Bringing the Zing to Chinese Takeout 

Once again earlier this year I was a guest on the “Better Kansas City” show. Getting up, dressed, and out the door that early is a real challenge for me, but I really enjoy it every time. This day was particularly fun with tips on creating a tablescape that presents Chinese takeout like a boss! CLICK on the video below to watch the 2-1/2-minute clip from the show, and after that are a few still photos I was able to snap with my iPad. (Time is very short on the set prior to going live, so I’m lucky to squeeze in a few pics!)

 


When I set up these demonstration tables on the set, remember…they are probably more narrow than your typical dining room table by about 12″ or so. The demo table is 6-ft. in length, but only 30″ wide compared to our 42″ wide dining table at home. That being said, you’d have more center space for food, additional decor, or just blank real estate than what’s shown here.

 


Each place setting has a black acrylic square charger (Walmart) topped with an Asian-themed 222 Fifth square plate (“Mia Blossom”) and small rice bowl from Pier 1 Imports. Pier 1 is a terrific place to buy globally themed dishes and decor! If you don’t have one near you, their website is pretty easy to navigate. (Too tall for this television demo, but a vase or two with a simple arrangement of cherry blossoms would be perfect for this tablescape!!)

 


Not everyone is adept at using chopsticks, so as a courtesy to your guests you may want to add flatware such as this faux bamboo stainless. Use the wooden chopsticks typically provided by the restaurant, or consider investing in a pair of permanent ones like these stainless steel beauties resting on a black onyx holder from a local specialty store. The white miso spoons here are from Pier 1. The “Capri” porcelain spice cellars by Gallery Tabletops are from T.J. Maxx and are great for spices or sauces at individual place settings.

 


Each place setting has a little something extra in the way the bamboo fan favors and black napkins, folded to resemble a Chinese sash, are presented in a red silk takeout box from Pier 1.

 


Teapot and cups from World Market.

 


White sake set from World Market. I picked up the Chinese robe wine bottle cover at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago.


As I pointed out on the show, sometimes food is just so beautiful you might consider using it as a centerpiece. While this sushi is just a pretty good fake for demonstration purposes, it represents the real thing which always abounds in color, form, and texture…perfect elements for a gorgeous centerpiece!

If you’d like to see more tablescapes with an Asian flair for Chinese New Year or anytime Chinese food presentation just needs a little gussying up, check out these posts:
Peaceful Peonies
Year of the Rabbit
Chinese Takeout
Mum’s the Word/Zen Garden
Mikasa Daylight (Design #2)
Float Like A Butterfly
Mandarin Bling
Blue & White 30th Birthday
Copper Zen

The Party She Deserves – Birthday Dinner for My Blog Friend, Vernice

When I first started blogging about 3 years ago, I had no idea I would make so many long-distance friends. I have such a good time getting to know you! Even though I’ve only met a couple of my blog friends in person, I have still developed deep, lasting friendships with several people. One of those people, Vernice, celebrated her 82nd birthday last week. (I don’t think she’ll mind my posting her age since she has it right there on her blog, We Three Dogs and Me.) Because Vernice and I live about 1300 miles apart and I have a profound fear of flying, I have never had the pleasure of seeing and embracing this lovely lady in the flesh. I hope to remedy that some day. Meanwhile, I want to honor Vernice in the best way I know how. This is the birthday dinner I would give to celebrate 82 wonderful years of my friend, Vernice…the party I would give if I just lived closer…because in my heart, she deserves it.
(Click on any photo to enlarge/enhance it.)

DSCN2090WMI still think of 82 as being a spring chicken! I would want Vernice to enjoy being Queen for a Day in a room filled with light, spring-like colors that express the joy and optimism I see in her personality, her heart, and each tablescape she lovingly creates. And flowers…Vernice would be treated to LOTS of flowers!!!*

IFThis table for 8 would work well for an upscale Spring birthday celebration, bridal shower, bridesmaids’ luncheon, and even a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party! Swap the apples out for eggs, and it could even work beautifully for Easter Sunday.

IF

IFI chose to expose the bare wood of the table and use placemats, draped off the side. I used Granny Smith apple green and white houndstooth placemats and white poppy bowls from Pier 1, along with cotton napkins and B. Smith square dinner plates from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Stemware, flatware, bowl collageSimple clear glassware and stemware keep the place settings from competing with the abundance of decor. I used many of these elements in another tablescape, Apple Green Luncheon, a couple of years ago. It never ceases to amaze me how the same basic elements can produce so many different looks!

IF

Floral, bowl of apples, pepper shaker collage

Lit candle, short floral collageThe centerpiece is made up of many different elements including fresh white bird salt & pepper shakers purchased from Pier 1 several years ago. Vernice loves birds (and all animals…especially her dogs Peanut & Bambi, and her frisky new kitty cat) so I wanted to be sure to include them! A pair of white turned wood candlesticks from Z Gallerie are parked on each side of a Ralph Lauren reticulated white pedestal bowl piled high with apples. White roses spill from the same small bowls used at each place setting and white ceramic vases from Michaels. TIP #1: Using multiple heights of flowers on the table adds interest and color.

IF

Buffet floral collage

Buffet apple and orchid floral collageI wanted the dining table backdrop to be really dramatic, so I used a number of different white and clear floral vessels to achieve that look. Tall white ceramic cylinders overflowing with wispy white orchids, white reticulated vessels (these are actually candle holders, but you can simply slip in a clear glass vase to hold the water) filled with hydrangea, viburnum, roses, tulips and hypericum berries, and smaller containers with roses and hydrangea are scattered across the buffet. White wood candlesticks like those on the dining table create a bit of ambient light that bounces off the mirror behind. TIP #2: Using a mirror as a backdrop works wonders to double the depth, color, beauty and ambient light in your decor. TIP#3: Use a variety of flowers in the same shade for a textural bonanza!

IF

Tea cart collage

DSCN1820WMAlways a little something-something for the tea cart and top of the china cabinet.

To my dear, sweet Vernice…I love, admire, honor and respect you with all my heart. You are a strong, sensitive, brave and giving person with untold talents and a heart as big as 1000 lakes. Happy Birthday #82, and I wish you the best year ever!

Other posts on this site using green & white:
“Apple Green Luncheon”
“Upscale Irish”
“Moss & Manzanitas”
“Spring Has Sprung”
“Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille” (buffet)

I am sharing Vernice’s birthday celebration dinner with Jessica at A Humble Creation for her Monday Link Party, Marty’s “Tabletop Tuesday“, Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (Wednesday after 6:00 p.m. Central time), The Style Sisters for Centerpiece Wednesday, Yvonne at Stone Gable for “Tips, Tutorials & Tidbits”, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for “Tablescape Thursday” (Thursday after 9:00 a.m. Central time), and a brand spankin’ new blog party, “Fiesta Friday”, over at The Home Girl! You can also see my work at BeBetsy.com!

*The florals used for this “fantasy table” are faux, but I recommend using fresh flowers for real dinner parties whenever your budget allows. There’s just nothing like ’em and you can give them away as favors to the guests as they leave!