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My holiday dinner party: Whitney Otawka

On the menu

“I’d start the night with an oyster roast, which will quickly resolve any perceived formalities and make lifelong friends out of strangers. No dinner party would be complete without platters of cheese ranging from triple creams to pungent blues framed by dried fruits, almonds, and walnuts. Dinner would be red wine-braised short ribs with sweet carrots, wilted cabbage, and buttery potatoes, plus Yorkshire pudding to dip into the braising jus. Dessert would be sticky toffee pudding topped with cloud-like vanilla cream.”

What we’re drinking

“Eggnog with bourbon, French cider, and anything imported by Kermit Lynch.”

The decor

“I keep it minimal, but with fantastic lighting. Imagine a big, old fireplace, lots of candlelight, and strategically placed twinkling lights. I like a large, well-worn, rustic dinner table and a beautiful and simply-decorated tree that perfumes the house. The vibe is somewhere between romantic and magical.”

The guest list

“The ones I love, and a pack of dogs.”

What we’re listening to

“My musical taste is eclectic. Townes Van Zandt, Devendra Banhart, and Seu Jorge would all be played at some point.”