author.
Stephanie has published three books, her most recent one "Kissing Frogs" came out in November 2014. You may remember my review of the book or the brunch we threw to celebrate the launch. Per usual, I hosted and Stephanie cooked.
About two weeks ago Stephanie finished her next book, "Fish In The Sea" which is a follow up to "Kissing Frogs." Same characters, but with new adventures and more importantly, new love interests. Stephanie provided three of us with the manuscript and asked us to gather together for brunch to discuss our feedback. An advance copy and a chance to enjoy Stephanie's cooking? Don't mind if do.
When Stephanie asked if I would host, I was so excited. I immediately go to work thinking about how to make this intimate gathering feel unique to this book. Since the title of the new book is "Fish In The Sea" I knew I wanted to incorporate fish somehow, but not in a nautical or Cape Cod kind of way.
I wound up creating a three part centerpeice, using mostly the color blue.
I put my grandmother's crystal bowl in the center of the table. I lined the bottom with blue gem stones and then filled it 90% of the way with water, then dropped in the little fishies. I like to think of each one of these guys as one of our dating blunders.
On either side of the fish bowl I arranged a small bouquet of white roses, each in an ocean blue vase.
Each person's seat had a metallic, geometric placemat. I got these on mega sale on the West Elm website.
About a half hour before the brunch was set to begin, the chef and guest of honor arrived to whip up a spectacular meal. She was wearing a brand new shirt she picked out just for the occasion. I love it!
With champagne in hand, she chopped, diced, stirred and whisked, resulting in the most amazing DIY breakfast taco bar I've ever seen.
I'd like to point out one particular thing. In addition to the veggies, the cheeses, the beans and the fresh lime wedges, she brought Nacho Cheese Dorito taco shells. I was speechless.
I couldn't wait to make my Nacho Cheese tacos! What is not pictured above is the giant bowl of scrambled eggs with creme fraiche and the smashed potatoes made with rosemary olive oil. Yup, that happened.
I composed my plate with sheer glee. I could not wait to dig into this.
The second course, made to order, was red velvet waffles. Yes, you read that correctly.
I love the color of these waffles. They are almost too beautiful to eat!
After putting one on my plate, I topped it with cream cheese frosting (a mix of cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and a splash of milk).
I won't tell you how quickly I made this disappear.
Throughout the meal we each enjoyed a few mimosas. To help remember which glass belonged to which girl, our author provided wine charms, each representing a significant character or moment in the book. I picked the dog, representing the pup in the book named Boo.
Over the course of the meal (when we weren't stuffing our faces) we shared our favorite moments in the book, new characters we loved, scenes we felt were super relatable and what we hoped would happen in the next installment. Over the next few days Stephanie is focusing on the editing process and very soon "Fish In The Sea" will be available to the public! I will let you know the moment you can get your hands on a copy.
Stephanie, congratulations on completing the manuscript. I am so outrageously proud of you. And damn girl, you make one hell of a brunch.