I finally have space to entertain and am starting to throw dinner parties for 5-6 people. Sometimes I know what food preferences people have (vegetarian, no dairy, no pork, no beef, etc.) but I'm finding it a bit mind boggling to create a menu I'm excited about and also make sure my guests are satiated and enjoy themselves.
When you host a dinner party, how do you accommodate varying dietary needs and/or preferences?
Do you inquire ahead of time (for those guests you are not aware of), or do you generally serve enough variety so that all guests will be able to eat some component of the menu?
I'm also playing around with creating the guest list BASED on the menu (for instance, if I'm in the mood to do a short rib braise, invite those that I know would appreciate the hearty meat dish). Although, this method is not as inclusive as I'd like.