Category Archives: catering

Tip or Trend Tuesday: Food Trucks…What, How, When, Where?

The trend up on the blogs, in the mags, and at bridal shows I have heard the most buzz about? Food trucks and their little bits of foodie goodness. It seems like everyone’s talking about how great they are, but how in the world do I find them? Do I use one truck or a few trucks? Do I want one for the meal or for a late night snack? Will my venue allow it? My venue allows them, but where do I put them? So much buzz and so many questions. Well, I think I’ve got some answers for you!

The how…Food trucks don’t work like venues, with listings on wedding sites and directories…yet. You have to know where to find them and that can take a bit of exploring…or does it? Like with most things nowadays, there’s an app (or two) for that! However, how good are those apps?

For the purposes of this post, I checked out a few of the more popular apps and none wowed me. Some were clunky to use, while others were incomplete in the coverage of many major cities, and those that were in cities I was familiar with, just didn’t return many trucks. I know Denver has more than three food trucks.

My best advice is to do a comprehensive Google search. The best way to get targeted results is to conduct your search as such, “food truck” and your city name. My first page of hits for Denver were filled with food truck gold. Lists sorted by food type with links to each truck’s Twitter accounts (most food trucks post their daily locations on Twitter no matter what city you are in. One site, Where is that food truck? even had a contact form one can send to the site with a specific food truck request for your event and they will pass your info on to the truck, making a food truck bride’s search much easier! No matter what city you’re in, you are bound to find food truck loving sites to point you in the right direction and help you cater your fabulous food truck fete.

Once you’ve gotten some ideas as to which vendors you would like to explore, pay them a visit…no, really pay. A food truck doesn’t operate like a caterer or banquet hall. Their income opportunities are not based on ambiance, wait staff, etc. They have to sell good food and sell it fast. So, don’t even think of asking for a free tasting from their menu. Get out there and get to their stop/s and get a sense of whether you like the food or not and as to how they respond to their customers when the line starts to mount. You want a vendor who can not only make great food, but that can keep his/her cool under pressure.

So, now that you’ve tasted from your list of truck/trucks and chosen your fave/s, here are some questions to ask the vendor before signing a contract.

  • Do you have a set menu that you stick with or do you customize it for an event?
  • How many people are you able to serve and what is the maximum time allowance to serve those people?
  • How do you keep food hot and/ or cold?
  • Do you charge a flat fee or per person?
  • Do you offer beverage service? Alcohol?
  • If you are going to use the trucks as stations: What other food trucks have you worked with or recommend to compliment your truck’s fare?
  • What are the city’s rules regarding food truck service for events?
  • If you are using the trucks for a late night snack: What’s the latest you  can serve? What foods do you recommend or caution against for late night snacks?
  • Do I need to obtain any permits or insurance to use your services?
  • Are there any limitations on where you can park?
  • Does the city permit such services at my venue? Some cities restrict the boundaries of where a food truck may go.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Are you considering a food truck wedding? If so, I’d love to hear about it and what you are planning to serve. Planned a food truck wedding? What was your experience at your wedding?

Tip or Trend Tuesday: Trend: Wedding deets to satisfy your geekery!

I have a confession to make…I’m a total geek. I know some of you know I’m a Jane Austen geek, but my geekery runs much deeper than that. I’m a raging Whovian (Doctor Who), a Ringer (Lord of the Rings) a newish Trekkie (a fan of the more recent franchises), and a vampire and zombie nut. So, it goes without saying that the geek wedding trend is right up my alley. Mr. Wondermous and me have some fun geektastic details for our own wedding and I thought I’d celebrate this trend of self-expression by throwing some fun geeky wedding details your way. Let your geek flag fly!

Geek Wedding Food

Geek Wedding Cakes

Geek Cake Toppers

Geek Wedding Details

Geek Wedding Party Gifts- Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Tips or Trends Tuesday: Tips: Signature Drinks

Many of us have been to a wedding where the alcohol flowed freely at an open bar or that wedding where you had to pay for your own drinks. Unless you have a sizable drink budget, an open bar can leave your wallet bare or can lead to over indulgence fueled drama. Having your guests pay for their own drinks…not so much. It’s better to have a dry wedding than make your guests feel like they are at a bar, paying for a two drink minimum.

What’s a couple to do when faced with the alcohol issue? Weigh the costs against your budget. If you can’t afford an open bar, consider beer and wine only. Beer and wine sound a bit boring? Here comes your friend, the signature drink!

Signature drinks are great as they provide your guests with a little drinkypoo similar to beer or wine, but add an element of fun by trying something new or theme oriented. You can have just one or my favorite idea, a his and hers drink. The bride picks one and the groom picks one and it’s awesome if you can tie in a little story about each drink: favorite club drink, favorite flavors, etc.

Photography By Brooke Boling Photography  Source: http://www.stylemepretty.com/gallery/picture/404772

Photography By Brooke Boling Photography Source: http://www.stylemepretty.com/gallery/picture/404772

Here are several signature drink ideas. For recipes:
Top to bottom and left to right:
Row 1: Classic Pimm’s Cup, Super Chill Celery-Cilantro Fizz, Earl Grey MarTEAni
Row 2: Lavender Whisky Sour, Cucumber Mint Gimlet, Cotton Candy Cocktail
Row 3: Toasted Marshmallow Cocktail, Bacon-Maple Manhattan, Pumpkin Pie Hot Toddy
Row 4: Aviation, Black Orchid Martini, Simple Spiked Lemonade

Signature Drinks

Tips or Trends Tuesday: Five Tips For Avoiding a Catering Fiasco

There is something in the event catering world that I have a bone to pick with. What is up with not letting your customers taste your food without booking first? This past year or so I toured a lovely wedding venue with my local Association of Bridal Consultants. A group of wedding planners are going to have a lot of questions and one of the first ones was, “Do you do tastings?” The answer was, “Oh yes, of course we do.” We left it at that. Little did I know that we weren’t being told the entire truth.

About a month later, I brought a couple to tour said venue. They are in love and ready to sign a contract. When the tasting issue came up, I was floored and NOT happy. “We do tastings after you make a deposit.” What? I ask about the food and why the venue had come to that decision and they said that their food is top notch as is their pastry chef and no one has ever complained about the food. I’m not convinced, but the clients were okay with it. We didn’t make a deposit that day as I wanted them to have time to think it over.

Once my clients got to the point of putting down a deposit and the deposit was made. We waiting for the tasting. Our turn came and it was held in one of the beautiful ballrooms in the company of many other couples who had booked the venue. The venue put out a comparable spread that my clients had chosen and as we hit the buffet line, it took my foodie groom and myself by surprise. I was completely shocked by not only the poor presentation (wedge of risotto anyone?), but once that food hit my mouth (the cake was obviously not made by a pastry chef and came from a box), I was not amused. I was angry that my clients were now faced with the realization that their non-refundable $700 deposit was gone.

Here are a few of my catering tips to help you avoid a similar situation:

1. Don’t ever ever never ever book a catering hall, traditional caterer, personal chef, restaurant, bakery, etc. without a tasting prior to booking. Any business that does that is more than likely hiding something.

2. Before putting down a deposit. Insist on trying comparable food you will be serving to your guests and seeing how it will be presented to them. Ideally, if you are serving Buffalo Prime Rib, then you should get to taste Buffalo Prime Rib and it should be presented well, not slapped on a plate. However, not all caterers and venues are able to accommodate this and a comparable sampling of their fare is adequate. The emphasis is on comparable: if you are serving chicken, a sample of a chicken dish would be comparable and if you are serving hot hors d’oeuvres, then a sample of a simply executed hot hors d’oeuvre is acceptable. For a bakery, not only want to taste the cake, but you want to see actual photos of cakes they have created, not pictures from a magazine or downloaded off the Internet.

3. Let the venue know that you love their facility, but will not contract with them unless you have a tasting prior to giving them any sort of non-refundable deposit or retainer.

4. If you are so in love with the venue that you want to put that deposit down right away, be sure that your deposit depends on their tasting and is refundable if you receive poor quality food at your tasting.

5. If they won’t refund your deposit under any circumstances…RUN! Do not pass proverbial “Go” or collect that $200! Any caterer or chef worth their salt will let you taste their creations first.

I leave you with a bit of humor (Not humorous for the couples involved) from Cake Wrecks.

“Professional” Cakes Gone Bad

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sources:
http://www.cakewrecks.com/home/2010/7/9/who-you-callin-pro.html
http://www.cakewrecks.com/home/2008/7/10/inspiration-vs-perspiration.html

Tips or Trends Tuesday: Watch it wiggle…Gelatin Shots

As you may already know, the notion of a signature drink for your event or wedding is now an event staple. Bartenders, caterers, and event folk are beginning to usher in a new signature drink trend: gelatin shots. Now, before your brain tries to convince you that jello shots are reserved for frat parties and the weekend kegger, allow me to introduce you to the world of gourmet gelatin shots aka the drink you eat.

- image from Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

These gourmet jello shots have made their way via top notch bars and restaurants seeking to provide their patrons with a fun, yet beautiful and tasty drink experience. With drinks such as Lychee Saketini, Elder Flower Mojito, and Blackberry Cosmo, your guests will be provided with a unique drink in a form that combines top shelf alcohol with a bit of childhood nostalgia. Check out Jelly Shot Test Kitchen for more recipes and pics. Here are some recipes that correspond to the pics below. Enjoy!

(Left to right, top to bottom)
Recipes:
Blackberry: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/case-study-eat-this-drink/
Strawberry: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/case-study-eat-this-drink/
Midori: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/case-study-eat-this-drink/
Sangria: http://www.marthastewart.com/333079/dessert-wine-gelees-with-citrus-fruit
Birthday Cake: http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/so-they-say-its-my-birthday.html#
Butterbeer: http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/butterbeer-jelly-shots-recipe/1/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=recipe-embed
Lychee: http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.com/2011/06/lychee-martini-jelly-shot.html
Pineapple: http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/10/pineapple-brandy-fix.html
Champagne: http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/09/end-of-summer-jelly-shots-french-75.html#

Lovely Jello Shots

Tips or Trends Tuesday: Trend: Savory Cupcakes

With the passing of cupcakes as a trend in to a wedding and event tradition comes the little brother of the sweet cupcake in to the world of wedding and event trends: the savory cupcake.

Imagine if you will a cocktail buffet full of lovely cupcakes stands filled with little culinary wonders such as the ones pictured below.

Or consider a flight of savory cupcakes to wow your guests.

Check out Etsy for cupcake related items sure to rescue your savory cupcakes from the realm of the ordinary.

‘The mighty cupcake!’ by ravengrrl

A treasury for a piece on savory cupcakes.


Assorted Stripe Cupcake Line…

$5.75

Pink Raspberry Twirl Cupcake…

$3.75

Love Birds Cupcake Wrappers …

$9.50

Violet Cupcake Liners (50 li…

$3.50

Green Train Cupcake Wrappers…

$7.20

Hello Kitty Cupcake wrappers

$10.00

30 Assorted Red Square Bakin…

$8.50

Cupcake Wrappers – Miami Bea…

$6.15

Bookworm Cupcake Toppers

$12.00

Edible Butterflies – Small A…

$9.95

Ninja Karate Cupcake Toppers

$28.00

Fashion Diva edible cupcake …

$9.95

Retro Record Dessert 3 Tier …

$18.00

Large Tiered Simplistic Eleg…

$189.95

Rustic 3 tiered custom wood …

$125.00

Shabby Chic Wedding, Vintage…

$195.00

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Here are nine great little savory cupcake recipes for your wedding or event (from top to bottom and left to right in the inspiration board that follows:
Recipes from top to bottom and left to right:
The Ultimate Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes: http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2010/04/28/the-ultimate-bacon-chocolate-cupcakes/
Salmon Cupcakes: http://threemanycooks.com/recipes/nibbles-and-drinks/salmon-cupcakes/
Bacon and Egg Cups: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/kids-cooking/savory-cupcakes-recipe-cup-appetizer-party/?page=2
Mini Pepperjack Savory Cups with Pesto Swirl<a href=": http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/kids-cooking/savory-cupcakes-recipe-cup-appetizer-party/?page=7″&gt;: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/kids-cooking/savory-cupcakes-recipe-cup-appetizer-party/?page=7
Spicy Cornbread Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/07/11/spicy-cornbread-chocolate-chunk-cupcakes-with-chocolate-ganache/
Savory Cupcakes Italian Style: http://www.nbcchicago.com/the-scene/food-drink/Wayne-Johnson-Prepares-Savory-Cupcakes-Italian-Style.html
BBQ Baked Salmon Cupcakes: http://www.whatrunslori.com/2011/02/the-cupcake-series-bbq-baked-salmon-cupcakes/
Fig, Goat Cheese, and Onion Cupcakes: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2010/07/savory-cupcakes-fig-goat-cheese-and.html
Macaroni & Cheese Cupcakes: http://carpecupcakes.blogspot.com/2010/07/recipe-of-week-macaroni-cheese-cupcakes.html

Savory Cupcakes

Friday’s Favorites: Unusual Sweets

Sweets tables and candy bars are fast becoming party, event and wedding staples rather than a trend. Typically, the sweets are coordinated with the color or them of the event or are family favorites. Are you are looking for something out of the ordinary for your event’s sweets table or candy bar? Here are some of my favorite unusual sweets as well as where you can get them:

Top row (l to r):
Sprinkles Cakeshooters: http://www.cakeshooters.com/index.php
Burfi: http://www.sulemanmithaiwala.com/five-star-milk-burfi.html
Stuffed Marshmallows: https://www.gud-fud.com/Store/index.php

Middle row (l to r):
Carrot Cake Cocoa Butter Caramels: http://amellacaramels.foodoro.com/products/carrot-cake-cocoa-butter-caramels
Sherbet Fountain: http://www.shinyshack.com/product.php?prid=213284&pn=Sherbet-Fountain—Pack-of-3
Candied Bacon: pic from: http://bonappetitblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/img_1377.jpg, recipe: http://www.rookie-cookie.com/2009/05/candied-bacon.html, order unusual candied bacon confections: http://www.thestickypig.com/

Bottom row (l to r):
Red Fire Chocolate Tortilla Chips: http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/red_fire_tortillas/chillies_and_chocolate
Filipino Puto (rice buns): pic from: http://www.philrice.net/filipino-words-for-rice/, recipe: http://philippinesfoodrecipes.blogspot.com/2009/10/puto-puto-recipe.html
Rose Infused Aphrodite Brownies: http://www.buttersbrownies.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-flavors&product_id=55&category_id=2&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=61