To greet my guests: "Welcome!" Message in a Bottle
Fashioned from a framed picture, embellished with sea shells, rocks, and a message in a bottle!
Welcome "Ocean Splash" Champagne Cooler
Made with 1 teaspoon blue sugar rocks (for more bubbles), 2 tablespoons Blue Curacao
& Brut Sparkling Wine.
Delicious Caribbean Shrimp Appetizer
Marinated in Caribbean Jerk Sauce, wrapped in bacon & grilled. Yummy!
"Where The Fish Are Biting" Chowder (Cheese cutout & green onion bubbles)
Napkins create a splash of water look, accompanied by sea rock look place mats, sea water and rock appetizer plates and the table is adorned with many treasures of the sea.
These pictures truly don't do the table justice. It is so much prettier in person!
Dining, Dining Over The Ocean Blue
Pacific Coast Welcome
"Ocean Splash" Champagne Cooler
“Where The Girls Are...The Boys Will Follow”
Cabernet & Chardonnay, Or...
Beach Bum Beer ;-)
(If The Flip Flop Fits…)
Artichoke “Dip In The Sea” & Chips
Grilled Caribbean Shrimp
(Jerk Marinated & Bacon Wrapped)
“Where The Fish Are Biting” Chowder
“Beach Blanket” Crescent Rolls
Sea Shell & Sand Dollar Butter Dabs
“Treasures of the Sea” Shell Pasta Salad
Baja Broiled Mexican Sea Bass
Grilled Green Beans
(AKA Landlubber Seaweed Delight)
"Wipe Out" Chocolate Cake
With Raspberry White Chocolate Starfish
“See You In September” Hazelnut Cream Coffee
If you read nothing else, please read the LAST paragraph. :-)
Usually for me, a dinner begins with a "plate" or "theme". Like the chicken and the egg, which one comes first? Either one! I can take it from there. I saw these beautiful plates at Home Goods and had to purchase them. I have shied away from beach themes in the past because nothing in my home says "Beach, Ocean, Sea or Nautical". But I said to my self: "Self, you can work with these!"
At first, I thought I would actually spread sand on the tablecloth. But I was rescued from that messy idea when I watched a segment on the news from Home Depot. A decorator demonstrated how he used a paint drop cloth as a tablecloth! I was at Home Depot the very next day to purchase one of those inexpensive cloths! They come in all sizes, and some even have a plastic back. After washing it, I achieved the perfect sand effect. it was a little wrinkled and it looked perfect!
While at Home Depot, I wandered into the floor tile section and saw that I could buy vinyl floor tiles for 99 cents each. :-) I decided the easiest, and cheapest way to solve the underside challenge was to simply buy another tile for the other side and stick them together. This worked like magic. They can be used indoors or outdoors. They clean up easily, and most of all, achieved the rock look I wanted.
Moving on, I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and discovered these small square appetizer plates. The colors were ideal as I knew I had blue water glasses (purchased from World Market) at home, and wanted to use sea blue napkins (also from World Market) to make this table pop. Now, I was really performing the "Snoopy Dance" as it was really starting to come together.
A field trip to Pottery Barn was now warranted ;-) for sea shells and glass candle holders where I could insert sand and the shells. Across from PB was. Z Gallery, where I discovered sea shell napkin rings! At this point, I didn't care how much they cost, I had to have them. Yes, I could have come up with another idea, but this was so beautiful to me.
Another trip to Home Goods and now I was seeing things I hadn't before. I saw this beautiful aqua blue bowl with an underside of silver. With its geometric designs it looked awesome, and it was only $10! While at the check-out stand, I noticed these sparkling aqua blue rocks and shells for $4. Had to have those too to mix with the other more monochromatic shells and rocks. There were enough left over to fill the bottom of the bowl and place another white pillar candle within and balance the other side of my table.
I noticed a great pinkish starfish the first day I was at Home Goods and decided to buy it on this trip. When I returned, it was gone! You must buy what you want the day you see it there, or it is gone. So instead I found these little resin sea shell and coral picture stands for $5 and purchased them. I decided to place welcoming words on the prongs and give my dinner guests something to talk about.
For the finishing touch, I knew I wanted to find some driftwood, so I was thrilled when I found it at Z Gallery. It gave me the height, depth, and total look I wanted to accomplish. To add a touch of whimsey, I purchased little olive oil bottles at The Container Store, ($3.50) filled them with about two tablespoons of sand and inserted my guests names on scroll-look paper for place tags! This "Message In A Bottle" was an element I couldn't wait for them to see.
I learned a lot about the menu I planned: first the good: the Sparkling Wine Coolers with Blue Curacao and blue sugar crystals were a big hit and started the evening off with a big splash! The artichoke dip and Caribbean Shrimp were also favorites. The chocolate cake was scrumptious!
What was disappointing: The pasta salad didn't turn out as wonderful as I'd hoped. :- / The idea was to provide a bit of coolness to a warm summer evening. The problem was the pasta shells were ginormous and the chopped vegetables within were lost at sea. It didn't seem to be a favorite. I never claim to be a gourmet cook, but I failed miserably at the grilled green beans. Although I cooked them according to the directions, they weren't fully cooked, therefore, they were a disappointment. :-( Thankfully....the Mexican Sea Bass with Mango Salsa was absolutely delicious. All in all, we had a delightful evening!
I must state here and now, that what is MORE IMPORTANT than the menu, table settings, sea shells, driftwood, and all the other elements is what made this dinner "SEE" Worthy! Seeing people I love, giving them delightful surprises they wouldn't find elsewhere, engaging in fun conversation, and just spending time together is what makes all of this worthwhile! Without people you care about and enjoy, any dinner is just dinner. This was DINING!