The party was a lot of fun. We had 23 people show up for it, and I think everyone had a good time. The highly-American-party-food we made went over real well too! I have a couple standing rules when it comes to cooking: 1. I never make Italian food for Italians and now 2. I never make Brasilian food for Brasilians...my version will never taste like what they are expecting; I just can't compete with their Grandmas! (We served Italian shredded beef in a crockpot with mini-french rolls for sandwiches, cocktail meatballs, chicken salad with crackers, chicken salad stuffed cherry tomatoes, potato salad, bruchetta, watermelon, brownies, and 2 types of cheesecake.)
The only real problem that I didn't even see coming was with the serving of some of the food. I have mentioned before how around here holding food with your hands is a big no-no. People always use toothpicks or a fork to eat french fries and they always hold burgers in a napkin, etc. I thought I had thought through that enough: I had napkins set out next to the french rolls, toothpicks next to the meatballs, and plenty of forks and spoons for everyone. When I walked in to see one of the ladies trying to balance a cracker on a plastic spoon to get it from the tray to her plate and then try to spread chicken salad on it without touching the cracker, (while highly entertaining) I knew I had forgotten about even the most classic American finger-foods not being real big here. There was also an issue with the stuffed cherry tomatoes (after the brownie server got used to try and balance little round tomatoes from the tray to their plates, I put a pair of tongs out to pick them up with!) But other than that, everything went smoothly . . . I've been considering having some friends over for Mexican food one night, since none of them have ever had it, but I'm not sure how they would fix and eat tacos without using their hands!
Marco and Regina, real good friends of ours. They were the first ones here - worried that the Americans would be expecting everyone at 8:00, they didn't want us to be waiting too long! :)
Shots with us around with other guests.
Our neighbors - one of the sweetest couples ever! Close to midnight we brought out the birthday "cake." I wasn't sure how traditional cake would go over (the cakes here are awesome, but very different from in the US.) I opted to make a white chocolate cheesecake with oreo crust and then a smaller traditional New York Style Cheesecake. They both got lots of compliments although no one had ever had cheesecake here. (Also, important to know if you are hosting a birthday party (which we were told at the last birthday party we attended): after you bring out the cake, guests take that as their cue to leave shortly thereafter...don't bring the cake out too early!)
By around 1:15, everyone was heading out.
Marco and Regina insisted on staying and helping us clean up. I argued, but after they still insisted, well, I happily excepted the help! There were A LOT of dishes to be done! It was fun to get to spend some more time with them too. Sometime after 2:00 they left, and we crashed.