Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market Wedding

We had the pleasure of catering a Wedding at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market in mid-August. While the weather leading up to the big day was chilly, the sun came out and gave us PERFECT weather for the al fresco dining. The rustic canopy of the market rooftop gave the perfect covering, while it’s open walls offered 360 views of quirky Kerrytown.

The menu consisted of an assortment of gourmet platters, including antipasto, brie and fresh berries, thinly sliced beef, and a 4 cheese macaroni bake. The desserts were an assortment of small portioned cake shooters, allowing guests to sample multiple cakes. During events like this, it almost doesn’t even seem like work!

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Preparing for Big [BIG] Events

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Planning a picnic, tailgate, gathering, or any type of event that involves 400+ people? Well, not to worry, we have a few tried-and-true tips for making sure your guests have a great time and your event goes off without a hitch.

  • First off, call a caterer, this is WAAY too big for you to do alone!
  • Simplify your food offerings. While everything sounds good, the more choices you offer, the more complicated things will get, and the more items you’ll most likely end up running out of. If offering multiple “main” dishes, make sure each can serve about 60% of your guests (ex. 250 servings per dish for an event for 400 people)
  • Don’t come up short, plan for lots of disposable plates, silverware, cups, and napkins. Many people will take multiple plates, go up for seconds, or just get messy. Don’t leave them high and dry (or covered in food).

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  • When dealing with a large group of people be sure you have adequate staff for all unseen events that will come up.
  • General Portion Sizes: 6-8 oz of protein per person | 12-16oz of beverages per person
  • Don’t have too make choices at the bar. A good rule of thumb: 3 choices for beer, 2 choices for white wine, and 1 red wine.
  • When serving dairy-based dishes (such as coleslaw or any type of mixed salad) use smaller platters that can be replenished in a quicker manner to ensure your guests are getting the freshest food.

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  • While setting up your buffet lines, it’s good to plan for about 75-100 people per side (double sided buffets are a great time and space saver!)
  • If your guests are coming at the same time, be sure to have foods that are already put together ready (nothing involving condiments–people can take forever putting mustard on their Hot Dogs!–or build-your-own)
  • Signage is important to make sure the flow of guests is smooth. Do they know where to go to get drinks? Is it clear that these crackers are supposed to be paired with this cheese? Is this platter Vegan-friendly?

 

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  • Be strategic in your placement of trashcans, more is always better!
  • If you would like an eco-friendly event, set up recycling “centers” at the trash cans for different types of waste (paper, cans/bottles, food, etc). Be sure to clearly mark the different bins, or even have a staff member stationed there to help your guests.

If you have any other questions for you large event, we’re happy to help!

Events Galore

 

 

We’ve had a busy (but fun) Summer, and it’s not even over yet. Rather than go into detail about each of the beautiful Wedding Ceremonies, University Banquets, Company Picnics, Unique Client Tastings,  Anniversaries, and Fun Plate Ups we’ve been a part of over the past few weeks, we decided to just show you what we’ve been up to.

 

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Summer Time = Picnic Time

Rain aside, it’s finally Summertime here in Southeast Michigan! It is just us or does al fresco dining make everything taste better? Patios, backyards, rooftops, public parks…anyplace that allows for outdoor dining should be utilized to it’s fullest during this time.

We’re lucky, not only do we get to participate in our own picnics, but we get to help others host picnics all season long.

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Indoor-outdoor Retirement party

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Tailgating Picnic

Tea sandwiches at a Croquet party

Tea sandwiches at a Croquet party

Past 4th of July Picnic

Past 4th of July Picnic

In honor of this special time of year, we’re featuring the “All-American Summer Picnic” developed for large scale events (250+ guests), perfect for company picnics or community events.

MothersDayTo see more information on this special package, click here. If you have a smaller event you need help with (hey, some of us don’t even know 250 people!) we also have a wide variety of picnic menus, available here,  perfect for events from 10-200+ people.

If you’re planning an outdoor event, don’t forget to check out our tips for preparing for rain on your event day.

Happy (early) 4th of July!

 

What We’ve Been Up To

It’s been a busy start to the Summer, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We had the privilege of being part of some fun events this past week where we got to showcase our food to the Ann Arbor community.

On the menu: Grilled Zucchini Rolls with marinated flank steak, roasted tomatoes, and olives | Spinach and Feta TrianglesMaize and Blueberry Dessert Shooters | Sea Salt and Espresso Brownies

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On the menu: Strawberry-Lemon Poundcake Muffins | Summer Melon Salad | Falafel Sliders

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Sweet Endings: Wedding Cake Vs. Dessert Table

Your guests have arrived. They had the honor of witnessing your beautiful union. They’ve enjoyed the delicious food you selected for the reception. They’re ready for something sweet.

Traditionally large multitiered cakes have been served at Weddings, but a new trend has been popping up in recent nuptial celebrations: Desert Tables. Over the years we’ve been able to see it all (or at least most of it), and we have to admit–we love both. Here are reasons for both types of desserts for your big day.

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  • It’s a new and interesting concept, and in some cases your guests won’t have been to a wedding that isn’t featuring a big Wedding Cake
  • A table full of desserts offers more variety, so if you have gluten intolerance or just a picky guest, there is more room for accommodation
  • Some Wedding Cakes can be bland, as the focus is on how it looks and not always on how it tastes.
  • Since you have multiple assets going on your table, there is  opportunity to create a more profound presentation
  • Just because you don’t have the cake doesn’t mean you don’t get the cutting ceremony: sub cup cakes or just a small 1 tired cake, you can still smash the pieces into each others faces
  • While the going price of Wedding Cakes can be roughly $5-$7 per slice, you can make that money stretch further with other types of dessert or candy
  • You can theme the desserts to your wedding (Michigan-based, tropical, vegan, color scheme, etc)
  • Things that can go on a dessert table: Candy (and get fun with it: retro candy, single/dual color candy, all chocolate…), Cupcakes, Dessert Shooters, Flavored Drinks, All Chocolate Theme (cakes, cookies, brownies, dark chocolate tasting, hot chocolate…), Pies, and more!

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  • Wedding Cakes are the more traditional route, offering great (and fun) photo opportunities
  • Cakes are easier to serve in a sit-down style meal as they are uniform
  • Just because you have one dessert doest mean you can’t get creative. There are many ways to dress up a cake on the outside, utilizing colors, graphic elements, and non-traditional decor (flowers, toys)
  • You can save it (frozen) for over a year
  • Cakes are less complicated to orchestrate on the day-of, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about
  • You can select to have different flavors on different tiers, allowing more versatility for your guests’ tastes
  • Another cool way to bring more flavor is to opt for Bride and Groom’s cake (with different flavors for each)

How to Keep Things “Cool” in the Summer

Now that we’ve figured out how to prepare for the rain, how do we ensure our food stays fresh during the upcoming hot Summer months? Here are a few tips to make sure your guests are able to enjoy the delicious food you’ve selected for your event:

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Custom ice tray for Milk and Cookie dessert shooter created by our Administrative Chef, Paul, who is also a professional ice carver

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  • Be aware of your food placement. Take in to account how long your event will be and the movement of the sun. Your pasta salad may be covered in the shade when you put it out, but in an hour it may be directly in the path of the sun.
  • When choosing a cake for your big day, you may want to select fondant rather than buttercream frosting if you’re planning on being outside. Buttercream not only will melt under hot conditions, but it will attract bugs (that will also get stuck if they get too close to the cake).
  • Opt for salads that have an oil or vinaigrette base rather than dairy. Try a vinegar-based Asian Slaw rather than a traditional Creamy Cole Slaw for something that will stay fresh longer in the heat, and it will give your guests something new.

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  • Never underestimate the power of ice on a hot day. When in doubt, always get more than you think you’ll need. You can get creative with your ice offerings, such as incorporating ice carvings (like the one pictured above)

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  • If supplying water bottles, have a marker nearby so guests can personalize theirs. This will cut down the amount of half used bottles that will be strewn about and abandoned throughout the event.
  • Offer your food in smaller containers. Rather than one large container of salad for 100 people, prepare four containers for 25 people that you can easily replenish so they’re not sitting out for hours at a time.

Emergency Plan B: Preparing for Rain at Your Outdoor Event

You know the saying “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”? Well we think rain on the day of your event is the perfect embodiment of that statement.

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While planning your big company picnic grill-out or your dream wedding under flowering trees in a garden, it’s easy to forget that your entire day can be drastically transformed by a change in weather, especially in Michigan. We all joke about snow in June, but a part of you knows that there is still a small chance it could happen…

Don’t be left out in the rain. Here are a few tips from our years of experience on how to create a Plan B for Cloudy with a Chance of Percipitation. Best case scenario? You won’t need to use it, but now you’ll have the knowledge.

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Tents – It is always good practice to have a tent at any outdoor event, even if you’re hoping to have an all-outdoor event. A tent keeps the food shielded from the wind and sun, it offers guests a place to sit in the shade, and it creates a warm and intimate conversing space.

  • Create 2 different floor plans for the tent: one for rain, one for clear skies. In case of rain it’ll be a snap to move tables and elements of your event under the tent without crowding the space. Was your wedding reception going to take place under a tree? The dance floor under your tent is a great place to exchange nuptials. Also scout out just-in-case spaces if you are utilizing an outdoor grill (garages are always a great alternative to the great outdoors).
  • Always order sides for your tent. This is a great way to block the wind in rain or shine, but it especially helps out with the rain. At an extra price of $200-$400, it’s not a huge expense to ensure your guests stay dry and non wind-whipped. If you’re 100% sure it won’t be raining, you are sometimes able to cancel your tent sides with a few days notice. Extra tip: opt for tent sides with windows, it will give the feel more more space, and you’ll still be able to enjoy your outdoor surroundings.
  • Enjoy your dry ground. Tents are normally set up at least a day in advance, so the ground won’t be soggy from the morning showers, and your guests will be able to enjoy your event with dry feet.

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Umbrellas – As a rain shield or a sun accessory, umbrellas are always a thoughtful element to offer your guests to ensure they are comfortable in whatever type of weather you encounter during your event. It’s easy to find them of any size, price, and pattern nowadays.

  • Utilize your Ushers. If the rain is going strong at the beginning of your event, arm your ushers, servers, or good friends with a few umbrellas to meet your guests at their cars and walk them to a covered area. Trust us, your guests won’t forget this extra hospitality.

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Bugs – If you have the fortune of seeing the sun come out and the rain recede on your event day, don’t forget that this is when mosquitos and other bugs like to come out. As we like to say “rain stops, mosquitos begin”

  • Fog the day before. There are many easy and inexpensive bug bombs you can utilize, and even if there’s no rain, it’s always good practice to try and rid your event area of as many bugs as possible.
  • Cut your grass before your tent goes in. A well manicured lawn will cut down the amount of bugs hiding in your grass, therefore limiting their access to the all-you-can-eat buffet that is your guests.
  • Offer spray. Before the event assemble a discreetly placed (and attractively put together) basket of multiple bottles of bug spray for your guests to use. We try not to use Citronella candles when possible because the smell can sometimes be overwhelming and negatively interact with the food served.

So fear not when you see that forecast of 80% chance of precipitation on your event day, you  know how to circumvent that obstacle. Now all you have to worry about is making sure the bathrooms are clearly marked…

The Root of Flavor: Spices Pt. 1

For today’s Root of Flavor we wanted to focus on Spices in a similar way we looked into herbs, however once we started researching, we kept going into more and more directions. To cover the basic spices, we had to split our list into two different posts. We’ve also decided to save some of the wider ranged items (pepper, curry, salt) for their very own features.

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To download click here

 

¡Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!

This Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, and there are SO many different ways to celebrate. We’ve put together 4 suites of recipes to help you create the perfect fiesta.
Healthy
HealthyCinco
Indulgent
IndulgeCinco
Vegan
VeganCinco
Adventurous
AdventureCinco