I promise you: These miniature cupcakes — “petit fours” in northwest Alabama-ese — are as yummy as they look. Here in my town, if you’re having any kind of party you’ve got to have petit fours from the Victorian Tea Room. They are so soft and tender and melty you barely have to chew them up. If it’s a celebration, you’ll find Victorian Tea Room petit fours. Over the years, I’d say I’ve served hundreds of them here at our house. When Older Daughter got married, she had four — count ’em, four — Victorian Tea Room wedding cakes that tasted just like big petit fours. People still come up to me and say, “I’m dreaming about those wedding cakes.” Yes, indeedy. The kind folks who make these will decorate the tops any way you like — flowers, baby shoes, class years in school colors. And even though Older Daughter has grown up and moved an hour away and has her own house and her own family, she adheres to tradition and wanted Victorian Tea Room petit fours for Capt. Adorable’s second-birthday party. And, really, they’re perfect for toddlers. Plus, adults gobble them up like them, too. As her contribution to the Captain’s party, Younger Daughter wanted to decorate them herself. So we ordered four dozen plain and YD tapped into her inner cupcake-artist to create these beautiful little bites of adorable cuteness. The plan was for me to do some, too. However, you see the polka-dot ones in the upper left-hand corner? And the one with the big gloppy dot in the middle? That was the one I started … until YD gently took the tubes of colored gel away from me and suggested that I merely observe. She was right. Also: We should have ordered five dozen, because they went fast. Check out the Victorian Tea Room at http://victoriantearoomcatering.com
When my husband and I went to a party some friends of his hosted in Tupelo, Mississippi, this past weekend, I was blown away by this gorgeous space. It’s the Dance Studio in downtown Tupelo and it is really a dance studio as well as perfect party room. The gleaming wood floors and exposed brick walls were the background for soft fall colors of golds, browns and oranges. There was dancing, wine, good company and good food: Vegetable soup, fried chicken, a mashed potato bar — and cake. (Hmm … cake.) Every time we’re somewhere that has a mashed potato bar, my husband and I remember our wedding in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, four years ago. Our caterer recently had returned from a caterers’ gathering in California and was enthusiastic about the latest trend: Mashed potatoes in champagne glasses with a variety of toppings you add yourself. John and I looked at each other and agreed that while it sounded like a fun idea and we would certainly like to go to that party, the folks at our wedding might think it was a little weird. What did we know? Now a mashed-potato bar is everybody’s favorite party food. Check out The Dance Studio at http://www.thedancestudiotupelo.com/. And go vote today! You do not want to miss out.