For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about planning and attending dinner parties. What I love about dinner parties is the dressing up, entertaining guests, and, of course, showcasing incredible food.

On August 24th, 2013, I hosted my very first “Eating with Erica” dinner party at Cafè Vena in Vinings, Georgia, a suburb outside of Atlanta!

My primary purpose of the “Eating with Erica” dinner parties is to take my guests out of their “foodie comfort zones.” I want my guests to experience new dishes that are prepared by talented chefs with excellent culinary skilks. I also want my guests to expand their taste palettes with these new food experiences.

I decided not to release the Cafè Vena food menu prior to the dinner party. The head chefs are Chef Jeff Stone and Chef Brett Bowan.  Cafè Vena is such a darling restaurant with so much character. I felt that this intimate restaurant was perfect to host my first “Eating with Erica” dinner party.

The menu featured an amazing five-course meal: Heirloom Watermelon Salad with goat mousse, strawberry foam, sour “breakfast” radish, fennel, pistachio dust; lemon pepper” Chicken Wing Confit with preserved lemon aioli, red pepper coulis, local honey, cilantro, and sweet and sour pepper; Scallop Crudo with thin sliced scallop, mint oil, citrus, fleur de sel, agave, Thai chile, microgreen; and Broiled Lamb Lollipop with dijon rub, roasted herb salt, blueberry demi glace, crumbled grit cake, and chive oil.  Finally, for dessert, it was Flash Fried Beignet with 10x sugar, chocolate ganache, strawberry preserves, and bacon honey.

Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the menu. A few guests had lamb for the first time, and they genuinely enjoyed it.  While everyone ate, Cafè Vena provided live music entertainment by a group of three women that belted out their beautiful voices to tunes that everyone could sing along to.

This event was hosted by Harvin and Meyer Eadon from “Big Rich Atlanta,” and the cocktails served that evening were presented by our amazing sponsor, Le Grand Saint Vodka. Their blush-colored vodka poured over fresh raspberries and blueberries not only makes a great presentation, it leaves your tastebuds wanting more of this decadent drink.

The first “Eating with Erica” dinner party was absolutely amazing and will be coming to city a near you!

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