If you closed your eyes, you could almost smell the salty air.
At least that's what Kristin Malfer had in mind when she decided to host a summer evening dinner party that had all the trappings of a New England seaside catch.
"I was short on sand and sea, but buying a lobster boil for 10 friends gave me enough ideas to replicate this East Coast tradition," she says.
Rather than being beachside, the evening took place in grand style at a home hugging the prairie.
None of Malfer's guests seemed to mind. Particularly since these casual landlubbers were treated to far more comfortable digs than a blanket and dunes on the shore.
In contrast, Malfer's outer banks for the evening would be held on an elegant stone, slate and stucco lanai of Timberstone Home Inc. Builder Brett Childress's Highlands Creek model home.
The whole idea percolated when Malfer decided to attend the May golf tournament held at Nicklaus Golf Course at LionsGate followed by an evening auction hosted by Nick and Jake's.
"Bidding and winning the dinner was a wonderful gift, but I have to say that even more important was the good cause the tournament and auction sponsored," Malfer says. "Proceeds from the events would buy laptops for the long-term care child life services program at Children's Mercy Hospital and fund eight college scholarships for the Blue Valley Educational Foundation."
"The dinner turned out to be a very hot ticket for bidders," recalls Nick and Jake's Owner Kevin Timmons. "There was a crowd of approximately 150 people with at least three people in pursuit of this dinner, which was ultimately won by Kristin."
A dinner date was set for late June that brought sultry, wet weather, causing Malfer to pause realizing the evening could be a washout.
"It rained cats and dogs all day, but the gods must have been smiling since right before cocktails the air cleared, leaving us with a very pleasant evening," she says.
Accenting the handsome covered lanai, Malfer dressed her table in a bounty of colorful nautical regalia.
"I bought blown-glass blue plates with a lobster motif," she says. "We had fisherman's netting, seashells, red napkins and yes, bibs."
You've got to have bibs when the menu calls for such a succulent catch.
Chefs Greg Timmons and John Mitchell hoisted two large turkey fryers and filled them with 12 one-and-a-half-pound fresh, coldwater lobsters. But attendees enjoyed cocktails, homemade smoked trout dip, fruit and cheese hors d'oeuvres first.
Complementing the Jenny salad and two-fisted lobster entrée, the menu included corn on the cob, bottleneck clams, jumbo shrimp, new potatoes and sausage.
"I found out from Kevin that the best drink to pair with lobster would be the remarkable Veuve Clicquot champagne," says Malfer, agreeing wholeheartedly after trying his recommendation.
"That's certainly my favorite," notes Timmons, who's a big fan of this venerable label.
Malfer's 10 guests dug into the meal with gusto, toasts and lots of banter. Satiated, but still with room for one more course, everyone enjoyed the heavenly strawberry shortcake that topped off the hearty meal.
Then, the compliments flooded in.
"A great meal with great friends made this an unforgettable evening," says Sharon Cooper.
Likewise, Stephanie Murphy is ready to do it again next year.
"We had so much fun," Murphy says.
"Everything turned out to be delightful...the food, the guests, the location," says Malfer, who now knows the effort it takes to bring this party to a boil and end it effortlessly.
words: Gloria Gale
photos: Steve Puppe