29-ish: A Backyard Birthday Bash

I find a lot of joy in planning parties for other people, but not gonna lie — when they’re for me, it is 100% stressful.  I waffle back and forth between “I don’t want any attention on myself” and “people are giving up a Saturday night, so I want it to be worth their while.”  And then I get on Pinterest, and that’s when the downward spiral begins.

I kept brainstorming for how I wanted to ring in the big 3-0, and soon decided that all I wanted was to have all of my friends, sitting around a table together, drinking wine, and eating delicious food under the stars.

… However, the thought of cooking for a ton of people (and then… cleaning up…) didn’t sound entirely relaxing or enjoyable.  Plus, I didn’t want my husband to have to bear that burden, either.

Enter: 805 Catering Company.

I met with Lisa and Casey, husband-and-wife owners of 805 Catering Co., at Stir in Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, and we began talking about the vision for the party.  I can’t even describe the good vibes I felt when we started chatting — I pretty much almost cleared my schedule for the rest of the day, just so I could hang out with them in that lobby coffee shop.

This isn’t your mashed potatoes, generic veggie medley, and saucy chicken sort of catering company, guys.  They are the real deal.  We’re talking locally-sourced organic ingredients, fresh produce and meat, prepared in my own kitchen (and in my case, on our own grill), perfectly presented using wood + gold accents, surrounded by fresh linens and succulent accents.  They describe themselves as “globally-inspired California cuisine,” which couldn’t have been more accurate.

We walked through the menu, and Lisa + Casey worked wonders with my budget — I never felt like I was going to get low-quality food or service within my price range.  Here’s what I ended up choosing:

Appetizers [hand-passed]:

Shrimp + Grits Bites [with applewood bacon + cayenne brown butter drizzle]

Mushroom + Gorgonzola Crostini [with arugula + Irish butter]

Main Course:

805 Prime Tri-Tip + Boneless Chicken Thighs

Grilled Seasonal Mixed Veggies [brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, balsamic]

Mac + Cheese [smoked gouda + cheddar bechamel, panko]

Sunshine Salad [mixed greens, quinoa, pomegranate, irish cheddar, vinaigrette]

The staff was un-freaking-believable.  They interacted with my guests, made SO MUCH food I could hardly believe it, and were so responsive to everything we needed.  Oh, and did I mention how many compliments I received on the food? Because there were a lot.

And just look at this presentation… gold lanterns, succulents, fairy lights, wood plank serving trays, and white platters — so. much. YES.

As guests arrived, appetizers were passed and wine was poured.  Casey, the executive chef, has a long and deep background in wholesale wine, as well as working for wineries directly.  He has extensive wine knowledge, and in 2004 earned himself a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) title from the Society of Wine Educators! He recommended the most incredible wines for the party while staying within our budget.  BONUS: he also introduced me to my new favorite rosé 🙂 [FYI, it’s this one.]

Dusk turned to dark, and we all sat at one looong table under market lights, listening to this amazing playlist made by Hayley, and ate, drank, and celebrated all night.

Highlight of the evening — my friend Soren stood up, and as is birthday tradition among our group of friends, had everyone go around and say a memory or a kind word about me.  I would have probably been much more mortified if I hadn’t had a couple glasses of rosé under my belt at that time, but it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.  I think about some of the things friends said about me that night when I’m having a rough day — it truly impacted me, and I encourage you to start this birthday tradition among your friends and family, too! 🙂

Before I knew it, I walked into my kitchen and 805 Catering had it spotless, with all of the leftover food packaged up neatly and placed in my fridge.

We continued the party into the wee hours of the morning (with boomerangs galore).  In between dance parties, we ate  cookie sandwiches for dessert.

It was the most perfect birthday I could have ever imagined, and I have 805 Catering to thank for bringing my vision to reality!

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