When I made the original plan for my Twelve Months of Parties for 2012, my February party was supposed to be a Super Bowl Party. As the Super Bowl neared, however, I had second thoughts. We don’t have one of those huge televisions, or a huge room to watch television in for that matter, that seem to be a requirement for a Super Bowl party. Also, my husband really wanted just to watch the game without having to be on duty as a host. And, perhaps most important, I didn’t care about the Super Bowl.
But do you know what other major television event — one that I DO care about — takes place in February? That’s right: the Oscars. So rather than invite a bunch of men over for a Super Bowl party, I decided to have a group of my women friends over for an Oscars party. It’s a small group because I still have a small TV in a small family room, but having the big-screen TV seems less important for the Oscars than it did for the Super Bowl. The party is this Sunday, obviously, and I’m starting to gear up for it.
In my mind, the key for a party where the focus is on watching something — be it a big game or a movie or an awards show — is to offer small bites. You want to make sure your guests feel satisfied, but at the same time, it’s hard to watch the screen while sawing away at a big piece of meat on a plate that is perched precariously on your lap. An Oscar party, in particular, should feel fun and a bit glamorous. No woman wants to eat a heavy meal while watching rail-thin movie stars parade down the Red Carpet in beautiful gowns. So, I decided to serve a generous spread of elegant hors d’oeuvres rounded out by a fun signature cocktail and bite-size desserts.
I checked some hors d’oeuvres cookbooks out of the library and began poring over them. I was entranced by the beautiful bite-size creations, but began to feel nervous about the amount of work involved, to say nothing of the price of some of the luxury ingredients I would need to buy, like foie gras, caviar and sushi-grade tuna. Frankly, I was starting to panic about pulling off this party.
And then deliverance arrived in the form of an email from Gilt City Chicago. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gilt City, it is an offshoot of the wildly popular members-only flash sale site Gilt Groupe. Although Gilt Groupe is based in New York, Gilt City Chicago has local curators who select one-of-a-kind Chicago lifestyle experiences and offer them at enormous discounts to Gilt City members. The weekly Gilt City Chicago sales go live every Tuesday at noon and remain available for seven days — or until they run out, which almost always happen first. Examples of Gilt City Chicago deals include chef’s tasting menus at the city’s hottest restaurants, behind-the-scenes tours, private parties at luxury day spas, tickets to advance screenings and other unique experiences — all at tremendous discounts.
Last week, as I was panicking about making millions of fancy hors d’oeuvres for my Oscar party, Gilt City Chicago was offering an amazing spread of hors d’oeuvres for 10 people from local favorite Blue Plate Catering for only $95. (Who in this city hasn’t been to a wedding that Blue Plate catered?) This tray usually costs $238 and includes seriously amazing hors d’oeuvres like Shaved Beef Carpaccio with Pesto Crotini, Shaved Parmesan and Fried Aioli and Pepper-Crusted Ahi with Grilled Pineapple and Pickled Ginger. With the menu I had planned, I was going to spend $95 easily just on groceries and I would still have to make all the hors d’oeuvres myself. What an amazing deal!
Well, I’m no dummy and I’m not proud either. Why do it all myself when the professionals can do it better and cheaper? I immediately ordered the Showtime Spread from Gilt City for my Oscar party. I will pick it up from Blue Plate’s warehouse on Sunday morning and I have no doubt that it will wow my guests. All that is left for me to do is make some desserts and mix the cocktails. I can’t wait to see what everybody is wearing on the red carpet. I am interested in the awards too. I actually have seen several of the Best Picture nominees. I am rooting for “The Artist” to win and for George Clooney to leave his girlfriend for me.
Do you want access to amazing deals like the one I scored for my Oscar party? Do you like unique Chicago experiences at a fraction of their usual price? Well, then you should join Gilt City Chicago too. I have a special sign-up link just for West of the Loop readers. Joining Gilt City Chicago is completely free and you only buy the deals that you are interested in. There’s no obligation. But I warn you, some of these deals are too good to pass up! To join Gilt City Chicago, click here. (Not in Chicago? Don’t worry. Gilt City is also available in New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles.)
I’ll be back next week with a recap of my Oscar party. And I’ll definitely be Tweeting with lots of fashion commentary on Sunday night, so be sure to follow me on Twitter!
Full disclosure time: as a Twelve Months of Parties sponsor, Gilt City has provided me with the Showtime Spread free of charge. As always, the opinions expressed on West of the Loop are entirely my own. I have been a member of Gilt Groupe, including Gilt City, for over a year and shop on the site regularly, much to my husband’s dismay.