The Buddha Button and Other Ice Breakers

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.

Half eaten Buddha Button. MMMMM
Half eaten Buddha Button. MMMMM


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.

Shrimp Boil image courtesy of Julie Vazquez via Flckr
Shrimp Boil image courtesy of Julie Vazquez via Flckr

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!

No party is complete without a dance party!
No party is complete without a dance party! The boys eventually danced too!

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.

Royal Wedding. I Had multiple tea and food stations.
Royal Wedding. I Had multiple tea and food stations.


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!



28 thoughts on “The Buddha Button and Other Ice Breakers

  1. Sounds like you’re a wonderful hostess. I’m embarrassed to admit the only parties I’ve hosted was a shower for my sister and birthday parties for my kids, and for this introvert, even those were stressful. I was grateful when my kids outgrew the birthday party age because I knew I didn’t have to throw any more parties (and they were never big parties, but still, even gathering at the bowling alley was stressful to me!). But I wouldn’t mind trying one of those Buddha Buttons. Seems I’m missing out by sticking to beer. 🙂

    1. Well, I must admit. These “parties” are really just the same people over and over again. Family and a few close friends. I’m not much for big groups either, that stresses me out!

      The good thing about only having a handful of really good friends is that you can spend more on yummy food and decorations 🙂

      Yes, you must try the Buddha Button!

  2. I like the sound of that drink but never heard of it before. Ever tried a Scotch and Poetry party? Get drunk and recite your favorite poetry. It’s actually an amazing experience when people get into it.

  3. What brilliant ideas! I recently went to a “Bring an Awesome Person” party, where everyone had to bring an awesome person that the hostess had never met, so the guests themselves were the talking points! Other than that, the old faithful murder mystery night is always fun…

    1. “Bring an Awesome Person” and Murder Mystery dinners are both parties I have never attempted. I must try them out. What great ideas. I would think everyone knows someone “awesome”. Thank you for the suggestions and for stopping by!

  4. Your parties sound wonderful ~ especially if you get the right group of friends gathered/clowning around.

    Buddha Buttons sound intriguing. I wonder if the restaurant would order a few extra for you to share at your next party?

  5. I’d definitely give the Buddah Button a go but I doubt that I’d be able to find the drink here in the UK. Perhaps when I do a massive trek across the States I could drop by that restaurant and try one 🙂

  6. I’d def order a Buddha Button…just cause it has that little Japanese flower!
    I, too, have had a Garden/Tea/Derby Party! I traveled a few miles to get the real scones and clotted cream!! Nobody could get in my door w/out a HAT)) Great entertaining ideas!

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