Progressive Dinners

Maybe you've heard the idea of Progressive Dinners before, but if not, let me explain.

Back when I lived in Milwaukee, a handful of my co-workers lived in the downtown area and would occasionally hold a Progressive Dinner Party. Basically, you would begin at one apartment, for drinks, the next would be appetizers, the next a main dish, then maybe another main dish (depending on how many people offered to make their homes a stop), and the last place would be dessert. The whole group would move from place to place, and therefore the term "Progressive Dinner" was used to describe it. Along with the movement from place to place, there was also a recurring "theme." Maybe everyone had to follow a Mexican food theme... including Mexican drinks. Or perhaps a cheese theme (think Wisconsin), or maybe Italian, or even Downton Abbey themed. Sometimes each different stop had its own theme chosen by whoever lived and served there. Super fun idea, right?

Well, a couple weeks ago, I was blessed by the presence of my five best friends who all flew down to Georgia to visit me. How awesome are they, right?!

On the second night they were here, we all decided to go out for dinner, but we all have issues making decisions as a group (can you relate?) and ended up going to this adorable strip of restaurants. Upon our arrival, we somehow managed to decide on doing a progressive dinner in record time. Like, as soon as we parked we all agreed immediately.. phew.

Our first stop was called Zest. It was a fun, modern, atmosphere with a wonderful tapas menu. Here, we also decided on buying a bottle of wine at every stop to share amongst ourselves. As for the food, we ordered a delicious spinach and artichoke dip, mac and cheese (with panko crumbs and truffle oil... oh yummm), and grilled calamari. We ended up with two bottles of wine here, but who's counting?

The second stop was at Pastis Bar & Restaurant... French cuisine. We popped a bottle of champagne, and this time we "coupled up" to order. The wine from the last place might have gone to our heads a little, but we were laughing so hard in this restaurant, a crazy woman in the bathroom actually asked if we were drunk... which in fact we were not. Just so happy! We all mostly ordered the same things, and our excitement got the best of us when we saw a Caesar salad for $6. However, when we got our "salads" we realized there was about 50 cents worth of food on the plate and we completely lost ourselves making fun of the dish. It was good, don't get me wrong, but the disappointment was a lot to bear!

Stop number three was dessert at a cute little cupcake shop that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. We all bought different kinds of cupcakes and spread them across a table and tried each one. It was the perfect way to end the evening.

Stop number four doesn't necessarily count as part of dinner, but for old times sake we found a nice, rowdy bar and took our bottle of wine to the empty porch to play Heads Up. My! How times have changed! It seriously seems like yesterday when we were the girls on the dancefloor having the time of our lives. Now, we're sipping our wine on an empty bar porch laughing and yes, still having the time of our lives. 

If you have never had a Progressive Dinner, I encourage you to give it a try. Whether it's from restaurant to restaurant, or home to home, it is always a fun new way to party. If you're wondering how the restaurant bills were handled, two girls were in charge of splitting the cost of the wine bottle at each place, and the rest of the bill was split amongst everyone. It was really pretty cost effective!

Have you ever done a Progressive Dinner? What other tips or ideas do you have? Theme ideas?

FoodJoy Johnson