Feb 21

1940s Casablanca Dinner Party—“Here’s lookin’ at you kid.”

in Entertaining

what a dame

We recently hosted a little belated Valentine’s Day soiree at our house with a 1940s Casablanca theme.  The idea came from our friend, and evil genius, who gets a lot of fun and crazy ideas.  This is easily explained by the fact that he is an artist by profession (he recently published an awesome book on monster mythology called “Monster Mythos” with several other artists), and does things like work on the animation team for Cartoon Network’s Sym-Bionic Titan, so he’s basically paid to dream up craziness every day.  (He even gave everyone names for the night . . . I’ll share in a second . . . .)

Kooky "Sam Blackwell"

We gave our house a festive feel, hanging up some mini white Christmas lights and some paper lanterns.

Lights and Lanters

Then we gave the dinner table an elegant vintage makeover.

The Dinner Tablesetting the silver

Everyone came dressed to the nines.  Our cool cats:

Cool CatsLeft to Right: Danny Marco, Sam Blackwell, Mark Raeburn, and Tony Bandana

The dames:

The DamesLeft to Right: Kathleen Connor, Lola “Smoky” Freemont, Isabel Morgan, and Tanya Joyce

For dinner, we started with a cheese plate and sliced baguettes.

Cheese Plate

To drink, we had bottles of sparkling cider and a non-alcoholic sangria (like this recipe from Epicurious, but with strawberries instead of cranberries).

Non-alcoholic Sangria

We followed up the bread and cheese with a simple creamy tomato soup, sprinkled with a bit of fresh basil.

Kathleen Connor Serving up Soup2-Minute Creamy Tomato Soup

For the main course, we had a fresh green salad with strawberries in it, and I made a quiche lorraine, using the recipe out of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  You can find Dorie’s recipe for the quiche crust on Epicurious.com.  The filling is made by layering gruyere cheese, with cooked bacon, and sauteed onion in the crust, then pouring a beaten egg and cream mixture over the fillings and baking the quiche.  So easy, but so delicious.

Dorie Greenspan's Quiche Lorraine and a simple green salad

After finishing the main course, we moved into the family room to watch the movie Casablanca.

Watching Casablanca

While we watched the movie, I served a rich chocolate mousse, topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries (also from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table).  You can find the recipe on bonnappetit.com.

Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Mousse

It was a perfect evening—good food, good friends, lots of fun, and plenty of romance.

Cheers!Tony Bandanathe Fujis---aka, Lola "Smoky" Freemont and Danny MarcoHere's lookin' at you kid.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Kita February 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm

What a great post! These pictures are priceless and I’m sure your friends are very happy to have them. What a great idea and party. I am rather inspired to try something like this myself now. Thank you!


Cathy/ShowFoodChef February 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

LOVING this SO MUCH! How fun and wonderful!


boogie February 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

so creative! and oh, so delicious food! i’m craving a nice wedge of brie right now!


Paula - bell'alimento February 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

As if I didn’t already wish I lived closer to you ; )


Heather (Heather's Dish) February 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

What A fun theme! I love it…and the black and white photos are just icing on the cake :)


Kimmie February 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

SO fun! What a gorgeous spread of food, people and fun!


[email protected] February 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

So much fun Rachael – it’s *nearly* like we were there with you!


Jennifer February 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Very cool article! I’m actually looking into writing a story that takes place after the war ends in 1945. Any suggestions on where I should start looking for information?


Sara{OneTribeGourmet} February 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

AWESOME dinner party! LOVE it! I’m going ga ga over your fabulous pics! Eveyrone looks so chic and sassy! :)


Natanya @ Fete & Feast February 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

What a wonderful party and menu. I love how you put together a great collection of easy and elegant dishes – I’m sure your guests had a great time. I’ve been thinking of throwing a themed dinner party and am now inspired!


Lauren from Lauren's Latest February 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Looks like it was a fun party!


The Food Hound February 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Oh my gosh, I love love love theme parties!!! No one I know ever throws them! And I love Casablanca! Great, simple menu– I can’t wait to try Dorie’s mousse au chocolat! I have a recipe that’s pretty hard to top, so I’m eager to test hers.


Barbara Bakes February 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

What a fun idea! You all look fabulous!


Jennifer (Savor) February 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Awesome – I SOOOO wish I was there!


Lana February 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Isn’t it nice stepping back into the past? I love the vintage look of the photos. So, when is the next party? :)


Kristen February 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm

What a genius idea for a dinner party. How fun!
And you look smashing, my dear… simply smashing!


Daydreamer Desserts February 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Great menu, and everyone looked especially smashing in all those B&W shots. :)


Barbara | VinoLuciStyle February 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Wonderful idea, fabulous food and the perfect pictures. Thanks for sharing your evening with us, dahling.


notyet100 February 22, 2011 at 1:25 am



Sukaina February 22, 2011 at 2:07 am

So now you’re officially ”Lola”……I like!! And what great vintage curlery you have!!


Joan Nova February 22, 2011 at 5:05 am

Phenomenal photos and I’m sure a treasure for all involved. Genius to do them in B+W.

Fun idea and execution.


Brian @ A Thought For Food February 22, 2011 at 8:06 am

Love this idea! I’m thinking the cocktail party needs to make a return… but this is even better.


jenjenk February 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

How inspiring!! how fun!!! love it!!


EMK February 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

What a great idea! Love it!


Deborah February 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

WOW! Such an eye for details and even the photo’s look like they were taken from the 40’s. Thank you for sharing.


marla {family fresh cooking} February 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Rachael, such a super fun dinner party with your friends. You are as adorable as always!!! xo


Aimee @ Simple Bites March 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Love this idea, Rachael! You all look just smashing. And those pink martini glasses? Wow.


Sofya March 2, 2011 at 7:38 am

Wow, I love that idea!


Granny Smith June 6, 2011 at 4:34 am

I take it that you are all American – I am amazed at your idea of a fancy menu and can’t help but to wonder what you eat normally. We Europeans would serve cheese towards the end of a meal not as a starter. We might consider making the effort to use cheese as part of canapés and the thin quiche with a garnish of leaves seems fine for a fast light supper at home but pretty meagre to offer guests – even if you were intent on reproducing a 1940s meal, even then there would have been a little potato salad too – perhaps you were thinking of the privations and lack of eggs suffered by your Continental Cousins. By the way, they didn’t have access to chocolate – that was only provided to American Servicemen! I am old enough to know all this. Á toute a l’heure


Granny Smith June 6, 2011 at 4:36 am

ooops, sorry, meant to add…. you look like a lovely group of friends having a good time – well done for making an ‘event’ of watching the film.


Camille October 9, 2011 at 9:38 am

Ive never watched cassablanca before but have always wanted to. I think this would be the perfect way to do so!


Arjun Kanuri May 6, 2013 at 9:29 am

I really like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!
Keep up the good works guys I’ve you guys to blogroll.


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ccchristie December 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

This is a great idea. I do similar things when I watch special movies, usually on an annual basis. Casablanca is one, but my favorite is Dr. Zhivago. There is so much you can do for a Dr. Zhivago watch party. Just as an aside, not sure if you know that there is a little series of cookbooks around movies. There is a Casablanca Cookbook (probably from the 1990’s. I also have a “Christmas Carol” cookbook, “Gone with the Wind” cookbook, “It’s a Wonderful Life” cookbook, “Wizard of Oz” cookbook, and the aforementioned “Casablanca” cookbook. If you Google these names, I’m sure you will find them used on some sites. They lend a lot of atmosphere to the party and have trivia and very good recipes. Nice post. Thanks for sharing the photos!


AJ @ Aspen Jay February 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Love this party idea! I liked how the activity was just simple by watching the movie Casablanca. I threw a 1920’s party which was a blast… Now I want to throw a 1940’s party!!!!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Thank you so much AJ! Oooh, a 1920s party sounds so fun! What did you do?


Kris March 26, 2023 at 8:17 pm

Sounds like fun. We’re looking to do a Casablanca 1942 murder mystery party. Any suggestions on decor or costumes?


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