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At Garden of Eating, we are dedicated to providing all of our clients with fresh, flavorful meals, beautifully and professionally presented for every event we cater. We pride ourselves in listening to our clients’ specific requests and designing a menu that reflects their needs.


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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Save or Splurge? How to Spend for Your Wedding

Here at Garden of Eating Catering, we are lucky to be a part of dozens of weddings each year. Over time, we’ve come to see a wide variety of weddings: small, large, intimate, blowout party, indoor, outdoor, and everything in between.

When you’re beginning the planning stages of your wedding, you know that you’ve got to cut corners somewhere. But where exactly? On one of the most important days of your life, it’s hard to know where to splurge and where to save. So we’re putting our wedding experience to work for you. Here’s our list of things that you shouldn’t sweat and things that you should invest in for your wedding.

Save

Entertainment

There’s no doubt that music brings people together. But whether you have the best band in town or a DJ that you know who is willing to give you a good deal is not of the greatest importance. All that matters is that everyone is having fun. So save your money and time for another portion of the wedding.

Decorations/Flowers

For decades, flowers have been considered an indispensable part of a wedding, with a substantial part of the wedding budget to match. But a quick browse on Pinterest shows that there are tons of alternatives to the traditional blossoming table topper. DIY crafts and even centerpieces that are pre-made can be a fun and cost-saving alternative to pricey flower bouquets. Are flowers a must-have? Garden of Eating has its own in-house florist! We provide centerpieces and buffet pieces for affordable prices.

Drinks

Some venues will allow you to bring in your own beer and wine, and this is a great opportunity for some savings. Stores with club cards, like Bevmo, are a great place to go because they offer deals and sales individuals can take advantage of. Simply ask your caterer for their recommendation on how much alcohol to buy and take the list to your local store. If you don’t have the time to do the shopping, or the budget to have the caterer provide the alcohol, consider offering one or two drink tickets per guest, and having a cash bar after that.

Splurge

Wedding Planner

When you first get engaged, planning a wedding sounds like it will be fun and easy to do yourself. But a few weeks of planning and you’re already in over your head. While it may be tempting to try and cut corners here by not getting a wedding planner, your event will suffer if you are too stressed to enjoy it! Having a wedding planner doesn’t mean that you won’t be involved in the planning process. It just means that you get to do all the fun parts, and let someone else handle the rest.

Catering and Drinks

The food at your wedding is one of the only things that every single guest will experience intimately. It’s inevitable that at least some people will be traveling from afar to come to your wedding, and weddings last several hours, so it’s important that guests are well-fed. Catering is not the area of the wedding to cut corners.

Wedding Photos

One of the most important aspects of your wedding is commemorating it so that it can be revisited for the rest of your life. In the weeks and months leading up to your wedding, you are likely to be focused on the events of the wedding itself, rather than the things that will come after it, such as photography. But trust us: you will thank yourself later for hiring the best of the best photographer when you have beautiful images to enjoy for years to come.

Are you in the process of planning your wedding? Garden of Eating Catering has years of experience helping newly engaged couples create the perfect menu for their big day. Contact us today to learn more!

Garden Fresh Meals

For years, Garden of Eating Catering has been your go-to source when you need to feed a lot of mouths. Whether it’s a corporate event, a wedding, or other social event, you know you can count on Garden of Eating to make sure that your food is fresh, local, and delicious.

But what about all those other times in life, when you’re not at an event? You still need to eat fresh and healthy, but you don’t have the time it takes to prepare healthy meals. We know this is a challenge for many of our clients. That’s why we create Garden Fresh Meals.

With Garden Fresh Meals, you can have it all: you can eat healthy, fresh, and local, but without fighting crowds at the grocery store, dicing vegetables, or even standing over a stove!

Here’s how it works:

  • You let us know what you’re looking for in your meals: this could be dietary restrictions, health goals, etc.
  • We create a menu that incorporates Nobel-Prize winning health science with your needs: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% favorite fats.
  • Your menu has everything you need: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks.
  • We personally deliver your freshly-made meals to your home every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday to ensure that your food is as fresh and convenient as possible.
  • You save tons of time and money by:
    • NOT visiting the grocery store
    • NOT cooking
    • NOT going out to eat because there’s nothing to eat at home

Don’t hit the drive-through for breakfast when you can enjoy a baked gruyere & turkey sausage omelet with red bell peppers & caramelized onions. Lunch on grilled chicken summer salad with red wine vinaigrette with flavorful vegetables and satisfying portions. Snack on coconut crusted shrimp with mango-pineapple salsa while the rest of the office digs into the vending machine! For dinner, you can expect pan seared fresh ahi tuna with veggies pantiere, Thai brown rice, served with a orange ginger sauce. You even get dessert!

The best part is that eating like a king doesn’t mean you have to break the bank!

60 days – $29.95 per day

20 days – $34.95 per day Most Popular

10 days – $37.95 per day

5 days – $40.95 per day

Need to feed a whole family?

It’s hard enough getting dinner together for yourself, but if you have a whole family to feed? Forget it!

Introducing our new program, Garden to Table.

Garden to Table is designed to give you and your family a healthy meal and delicious comfort foods that your kids will love. You can be sure that your fresh meals do not contain any additives that are all too common at the grocery store, including:

  • Fillers
  • MSG
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial coloring and flavors

Your family life is busy enough without having to come home from work to prepare a fresh, homemade dinner. Say goodbye to unhealthy fast food dinners. Let us do the work for you!

Garden to Table is coming very soon! To make sure that you are notified as soon as it’s available, follow Garden Fresh Meals on Facebook.

Corporate Retreat Planning Checklist

We recently had the pleasure of catering a corporate retreat at Annenberg Community Beach House. When we saw how flawlessly it went, we realized just how much work goes into planning a successful retreat. So this week, we thought we’d share a checklist that you can use the next time you’re planning a retreat for your company.

1. Determine Your Major Goals

Before making any decisions, it’s important to determine your goals for the retreat. Is your primary goal teambuilding? Is it to introduce new software or a new concept to your team? Or is it simply to take a break from everyday life and gain some inspiration and perspective?

Whatever the goal is for your event, keeping it in mind throughout the planning process will ensure that every component of planning contributes to accomplishing that goal. For example, if the goal is to escape the ordinary, a beach house or campgrounds is a good choice. But if you’d like to maintain a corporate atmosphere, you might opt for a conference center instead.

2. Schedule a Time

Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to plan. Also make sure you give your speakers, caterer, and attendees enough time to plan ahead and make any travel arrangements. A good rule of thumb is to take your estimated time needed to plan, then add a month or two to compensate for all of those last-minute challenges that pop up.

If your retreat is centered around the availability of a particular person such as a keynote speaker, find out that person’s availability before taking any other steps.

You can use the scheduling tool Doodle to give all essential people a list of choices for the timeslot of the retreat.

3. Retreat Details

Now that you have a goal in place and the best time to hold the event, you can move on to the nuts and bolts of planning. These include:

  • The retreat budget
  • The theme
  • The tentative itinerary
  • The expected number of attendees

4. Put Together the Pieces of the Puzzle

Find all the contractors that you need to make this event great. This involves everyone from the venue and speakers to the caterer and DJ.

Hiring a caterer for your retreat is a must. Trying to coordinate foodstuffs, utensils, and cooking on top of all of the other event components is nearly impossible. But more, it’s unnecessary. Get a caterer that you know can deliver according to your specifications and has experience catering for corporate retreats.

Most retreats have at least one mixer or social event, so find out how you’ll create fun for that time. You might hire a musician or a DJ for this portion. You may want to provide wine, beer, or mix drinks too. If you’re on a budget, try having a night of teambuilding games, many of which require no purchases.

Raffles and giveaways are an exciting and fun addition to any retreat. Talk to small business owners around the community to provide items such as gift certificates or T-shirts to give away as prizes for attendees.

5. Use Multiple Avenues to Market Your Retreat

Now that the planning is finished, it’s time to let everyone know that your retreat is happening. It might be helpful to use an electronic event planning system such as Event Brite so that people can register 24 hours a day online.

Then, use as many different avenues as you can to market your event. Create a Facebook event and refer to it often in your company’s social media activity. Post it on Twitter and email it to your employees. In all forms of advertisement, make the registration deadline clear and consistent.

Garden of Eating would love to be a part of your next corporate retreat. Call us today to get started!

6 Fun Ways to Serve Ice Cream

Even though the summer is starting to come to a close, there’s never a bad time to eat ice cream! Whether you’re having guests over for a backyard soirée or you’re just spending the evening in with the kids, these fun ways to enjoy ice cream are sure to please.

1. Homemade Ice Cream

Making ice cream at home isn’t as hard as it sounds, and kids love it. Just find an ice cream maker at your local houseware store or borrow one from a friend. Then check the particular manufacturer’ instructions. Regardless of the model you have, you will need to do lots of cranking, probably with various people in shifts. When it’s finally done, the ice cream tastes extra delicious because everyone had a part in making it.

2. Ice Cream Bar

Have some fun and some options with an ice cream bar. Choose a few different kinds of ice cream (or just grab a tub of Neapolitan) and as many different toppings as you like. Some good ones to include:

Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, bananas… there are too many good choices!

  • Syrups: Chocolate, caramel, or strawberry
  • Candies: gummy bears, gummy worms, m&m’s, and crunched-up candy bars
  • Graham crackers, brownies, chocolate chip cookies
  • Sprinkles

Your kids will love it, of course, but you might be surprised how much grownups like it, too.

3. Stout Beer and Ice Cream

Stout beer and ice cream is the perfect combination for late summer and early fall. Oatmeal stout, chocolate stout, and coffee stout are all great choices. The rich, toasty flavor of the beer perfectly complements the ice cream for a creamy adult treat. Here’s a recipe for an Imperial Stout Float that’s sure to please the craft beer fans in your life!

4. Super Simple Ice Cream Cake

If you’re in need of a dessert in a hurry, try making an ice cream cake out of store-bought ice cream sandwiches. Just stack a few ice cream sandwiches in one row on a plate, then choose what you’ll use for the creamy middle that holds the cake together. Some options include peanut butter, chocolate fudge, frosting, strawberry jam, caramel, or whipped cream. Place the second row of ice cream sandwiches on top of it, then top the whole thing with whipped cream and serve.

5. Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

The best ice cream sandwiches are the kind that you build yourself. This is another great kid-friendly activity that lets you customize your ice cream to anything you’d like. It’s best to put the ice cream of your choice in a large mixing bowl and add a little bit of milk to thin the ice cream and make it more spreadable. Then, take homemade chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate cookies, or even graham crackers and use a spatula to spread the ice cream between the “bread.” Guaranteed to bring smiles all around!

6. Bananas Foster

Image from My Kitchen Addiction.

This delicious mixture of hot and cold is the perfect alternative to the more conventional cake, cobbler, or pie with ice cream. In a large skillet, mix butter, cinnamon, spiced rum, and sugar. When it begins to bubble, add bananas and cook just long enough for the bananas to become coated and hot, usually just a couple of minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and wait for your guests to be wowed.

What’s your favorite way to eat ice cream with your family or a group? Let us know in the comments!