Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Club Holiday Party

Phew - to say this is a busy week is an understatement!  While it's absolutely glorious to only work T-Th, it makes for a packed 3 days at the office!  Combine that with our book club holiday dinner on Monday night, our work holiday party Tuesday night, and a friend's Christmas party tonight, and when all is said and done, I'll have not seen much of my house!  But again, the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm so so happy to have Friday off work (especially since my agenda includes: making Christmas cookies, attempting to make peppermint bark, getting a prenatal massage, and a dinner party at a friend's house - sweet!).

I had to post about Monday night, though, because it's such a fun Christmas tradition we've started.  First, we chose a swanky new restaurant (arguably the "It" restaurant of the moment) Alchemy in Cooper Young.  This place is cool.  For Memphis-familiar people, they took what used to be Restaurant Grace and Au Fond, knocked down the wall in between them, did what had to be hundreds of thousands of dollars of renovations (literally), and created a space so uniquely awesome and unlike anything else in town that it's pretty amazing.  There's a huge square bar in the center, soft lighting, cool nook-like tables with curved couches on one side, and awesome architectural and design details.

The menu is all small plates, and they pride themselves on cocktails (although no one in our group had one [the drinkers stuck to wine]).  Our overall takeaway of the food was: fabulous!  With seven people in our group (and since we each got two small plates and a dessert), a fair amount of the menu made an appearance at our table.  There were only a couple dishes that seemed mediocre - everything else was delicious and beautifully presented.  Our biggest complaint, food-wise, was about the desserts.  We collectively had every dessert on the menu and none were knock-you-down awesome.  My suggestion if you go to Alchemy: bring your wallet (because I can imagine a man, for example, with a big appetite doing some serious damage to the tiny portions) and skip dessert or get a cheese course as dessert.

So back to book club.  We all met at this swanky restaurant and had our delicious meal.  Then the part we'd all been waiting for: Dirty Santa!  Basically, everyone brought a book they really like, and then after the person would open the book, the person who brought it would talk about it and about why they like it so much. All the books looked great, so I'm sure we'll all enjoy our holiday reading.  When it was my turn (I was second to last to choose), I could either take a book I had my eye on from Emily, or I could open one of the two still on the table.  I chose to open, and was a little disheartened to find something I'd already read. 

Well, then Patti was last to choose and she stole the book from Emily, so Emily had to choose a new one.  Being her kind self, she took The Secret History from me, giving me another pick.  This time, I went for the one I originally had my eye on, The Shipping News, and stole it from Patti.  It was ruthless at the end!  (Note that when I got home, Jonathan was like, "pretty sure we already own that."  So if anyone from book club wants to borrow it - we're allegedly pretty well set [although I haven't actually seen the copy at our house].)

All in all, a great night!  I love a night with friends, delicious food, and books!

And blog readers, if you have a book club, you should steal this Dirty Santa idea for yourself!  It's such a fun way to close up the year (plus, December is a tough month to make everyone read a book to discuss).

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