The Cross House

My First Dinner!

Last Saturday, I had my first formal dinner at the Cross House.

Yes, I had a dinner last fall for the board of the Strong City Preservation Alliance, but I only set the table and everybody brought food.

But on Saturday, it was all very grand.


My guess arrived at six, and we sat in the parlor.

After some conversation, Justin and Scott and Tiffany entered the room with crystal glass filled with champagne, and tiny balls of frozen lemon mousse.

My guests had no idea that the night would be a Downton Abby night.

I explained that long ago I had learned that if I was to enjoy my own dinner party, it was vital that somebody else prepare all the food and serve it. This allowed me to focus on my guests rather than jumping up/down all night. Plus, I went on, the Cross House rather, well, demands this kind of extravagance. So, Justin was the chef for the night, and with Tiffany and Scott serving.


After a half-hour, Justin entered again and announced: “Dinner is served.” I then said: “I’ve waited a lifetime to hear such words in reality, rather than in a movie!”

We all left the parlor, stepped through the expansive stair hall, and stood before the imposing pair of sliding doors to the dining room. Justin slowly opened one, as I opened the other.

Then the eyes of my guests opened wide.


The table was fully set with china and crystal, and the center was glowing from eight pillar candles. The huge crystal chandelier was dimmed low. And the whole house smelled of…food.

With eyes still wide, my guests sat.

The first course was cream cheese stuffed mushrooms.

Then consume with root vegetables.

A salad with homemade dressing.

A palate cleanser: frozen Italian lime ice served in lime halves. The lime looked like it was stuffed with cocaine. “Justin! Are you trying to get us high?”

Braise beef served on fettuccine bed with arabiata sauce.

And wine.


L to R: John, Susan, Michelle, Me, Tom, Becky (hidden), and Brad.


Becky, revealed. We all look, ah, quite somber! This was because somebody was telling an intense story.


When the desert came, we all gasped. And I explained: “Justin! WHAT is that? There is no way I’m going to eat…an ostrich egg!”

Really. Justin had placed before us huge…eggs. Some were white. Some brown. We all sat, stunned. WHAT was this? Had Justin lost his mind?

Then, Justin started pouring some sauce over one egg. And, to our our astonished and incredulous eyes, the egg…melted.

Click below. Then immediately click on the enlarge symbols, upper left.



Yep, wow.

The “egg” was a thin layer of chocolate. Nestled inside was either a slice of cheesecake, or a slice of carrot cake.

One by one, each egg dissolved. The room was utterly silent. All of us were, once again, wide-eyed. We were witnessing something magical from, surely, a Harry Potter film.

And I thought to myself: Oh! I have to do this again.



29 Responses to My First Dinner!

    • hi Dawn:

      withinthe player – click on the triple dots (right side) and then download the video – you can then play this download video

      • Thanks Gary it worked! Boy did that look good. My three favorite things chocolate, cheese cake, and carrot cake. Justin your killing me. What kind of sauce was that.

        • Hi Randy,

          Alternatively, try right click on the audio player and then choose the ‘save-as audio’ option. Should be able to play the video from the file that is saved.

  1. I could hear as well, but there was no video. Drats, those eggs sound amazing. The Cross House is finally becoming the Cross Home!

  2. What an amazing milestone this is! As I was reading this I thought: How warm and happy this beautiful house must be feeling after all these years! It must be close to 100 years since a formal dinner has been served/enjoyed in the Cross House! What an awesome feeling for you to finally reach this point! Congrats!!
    And I’m jealous of your guests 😆
    PS. Give new Kitty a snuggle for me 😍.

  3. How wonderful for you . . . to be able to finally sit down and share the dining room with special guests. Kudos to the chefs for creating such a magnificent feast. Will there be musicians next time or perhaps a violinist to liven things up. I’m sure you’ll find a way to top it.

      • He shoes horses?! That’s epic, I hope you’re not just teasing with that. Does he make the shoes too? Blacksmith as well as farrier?

  4. Next question: and does he have someone to love? NOT asking for myself! I’m good all by myself! I just happen to kind of know this really great guy who has expressed the hope of finding that someone special!!

  5. Soooo….. where does a gal find a fella as talented as Justin? Preferably a non-attached fella, with pleasing looks, a good grasp on the English language, and born within ~7 years of 1981?

  6. I have been following your blog for quite some time now having read back from the beginning and you are such an INSPIRATION!! And a shining example of the CAN-DO spirit!!

    I just purchased a 1923 Sears & Roebuck home in Alabama and while it doesn’t require the extent of work of yours in Emporia, you and your blog have helped me regain the confidence to start over. I can hardly wait to have MY first dinner party!!!

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.