“Eat. Drink. Gossip. Come. Don’t call.” That’s how the invitation to Sascha Wohlhandler and husband Steve Suser’s annual holiday party reads every year. And all their friends look forward to the postcard that arrives in November bearing the message that Steve and Sascha will be throwing their annual Tuesday-before-Thanksgiving bash at their Fells Point home. (In fact, everyone is so familiar with it that, one year when there was a printing glitch and some folks received blank postcards, they still knew the party was on and showed up on time.)
“We’ve been doing this party for about a dozen years,” says Steve.
“And each year it’s like a surprise party for us,” adds Sascha. “There are no RSVPs. The invitation is always sent last-minute. So, it’s always fun to see who comes through the front door.”
“The holiday season is always really insane for us,” Steve says, “so, that’s why we do it right before.”
By “insane,” he’s referring to the holiday-related bustle at their Charles Street-based restaurant, Sascha’s 527, and Sascha’s catering company. “But the purpose of the party isn’t to showcase the restaurant or the catering business. It’s to have a really fun time. The food is important. But the scene that we set and the energy that we create is more important.”
“Insane” is also one way to describe the party. Throngs of people cram into the narrow mid-1800s rowhouse. “Our friends are not homogenous,” says Sascha. “They’re highbrow. They’re lowbrow. And unibrow!”
The theme? “Really fun. High energy. Like the party in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ where there were a ton of people wall-to-wall, with martinis flowing. And one big cheese was all there was to eat,” explains Sascha.
The similarity ends there. At this hullabaloo, both the food and drink are plentiful. The dining table groans under mounds of food. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, a bartender serves up drinks nonstop, including a yearly special martini.
As Steve sums it up, “It’s the one party that we do that we prepare for, and then once it begins, there’s no apprehension, no anxiety. It’s just a fun free-for-all.” —Sloane Brown
the party line
occasion: Annual Tuesday-before-Thanksgiving holiday party.
theme: “Merry madhouse.”
venue: Sascha and Steve’s Fells Point rowhouse.
decorations: According to Sascha, “I clean the house. Spray Pledge in the air and put out a lot of candles.”
flowers: Katie Greene-Davis, 410-342-0724.
guest list: Ultra-eclectic. “It’s all the friends we’ve made over the years,” says Steve.
special touch: The night’s signature cocktail, a Ginger Martini.
Sascha’s famed bacon straws
Thai shrimp with jade sauce
Smoked salmon tart
Mini-desserts: brownies, chocolate chip squares, lemon squares
No passed hors d’oeuvres (“Too many people!”)