Laura Vinroot Poole might be my entertaining kindred spirit. Not only does her home strike that elusive balance between being classic yet still edgy (can we please talk about the wallpaper and light fixture in her dining room?), but her food sensibilities are right up my alley, too. With an insatiable craving for anything Yotam Ottolenghi and a love for simple, satisfying menus, I get the feeling Laura and I would get along splendidly co-hosting a dinner party… case in point: she served up fried chicken and biscuits at the “fancy” holiday dinner party we’re sharing today. ‘Nuff said.
Of course, we’re not surprised. As a tastemaker and the owner of Capitol, Poole Shop and most recently, Tabor, Laura’s known in her hometown of Charlotte, NC and beyond for her downright great style. Click through to see how she brings that great style to life at home, and for those of you in the Charleston, SC area this weekend: be sure to head out for Garden & Gun‘s third annual Jubilee: Made in the South Weekend, where Laura will be be recreating the Tabor experience with fresh and modern men’s clothing, artwork and vinyl records. It’s going to be a magical weekend, and we’ll be in Austin wishing we were there…
*photography by Chris Edwards
Your standard hostess outfit:
Something comfortable that allows me to finish preparing the meal without tripping over myself! I love Muriel Brandolini and Oscar de La Renta’s colorful djellabas.
Describe your entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Warm, simple, and super tasty
The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
Elvis Costello, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and Buckingham Nicks.
What do you always keep stocked in the refrigerator?
Homemade cucumber, okra, and green tomato pickles, a batch of homemade pepper jelly, and vacche rosso parmesan cheese from Peck in Milan. I’m always prepared for an impromptu cocktail party.
The entertaining rule you rarely break:
The most important thing to me is to make my guests feel comfortable. I also insist on separating couples around the table. There is nothing worse than spouses bickering at a dinner party.
Current favorite color palette for parties:
I love to match the scenes from the De Gournay wallpaper in my dining room. I like to feel as though the wallpaper came to life and took over the dining room table with its leaves and flowers and tiny apples.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your holiday gathering.
My inspiration around every gathering is, seriously, just delicious food. I think simpler menus are so much better than fussy, overwrought menus… biscuits and fried chicken make everyone happy.
Your must-have entertaining tool:
My favorite florescent monogrammed napkins by my dear friend, Jane Scott Hodges at Leontine Linens. They make even the simplest supper feel like the most special evening in the world.
What (if anything) scares you about entertaining?
When people bring anything other than wine. Trust me… I’ve spent hours planning and preparing the menu, what I’m not prepared for is your nut-covered cheese balls (even though they are quite delicious).
The taste your always craving:
Anything from Yotam Ottolenghi. Give me Ras al Hanout and Za’atar on anything at any time.
The restaurant meal you could never forget:
Butter chicken, pasta al sugo, and fragoline (tiny Alpine wild strawberries) with my siblings and my mother at Trattoria Sostanza in Florence last summer — it was near perfect.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Debbie Harry, Brian Ferry, Dries Van Noten, Joan Didion, Duro Olowu, Mark Maron, and Cindy Sherman. With my husband that makes nine guests… the perfect dinner party number.
What do you love about holiday hosting?
I love spending time with the people that I love, and having the occasion to tell them how much I truly adore them.