Monday, June 28, 2010

Moving on Up… and IN!, by Erin

I love the sunshine. There is no doubt that warm weather puts a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a sweet tan on my Italian skin. Spring is a lovely time, but often brings rain and seasonal allergies, and to me is sort of like a waiting period…a tease of what’s around the corner: the long days of light and lounging around with friends, the after work cocktails at cute corner bistros, and the windy walks home without the cumbersome burden of a jacket.

If you know me, you know I am typically not a patient person. I’m the first to admit I am a sucker for instant gratification and revel in the pleasure of getting what I want when I want it. That said, I’ve learned that life doesn’t always work that way, and indeed, I have grown to appreciate that the best things often do come to those who wait. I know that’s tres cliché, but I’ve come to realize it’s true, as two of the biggest and best things in my life are finally about to come into full bloom after planting the seeds years ago and “patiently” waiting for them to grow, and grow, and grow.

I am finally moving in with my man of almost five years. After endless months of commuting from apartment to apartment (trust me, a G to L train transfer is no small feat day after day after day) we have decided to merge our furniture, our closet space, artwork and framed photographs… our addresses, and yes, even our pots and pans! At 30 I have never lived with a boyfriend. Shocking for a New Yorker, huh? I know most people often move in quickly out of sheer convenience and rent benefits, but this is one aspect of my life where I am glad I was able to muster up the patience to wait for what I know is now truly the right time. I’ve never felt more ready or more happy or excited!

Not only am I moving in with my man, but The Dinner Belle is moving as well–moving up in the food world and literally moving–to a new location still yet to be discovered, but one that is very much becoming a reality for Kimberly and I as we continue to conceptualize our vision. While I’m gonna keep a few of the key details of this expansion plan under wraps for the time being, I can’t resist telling you that The Belles are poised to offer our custom menu creations in our very own home kitchen, all the while expanding our current off-premise catering and drop-off lunch, brunch and happy hour services.

While I have to be patient for these expansion plans to unfold (and the investor capital to roll in), Kimberly and I have plenty of Dinner Belle work in the here and now, as we continue to make our mark producing truly one-of-a-kind experiences. Lately we’ve had the pleasure of catering several private events in beautiful NYC homes all over Manhattan. I guess you could say we’ve been “moving in” to our clients’ home kitchens to whip up most delectable feasts. On the Upper East Side, we catered to about 80 guests at the home of a famed magazine publisher of The Nation, where we served up some creative canapés, from Balsamic Bacon Deviled Eggs to Crab Dip Cups, complimented by our two signature finger food stations: Harvest Crudités & Mediterranean Charcuterie.

From that uptown abode, we headed downtown and catered a college reunion in a private party room on Wall Street, where we set up a beautiful buffet spread, featuring: Fennel Crusted Pork Loin, Melon & Peach Mircrogreens, Springtime Pasta Verdi, Kimberly’s sweet and tangy Tangelo Bars and decadent Jumbo Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies. The downtown dining continued as we had the honor to cater a wonderful client’s 40th Birthday Bash in one of the most luxurious Soho lofts I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, complete with a zebra-striped red velvet cake and champagne flowing all night long. From Pancetta-wrapped Grilled Shrimp Skewers, to Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Rib Arepas, and sweet and salty Figs in a Blanket, The Belle’s offered up a passed and stationary feast to remember. Our client was thrilled with the food and service, and we were delighted to have been a part of such a memorable night.

Photo Courtesy of Christine Tsai

Kimberly and I pride ourselves on being a female-forward company, so we were incredibly honored when asked to cater a dinner for The Council of Professional Women, hosted by ABC Carpet and Home designer, Madeline Weinrib at her Union Square studio. Kimberly created a menu that merged female friendly nosh (Roasted Side of Salmon, Asparagus Slaw and classic Greek Salad) with comfort chic cuisine such as Spring Harvest Chicken Pot Pies and Spring Fling Frittatas served inside well-seasoned cast iron skillets. The presentation was just as beautiful to look at as it was to eat, second in beauty only to all those well healed power professionals we had the pleasure of meeting. We ended the night with our delicate but delish miniature Strawberry Shortcakes and fresh Spearmint Tea.

While we continue to work hard to expand our business, and I practice the art of patience, Kimberly and I always try and make time to cater for our friends and families as well. We made some decorative cupcakes to wish my current roomie farewell as she leaves the city to take on the country in New Paltz; we hosted a BBQ with my family in Connecticut, and helped Celest prepare some goodies for her East Village Garden Soiree. Kimberly made the most insane avocado popsicles I have ever tasted (even melted!), and while I must say I’m usually a sucker for classic sweet flavors, these were a savory taste sensation and a must-make for any of you readers out there looking to surprise your guests with a seemingly kid-friendly treat spiked with adult-only cachaça!

As our off-premise catering business continues to grow through these hot summer months, and we search the city high and low for our new home, I know we’re both looking forward to continued motion and change as it comes our way. With summer weddings to celebrate across New England, from Newport to Vermont (where we’ll be taking notes for a few big city weddings we’ll be catering come fall!), continued events, friends to toast, and a certain someone to play house with in Brooklyn, I know above all, this summer will be a summer of love!

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