A Make-Ahead Mexican + Californian Dinner for Eight

A Make-Ahead Mexican + Californian Dinner for Eight

Friday was bonkers! I had a dentist appointment in the morning, a ton of client work and a Girl Scout troop meeting all before coming home to host six of Rob’s co-workers, all in town for a conference. This was a dinner party where preparing in advance was a requirement.


  • Persimmon and grapefruit margaritas with cinnamon paprika salt
  • A sampler or raw oysters, blistered piquillo peppers, chorizo and pickled beets
  • Vegetarian pumpkin pozole
  • Grapefruit shrimp ceviche with avocado
  • Champagne break
  • Persimmon tart and chocolate ice cream

Tomatillos for pozole stew


Went to farmer’s market for supplies and planned out the menu for the week. Coordinated with Catalina to bring oysters and dessert for the party. Got a final headcount.


Set the table with a new chambray tablecloth from Ikea (not ironed), wedding china and silver and a beautiful potted orchid that a client gave me. Appropo because Rob’s company is called “Orcid.org.” We expanded the table the next day when the guest list bumped up to eight instead of six.

Gray tablecloth and blue china with black napkins

Prepared the pozole base in advance using onions, poblano chilies, jalapenos, piquillo peppers, bell peppers, tomatillos, hominy, cilantro, vegetable broth and pinto beans.

Poblanos for pozole

While that simmered on the stove in a massive pot, I roasted an acorn squash and a small pumpkin on the broiler, sprinkled with chili powder. Once cubed, the squash was added to the pozole and the whole thing was set aside to cool down before going in in the fridge.

Acorn squash pozole

I also made the ceviche “brine” in advance, using lime, grapefruit, cucumber, jicama, jalapeno, salt and onion. I should have put the shrimp in right then – instead I always wait until it is nearly too late and then fret about poisoning everyone with raw seafood.

Shrimp ceviche with grapfruit, cucumber and jimica


In the morning, I made the persimmon margaritas and put them in the refrigerator to cool off.  A mix of sugar, kosher salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon and chili powder on the glass rims made these drinks absolutely divine when we poured them out at the start of the party.

Persimmon Grapefruit Margaritas

When guests arrived, we put them to work opening oysters and eating piqullo peppers in the kitchen. I don’t have great photos of the party because it is SO dark now that Daylight Savings has passed and they’re all pretty blurry. Needless to say, the dinner party was a relaxing evening at the end of a long week for everyone. Good food, good conversation and a few games of Exploding Kittens to boot.

Bay Area oysters

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Website: EmilyStyle

I'm an adventurer and founder of a brand strategy studio. I'm so lucky to work abroad for a couple months each year. Weekly dinner parties and picking what to wear when I'm at home in San Francisco. I love a tough challenge, email [email protected] to reach me.