Birthday Beach Party

A few months ago, my mom offered to host a family birthday party for me at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Of course I accepted, but on one condition. Other than the beach set up, I do the rest. I absolutely love throwing get-togethers. I enjoy every part, invitations, set up, table settings, flowers, menu planning, and food. So with that, we had a party to plan.

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is gorgeous. My mom has been a member for many years. My brothers and I spent our summers running around the beach, swimming in the pool, feeding the ducks at the pond and, at the end of the day, eating ice cream on the boardwalk. It was pretty dreamy. So, obviously, I jump at any chance to take my kids and family.

It’s a treat to have a party on the beach at LJB&TC. While I wanted my party to be casual, I also wanted it to be nice. I wanted it to convey how special the guests are to me. I knew, right away, that my colors would be white and blue. With that in mind, I headed to Paper Source for more inspiration.

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I adored this nautical wrapping paper with the mix of blues and the pop of orange. I try to line my envelopes when I can, I think it gives the invitation or card a little boost.

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I found these adorable seal bottle openers at Anthropologie for party favors.

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Disposable bamboo plates have always been a favorite and are so nice at the beach. They give the impression of a “real” plate but can be tossed at the end of the evening. This silver plastic flatware does the same thing, elevating the table setting while being very practical. Finally, I decided to cut cheap flour sack towels in half, wash and use them as napkins. I tied them with burlap ribbon.

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I found nice linen-feel paper cocktail napkins but I wanted to add a touch of the nautical theme so I stamped them.

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I LOVE flowers. Flowers are one way to my heart, I promise you. I was so happy to find a bucket of perfect white peonies that would bloom just in time for the beach party. I added a touch of green and blue to each arrangement, keeping it simple and elegant.

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In theme with the party, I wanted the meal to be a little extra special.

  • Drinks – Growlers of craft beer, wine and sodas
  • Starter – Avocado, Feta and Cherry Tomato Salsa Flatbreads (June 2014 Food & Wine)*
  • Bean Salad with Lemon and Herbs
  • Green Tomatoes and Peaches with Burrata and Balsamic
  • Barbacoa Beef Tacos with Two Sauces (June 2014 Food & Wine)
  • Dessert – S’mores
  • Dessert – Banana Meringue Pudding (June 2014 Bon Appetit)

*Recipe shared below.

The evening was absolutely perfect.

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I’m sharing my favorite recipe of the evening, the flatbreads. The entire meal was fantastic, but I’ve used this one again since the beach party. Grilled flatbreads are the perfect summer get-together meal. They can be thrown together last minute with whatever you have in your fridge and pantry.

Avocado, Feta and Cherry Tomato Salsa Flatbreads adapted from the June 2014 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup evoo, plus more for brushing
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 lb. store-bought pizza dough, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Hass avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced

Toss the cherry tomatoes with the 1/2 cup of evoo, shallot, mint, cilantro, vinegar, and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill. On a lightly floured surface, press and stretch each piece of dough to an oval (this doesn’t have to be perfect) and brush with evoo. Grill the dough over moderately high heat, turning once, until puffed and lightly charred, 5 minutes. Transfer to a work surface. Spoon salsa over the flatbreads and top with the feta and avocado. Cut into wedges and serve.

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I’ve since played with the flatbread toppings, even having a flatbread party:), and came up with a few more favorites.

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Peach, goat cheese and arugula.

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Asparagus, ricotta, arugula and lemon (I also added meatballs to this one).

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Pizza dough will be a staple in my fridge this summer season. Such an easy thing to throw on the grill, yet an amazing treat for guests.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

3 thoughts on “Birthday Beach Party

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