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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)

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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)

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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.”


In the Spirit of the Holidays

From the desk of Senior Event Manager, Chrissy Kratz…

I won’t even try to lie to you – I am a serious holiday lover. The day after Halloween, I start listening to holiday music with my headphones set to super low so I won’t be judged by the people around me (yes, that includes my AE colleagues!), I am done shopping for friends and family before Thanksgiving, and my small apartment has more decorations than it has any right to fit inside of it (preview below). But what can I say? I love it all and don’t think a mere four weeks is enough time to celebrate! Of course, along with the spirit of the season comes just that – spirits. Here are a few of my current favorites to bring along to your next holiday party.

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Wine
This year, I attended a Fireside Chat at The Fireplace focused entirely on my favorite grape, Pinot Noir. Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir was hands down my favorite of the dinner and one I recommend to pair with a charcuterie platter or roasted poultry dinner.

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Thinking something white? Try Ashbourne – a unique Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay blend out of South Africa. Don’t be deceived by its light nose…the combination of the body from the Chardonnay and the acidity from the Sauv Blanc is a nice balance that allows you to drink this wine on its own (though pairing it with some oysters isn’t a bad idea either!).

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Beer
Who says you can only enjoy a bottle of vino around the holidays – give a holiday brew a try! Perhaps Nodding Head Brewery’s Sled Wrecker made with molasses and rum-soaked fruit (yes that is a shameless Philadelphia-pride pitch).

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Looking for something lighter? After a recent trip to northern California, I’m head over heels for Almanac Beer Co.’s Saison Dolores. I wouldn’t call it a holiday beer, but it’s worth a try if you aren’t into rum and maple syrup in your pint.

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Spirits
Get creative with your cocktails! My must-try this year is to make a Rosemary-Infused Honey Sidecar. Boil some rosemary in water before freezing the liquid into ice cubes. Combine 2 cups Cognac, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup honey before adding in the rosemary-infused ice cubes. Strain, and serve in sugar-rimmed glasses. Voila – a holiday classic with a twist! Plus, you can spike the eggnog with the extra Cognac.

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Whatever your spirit style is – embrace it and don’t be afraid to try something new. Cheers to a festive, fun and safe holiday season!


Southie Superlatives

New to the Neighborhood – A Newbie’s Guide to South Boston

From the desk of Kayla Gentile, Events Assistant:

As a new resident of South Boston, it’s been my personal mission to visit as many places as possible before massive snowpiles crowd the sidewalks (still going strong, fingers crossed!). Although I’m still discovering hidden gems each week, I’m now ready to hand out Southie Superlatives to my favorite places to eat and sightsee.

The Paramount, 667 East Broadway
As a self-proclaimed brunch-addict, I’m lucky to have The Paramount right down the street from my office and home. With its diner-esque menu, relaxed atmosphere, and some of the best Cajun homefries I’ve ever eaten, it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite with friends.

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American Provisions, 613 East Broadway
Keeping true to my Italian heritage, I’ve always loved a good deli, and American Provisions was a place I’d been told I “just had to try.” It didn’t take much convincing for me…I walked in during a recent lunch break and became an instant fan. Products are all locally grown, so you know you’re eating the freshest of the fresh. My personal favorite? The “Italian,” of course!

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Lincoln Tavern, 425 West Broadway
I like to describe Lincoln Tavern as a “one-stop shop” in South Boston. It’s a modern restaurant by day and an upbeat pub filled with 20-somethings by night. Whether you’re going for Sunday football or a laidback dinner, you can always count on Lincoln for a great time.

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Castle Island, William J. Day Blvd.
What do I enjoy most about Boston so far? There’s always something new to explore, and it’s usually right around the corner. In my case, that was Castle Island – a spectacular scenic location to run, walk, then eat some amazingly greasy food at Sullivan’s, all while taking in the view of the harbor and city skyline.

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Next time you’re in South Boston, be sure to check out one some of these local treasures in the AE Events neighborhood!

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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!


To P-Town We Go!

From the Desk of Elaina Pires – New Event Coordinator at AE Events!

The AE team is buzzing as summer winds down and the fall season kick into high gear. In the midst of a very busy August, we took a day to relax, bond, and retreat to none other than… P-Town!

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This year’s annual company outing brought us to the quirky and vibrant Provincetown. Armed with our coffee and windbreakers, we boarded the ferry bright and early and embarked on a crazy journey at sea.  More roller coaster than ferry, the team endured what felt like an odyssey from Boston to the Cape. Despite choppy waters, we were greeted by gorgeous sunshine upon arrival!

The day was filled with exploring all the nooks and crannies of P-Town. We shopped around, dined at Pepe’s Wharf for a seafood-filled lunch, and shopped some more. As design professionals, we couldn’t help but stop and marvel at the quirky trinkets, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and charming nautical décor. And how could we forget the dozens of dogs parading down the streets, and our favorite little boat, Crouton.

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Before boarding the ferry home, we capped the day off with an afternoon cocktail at Patio, a cozy retreat right off of Commercial St. that featured delicious signature mojitos. On our smooth and sunny trip back we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a few dolphins, and Christine even spotted a whale!

Totally exhausted and sun-kissed, we returned to Boston grateful for having spent a day together to unwind, thank and acknowledge one another, and most importantly, to simply have FUN!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


Happy Anniversary Joanna and Bryan!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and while we can’t believe this lovely wedding is already a year behind us, we are still basking in it’s beauty!  Set at a gorgeous private estate, we brought some amazing vendors together to create the perfect wedding day for Joanna and Bryan on September 21, 2013.  They wanted a classic wedding, with elegant, romantic touches. It started with an outdoor ceremony (perfect weather), cocktails in the house (lots of bubbly), then dinner and dancing (Moroccan spiced lamb, yum!).  Happy Anniversary, you two!

We leave you now to enjoy the beauty of it all from the start of the day to the end – courtesy of Sarah Bastille Photography!

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Flowers by the talented Benjamin Newbold at Winston Flowers

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Joanna made such a beautiful bride!!!

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The Happy Couple! Congratulations all over again!

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Alternative to a traditional guest book – hand typed (or written) notes from guests offering “wishes and wisdom”.

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Many thanks to the vendors that made this wedding possible:

Photographer: Sarah Bastille Photography ¦ Flowers: Winston Flowers ¦ Linens & Rentals: Be Our Guest ¦ Audio & Lighting: High Output ¦ Tenting: Peterson Party Center ¦ Catering: Max Ultimate Food ¦ Videographer: Heirloom Pictures


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.

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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!

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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


#6 – Adventures in Catering and Cake

Our latest installment of Elizabeth and Thomas’ wedding planning focuses on their search for the perfect caterer.  Let’s face it, these people aren’t going to feed themselves!

Well here we are, less than 1 year away from the big day… and I must admit that Thomas and I are starting to feel the pressure of our awesome (yet sometimes annoying) Wedding Timeline. (Ok fine, he’s not, but I am!) And what better way to relieve some of that stress than to cross some items off my list, right?! Catering and Cake, here we go…

When we began our planning we discussed right away what each of us felt were some of the most important aspects of our special day. This is something that I think is really important to do before you are off and running because surprisingly enough, a lot of grooms do actually care about their wedding day! Luckily we both agreed that amazing food was an absolute requirement and one of our top 3 priorities (along with photography and venue).  Soon after we found our venue, I put my feelers out there to caterers for menus and quotes and together, Thomas and I reviewed everything.  We asked a lot of questions: Did we want to offer a choice of entrée or a duet? Did we want to offer chicken and steak or chicken and fish?  What kind of appetizers would compliment our meal? Were we duplicating anything? I noticed that our choices were a lot of the same thing…Beef Satay and Beef Sliders for appetizers and then Beef again  for the entrée…  Everything looks so great on the menu, that you sometimes forget that it’s your job to plan an eclectic meal for your guests!

Then came the fun part – the tasting!  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have my Mom and Sister visit for a weekend full of dress shopping (more on that later) food and cake tasting!

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Chocolate and Strawberry and Buttercream, Oh My!

And while I can’t reveal just yet who my vendors are or what we settled on for the menu, I must say we could not be more happy with our choices!

Also, for those of you perhaps planning your own wedding, I found this list from The Knot to be really helpful to me as well (in addition to all the helpful advice from my colleague – thanks Mindy!):

– The Knot: 17 Questions to Ask Your Caterer: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-reception-planning/articles/17-questions-to-ask-your-wedding-caterer.aspx

 No caterer named?! No cake flavors hinted at?!  No!!!!  Stay tuned for more wedding updates in August!