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Serving Up in Style

Food is for more than just nourishment! It should taste good AND look good. Like the stunning detail of this gorgeous painted plate, for starters.

It’s spring party season, with celebrations and gatherings a-plenty.  Time to express your unique style with a colorful table.  Why not mix all of your favorites?

Don’t forget the china…pick handmade pieces and blend patterns!

 

Or step out with some serious whimsy…

 

 

Whatever inspires you, go above and beyond at your next soiree. Wow guests with plating and spectacular food displays!


LET THEM EAT CAKE!

No for real… No one should be denied dessert.

We at AE Events have been diligently attending tastings with our clients in anticipation of their spring events. All of the discussion of: Which salad? Should we serve beef or fish? Do we even know any vegans?! – comes to a screeching halt when dessert is served. Even though everyone has claimed up to that point, “OMG, I’m so stuffed!” somehow, there is always room for dessert.

I could probably talk about dessert for hours – and while Italian pastries (cannolis, eclairs, and cookies, etc…) are never wrong in my opinion – I am going to focus this particular blog on Celebration Cakes.

When I turned 30 my husband did not heed the advice of the bakery and ordered a cake way too big to serve the 35 guests we had in attendance. I still appreciate that he took the effort to get the cake, but I think we ate that cake until I turned 31. Regardless, it was delicious and from Konditor Meister.

Rule #1. Consider exactly how many guests might eat cake. If you’re serving other desserts in addition to the cake, you can often cut the number of slices down. Ask the bakery what they recommend based on your guest count and mini pastries…. I mean “other desserts.”

 

We had a client who really wanted a personalized cake to celebrate her birthday. We turned to Cakes to Remember and Ellen was able to turnaround sketches for approval and then baked and hand-painted the details on this cake.

Rule #2. Don’t be afraid to personalize. It’s your celebration and it should reflect you! This goes for wedding cakes too!

So many fillings! At a recent tasting we tried 4 different fillings for the cake. Discussion turned to which tier should be what… what will people like? What do we like? While a crazy cake that looks like the DeLorean from Back to the Future is really cool (see Rule #2) – if the inside is some bizarre flavor like roasted artichokes with chocolate sprinkles* – you’ll probably have a lot of leftover cake. *note, I have never seen this flavor, nor do I want to. However, I had a bat mitzvah client who wanted a rainbow cake – it totally fit her theme and crowd and everyone thought it was awesome.

Rule #3. Know your audience. You can personalize the interior to a point, but if this is your only dessert and you’re hosting 250 guests for your wedding, think about “majority rules” for at least one tier.

Some of our clients get overwhelmed with all of the options out there for their celebration and when it comes to the cake, they just… can’t even. So in those moments of despair, we remind them that keeping it simple is always elegant, always chic and always beautiful.

Rule #4. When in doubt, simple always works. As long as the cake is delicious, who says it has to be a thousand tiers high with edible gold paint and alternating layers of special cherries flown in from Turkey? (yeah, google “largest cherry producing country” – fun fact!) If that’s your thing, we understand, but sometimes a simple cake like this can make an equally delicious statement, like this one from the Dominican Republic

In the end, even if you don’t follow the rules above, cake is delicious.


Friday’s Finest Foods!

From the desk of Event Manager Elaina Pires

After the excitement of the holidays, we New Englanders truly begin settling into the winter… January, February, and even March can be some of the most brutal months here in Boston. With the summer seeming far off and the cold wind whipping away, it’s a great time to hunker down and discover some of Boston’s best local restaurant. One of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend is cozy up on my couch and watch “Phantom Gourmet” then go out and experience all the delicious food for myself! Whether it’s for a drink or a comfort meal, these spots are some of my favorites to visit with friends.

Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

Somerville

(link: http://www.rosebudkitchen.com)

Rosebud-exterior
A milk shake that will warm you up in the winter?! Try Rosebud’s boozy bourbon milkshake, YUMMMM. Craft cocktails and beer paired with comfort food favorites like smoked chicken wings and fried Brussels sprouts make the Rosebud one of my favorite spots. All their wait staff wear flannel, it helps you to feel at home. Rosebud also serves an amazing brunch, with items like brioche French toast and hash and eggs… you really can’t go wrong here.

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The Publick House

Brookline

(link: http://www.thepublickhousebeerbar.com)

11/26/10 5:38:44 PM -- Brookline, Massachusetts Boston University 11/26/10 The Publick House, 1648 Beacon Street ,Brookline is a local bar and eatery. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography

Mac n’ cheese craving? Look no further than the Publick House on Beacon Street for THE BEST mac n’ cheese skillet around. Custom create your own combination adding in whichever protein and vegetable you prefer, or just extra cheese on cheese! Publick House’s tavern-like atmosphere with dark wood, cozy nooks, and a huge assortment of diverse beers on draft make this place a MUST to visit this winter.

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Christopher’s and Toad

Cambridge

(link: http://christopherscambridge.com.s122913.gridserver.com)

link: http://toadcambridge.com)

christophers-and-the-toad-cambridge-ma-porter-square-toby-mcguire

My all-time, never-fail, go-to cozy nook is Christopher’s on Mass Ave. This no-frills local spot has come to be every local’s favorite north of the river. Christopher’s has it all: ever-changing local beer specials, loaded tater tots, buffalo cauliflower, and amazing burgers. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love Christopher’s. Their staff treat every customer like they’re a regular, and if you get lucky you can even snag a seat in front of their roaring fireplace. Rotating local art is always featured throughout the restaurant, with new pieces hung every time you come in.

If you’re in the mood for some music, pop next door to Toad to catch live music every night of the week, at no cover charge. This intimate venue fills up quickly, so best to catch an early dinner and head over to Toad after. Or better yet, go straight to Toad where you can still order a Christopher’s burger at the bar!

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These are just a few of my favorites, but I encourage everyone to not let the winter blues get the best of you! Get out there and explore some new spots this winter. Even when you’re snowed in and feeling that cabin fever, finding a cozy local spot to retreat to can help make the winter feel like it” ain’t so bad.”


Congress Street Crawl

From the desk of Chrissy Kratz, Event Manager

A few weeks ago, my AE Events colleague Elaina and I were treated to a night out on the town by our friends at the Barbara Lynch Gruppo led by the amazing Maura Lacy (Private Events Manager at Menton). This night will henceforth be known as our “Congress Street Crawl.”

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We started off the night in the intimate Gold Bar at Menton, where Maura told us about the nearly endless opportunities at the restaurant as we sipped sparkling rose. From a VIP Dinner in their Chef’s Room, to a Rehearsal Dinner in their Private Dining Room, to a complete buyout for a Holiday Party – the sky’s the limit! Of course, the highlight was Menton’s house dish, the Butter Soup, served tableside with shellfish, caviar and honey.  Yum!

Our next stop was Sportello, where Alex Nystedt (General Manager) talked through the unique seating layout as we enjoyed red wine – a modern take on a diner with an open kitchen and winding counters.

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Elaina and I then enjoyed a culinary tour like no other. We shared the Potato Gnocchi with lobster, the Strozzapreti with braised rabbit, and the Tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce (both of our favorites – hands down!) before ending with a decadent coconut cake. I still have dreams about that meal.

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We ended our night at Drink where Tyler Lymer (Manager) walked us through the concept of this industrial, but extremely welcoming bar. The coolest thing about Drink is the fact that they have no set cocktail menu. If you don’t have a specific cocktail in mind, simply tell the bartenders your likes and dislikes and they will create something amazing. I highly recommend this route – you will NOT be disappointed.

*Fun fact, did you know that when a bartender leaves Drink, they leave something hidden in the bar? Next time you’re in, see if you can spot a piece of intimate apparel hanging in a corner! 

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Elaina and I had such a wonderful time connecting with new friends and exploring all that these establishments have to offer. Thank you again to Maura for setting up such a great evening, and to everyone we met along the way! We at AE Events encourage you to go on your own Congress Street Crawl!


Autumn on the Farm

Each year we’re lucky to work with ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC to create a fun themed welcome reception for guests attending their conference.  This year’s theme was inspired by fall.  We had a tight turnaround for setup, so we had to be mindful of the details that were pulled into the space. Hay bales and barrels created our bars. Pumpkins and corn stalks against worn wooden shutters and screen doors helped to set the mood.  The cocktail space featured strung bistro lights to give an outdoor effect, while the dining space had heavier textured linens and copper weathervanes to complete the look.  In the end, guests were transported to an upscale version of “Autumn on the Farm” at the Four Seasons.

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AE + ACK

Love is in the air!  AE had the chance to plan a very special 40th Wedding Anniversary for a favorite client (yes, you are our other favorite!) and this took the AE team over to Nantucket for a long weekend in July.  We cannot begin to express our love for the island – the sun, the sand, and the fabulous vendors we befriended.

club car

After disembarking from the ferry – we headed to our first stop – The Club Car where the client hosted a lovely private dinner.  We had a fun time transforming the dining room from its usual look –with the help of linens from Table Toppers.  We were also fortunate to make friends with some island vendors.  Rentals came from Placesetters (Thanks Jen!) and the floral and table accents were from Soiree Floral Design (Thanks Dawn and Julie!).   The room had a completely different feel and passersby were full of compliments at the change!

 

club car interior

room interior

Since this party celebrated 40 years of the couple, we put on our thinking caps and went back to 1975… a daisy and sunshine theme emerged, which we were able to introduce through the subtle use of daisy accents on the menu cards and textured paper was used as a placemat.  This is a great way to bring added texture to your table with less cost.  Be sure to invest in something nicer than a plain cardstock or your look will fall flat!  Ours was pearl iridescent paper with embossed circle details.

table detail

Drinks, merriment – an Irish tenor and a sing-a-long around the Club Car’s piano finished out the evening.

The following day we prepped for a cocktail party at the client’s home.  Nantucket tents came to the rescue with some gorgeous sailcloth tents.  To keep the evening feeling fresh and Nantucket (and still with the daisy and sunshine theme) we limited the palette to all white linens and chairs, but accented with warm yellows.  The result was clean, crisp and just what  a cocktail party should be!  The views from the client’s home didn’t hurt either.

lanterns

view from tent

Guests dined on delicious bites from Susan Warner Catering. To add height and visual interest to the food stations – rather than glass block risers, we opted for  glass cylinders with water and hydrangea.  This way, as guests arrived and before the meal was set, the table looked stunning as though it was one large centerpiece collection.

table

Overall, AE [hearts] Nantucket and we look forward to celebrating many more events on the island!  Thanks again to our new island friends:  Club Car, Placesetters, Soiree Floral, Susan Warner Catering, Nantucket Tents, Last Minute Productions, Ron Lynch Photography and DJ Skooby who’s from the mainland – and provided us with a soundtrack for the weekend!


The best thing I ever ate… this month.

Hello Friends, I hope you are all enjoying this mild summer. Did you take a vacation?  This summer, I was more than lucky to take a trip with my in-laws across the sea to Berlin.  This was MAJOR!  Most summer vacations involve trips to the beach or my parent’s house in NJ.

Berlin had so many sights to see, cool neighborhoods to check out, and some fantastic people, but one truly memorable event was the special dinner we had to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday.  I thought I would share with you many images of this deliciousness.  Just looking at them, the flavors all came rushing back.  Oh my goodness. Yum. Eating at a place like this, with a fixed menu is not for people that are afraid to try new things or get squirmy when people mention offal. You have to be open to what the chef has prepared.  Try it. You’ll like it.

We opted for the four course “summer menu” which started with this gorgeous array of little appetizers – spicy nuts, shrimp with a gorgeous gelee, pork belly carpaccio… from here I’ll list the courses as they were on our custom printed menus.  Look at this!

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First Course – PEA: green melon / lime
cream chiboust & shelled young peas, green melon pickled in lime juice, sirup from green thai chili, ginger jelly, mint meringue & fresh lime paring, galangal.  It’s like a painting.

photo 2

Second Course – CODFISH: lemon / lettuce
codfish, beurre blanc from lemon with cream, lemon grass & lemon leaf and green chili pickled in fish sauce as well as roasted basmati rice, lettuce in lemon dressing (two separate plates to mix bites as you like – and yes my own personal orchid plant on the corner)

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Third Course – VEAL: celery / jalapeno stewed cheek of veal in veal foot-jalapeno jus, rolls of apple, celery, celery cream and shiso, celery-apple juice, dim sum veal head (again, two small plates, the veal was spicy, the apple rolls helped to cool each bite)

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Fourth Course – Calpico: raspberry / rhubarb
cream, sorbet & fresh raspberry, rhubarb stock, mousse of calpico (Calpico or Calpis is a common flavor profile in Japan)

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And as if that wasn’t enough, they followed up with some little delicious dessert bites of chocolate, orange and raspberry done three ways; white chocolate infused with orange (everyone got their own set of mini tongs), orange fondant over ice cream with fresh raspberry on top, orange tuile with raspberry sorbet… I think!

dessert

So if you ever find yourself in Berlin, with some pretty euro to spend, consider getting a reservation at restaurant Tim Raue.  The chef is a native of Berlin. This is only one of his venues, but restaurant Tim Raue has a focus on Asian flavors.  Though the portions were small, they each held bites of perfection and we were full at the end. Beyond the food flavors, the details of the china, the presentation, the attentive staff, even the way the tables were custom made to hold the perfectly starched table cloth (check out their website)… everything was impeccable.  If you find yourself in Berlin, you will not be disappointed!  – Mindy