Years ago, long before we had children, I came across some adorable little red chalkboard napkin rings at PB and had to have them for back to school dinners for my future children. They have sat, unused, in the top drawer of our sideboard ever since. That is until last night when I was finally able to break them out for a back to school dinner for my new pre-schooler. I had visions of red apples, pee-chee folders, #2 pencils and wooden rulers. One a recent trip to Cost Plus this summer I found some larger chalkboard napkin rings and as I was describing my plan to my mom she grabbed an apple cookie cutter for me.
Since the night before his first day of school also fell on September 11th I decided to incorporate New York City into my theme for a Big Apple Dinner. Our Little Helper loves steak just like his Daddy. I thought New York Strip would be a clever cut of meat and some creamed spinach would be a nice addition to the steakhouse idea. When I asked Mr. W for ideas for NY style side dishes, he suggested Delmonico potatoes. Having recently read the Emily Post biography I praised his brilliance and added that to our menu. I really am so lucky to have him. All I have to do is come up with a menu and he does all the rest.
I set the table with a new linen tablecloth that Mom gave me as a souvenir from her trip to France this summer. For a little pop of red color, and to protect the table cloth from messy little hands, I added my red linen placemats. A lot of the NYC items I borrowed from my mom like the glasses from Fishs Eddy (one of my favorite stores there), the Chrysler & Empire State building salt & pepper shakers, and the NYC theme wine charms. I made a centerpiece of apples and #2 pencils.This commemorative mug is also from Fishs Eddy. My favorite building in Manhattan is the Chrysler Building, followed by the General Electric Tower. My favorite building in Brooklyn is the Williamsburg Bank Building. While I was living in NY, I met my family in Savannah for vacation. While shopping at an antique store there I found this Williamsburg Bank piggy bank! It had to come home with me of course!I made Appletinis with floating apple slices just like a bar near Union Square made when I lived there.And a Manhattan for Mr. W.Mr. W opened up a bottle of a red wine from 2001. Creamed spinach with tomatoes from our garden.The potatoes Delmonico . (He used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen) So rich, so delicious!We finished with simple little sugar cookies for dessert.This was fun to decorate, I can't believe my baby is going to pre-school now. I hope he enjoys his time there, makes lots of new friends, and has lots of big boy fun.
PS: As I linked to the Fishs Eddy website I spied these cute memo dishes... I have a feeling I may have to return home with them when we travel to New York next spring...such cuteness!!!