John Winemiller puts it in reverse!

John Winemiller, left, and R.J. Hinde get ready to welcome guests as the party gets started with cocktails.

As an attorney, John Winemiller, naturally, has a way with words. But even he outdid himself with this one. He called his birthday party the other night “my reverse quinceanera!”

A quinceanera, you see, is the big celebration that Latin American girls have when they turn 15. John was turning 51! Whatever he wanted to call it, we wouldn’t have missed it.

John lives in a beautifully restored Craftsman-style house in the Island Home neighborhood of South Knoxville. It features a wonderful front porch spanning nearly the length of the house. That’s where caterer Holly Hambright provided a delicious sit-down dinner of John’s favorite foods for about 20 of his closest friends. Although the heat index topped 100, the ceiling fans made the evening comfortable. And the camaraderie was as warm as the evening.

Come along and see the reverse quinceanera. And pass the idea along if you know anyone turning 51. John’s hoping to start a trend.

The front of the house.

Isn’t it stunning?

Andria Yates brought the posies. I loved the way she mixed in herbs with the flowers.

Tasha Blakney wishes John a happy birthday. (The place was lousy with lawyers!)

More birthday wishes! Ha. Thomas Dillon, left, John, and Rob Collignon.

John gets well wishes from Tim Young.

From left, Marshall Peterson, Wes Goddard and Peter Acly.

From left, Alan Carmichael, Andria Yates and R.J. Hinde.

Tasha Blakney with Bill Mynatt, left ,and Jesse Volpe.

This is what you want to see at a party: Holly Hambright in the kitchen looking pleased!

Sherry Jenkins popped in to say hello to Holly.

Sheena McCall arrived bearing a gift for our wine loving friend.

Here’s another thing I like to see: Todd Sherrod pouring my favorite pinot grigio!

But, most of the time, he was busy making French 75s!

Holly came up with a local twist on it: A Knox 35. It contains strawberry limeade, champagne and Old Tom Gin. (35 is Knoxville’s latitude.)

From left, Linda Gay Blanc, Tim Young, John and Randall DeFord.

Tangy lemony shrimp crostini were set out.

As well as crab and shrimp pissaladiere. Yum-yum.

John with Renee Repka.

Ellen Robinson and Tim Young.

Tasha and Sheena.

I am so glad John took me upstairs to meet Marlene.

But then it was time for dinner. Here was the seating “rule:” You couldn’t sit beside or across from anyone you had shared dinner with in the past six days!

This opener was fantastic! Heirloom tomato water with jicama and tomato garnish. (The tomatoes were from Marblegate Farm, owned by Donna and Bill Cobble.)

People cannot keep their hands off this guy!

Holly explaining the next course.

Holly called this course “Hillbilly Panzanella Salad.” It contained corn bread, South Carolina peaches, Marblegate Farm tomatoes, raw peaches and cream corn and lemon basil vinaigrette. It was my favorite course.

From left, Jesse Volpe, Tasha Blakney and Ellen Robinson.

Genius entree: fillet of Norwegian salmon, potato puree, Skyr (an Icelandic creamy cheese), foraged Chanterelle confit and fried Brussels sprouts.

How’s this for a refreshing intermezzo? Frozen English cucumber and watermelon drizzled with balsamic.

It looked like serious conversation at the end of the table!

I caught a glimpse of the desserts set up ready for service. Pistachio almond pound cake with pistachio gelato. (John loves pistachio!)

Time to sing “Happy Birthday!”

There you go, John!

Cheers, John! I hope we get to go to many more reverse quinceaneras!




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14 Responses to John Winemiller puts it in reverse!

  1. Monique Anderson, on July 31st, 2017 at 11:12 am said:

    That dessert looked awsome. Happy Birthday to John!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on July 31st, 2017 at 11:19 am said:

    Monique: It was great! Like John, I love pistachio!

  3. Deborah Sams, on July 31st, 2017 at 12:22 pm said:

    What a wonderful idea for a birthday—the reverse quinceanera. The dessert looks amazing! Fun to read this creative way to celebrate!

  4. Ellen Robinson, on July 31st, 2017 at 1:19 pm said:

    Magical! Best party of the summer.

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on July 31st, 2017 at 1:53 pm said:

    Deborah: It was a cute idea!

    Ellen: I agree! I loved seeing everyone there. John has wonderful friends. (Thankfully, including us!)

  6. Sheena McCall, on July 31st, 2017 at 1:58 pm said:

    A very special party for a very special guy!

  7. Tim Young, on July 31st, 2017 at 2:41 pm said:

    Great party….Great food….Even better guests! Fun time celebrating John’s big day. Despite the scorching temps, the porch was most comfortable and dining “al fresco” was perfect for the evening. Food….was outstanding as always with Holly! I got to catch up with some folks I haven’t seen in some time. Gracious hosts to top it all off……

  8. Gay Lyons, on July 31st, 2017 at 2:43 pm said:

    What a great idea! Looks like a lovely evening. The food looks great–especially the Hillbilly Panzanella. Would love to try to make that.

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on July 31st, 2017 at 2:43 pm said:

    Sheena and Tim: Agree 100 percent.

  10. Cynthia Moxley, on July 31st, 2017 at 2:44 pm said:

    Gay: Sign me up to test your efforts as you do that!

  11. Melinda Meador, on July 31st, 2017 at 3:43 pm said:

    Happy Birthday, John! What a lovely party

  12. Andria Yates, on August 2nd, 2017 at 9:56 am said:

    It was a lovely night for such a special man. And my seating at dinner made it even better. Thank you for providing the joy in repeat view.

  13. Cynthia Moxley, on August 2nd, 2017 at 10:04 am said:

    Melinda: We miss you guys so much!

    Andria: Loved sitting beside you! I thought the “rules” about where to sit were very effective in encouraging mingling and getting to know folks with whom you don’t normally dine. Might have to steal that idea!

  14. John Winemiller, on July 18th, 2020 at 10:20 am said:

    Looked like fun time.

    John Winemiller
    Orlando, FL

    I have a son John who lives in Orlando. One year older than you.

    My Dad was also John
    Shinnston, WV

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