Easy Evenings | Anna Watson Carl

You guys may remember we kicked off a new series last month - Easy Evenings - all about, just as the name implies, easy evenings with family and friends.  Evenings that are more about good friends, good conversations, lots of drinks, and yummy food.  Evenings that aren't necessarily about perfectly set dinner tables.  Today's we're sharing what an easy evening looks like to Anna Watson Carl, the voice behind The Yellow Table.  If you aren't familiar with Anna and her work, she's pretty much the perfect cheerleader for easy evenings.  She makes whipping up simple, satisfying meals for friends look easy, and she makes these types of evenings seem doable and worth it.  Heath and I pretty much had to pinch ourselves when Anna agreed to chat with us, and we can't wait to share what she had to say below!  (Details on her new cookbook below too!)

What do easy, fun evenings look like to you?
ANNA:  Having an easy, fun evening has everything to do with WHO is around the table. If I'm having over really good friends, stress goes out the door because I know they'll love me even if I'm running behind schedule with the food (which I always am!) and if the apartment isn't perfectly pristine. Must haves: Good friends, simple, fresh, unfussy food, and plenty of wine! Also: a fun music playlist, lots of votive candles, and simple, seasonal flowers are all nice touches.

Your "Go To" easy entertaining meal or signature dish?
ANNA:  For a super-easy entertaining dish, I make naan pizzas: I just top whole wheat naan flatbreads with either tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and maybe prosciutto, or with fresh ricotta and a lemony shaved asparagus salad. These pizzas take minutes to make, and guests love them.

Do you have any "Go To" entertaining pieces - a certain platter, linens, serving dish you find yourself using over and over again?
ANNA:  I love my white earthenware Vera Wang plates - super simple and elegant. I also had a gorgeous handmade platter from ABC Carpet & Home that I found at a thrift store, and after using it for every single dinner party for months, it just broke. Alas.

Do you keep anything stocked or an “entertaining arsenal” to make casual, impromptu entertaining easier?
ANNA:  Yes, I have a cabinet right by my table full of serving bowls and platters, wine glasses, serving pieces, cloth napkins, votives, and extra silverware. It's nice keeping everything in one place - makes set-up a lot easier!

Favorite Cocktail or drink to serve guests?
ANNA: I'm a wine girl, so I'll always choose red or white wine over cocktails. I always love to start off an evening with a glass of bubbly :)

Favorite not so easy recipe worth mastering?
ANNA: In-cold weather months, I love making a really big pot of Bouef Bourguignon or Caq au Vin.  It fees a crowd, and makes the apartment smell SO good.  They aren't hard to make so much as time-consuming.  But totally worth the effort. 

Thank you so much for participating Anna!  With temperatures finally cooling, bouef bourguignon, lots of wine plus friends sounds pretty perfect right now!  Anna's new cookbook, The Yellow Table, will be released this November!  I've already preordered one for myself, but it would also make the PERFECT gift for anyone this holiday.  Anna's book is filled with inspiration on doable dinner parties - really delicious recipes, affordable wine pairings, and practical how to guides.  Doesn't it sound perfect?  Congratulations on your hard earned success Anna!  Can't wait to receive your cookbook!

~Mary Keller

photos from Anna Watson Carl by Eric Ryan Anderson


  1. Thank you ladies for the fun post! I love your blog :) xo Anna