I’ve decided that I am going to quit my day job and go into the party planning business. Wait. Do you think everyone wants original ideas or is ok with me just ripping off Pinterest ideas?! Eh. Maybe I need to rethink this decision. Either way, I am in party planning mode and this past weekend I helped to pull off my very FIRST surprise party!
Karen, a regular AGAHM face and CSA buddy, had a big birthday a few weeks ago. She was out of the country (lucky duck!) so we decided to celebrate with her later in the month. She just didn’t know it. I sent her this exact email.
Can you please reserve the date of January 26th? Details to follow. Maybe.
Ask no questions!
She was a good sport and asked no questions.
In the meantime her best friend, Tina, and I were putting together a fun Saturday cooking class with a group of her wonderful friends. Food, drinks, and laughing. We happen to be pros at all three of those.
I picked her up on Saturday and off we went. Karen was chatty for most of the car ride until we ended up in a neighborhood that totally threw her off and then she just got silent. Finally she said “I’m trying to figure out where the heck you are taking me.” Heh. I win!
As we walked into the restaurant she was greeted by her friends and tons of love.
Our surprise party was a cooking class with Chef Erwin Ramos of Ole Mexican Grill in Cambridge. We were able to put together a menu of guacamole, enchiladas, corn cakes, and of course, margaritas.
Olé Margarita or Hubiscus (Jamaica) Margarita
Ensalada de Jicama (Jicama Salad)
Enchiladas de pollo with salsa ranchera
Pastel de elote (Sweet corn cake)
In addition to our little touches, Ole had really put together a nice setup. They had a cooking demo station and several carts to roll out when making a drink or the guacamole.
Our first order of business was to get the birthday girl a drink. The Chef Ramos team taught us how to make a Hibiscus Margarita with a Dried Hibiscus and Sugar rim.
It was sweet and sour with a touch of floral. A great afternoon drink!
Their homemade guac was next. Although the presentation of making the guac tableside is a great show, it is actually done so that the guac can be made fresh and look green rather than browning too much before going to the table. Nobody likes a big ol’ bowl of brown poo no matter how good it tastes.
There is something magical about the limes and avocado at Ole because this guac was out of this world. It was so good I wanted to lick the bowl clean. I don’t care who watched me. I did not do this though. Thank you will power.
Next up on the menu was the jicama salad. Again, the limes MADE this dish just sing. Its just a simple mix of jicama, cucumber, carrot, and red onion. Chef Ramos also gave us a few demos on how to best peel the jicama and then julienne it.
Finally it was time for the main course and the birthday girl helped out with the pulled chicken. Have you ever seen someone so happy to pull chicken off the bones? Freak. She *might* have had a few of those hibiscus margaritas at this point.
Throughout the class Chef Ramos and his guest chef, Chef Karousos, gave some great info on how to pick the best veggies at the grocery store, their personal food history, history of the foods we were making and eating, and all kinds of info on Mexican food in general. They were real storytellers!
The enchiladas were topped with a super easy sauce that was made by roasting veggies and then mixing them in a Vitamix (everyone wanted to steal it). It was fresh and so good! Karen’s pulled chicken was the star inside of the enchilada.
To round out the meal we had a simple corn cake dessert with a hibiscus sauce. So savory and moist, but sweet at the same time.
There were no lack of desserts at this party. Sweet Cupcakes showed up too!
We spent the rest of the party opening gifts and chatting. Chef Ramos and Chef Karousos even gave Karen their own gift, a signed chef’s hat. We have already put her on notice that she has to wear it at her next dinner party. I won’t forget this.
When Tina and I were working on the party planning we decided that we wanted to have a few personal touches at the party. We saw some pictures of succulents in a can on Pinterest and thought it was the perfect decoration. Tina did all the planting and I think they came out perfect! Everyone was able to take home a few, along with a nip of tequila, an apron that I made and a cute notebook that Tina put together for people to take notes during the class.
When I was making the aprons I didn’t realize that the “Keep Calm and Drink a Margarita” was so far down on the apron. Slightly odd looking, but the thought was there. Who doesn’t enjoy a graphic on their belly?! Ugh. Apron making fail.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Ole and the folks there. Chef Ramos and his team made this birthday celebration so much fun and delicious all at the same time.
If you are a local and looking for a fun girls night or want to do a little celebrating of your own, definitely check Ole out!!
I hope you guys are having a great week! In some unrelated news, I won my first round of the DietBet! I’m signed up for Round 2 now and will be talking more about it here tomorrow. If you are already familiar with how DietBet works and want to get in on the second round, sign up here!
See ya tomorrow!