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Entertaining the Question
Say Goodbye to Summer with Cabana Style
September, 2006 - Issue #23
Cabana #50
Cabana #50
A Night at the Kasbah, Las Vegas Baby, Pretty In Pink, Brazilian Carnival, Running of the Bulls, Hot Hacienda, The French Quarter in New Orleans, and most recently, Cabana #50.

These are some of the fun themes used when catering special events, and yes, your end-of-summer parties qualify as a special event.

There is no better reason to celebrate than in honor of good friendship and good fun. If you do decide to cook your own party food, keep this very important rule in mind: Do as much as you possibly can in advance. There is nothing worse than a party where the hosts spend much of the evening slaving away in the kitchen.

It is always fun to create a signature beverage for your theme. Having one thematic drink means the bartender doesn't have to worry about juggling a table full of bottles and a crowd full of whims. At many of our catered events, staff will greet the guests as they arrive with a "welcome beverage" that sets the tone for what will follow.

The Cabana #50 party we recently created was in honor of a 50th birthday. A cabana was made poolside; it included a lounge chair, small table, palm trees, fancy beverage glasses, and yes, even a "cabana boy."

The music was calypso and reggae, which perfectly fit the theme. The colors used for linens were turquoise, lime green and tangerine. Colorful pillows and mats were scattered about the pool area, and the menu consisted of foods from the Caribbean islands. We served Mango Grilled Shrimp on Sugar Cane Skewers, Sesame Coated Ahi with Papaya Cream, Grand Cayman Pork Tenderloin, Tamarind Glazed Mahi-Mahi, Jerk Chicken with Vegetable Rundown, Pineapple Fried Rice, Molasses Grilled Sweet Potatoes, as well as Mango and Jicima Salad with Passionfruit Vinaigrette.

Guests were greeted with a welcome beverage of passionfruit and mango puree mixed with vodka and club soda. Orchids floated in the glass. The signature beverage was, of course, called Cabana #50.

Yes, we are busy, tired, short on resources and have homes that need a few upgrades. But who cares? Theme parties give us the opportunity to escape from all that for a while. Absorb yourself in making fun invitations, enjoy catching up with friends as they call with their RSVP and embrace your creative side as you plan decor and food. These parties don't have to be elaborate; just follow you theme with simple linens, colors, music and a signature dish or beverage.

Cabana #50
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
6 tbsp white rum
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
2 tbsp grenadine syrup


Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake. Fill glasses with ice, divide rum mixture between glasses. Garnish with pineapple or orange slices. Makes two servings.

Calypso Steak with Papaya Mustard Marinade
1/2 cup rum
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 skirt steaks, 8 ounces each, well trimmed


Combine all of the marinade ingredients in shallow dish. Add steaks and marinate in refrigerator for four to six hours, making sure to turn halfway through. Remove from marinade and grill.

Papaya Mustard
1 papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tomato diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp red hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt


Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the mixture has a jamlike consistency.

Allow sauce to cool to room temperature. Place the mixture in food processor fitted with steel blade and process until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

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Cindy and Tamra, when not interviewing cabana boys, can be found creating new dishes at RSVP - The Catering Company.
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