Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Food, Fashion & Farmhouses, by Erin

While this past summer may have proved quiet and lazy for some, The Dinner Belle has been working non-stop, steadily growing our client base and consistently catering events through the hottest months, leading up to our busiest fall season yet!

What sort of events, you may ask, could possibly top Topshop? While I may look back fondly on baking 7,000 cookies for the infamous retail launch of the London based megastore (cue my sarcastic expression and inflection!), we’ve since added even more impressive clients to our roster and have turned out some of our tastiest events yet! And coming this November, Topshop-ers can look forward to another Dinner Belle catered queue, as we serve British breakfast treats to early risers lining for Topshop’s Black Friday shopping sales starting at 8 AM.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Over the sunshine season, Kimberly and I had the pleasure of beginning a relationship with Corcoran, NYC’s premiere real estate firm. We created luscious and artful “Takeaway” versions of our signature Charcuterie Platter, which were served at exclusive open house events. Proving that it takes more than just a hot address to sell a home in a recession!

We were also thrilled to add The Susan Magrino Agency to our client roster, though we weren’t as lucky with the weather for their event. That said, we learned a valuable lesson: never host a BBQ without a rain date or an umbrella. Amidst a downpour that would have dampened the spirits of most, the enthusiastic agents from this renowned company (who represents Martha Stewart herself!), braved the elements and enjoyed the delicious picnic spread we prepared atop a glorious (yet damp) Union Square rooftop. Sans umbrella, Kimberly manned the grilling station, preparing delectable steak house burgers made to order, topped with aged cheddar, jalapeño pepper jack or crumbly bleu cheese, as well as BBQ marinated chicken breasts. To top it all off, we served pitchers of specialty cocktails, including the Spicy Pepino and Sangria Blanco, which kept guests happy and warm (on the inside anyway)!

dinnerbellesNothing says summer like a BBQ, so after the albeit “soggy success” of the Magrino party, we decided barbequing was the perfect theme for our 2nd Anniversary celebration to commemorate our staff and clients, and surviving our second birthday in such sorry economic times. While we opted for an indoor dessert and champagne heavy soiree last year, we wanted to take advantage of summer’s sunset this time around, and hosted our guests at my pad to hang outside and grill up some grub. I am excited to announce that Kimberly and I are now the proud parents of our very own Webber kettle grill. He is medium sized, with a shiny black coating and simply makes our lives more chartastic. We filled him with charcoal for our inaugural fire and made amazing sour cream filled cheeseburgers, in addition to serving up sweet and fruity Agua Fresca, with the help from our good friend Victoria over at Moët Hennessy, who generously donated bottles of flavored Belvedere and bubbly.

One of our favorite retail clients and go-to spots for lingerie, Journelle, invited us back to create another beautiful spread for a private in-house shopping event last summer. While canapés and cocktails held court last time, this year we opted for two beautiful freestanding crudité stations, and a wine bar serving pink raspberry champagne cocktails.

Fashion was definitely a huge launching pad for the Dinner Belle this year, as we took on Vogue’s 1st Annual “Fashion’s Night Out!” Kimberly and I had the extreme pleasure of working for Stuart Weitzman, in not just one, but both of his NYC boutiques. Dividing and conquering, each team provided a stunning spread, featuring seasonal farmers’ market vegetables, including bold and beautiful multi-colored cauliflower, and an assortment of fresh herb-infused dips. Stuart Weitzman himself showed up at both the Madison Avenue and Columbus Circle locations to play ping-pong (no lie!). I’ll tell you, people were as excited about our food as they were about the new fall line of boots! It was a match made in heaven. Clearly, Fashion + Food = Fabulous.

And let’s not forget our good friend Annie over at The Society, who invited us back after the success of the V33 Supper Salon, to create another dinner party, this time in The New York Tenement Museum. This was definitely one of my favorite locations ever, not to mention my first solo event sans Kimberly, as our head chef was busy traveling with that F*!*#! Shithead Mac during the event. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful and historic Lower East Side, we created a six-course feast that perfectly complimented the unique surroundings and seasonal late summer harvest. This event basked in old New York nostalgia, complimenting the cuisine of early American immigrants, whose preserved kitchens and living quarters were impressively on display throughout this antique site. Included on the menu were spinach and ricotta stuffed chicken cushions finished in an heirloom tomato reduction, delicately wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma (fresh off the boat from Italy); a transitional dish, which could absolutely work just as well come fall!

bread_fruitThis brings me to our most recent success, and biggest event of the year: our annual Parlux dinner party for Macy’s! Kimberly and I were overjoyed to secure one of the most beautiful and unique spaces either of us has ever seen in NYC. Right in the heart of the West Village, 632 on Hudson proved the perfect setting to create our “Tuscan Farmhouse” themed dinner. Kimberly and her amazing team of line chefs were on display in the gorgeous old-fashioned kitchen, cooking up a four course chef’s tasting meal. Featured on this tasty menu was a pasta course of pumpkin ravioli in brown butter sage sauce (if you’re lucky she’ll share this recipe), followed by a main course of early autumnal harvest bouillabaisse, topped with flaky halibut, scallops, shrimp, cockles and mussels for the fish lovers, and baked artichokes stuffed with mushrooms and homemade cheesy breadcrumbs for the vegetarians. While dinner was being prepared, my team held down the floor, setting up bountiful tables, with overflowing wild flower centerpieces that we created ourselves (not to mention shopped for very early the morning of the event at the Union Square Farmers’ Market!). From the champagne and passed canapé reception, to the extravagant dessert bar set up in the kitchen after the meal, featuring tiny tiramisu trifles, home baked cookies, pear crostadas and our signature chocolate truffles, guests were truly impressed. And Kimberly and I made sure we dressed to impress, modeling our brand new, hand crafted matching aprons, compliments of our favorite Southern Belle, Kate Sargent over at Sassy Smox.

Maybe I’ll wear my apron around Europe. Oh, you heard right! Did I forget to mention it? Indeed, I am taking a little holiday and am headed for the hills of Tuscany and cafes of Paris. Kimberly will be manning The Dinner Belle while I set off to enjoy my last few months of being a 20-something (okay, 29), and spend some quality time with my man. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder for a vacation, but am constantly surprised by how fulfilling my work with The Dinner Belle has been. As I look forward to all that 2010 has in store for us, keep your eyes out for bigger and better things from your favorite “Belles,” and in the meantime, don’t miss me too much while I am abroad. Ciao Belle!

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3 Responses to “Fall Food, Fashion & Farmhouses, by Erin”

  1. Lauren Braun

    My mouth is watering looking at these images and reading all the foodie details. You bring your own unique style and aesthetic to the food, the writing, the look, the blog, everything— love it!

  2. Kate "Southern Belle"

    Couldn’t have asked for sassier models than the two of you! You look great and what a spread you created! Congrats and THANKS!!!

  3. Kimberly Belle

    Thanks Kate! Seriously, if anyone out there wants a deluxe hand crafted apron…check out Sassy Smox. I just adore my Smox creations. And Lauren, you rock! Thanx for the shout out!

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