Holiday Tips with Deborah

Deborah Evans, our Hospitality Manager, believes that every scene needs to be set with special touches to make your guests feel very special. She sets the table with all sorts of seasonal items, sparking joy and surprise. Doing the unexpected makes her guests laugh, sets the scene, and puts them at ease.

She loves clipping olive branches, acorns, lavender, or rosemary and setting it with the napkin and place card. She then spray paints her mini pumpkins (not carved) with white or silver spray paint and places them down the center of the table. Candles create the finishing touch.

Photo by Debby Hudson – Unsplash

Guests are greeted with bubbles. From California sparkling to bubbly water, Deborah loves to add a cranberry or a cherry in the bubbles. Another fun element is adding cherry juice to the drink to make it feel special. As someone who entertains very often, she loves glasses that bring out the best flavors in the wines she serves. She prefers the Riedel glasses. For some other holiday touches, she peruses Home Goods and Restoration Hardware.

Deborah loves wine and serves Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc or Cultivar Wine and pairs her dishes with the wines.  If someone wants the wine colder, she gladly adds a frozen grape.

Appetizers this year will be a cheeseboard.  She loves the Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam (has all the lusciousness you expect from a triple cream, and it is known as Brie’s quirky Californian cousin), the Point Reyes Point Blue, and the Cowgirl Creamery Wagonwheel. As a snack, it’s delicate and nutty. When melted, it’s liquid gold: use salted brown butter, heavy cream, roasted leeks, roasted garlic. Another favorite is the Cypress Grover Humbolt Fog.

Additional things on the cheese board: Caspar Estate wildflower honey, Trader Joe’s Orange slices, Marcona Almonds.  For your gluten free and dairy free guests we recommend the following: Miyokos Creamery Cheese Wheel, Semi Soft, Double Cream, Classic Chive, Nuts for Cheese Brie and the Miyokos Black Ash Cheese. To accompany the cheeses we like the Schar Table Crackers and the Schar bread.

Here’s a great tip for the Caviar and sour cream (non-dairy sour cream): serve it on a potato chip! It’s fun, celebratory, and adds a touch of salt and crispy texture.

For Thanksgiving this year, Deborah is going to serve Caspar Estate 2020 Sauvignon Blanc with her salad. Then for the roast turkey main course, she’ll serve the Cultivar Pinot Noir, which also pairs well with her Brussel sprouts with bacon, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, along with yams with sliced apples on top.

Deborah likes to prep her turkey in a brine of salt from a recipe by Ina Garten recipe she has been using for years. She doesn’t put stuffing in the cavity. Instead, she makes a wild rice and roasted chestnut side dish.

As for leftover? Turkey sandwiches with brioche buns, cranberry sauce and lettuce. To make it special, she pairs the sandwiches with the Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc.


Photo by Nicole Michalou

For clean up, Deborah is a pro and has several tricks up her sleeve. For dishes that have sticky stuff, sprinkle baking soda and dish soap or tackle with Bar Keepers Friend.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!