the spread before the spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 3, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
Here’s a holiday quandary- when the pressure is on to put on a lavish holiday meal what can you serve beforehand that will simultaneously delight your guests and not push you over the edge? Disclaimer Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I adore having my house and table brimming with family and friends. It’s just al
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gem of a weekend

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on November 18, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
Two weeks ago, the stars aligned, and my college roommates and I finally got together for the first time in over seven years. Upon seeing each other it was if the last thirty-eight years literally melted away. What a tonic for each of our souls. We laughed, we reminisced, we held one another, and of course we ate (disclaimer: there was also a litt
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the date that got away

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on November 5, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (5)
it’s one thing to misplace your reading glasses, completely another to space on the fact that you’re hosting a party. That happened to me last week. Months ago, my daughter at Northwestern business school thought it would be fun to invite some of her classmates over for a cocktail party. At the time I thought so too. Then life happened.
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home in no time

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Poultry, Dinner for Two, Supper, Sources, Posted on October 6, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Yesterday fall finally arrived. I was so excited to pull on one of my favorite sweaters and take Wille for a brisk walk along the lake. That cool fresh air roused my appetite for something equally cozy. Is there anything more comforting than homemade chicken pot pie? Just the other day that dish popped up in a conversation with friends. We all
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put yourself at the table

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on September 21, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Isn’t it fun going to those upscale gourmet grocers and walking past their cases filled with amazing prepared fare? While tempting, picking up an entire dinner party that way can cost a small fortune. So, what should you do when you want the convenience of having everything made well in advance but you either want to showcase your own cooking and
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a kick in the …

food detective
Categories: Beverages, Cocktail Party, Sources, Eating Out, Posted on August 15, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
The apartment we just moved into has structural damage and we need to move… again. While the mere thought of packing everything up again has brought me to the brink of tears (several times), I’ve decided to set my mind on the positives. First, we are renting, so in essence this is not our problem. Second, there is another unit in our building that
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hot summer daze

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Soups, Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on July 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Baby it’s hot outside.  Our prewar apartment on Lake Michigan has so much charm, but no central air or personal outdoor space. We do have a few strategically placed portable air conditioner units, but with endless days in the in high 90’s it’s a little warm inside. So, what’s a girl to do when she planned a party a month ago? Time to put her menu
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eat this

food detective The other night we stopped by my cousin’s in Lincoln Park for a glass of wine before heading out to dinner. She had a wonderful spread of cured meats and the most amazing fresh ricotta. My husband and I couldn’t wait to find out where she got it. Turns out there is an Eataly in Chicago. It’s a 12-minute drive from my apartment. And if you spend
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goodbye old friend

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Meat, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Posted on April 25, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
You know how you sometimes take some of the best things for granted? They always seem to be there, so you assume they always will. The other day I had a panic attack as I realized I had just signed a lease for an apartment on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Overlooking Belmont Harbor, it has views of Lake Michigan but no personal outdoor space.
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make it your own

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 8, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
The other night I was over at my dear friends Maggie and Richard’s for a drink. They truly are entertainers extraordinaire. Their home is so welcoming, their cocktails such fun, and their hors d’oeuvres divine. Those two really know how to make a guest feel special. As Richard poured a wonderful white burgundy in his crisp white apron, Maggie
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