Friday, January 30, 2015

Slurp it Up! Annual Pho Party!

10 pounds of fresh pho noodles, 22 pounds of beef bones, five gallons of pho broth, 75 tofu spring rolls, two pounds of turkey meatballs, three dozen banh pate chaud and three dozen guests. That all happened at our annual Pho Party last weekend. 

We host this party every winter and while it's a lot of work, it's always a good time! I started cooking at 8 a.m. and the kitchen was open for service at 6 p.m. 

I always forget to take photos of the food, but a friend did take this picture of me putting meatballs into the broth. Look at all that goodness! Along with the pho, In addition to the usual spring rolls and banh pate chaud, I also made Viet turkey meatballs. I used this recipe but instead of chicken, I used ground turkey.

Last year, I didn't have enough large Asian soup bowls so I had to wash bowls inbetween guests -- I had to avoid that this year. I can always buy more bowls at the Asian market, but the melamine bowls are expensive (usually around $5-$7/bowl depending on the size) and I don't need 40 bowls in the house.

So, I went to Amazon to see what disposable options were available. I came across these biodegradable bowls in various sizes. After a quick hot water test (Micah's my own personal America's Test Kitchen), we decided the 32 oz. bowls would hold up for our pho needs - we did ask guests to double up on the bowls just to make it sturdier. I wish they had a 40 oz. size, but the 32 oz. worked. Unfortunately, they only come in 500 packs so now I have 500 bowls sitting in the pantry!

A special thanks to Suz for helping be my sous chef a few hours before the party! I wouldn't have gotten everything done without her help! And thank you guys for coming up from San Antonio! She's also having twins, so I made sure to feed all three of them very well. 

Since we had so many guests coming, we made Micah's brew room our drink station. 

Guests at the main dining table.

More guests at our secondary table.

My friend, Adrienne, also made this awesome cherry pie! It was muy delicioso.

The next day, I ended up with about six quarts of pho broth. I gifted a couple of quarts and kept the rest for myself. I usually keep a quart in the freezer in case I have a hankering for some pho.

With all the leftovers, I had pho for breakfast the next morning. Breakfast of champions!


On a side note, as someone who hosts several large parties throughout the year, I really appreciate it when people RSVP. I need people to RSVP to know how much food to make. I was just thinking the other day that maybe Facebook invites are too casual. That maybe it's too easy to RSVP "yes" but don't actually show up. It's fine if you tell me you won't be able to make it or a last minute issue came up, that I get.

And then there are the "maybe" folks. I would say that most people who say "maybe" don't have any intention of coming anyway, so just say "no." If you have young kiddos, I understand the "maybe" because you never know when something comes up with your kiddo/babysitter/etc.

Do you think a more formal evite would eliminate those issues?
Do you have the same issues with RSVP's? What do you use (paperless post, Facebook, evite)?

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