Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who is Coming to Yuanxiao Tonight?

The Invitation from Olive Branch Design

This bamboo tied off card intructs honorable guests to come by the light of their own handcrafted lanterns

When you walked in the party room, this is what you saw when you turned the corner.

We decided to make this an interactive cooking night. Chinese just doesn't taste the same cooked ahead of time. I probably should have realized how insane that would be, but it was so good and did I say fresh?

The gyoza John makes is the real deal. I realize this is Japanese, but dumplings in general are a Chinese New Year thing. And John's dumplings are incredible.

As you can see, we love men who can bring home the bacon then fry it up in a pan. Here is Jeff prepping for Kung Pow shrimp.

Nanette served up a mixed mocktail drink of cranberry juice, fresh orange juice and Sprite.

Jean-Michel and Carla are owners of JMA Classics a hand-crafted furniture design studio. They do beautiful work, and their lantern was no exception to their standard. It was made of natural alder wood and leather strapping. I was trying to confiscate it for the "United States Intermountain Region Chinese New Year Lantern Awards", or so I was claiming to anyway. Uh huh. They are going on to Regionals. They didn't buy into it though, they took it home. Dang!

The handcrafted lanterns most honorable guests brought illuminated on the front porch.

Our friend, Warren Lloyd, of Lloyd Architects drove all over town trying to find rice paper for his lantern, (someone even sent him to an oriental market to the wonton wrapper aisle- next time try Utrecht or Reuel's. He lived in Japan and studied under some serious Japanese architects, so he took the Finding Nemo in Tokyo approach to his project. We wondered what architectural plans he had for his lantern when he and Jennie were over an hour late to the party...all because of the handcrafted lantern project. Sorry guys!

Lantern Riddles were slipped in Chinese New Year envelopes and placed under each guest's plate. This group was a smart bunch and guessed them all!

Photographs courtesy of Becky Loveless. Check out her blog for more of the fine details of our party. Thank you Becky for your inspiration to this party in the making for nearly four years, and for coming to take photographs so I didn't have to.