By now, the winter blues have set in, and you really need to shake it up!  A dear friend of ours was celebrating her birthday last weekend and I wanted to have her for dinner.  Instead of the same old, set the dining room table and bring on the nice, but done it before, 3 course dinner, I changed it up a bit.   Yes, we had dinner at the coffee table.

Swept the books and tchotchkes off the coffee table and put the oh so useful burlap tablecloth on.  The couch served as one seating area, then a side chair on either end of the table, and an ottoman across from the couch as the other seating area. Voila!  Cozy seating for six.  Pulled out my grandmother’s vintage cream lace napkins, and set out the blue and white china – keeping all of the plates “small.”  Placed shaded candles (lanterns would work, too) in the center of the table, while the side table had a huge bouquet of red tulips.

In keeping with the cozy, small theme, we enjoyed smaller versions of comfort food – barbecued chicken wings; ramekins with macaroni and cheese; sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon; and this ridiculously good green onion flatbread from Market Hall in Oakland.  Lots of good red wine, a roaring fire, and a comfortable ease that comes with sitting on your couch, already tucked in for the night.   Some Patty Griffin and Lyle Lovett playing in the background.  Homemade lemon bars and mini red velvet cupcakes topped off the night.   Somehow, it just felt so easy and relaxing, and yet, the dinner was delicious and lovely in the firelight.  Give it a try!