I recently attended a thirtieth birthday party. Not mine, though it seems to be growing closer at an increasingly rapid/rabid pace. It was held at a trendy lounge decorated solely in black and white. The lights were dim and it was crowded, overrun by hairstylists and their significant others. At least, that is who I spent the majority of my evening with.
The lounge boasted of their signature drink, The Buddha Button. Of course, the name had me intrigued me on my first visit there and I was now a veteran. As were a couple of other attendees. Knowing the startling effects of this, I pushed for others to try it. It wasn’t the drink that was startling. No. It was the flower bud inside the drink. Yes, it’s legal.
It looks similar to a petite dandelion bud. One of the girls later pointed out, it tasted like one too. I’m not certain how she knew, I wasn’t one to judge.
I am told by the staff that the flower bud is flown in fresh from Japan. One bite of the floret and it will make your entire mouth go numb and your tongue tingle. It feels pretty amazing. It’s as though you have eaten an entire bag of pop rocks at once (sans the tiny fireworks that light up your mouth in the dark). As each Buddha Button virgin bravely consumed their first bud, their reaction was immediate. Their responses ranged from utter delight to absolute repulsion. Did I mention the feeling is intense?
The one consistent reaction, each person that participated wanted someone new to try it. They basked in their own friend’s misery or excitement. We spoke awkwardly as our mouths felt foreign. It was distracting and most conversations came back to the “Button”. Who knew Buddha had such humor?
It got me thinking. I love any kind of icebreaker. Every time I have a dinner party, I set a theme or have some sort of interactive food. Perhaps it is easier on my guests, me…or maybe I just like throwing ridiculous shindigs.
Shrimp Boil– Everyone has to eat with their hands, it’s almost a competition to see who can eat the most shrimp and douse it with the most amount of hot sauce. Dumping the food out onto a covered table and letting everyone dig in is the best and only way to do this.
Fondue- People have to cook their own food, without scalding one another. A “search and rescue” spoon is helpful when guests let their prized potato or other food get away. An announcement must be made when the spoon is in use, a siren of sorts.
Spring Rolls- I put out all of the fixings and sauces on the middle of the table and have the guests steam their own rice paper. It’s challenging to keep the rice tortilla in its original circular form. Making this feast humorous, everyone watches one another struggle to make the perfect spring roll.
I suppose now that I am reading these…It seems I enjoy public humiliation. Maybe I do. But, it makes everyone become comfortable pretty quickly. No matter the personality types and differences.
Costume Party- Usually this is Halloween. We have a get together every year. Most of you know I love any excuse to make and wear a good costume or a tiny hat!
Garden/Tea/Derby Party: I have thrown traditional tea parties, complete with a tea set, scones, tea sandwiches…the works. The catch, attendees must wear big hats, sun dresses and the men must wear their best “garden wear”. I have thrown a few of these, even one for the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Yes, I am fully aware that I am a dork.
I think there are several other ways that I have “entertained” guests. I am perfectly happy making a fool out of myself and encourage others to do the same. It can be such fun. As long as your guests are smiling, chatting and everyone is getting along…It’s a success. Oh and wine, lots of wine!
My rule as a hostess is that we move the dirty dishes to the kitchen, but we do not clean up until everyone has left. It is rude to leave them to them unattended, while you hurry to try to rid yourselves of their mess. Leave it for later that night or you will kill the mood at your party. Unless you want people to get the hint, in that case scrub away.
Hats off (if I were wearing one it would be tiny) to this restaurant for having such a brilliant icebreaker. It gave everyone common ground and something to talk about, ultimately leading to other fun and open conversations.
Now, where can I get a hold of some of those Buttons? Do any of you have any great icebreaker or party ideas? Any disasters? Any huge success? I need more ideas!