Dinner with Strangers

Recently I’ve become taken with the idea of hosting dinner parties for a bunch of strangers.

There’s a new movement in “social dining.” Think AirBnB, but for dinner parties. For instance, if you’re traveling to say, Rome, instead of eating at a restaurant one night, you’d pay to go to a Roman’s apartment, eat a home-cooked Italian meal, and meet some new people who may also be dining there that evening. Eating in the home of a local (a tried-and-true home cook who’s been vetted and recommended by others) is a great way to connect with locals in the town you’re visiting (or the city in which you live).

I’m hoping to be on the other end of it: Welcoming over folks to our Madrid digs, cooking up food, chatting with strangers, and sharing with them all the things I love about Madrid. While I have the disadvantage of not being a Spaniard – what tourist looking for an authentic Spanish food experience is going to dine at the home of a couple of Americanos? – I think that some Madrileños are eager for better vegetarian food options than what this city’s restaurants offer.

So, I just applied to be a host of one such program and am waiting to hear back. In preparation (or as an excuse to have a dinner party) I recently had friends over to taste test some old and new recipes, and my very talented friend made an awesome video.

Here was menu for the evening:

  • Strawberry gazpacho
  • Spanakopita with tzatziki sauce
  • Salad of beet carpaccio, mandarin oranges, pistachios, microgreens, with a pistachio vinaigrette
  • Mason jar with mushrooms, roasted asparagus, homemade ricotta, and hollandaise
  • Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms with maple glazed Brussel’s sprouts
  • Fresh lasagna rolls with eggplant, homemade ricotta, marinara, oven-roasted tomatoes, and walnut-basil pesto
  • Butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce
  • Butterscotch pots de creme with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and sea salt

And of course, lots of wine.

To hosting dinner parties,

The Dame in Spain


  1. This is awesome! Your menu looks/sounds delicious. I hope you get approved for the program. We just secured an apartment in Manhattan with an extra bedroom(!) so we’re going to try and do the AirBnB thing… already dreaming up scone and muffin recipes for the guests and giving them some tips on NYC.

  2. I’ve never heard of such an experience, but I think it sounds amazing. There has been a huge change in mentality when it comes to traveling. People don’t want the cookie cutter / touristy experience when they visit a new country, and want more authentic experiences. Good luck with your application! Your menu sounds amazing!

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