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Stoop Hang Outs

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to throw elaborate dinner parties. Then of course everything changed with the pandemic. This Summer, when the governor permitted small gatherings we finally started hosting one or two friends over on our stoop outside. 

It was probably all that pent up energy but our casual stoop hangs kept getting more and more over the top. We also learned a lot so it became really easy to throw together. Here are my tips for throwing a small but indulgent outdoor stoop party.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Be Prepared
I get anxiety around events so simplifying and preparing things ahead of time is key for me to have a good time. I usually make a menu in the morning and then make a quick trip around noon to the grocery store. I try to think of all the little things that are easy to forget (like water, serving spoons, extra napkins) and set them out in advance.

Drinks
We got really into making mixed drinks during quarantine (another post for another day) so this is one area where we like to have something special or homemade. If I know I have guests coming over, I’ll make an infused vodka or something a few days before. We pick a few cocktails like a spritz and a Negroni to offer guests and make sure we have fresh garnishes on hand well as wine and beer. We always have one interesting non-alcoholic option for kids or nondrinkers. We keep sparkling water around so it’s easy to just chill a few bottles of Pellegrino that we can bring down for water.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Assemble Food (don’t cook)
I go through phases of things I enjoy serving but here are some of the types of things that are easy and work well for an outdoor spread. I probably wouldn’t serve all of this. Just pick and choose 3-6 things depending on what I have.

  1. Oysters. These seem fancy but are easy. I get them shucked at our local gourmet deli and they pack them on ice (I keep them in the fridge on ice–I also ask for extra crushed ice to keep in the freezer until it’s time to serve them). I serve with shallots and champagne vinegar sauce and tabasco sauce.
  2. Radishes. These are so crunchy and peppery. I keep stems on but wash really well and cut them in half. I serve in a colander with sea salt sprinkled on top.
  3. Olives. I usually get the pitted kind for picnics just because its easier to deal with.
  4. Crackers. At least one gluten-free kind.
  5. Cheese. I just pick one kind of crowd pleasing cheese like Comte. I pre-cut the cheese (and make lots of jokes for my 10 year old) because it’s a picnic and nobody has time to reach across and and struggle with a knife.
  6. Charcuterie. I pick something a little spicy like Sopressata and get it cut at the deli.
  7. Veggies. A nice pile of carrots cut in half (with a little stem on) look beautiful.
  8. Blackberries or Cherries. I like serving a big bowl of these cold.
  9. Dips. Something premade from the deli is nice to try with a cracker or veggie.
  10. Nuts. Some pretty Marcona almonds are salty and delicious. Or seasoned nuts are easy to keep in the pantry.

There is some preparation with vegetables or getting the mignonette sauce ready–all of that I do in advance. But everything else can be prepared about 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Presentation
This is where all those little dishes and pretty napkins I’ve been hoarding my whole life come out and serve their purpose. I have this breakfast in bed tray that I use as a small table. I like using lots of small trays so I can set up a spread at the top of the stoop and at the bottom of the stoop. (We bring down a few chairs so people can stay 6 feet away.)

As you can see most of this is about presentation and assembly (not cooking). We’re always trying a new cocktail or making something special to add into our rotation. But I always remind myself that while it’s nice to have a pretty spread, mostly people are just happy to have good company and something simple to snack on. I do have big plans to make a small custom table that would fit on the stairs. lol.

Would love to hear what kind of gatherings you’ve been throwing during this crazy time?

  1. Heather

    August 19, 2020

    LOVE this! (And would also love the link to that pretty dress, please!) 😉

      • Amy
      • August 19, 2020

      Feel like it may be old Zara -from last season. But I may be wrong. I think the Zara version was a knock off.

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 19, 2020

      Missed you Heather!!!

      • Mrudula
      • August 19, 2020

      I think it is a madewell dress.

        • Cara
        • August 19, 2020

        Here 👏 for 👏 this 👏

        We don’t have a lot of stoop space in Portland but we do have porches and we’ve been using ours on the reg. Though pls don’t tell my guests to expect this level of expertise – we’ve been placing huge takeout orders and ‘sharing’ from six feet away (the trick is to place the same order twice – one for you and one for your guests. everything is packaged separately and you don’t have to touch a thing).

        So great to see and read a return to the traditional blog! Keep up the FUN work!

        • Cara
        • August 19, 2020

        Also lol nothing to add on the dress front. I posted wrong. I might be my mother.

      • Jordan
        • jordan
        • August 20, 2020

        this made me laugh so hard. 🙂

      • Jordan
        • jordan
        • August 20, 2020

        bingo! i’ve seen like four people around ny in the same dress. lol.

  2. Elle

    August 19, 2020

    Love the assembling vs cooking! Especially for now when you’re keeping your guest outside.

  3. Donna Kelley

    August 19, 2020

    Hi!!

    I just want to say that I admire your style. I get excited every time you post. I love following your journey. You inspire me ❤️

  4. Debbie

    August 19, 2020

    I love this idea! Thank you for making oysters more approachable!!

  5. Malia

    August 19, 2020

    I LOVE your party posts. They’re always super inspiring and you always cover the logistics. I hope you do personal pop-up dinner parties again (even if it’s just with the kids)! Thanks, Jordan!

  6. Katie

    August 19, 2020

    Here for the old school blogging!!!!

  7. Shelley

    August 19, 2020

    I live in awe of your entertaining posts. I still remember your epic housewarming party with all the individual food items AND popsicles. Also, those genius pop-up dinner parties! Have you ever thought of writing an entertaining guide or book? I’m sure it would be a bestseller!!!

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 20, 2020

      good memory! that was definitely over the top.

  8. Ashlynn

    August 19, 2020

    I love that you’re back at blogging – it’s been good stuff from the start!!!

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 20, 2020

      youre my original blog reader. ha!

  9. Briana

    August 19, 2020

    This looks so fun!

    briana
    https://b-wear.org/

  10. Em

    August 19, 2020

    Such a classic OHD post – I love it!!

  11. Betsy

    August 19, 2020

    Yes! Your entertaining tips were what got me hooked here in the first place (back when it was dinner parties by the Golden Gate Bridge…). No one inspires a mixture of easy hominess and sheer extravagance quite like you. 😍

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 20, 2020

      Ha! so long ago. Love that you’ve been here forever.

  12. Michelle

    August 19, 2020

    Love the permission to assemble food — no cooking! See ya on the stoop!

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 20, 2020

      lol. my anxiety doesn’t permit me to do complicated cooking during entertaining. 🙂

  13. anna

    August 19, 2020

    at the beginning of the strict lockdown we had here in Austria, our daughters used to do our shopping and leave it just inside our front door.. we would chat a little and I would always feel so sad when they left. so I started to prepare a little setup quite similar to your stoop setting in our large entry hall.. two chairs just behind the front door for them and a little tray with prosecco and nibbles, and the same 10 feet away for me and my husband.. thank god those days are behind us but we remember our little forbidden cocktail parties fondly! sending love and cheers to all of you 🥂🍾🍹🍸

    • Jordan
      • jordan
      • August 20, 2020

      this is so sweet. thanks for sharing anna!

  14. Zain

    August 21, 2020

    Lovely post

  15. Jane

    August 21, 2020

    Thank you so much for this !!!

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