Monday, May 7, 2012

Derby de Mayo Fiesta!!

Since we’ve lived together,  3ish years, Ben and I usually just got out for dinner, the two of us, for each other’s birthdays.  This year since his was on a Friday, we opted to invite others. I emailed the “gang” on Wednesday to see who was interested and was surprised to get responses from everyone within an hour that they were in. Burger Bar (remember, we visited there a while back for the first time: burgers and craft beer?), miraculously takes reservations; so I made a reservation for 19 with the request of TV views to watch the game.  Dinner was delicious and we went out in Wrigleyville for a bit after, but gave ourselves a midnight curfew to have plenty of prep time for the party Saturday.

Saturday morning we were up and moving around 8am. We had last minute cleaning to do and lots of organizing.  We stopped at Home Depot to get some plants for the patio/outside and also to the huge farmer’s market, Green City Market, in Lincoln Park for some fresh flowers, before grabbing the keg from Binny’s Beverage Depot and heading home.

Derby de Mayo itself was a huge success!!  I didn’t manage to take pictures of everything, but I did my best.  We tried to intertwine both themes of Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo as much as possible and it worked out well.
For our wedding, I was obsessed with tissue paper pomanders, except that they took about two hours to make and I had to make 10!  For these, I opted for the simple method and made 9 of them in about two hours throughout the past week. 
We had over 30 people come and planning the food and drink was a bit of a challenge.  For the main food, it was easiest to stick to Mexican theme, so we had:
·      Chips
·      Salsa
·     Guacamole:  I only used 4 avocados and of course when cutting the first one it slipped off the cutting board and on to my dress. Ugh, so clumsy! Thank goodness for Shout spray. I only used 4 avocados thinking if I made too much gauc at first it may go brown, so I planned on whipping up another batch later and now I still have 4 more avocados in my fridge
·     Queso:  I followed this recipe as my outline; but I doubled the ingredients, changed up the ratio of milk a bit and used fresh jalapenos.  I also did half white American and half yellow because yellow is so much cheaper than white!We could have had more of this, which stinks because I had another pound of cheese in the fridge I'd opted against using; but it was a good amount and  definitely well liked!
·     My Skinny Taco Dip
·    Taco bar: consisting of 5.5 lbs of ground beef, cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, onion, tomatoes and soft and hard-shell tacos

We also had one guest bring a tray of enchiladas and someone else brought queso fundido, which was excellent! I need to get my hands on her recipe!

For dessert, we went with more of the Kentucky theme and had:

·     Chocolate chip cookies: Okay, I know this isn’t derby, but they’re quick and easy to make and always like!
·     Derbypie bites (found via Pinterest)
·     Derby pie: I had originally planned on making all the bites; but rolling out the pie crust was so time consuming and I had left this task to do a few hours before the party.  I actually thought the pie turned out better than the bites.  I used the same batter from the pies but poured into a pie crust and baked a bit longer than the bites

·         SIL brought Mint Julep cupcakes; how cute are these?!:

For drinks we had a good variety:
·    Coors Light Keg: We had debated on Laguanitas or Corona, but knowing that we’d likely play drinking games, we opted for something light and simply; plus it was about half the price ($87)
·     Margaritas: We put the Jimmy Buffet Margarita Maker to use.  It’s the one wedding registry item Ben was insist we ask for.  We’ve now been married over 1.5 yrs and I think this was our fifth time using it; but we did get a lot of use out of it.  We went through 3.5L (two larger bottles) of Cuervo and the margs were surprisingly tasty!  One of our friends stepped up to the task of being the marg-maker.
·     Homebrews: Of course Ben had the fridge stocked full of his home brews.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to print labels like we usually do, but he organized them in the fridge with labels to denote which row was what.  As always, the beers were well received!

·     Mint Juleps:  Someone brought these ingredients for us after volunteering to bring some.  He brought a bottle of bourbon and also a premixed mint julep and a bag of mint.  I tried a sip, but it’s definitely not my forte
·     Vodka and lemonade: a summer-time classic!

We had suggested derby attire or a sombrero, but not too many people got into.  I blame the cold and was slightly dissappointed, especially that the girls didn't have more fun with it, but I know it can get expensive.  I'll be posting more about my attire later.  Here's Oscar's:
The entertainment, as if drinking and tons of people weren’t enough, was also the race itself.  We’d debated on two different betting options and opted for the easiest.  I wrote out all of the horses names and put them in a hat.  It was $5 to draw a random name from the hat.  Since there was no real choosing in who got what horse, we had pay-outs for first, second and third place.  With 20 horses in the race, the pay-outs ended up being: Winner- $70, Second- $20 and Third - $10.  It made for an exciting way to follow the race.  Too bad my pick, Daddy Long Legs, didn’t fare better!
 (The other betting method we considered was having a poster board with all of the horses.  For $1, people could place a bet on a horsing, betting on multiple horses or up to $5 on one horse.  At the end of the race, whoever betting on the winning horse would receive a percentage of the pot, based on how many people had be on that horse.  For example, since I’ll Have Another won; say there were 4 bets on him; 3 people with one person betting twice…then one person would have won 50% of the pot and the other two 25%.  See, too confusing to follow and figure out with drinking!)

The other entertainment was the backyard piñata. 
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into the 70s as predicted, but it was still warm enough to spend some time outside.  In an effort to be fair, we had anyone who were interested in hitting the piñata draw numbers.  We had someone “operating” and moving the piñata.  Each contestant had to spin five times and got on swing.  It worked out well, although we had some kinks…
Moved and ready for action
…like someone falling…

My turn!

Ben broke a leg off

…and someone hitting the piñata with her hand, angry after she’d missed with the stick, and knocking it down!
We taped it back together, but that made it even harder to break.
All in all, the party and day was a huge success and we had a blast!!  We’re know thinking we’ll do two annual big parties; our trolley and now a derby or cinco party.
Ben and my brother


  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2012

    This looks like an absolute BLAST!

    1. Thanks Tamara! We've gotten some good feedback and we had fun!


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