Photograph of a woman on her mobile phone
A group of friends eating dinner together.
January 25, 2016

Top 4 January dinner party themes


Every so often, we reach out to our retailers to ask about upcoming promotions, sales, giveaways and events we can share with our readers and followers. No one responds quicker or more excitedly than the team at William Ashley, and it’s always interesting.

This month’s sale, for example, is all about resolving to spend more time around the table. How’s that for a good excuse to have friends over? And at this time of year, staying in is so much better than going out: it’s cold, you’re still paying off Christmas and, as you’ll see below, January is the very best time to throw a themed dinner party.

#4 – Hail Caesar

Janus was the Roman god of new beginnings, so Julius Caesar thought Jan 1 would be a more appropriate time to start the new year than the then-current March 1. Here’s a fantastic article about it on the Mental Floss website. (BTW: the actual Mental Floss magazine is available at Indigo).

Since you probably didn’t raise a glass to the great emperor this New Year’s Eve, you can make up for it with a dinner party in his honour. And if you want to go all out and make it a toga party, go really all out with 400+ thread count sheets from Gobelins Fine Linens.

Appetizer

Some would say creamy Caesar Salad is too “on the nose.” We say “Mmm…creamy Caesar Salad.”

Main

Sauté pancetta, shallots, garlic and cherry tomatoes, toss in some dried thyme, towards the end, mix in some tomato sauce and pour it over Bucatini.

Dessert

Gelato

Beverage

Ask the LCBO team to pair a wine that complements thyme, which comes through nicely in the main.

#3 – Chili ‘n’ wings

Think of it as a dress rehearsal for Super Bowl. Try out a new wing recipe (get inspired by the 110+ plus flavours on the Wild Wing Menu). Do something unexpected with your chili — maybe waygu beef bison or venison — and see how it goes. Not feeling those suggestions? Get some more from the prepared foods counter at bloorstreet market.

The key to this party is inviting good friends who won’t judge you if things go awry. And if they do, order a pizza and aim to do that for Super Bowl — just as acceptable.

Appetizer

Thin potato skins with chives, bacon, marble cheese and sour cream. It’s important to keep them thin — you don’t want your guests filling up.

Main

Your wings and/or chili.

Dessert

Something like like sorbet, with a side of antacid.

Beverage

American beer. They’re spending millions to entertain us with ads. Let’s show them a little love.

#2 – Pie

The American Pie Council named January 23rd National Pie Day for no other reason than to celebrate pie. Because they don’t think you need a reason to eat pie. Pie’s delicious anytime. We agree.

We tried putting a menu together. Then we saw the LCBO’s take on pie and wine over the holiday. After trying them all, we’re 100% confident we’ll never beat them. So enjoy. And for goodness’ sake try the Tuscan Pork Pie. Wow.

#1 – Aussie Love

If you haven’t heard, there’s a proposal to allow free movement between Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia. We’d vote for that. And we’d see what we could do about getting to Australia every January 26 for Australia Day, which, like Canada Day, is a major big deal down under.

But until that happens, we’ll continue toasting the second-best investment the Commonwealth ever made (of course Canada’s #1).

Appetizer

Vegemite Filo Fingers. Other than Midnight Oil, nothing’s more Australian than vegemite. It’s acquired taste, but much more widely palatable when baked into something else.

Main

Roasted leg of lamb with a side of root veggies and wild rice.

Dessert

Birthday Cake, of course. Order it with “Happy 228th Birthday, Ozzie” on it. See if anyone at the store looks at you funny.

Beverage

The LCBO at Manulife Centre has a sizeable and well-curated Australia section. Anything you choose from there is going to work.