Greet Them with an Oyster, or a Taco, or a Margarita
True hospitality means welcoming your guests with something made for them on the spot, delivered moments after they walk through the door. At my parties, it's a margarita or an oyster (on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon or grilled in its own juices). Believe me: Kick off a party by shucking oysters and your guests will love you forever.
But the exact form of this meet-and-greet appetizer is not important. For Bayless, it's a perfect skirt-steak taco. The key is to make each guest feel that you are personally invested in his or her experience. "A great party is one where there is some narrative structure to the way the food is served. It's not, 'Oh, we're all just going to hang out, and whatever happens, happens,' " says Bayless. The bottom line, he adds: "Focus on making everybody relaxed from the moment they walk in."