smart spending

6 ways to throw a great party for less

Make-your-own-sushi bar
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Make-your-own-sushi bar

Party pro: Jet Tila, executive chef of Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas and host of "Chasing the Yum."

Favorite money-saving party tip: Set up a make-your-own-sushi bar.

His advice: "Absolutely do not do it raw." Instead, use favorites like grilled vegetables, smoked salmon and even those oven-baked fish sticks that kids love.

"Make up a batch of rice and cut up some cucumbers, some avocado," he says. Buy some nori, wasabi and pickled ginger "and you're ready to go," he says.

For dessert, try mochi ice cream pieces or green tea ice cream garnished with cookie crumbles. "And you have a theme party," Tila says.

Give it a twist: Purchase some small sustainable bamboo plates and three cheap squeeze bottles, says Tila. Fill each bottle with a different sauce: mayonnaise, sriracha mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce. And let guests top off their creations "and look like a chef at home," says Tila.

One party hit: Sushi Rice and Wasabi.


Last used this idea: "I did this in L.A. all the time when I was a party planner and a caterer," he says.

"Interactive parties really take your party to the next level," says Tila. It gets the wallflowers up off the coach, he says, and "encourages more socializing, too."




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