I like having guests over. Blame it on my mother – after all, she is Martha Jewart. Ever since I was a kid I was raised knowing that there are very specific ways to throw a party. She has very strict rules about how dishes are arranged, what we’re allowed to serve, how food is displayed, etc. When I was little I thought that was ridiculous. “Show me the guest who gives a shit if I put the ketchup bottle on the table without first scooping it into a crystal bowl!” I would scream.
Of course, now I’ve inherited that behavior. So when it came time to throw a special Shabbat dinner for a group of my friends last weekend, you know I went to town:
Doesn’t that look beautiful? I made it all myself!
Okay, obviously I am lying. Not a chance in hell I could do that :) But it is a gorgeous spread, isn’t it? I ordered catering from Amer’s Falafel – it’s a great Israeli place in the valley – and they gave us SO much food! (Warning: I can’t promise you’ll get this nice of a spread if you order from them. The owner has a MAJOR crush on me and hooked me UP. If he wasn’t 40 and balding I would own that falafel shop right now.)
Anyway, we had a feast – and it was arranged quite beautifully, if I do say so myself :) Challah, 85 tons of pita, platters of hummus, babaganoush, eggplant salad, tabbouleh, tahini, falafel, spinach and potato burekas, you name it. For dessert, special contributors Ashley and GB made some major deliciousness: smores brownies and Halloween-themed cupcakes. And of course, there was wine wine. Lots and lots of wine.
I love my friends. We are so cute and Jewy. Here are some of the girls lighting the candles:
And here are the boys after saying the Hamotzi over the challah:
The night also included an impromptu dance party/singalong to the 90s Greatest Hits and one anonymous guest drinking wine out of the bottle with a straw:
Wanna know the best part? Birthright paid for all of it! Yes, you read that right – Birthright has a special program where if you register your Shabbat dinner 10 days ahead of time, they’ll reimburse you up to $14 for up to 15 people! You can use that money however you want – ordering in, buying food and cooking, you name it. It’s such a great idea – I would have hosted Shabbat anyways, but this gave me such an incentive to do it. All you have to do in order to get reimbursed is send in a photo of all your guests, holding a special Birthright sign. Here we are, in all our glory: