An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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A Lovely Early Springtime Menu to Celebrate a Milestone Birthday

By on Mar 17, 2010, 3:39 pm in Celebrations, Food and Drink, Seasonal Celebrations, Shameless Self Promotion- Sharing Successes | 3 comments

I was privileged, earlier this week, to cater a party celebrating the 90th birthday of a beautiful lady. Her friends (and their community of caretakers) and family dropped by throughout the afternoon to share and sing “Happy Birthday” to her- over and over again. You see, the birthday girl has a touch of Alzheimer’s, but she greatly enjoyed the festivities nevertheless, repeatedly telling everyone how much she loved them.

Her daughters asked that the food be classic American (no fusion, spicy, exotic ethnic flavors) given the median age of the group. I might add, that I believe people especially appreciate the tried and true classics in uncertain times, so I heartily agreed.

The menu also reflected the early arrival of spring which we’re in the middle of here in L.A.

On the menu :

Demi-tasse sized servings of Fresh Spring Pea Soup (a lovely shade of green, perfect for a spring afternoon) garnished with Creme Fraiche and Mint Pesto. (Yes! You can serve soup at an hors d’oeuvre party. And a special thanks to the Cabazon Crate and Barrel Outlet Center for rushing these espresso cups out to me). BTW, you can find a recipe for the Pea Soup at my L.A. Examiner Party Planning column).

Pea Soup GPerez Resized

Chive Scented Gougeres (classic cheese puffs made with the same Pâte á Choux dough as Profiteroles– you remember those from our last post, right?- just add 1 C. of grated Gruyere cheese and a couple T. of snipped chives to the batter).

Gougeres Cropped Gperez

Mini Shiitake Mushroom and Fontina Cheese Paninis

Shiitake and Fontina Sandwiches Resized and Cropped

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon garnished with Sour Cream and Chives

Potato Pancakes Resized


Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce garnished with little sprigs of a beautiful curly Red Mustard I picked up from Coleman Family Farm at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market


Crab Cakes GPerez Resized

Little Sliders of Shredded Braised Short Ribs with Horse Radish Cream

And for dessert:

Mini Lemon Curd Tarts

Almond Apricot Bars

Triple Fudge Brownies

Brownies GPerez
Photo Courtesy of Patti Londre at

oh- and Birthday cake, of course,  decorated with anthuriums, the birthday girl’s favorite flower, provided by Suzi Babbin Finer-birthday girl’s cousin, and decorator at Hansen’s Cakes. Isn’t it lovely?

Picture 1

I sure hope I’m as lucky as this when I’m 90.

Bon Appetit,


Oh- and btw, please visit my other blog , too.

P.S. My client sent this note a couple of weeks after the event. Wanted to share it with you.

Hi Gisele,

“Thanks to you and your top-notch team for making Mom’s birthday a glorious occasion. The food was superb, and the service pleasant and thoughtful. We so appreciate your accommodating the special needs of nonogenerian and centenarian guests!
With much appreciation of a beautiful party.”

All best,

Diane Harris Brown


  1. So lucky to have such a creative & delicious menu!

    Avatar suzi finer

    March 19, 2010

  2. You are very welcome!



    Avatar gisele

    March 24, 2010

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