A fiesta doesn’t always have to be about vibrant colors, tequila shots and busting open a pinata. The queen of understated cool, Currie Person, invited her group of creative Portland gal pals over for a Mexican-inspired feast, showing as she does in her inviting shop, Spartan…that less really is more. The Austin native and film business alum, moved back to her hometown in 2007 after a decade in NYC. “I was missing the little neighborhood shops that I loved in New York and Paris, and I thought I would take a shot at bringing things I love to Austin,” she says. She opened Spartan in 2008 and it was on a road trip through Oregon four years ago that she and her now husband fell in love with the Northwest and all the creative energy brewing in Portland. Along the way to settling on the West Coast, the duo became partners in Voyager, the collaborative shop space in San Francisco as well as collaborative partners in Portland’s Beam & Anchor, a 7,000 square foot building that houses creative studios and a retail space. She says of life as a shop owner: “Every space we work in is a shared space, and we really thrive in the give and take of creating an environment collectively.”
*photography by chantal anderson
Her most memorable night entertaining guests:
Our wedding party after we eloped this past October was pretty much tops. Tacos in Mayfield Park in Austin with our friends and family—not remotely fancy or designed in any way, just our favorite people eating our favorite food in the sunshine surrounded by peacocks.
Her dream dinner party guests:
I am a film geek so maybe the Cohen Brothers, Frances McDormand, Bernardo Bertolucci, Emma Thompson, Charlie Kauffman and Krysztof Kieslowski.
Your current favorite color palette for parties:
It depends on the party, so it’s important to match the mood, the weather and what is going down. What you play outside in the sunshine for brunch is one thing, and something that will get people out of their chairs and dancing until the wee hours on a rainy evening is another.
The entertaining rule you never break:
Something I picked up from being a shopkeeper is that smell really impacts the experience in a space. A nice scent is memory-making and it exudes comfort fresh subtly fragrant flowers, a nice candle burning or delicious smelling dish cooking in the oven.
The taste she is always craving:
Mexican or Tex-Mex. You can take the girl out of Texas…
I served my “easy version of sopes” made with fresh corn cakes, refried black beans, sliced avocado, crumbled cotija cheese and a squeeze of lime as the main course.
My biggest worry when entertaining is making anyone feel isolated or not included in the group. Fortunately, my husband as the very admirable habit of finding the most shy person in the room and shining the warm glow of his full attention on them.
Her entertaining style in five words or less:
Last-minute, irreverent, abundant, cooperative and a bit rowdy!
Desserts were mini banana cream pies from a local bakery. I just added lime zest and shredded coconut for texture. I always farm out dessert, as I am definitely not a baker!
Her favorite summertime drink:
Silver Tequila, coconut water with pulp, fresh lime, sparkling mineral water, a splash of pineapple juice and garnished with mint.
Her standard hosting outfit:
Something dark (to hide the cooking spills) and comfortable with interesting jewelry.
The best meal of her life:
My little brother and I traveled through Europe on a very skimpy budget when we were in our early 20s, and it was the full-tilt, pure magic of a first big trip abroad. I will never forget eating in a tiny Jordanian restaurant in Venice as the power flickered out. We all moved closer together and ate in candlelight.