Throw Your Own Inaugural Bash!

While you might not be able to attend a fancy inaugural ball, you CAN host your own party!

On The Early Show Monday, Washington chef Spike Mendelsohn, whom you might remember as a contestant on "Top Chef," season four, served up recipes, and contributor Laura Schwartz suggested ways you could bring a little of the inaugural spirit to your own soiree and make it "presidential."

Mendelsohn turns out delicious comfort food he turns out at his restaurant, "Good Stuff Eatery" and had plenty of party foods on his Early Show menu, with fun spins on many of the fancy finger foods that will be served at parties around the capital.

Says Schwartz: The staple of any inaugural ball is a lot of royal blue. And the inaugural seal -- it's everywhere, on the stage behind the president, on podiums, and the president-elect takes pictures with the guests in front of it. So here's a fun idea: Pull that seal off the Web site, make a big 11x14 poster, and take pictures of your guests in front of it as they come in.

As for themes, you can do anything you want. The dollar stores are a great place for supplies and giveaways. If you're doing a nonpartisan party, make everything gold. If it's environmental, go green. And of course -- the food is often themed, or based upon what the incoming president likes to eat.

To see the Special Report: Inauguration '09," click here.

On Menelsohn's menu:
  • Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers (instead of shrimp cocktail)
  • Mini Jalapeno & Nacho Cheese Quiches (instead of ham & cheese quiches)
  • Chili & Cheese Phyllo Pizzas
  • President Obama Sliders (instead of roast beef canape)
  • Toasted Marshmallow Spiked Milkshakes (OK, OK, it's a bit cold for ice cream, but this item has a cult following at Chef Spike's eatery, and he's added some Kahlua to help warm it up!

    In early October, Chef Spike put both an Obama burger and a McCain burger on his menu. As you might guess, his goal with each was to capture the candidates' personalities. The restaurant also kept a tally of how many of each burger sold. Just as in the election itself, the Obama burger wound up on top.

    Chef Spike explained why each item in the "Obama Slider" burger belongs:

  • Blue cheese represents Obama's sophistication
  • Red Onion Marmalade for his sweetness and kind heart
  • Applewood-smoked Bacon represents the feeling of comfort and safety he's bringing to the country
  • Horseradish Sauce represents his attitude and swagger