If you’re invited to a dinner party hosted by actors Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, don’t arrive with a bunch of blooms.
“I hate getting flowers. I can’t stand it when I see a bouquet, because I have to stop what I’m doing and put them in a vase,” said Burtka, 43, during a press event on Thursday evening.
A professional chef whose book, “Life is a Party,” about seasonal entertaining, is due out in May, Burtka speaks from authority.
Instead, he added, bring “anything homemade.” Like an apple crisp or chocolate chip cookies. Tasty tokens are “from the heart,” he said. “If it’s homemade, it’s so much better.”
The do’s and don’ts of being a good guest came during a cooking demonstration in which the married celebrity dad duo whipped up fresh pasta plus two sauces — pesto and raw tomato with garlic — for a roomful of reporters and guests.
Samples of pasta, made behind the scenes by others and served in tiny cups, were passed at the gathering to promote the launch of Capital One Savor Card, which offers rewards for dining and entertainment purchases.
Since those two industries are squarely in the Harris-Burtka wheelhouse, they’ve partnered with the company to promote the card.
Asked during the demo where they go for an Italian meal, Burtka said he still has a fond spot for Babbo, whose now-fallen-star chef, Mario Batali, helped him begin a cooking career.
“Living in Manhattan,” Harris, 45, added, “it’s fantastic because you’re able to hear about from friends all of these unbelievable restaurants. Everything from simple pizza to super-fine dining.”
After the 25-minute pasta demo, am New York asked the couple with 7-year-old twins, Harper and Gideon, to share more foodie secrets.
Where do they go for a special-occasion splurge? “Eleven Madison Park or Blue Hill,” they said in unison. For a night out in their Harlem neighborhood? “Yuzu, for sushi,” said Harris. “It’s really good. Oh, and Melba’s, for soul food, is delicious.”
In a recent interview, Harris said that he and his husband keep dinner-table talk with their kids flowing with a game called “My day by . . . ” Each person at the table recalls events that led up to the meal.
Asked if they have a similar sort of game when dining with friends, Harris said, “If you ask a child ‘How was your day?’ you have to push them to say something other than ‘good.’ I would hope that we’re having dinner with people who can carry on a conversation.”
In a pinch, Burtka has a trick up his sleeve. “There’s a game called Table Topics that I write about in my book,” he said. It uses a deck of cards that have icebreaker questions on them, such as “What would you bring to a deserted island? “
Burtka’s tip: Slip a card under every guest’s plate at your next dinner party. “If there’s a lull in the conversation, pick up the plate and ask the question under it,” he told amNew York. “It will get the party going.”