Hello again, friends and fellow Game of Thrones fans. This post is a follow up to my previous post about our Game of Thrones party, featuring the theme details, decor and temporary tattoo craft from my 30th nameday - er - birthday.
While the decor was fun and gave me a chance to fulfill the craftiness I was craving, you surely know by now that menu planning is my absolute favorite part of any gathering. Planning this menu was a challenge, as this group could vary from 25-45 people, taking 'maybe' RSVP numbers into account. It ultimately ended up being about 40 people throughout the day, so thank goodness I planned ahead!
This table also had to be thematically appropriate (I was picturing a hedonistic Lannister spread), and presented in a way that kept with the general house sigil / loose medieval feel of the party. If some of the dishes could tie into book themes, all the better!
As with the first post, the amazing photographer (and friend) Alexander Wysocki was kind enough to take photos for me to use in this post. So let's take a food tour through our Westerosi-inspired spread!
For the main munchables, we are lucky to be close to the much-beloved Porto's bakery, which offers catering at dizzyingly reasonable rate. We got several dozen meat pies as well as several dozen vegetarian-friendy spinach-and-cheese pies, a savory treat we think they would happily indulge in in Westeros.
Our budget didn't account for a large custom-made pie with live doves flying out, so we ordered a large chicken pie (labelled as Pigeon Pie) to throw back to the Purple Wedding. Let's say it is er, more, digestible than the original.
Lastly, we also ordered a bunch of cheese-guava pastries (mostly because they are a Porto's essential) and a dessert platter. OK, the latter is less thematic and more delicious, especially when forgotten in your fridge until the end of the party when everyone is buzzed and hungry.
I incorporated the party's overall house sigil theme by putting heraldic banners into the assorted pastries. This was inspired by the cake toppers provided by the definitive go-to for all culinary things Game of Thrones, Inn at the Crossroads. These fine folks also authored the Game of Thrones cookbook which is, needless to say, awesome.
While their toppers are great, I wanted to go include more houses and use the more popular, show-inspired sigil designs. As with the temporary tattoos, I scoured the web for vector, high-res images and applied them to a banner template. These were printed, cut out, then glued around skewers for herald-like banners. I have included this printable for your use, but again please note that I do not own any of the images, etc. etc. etc.
I also was fortunate enough to have friends hip to what I was planning, one of whom (Katie!) got me a fabulous (and enormous) pewter tray to help with presentation.
We added to the food options with large hunks of cheese from Costco and stone wheat crackers. These were served on silver dishes and slate cheeseboards, as well as the gold chargers I purchased inexpensively at Goodwill.
All in all, you will be surprised at what you own that may be able to double for 'medieval' theme. Take this gravy boat, for example:
This ended up being a prop for one of my favorite details of the entire table.
As die hard fans, we got a big belly laugh by putting out bread and salt for a guest to claim "guest right," a tradition in the series that dictates that, whomever should eat of the bread and salt of a house shall, in turn, have "guest right." After receiving this right, the guest cannot be harmed while at the house in question. In theory, anyway.
This bread and salt was also accented by lion and direwolf shaped butter, which Eileen made by softening salted butter and rubbing into the same lion and wolf molds we used for the chocolate (see below), refrigerating until stiff. We put the bread in a basket with a black napkin, and the butter next to it in a small cast-iron dish with a butter knife. Funny enough, this was the most popular food option of the day! I credit the backlash from the low-carb diets so many Angelenos follow.
For dessert, we bought a dessert platter of small bite-sized snacks, but I wanted something sweet people could grab throughout the day. For Ryan's Batman birthday party, I found Bat-signal ice cube trays, which I in turn poured melted chocolate chips into for Bat-chocolates. I decided to leverage that for this party by filling lion and wolf candy molds, leveling off, then refrigerating until firm. The molds I used happen to be lollipop molds, so I also made some of those and set in a vase full of rocks to hold them in place.
The alcohol options were a much-discussed to-do. For wine, we debated specially-labelled bottles of "Arbor Red," but we would plow through those bottles pretty quickly in our group of friends. Next idea was to have large pewter or ceramic pitcher filled with wine. Turns out it is surprisingly hard to get these pitchers at any semblance of a reasonable price, even after scouring the thrift stores in the area. So, instead, we fell back on our well-seasoned beverage dispenser, filled it with gallons of wine and embellishing the side with a printed out Tyrion Lannister quote about wine. Ta-da!
We were also going back-and-forth on whether or not we should get a pony keg, before deciding that we inevitably will not go through it all (as we are now of a more 'mature' age than two years ago when we kicked two pony kegs and several cases of beer for Ryan's 30th).
Fortunately, you can get lots of delicious beer options at my beloved Costco, from which we got a lovely, wheaty, hoppy Ballast Point sampler and the delightfully available growlers of Dead Guy Ale from Rogue. They must have known.
This, plus an ample supply of beer brought by friends, was more than enough. Ommegang makes an awesome series of Game of Thrones-themed beer, but those prized gems were saved for trivia prizes.
...and water of course. Lots of water. I like the old trick of adding lemon slices to water to "fancy it up." This was surrounded by candles in a separate part of the dining room to prevent beverage crowding.
For all beverages, I put glasses on display (as mentioned in Part 1) that I etched with house sigils. These were quite easy to make, in the end, and I shall show you how! Stay tuned for the final post for this party featuring how to make your very own Game of Thrones glasses!