Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot, Haute & Hamptons, By Erin

Well friends, there’s no doubt it’s been a hot summer so far. If you’re like me, you’ve been running up your Con Edison bill, doubling your daily iced coffee quota, and finding any excuse in the book to get the hell out of Brooklyn and onto the beach! It’s usually right around this time of year that I take off for a week to join my family in Spring Lake for 7 days of nothing but sunbathing, sublime wine, and divine seafood dinners, but alas, with everyone’s schedules so difficult to coordinate (and the debt from our Germany trip still to pay off!) we decided to nix the vaca and keep it local this year. Thankfully, The Dinner Belle booked an event in the Hamptons a few weeks ago that brought me to the beach, and I’m heading to The Cape for a wedding in late August…there’s hope for me still. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for gazing at the East River from Brooklyn Bridge Park and eating Blue Marble ice cream; the tough life of a city gal!

Before Kimberly and I packed our bags, our chef’s knives, and our men and set forth on our Hamptons Holiday, The Dinner Belle was capping off our busiest spring season ever! Launch Parties were the hot ticket on the catering lineup in May, as we worked the openings for several of our beloved retail clients’ new summer lines. Downtown at Topshop, we provided an elegant breakfast buffet to celebrate the launch of their new “Secret Store” and treated guests of the press to fresh squeezed juices, miniature quiche and over-sized muffins. Over at Sky West in Chelsea, we catered the launch of Forever 21’s new Summer Fashion Line, featuring what else but fabulous food complimenting the funky threads. From Parisian macaroons to “The Forever French 21” specialty champagne cocktail, guests marveled at both the haute duds and the hot dishes as they partied the night away.

The Dinner Belle was also pleased to welcome a new client to our fashion-forward foodie family–Moleskine Notebooks. When we catered our inaugural event with this eco-friendly Italian company, they served up a 500-person guest list for their 2011 technology convention at Eyebeam. We poured countless flutes of sparkling Prosecco and passed a trio of early summer seasonal canapés, including: White Bean & Asparagus Crostini, eye-catching Rainbow Carrots served alongside our homemade Green Goddess Dressing, and bite-size Big Apple Sandwiches, featuring smokehouse bacon, triple crème brie, red grapes and crisp granny smith apples, all layered atop freshly baked focaccia.

Of course it wouldn’t be a true Dinner Belle season without at least one event dedicated solely to sweets, and the lucky client this summer was none other than our good friends over at Laser Cosmetica! Oh the sweet irony of serving an all dessert menu for a client who specializes in cellulite reduction procedures…I love it!!! In all fairness, we kept the sweets light and bite-size, and featured a menu of fruit-filled macaroons, miniature berry tarts, and a trio of mini cupcakes including Orange Dream, Red Velvet and Double Chocolate Decadence. Simply delish! To make the night event sweeter, Kimberly was being honored as one of their newest Brand Ambassadors, so I made sure to dress up and raise a glass to toast my Partner and Bestie. Well…in between expediting all those desserts, of course!

The best event of the season (so far) would have to be the 25th Birthday Bash we catered in The Hamptons a few weeks ago. After convincing Mr. Mix and my man to join us on holiday (a.k.a our out of town work trip), the 4 of us packed up the car to excess–oh yes, everything but the kitchen sink was coming with us to pull off this event!–and drove to Sag Harbor, where a darling cottage awaited us (compliments of a culinary friend and colleague). While the boys took in the town and The Bay, Kimberly and I got to work baking cupcakes, chopping herbs, marinating seafood, and setting the table at our clients’ palatial North Haven summer home.

On event day, we dressed in our Hamptons best and fueled up at brunch from Estias Little Kitchen, a local Mexican favorite featuring a menu grown from their backyard garden. As party guests started to arrive in North Haven, we set up the grounds and cooked up a marvelous feast, beginning with a cocktail hour featuring a raw bar of Blue Point oysters, Cherrystone clams, and shrimp cocktail served in gelato glasses filled with Tequila Spiked Mango Guacamole. With one of our seasoned bartenders in tow, guests were poured a duet of craft cocktails, including: Blushing Bellinis and El Spicy Pepinos. For the main course, party guests were treated to a luxurious dinner buffet featuring Kimberly’s now famous Roast Side of Salmon, which was featured on America’s Test Kitchen’s website just last week! Complimented with sides of garlic crème polenta cakes, butter poached asparagus and grilled peach and heirloom tomato caprese, we also built a chocolate peanut butter cupcake tower to gather round and sing “Happy Birthday” to the lady of the hour. As we packed up, it was nice knowing our men would be at the cottage waiting for us, ready to pop open a bottle of vino and sneak down to the pebble-stone beach to toast the success of another job well done.

With the event behind us, we four headed to the tip of The Hamptons to get down on some serious Maine lobsters and explore the Montauk culinary gems I’d been dying to try. With brunch at Surf Lodge, lobsters beach-side, and dinner at Rushmeyer’s—the latest spot from our catering colleagues, Ben and Phil—it was a record-breaking day of heat and eat-ing! Billed as a summer camp for adults, the grounds of Rushmeyer’s were as fun and delicious as the fresh garden pesto and white clam brick oven pizza I devoured, but my favorite moment of the long weekend has to be the food-coma induced catnap I caught as the lull of the waves crashing against the shore soothed my weary catering crazed mind to sleep.

Kimberly and I are looking forward to a relaxing August respite, as we gear up for a busy fall season. After Labor Day, we’re sure to be catering NYC’s 3rd Annual Fashions’ Night Out (which lucky client we will be working for this year?), are crossing our fingers for another dinner party with Macy’s in October, and for the first time, we’re excited to be catering the Future of Web Design Conference at New World Stages come November; we’ll provide daily boxed lunches for 1,000 guests, but after those 7,000 cookies at Topshop some years back, this should be nothing! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to lazy August afternoons and will be back in touch to update you with everything Dinner Belle after the last of the summer heirlooms have been picked. Until then…stay cool and be sure to keep sending your catering inquiries my way!

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2 Responses to “Hot, Haute & Hamptons, By Erin”

  1. Maryanna

    Beautiful food! Your blog is pretty amazing (and I hope you’re enjoying Boston).

  2. Kimberly Belle

    Why thank you kindly, Maryanna! And thank you too Michele. You both have awesome blogs that inspire me, and I’m so glad we’ve connected. I’m gonna start blogging again soon from Boston; it was reading blogs like yours that got my wheels turning and keyboard tapping again ;)

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