Monday, August 30, 2010

Vendor Search: Catering Tasting #1 (aka I Don't Have To Cook Dinner)

The Mr. loves to eat. Luckily, I love to cook so it's a match made in heaven! He made it clear from the get-go that, while he wouldn't be next to me pondering "Hydrangeas or Roses?", he absolutely wanted to be involved in picking the food. Especially once he found out that we got to taste the food before we chose our caterer.

"For real...they're going to feed us? Like, real food?"

No, they're going to feed us fake food.

Since we're on a budget, we're exploring as many options as possible so as to get the most mouth-watering bang for our buck. Our venue has a list of approved caterers that we cannot stray from. So the day after we signed on the dotted line at The Witte, I picked up my phone and started to make my way down the list. After about the 3rd conversation - that was identical to the first two - I realized I might be better off - and save some time - if I just drafted a generic email explaining what I wanted and shot it off to the remaining caterers.

And you would not believe the giddiness I experienced once the initial proposals started rolling in. So exciting!

One of the first to respond was Jessica with Spice of Life catering. She was super nice and, compared to the other proposals we received, theirs was the most unique. Not only would we get our main dish, steak and chicken fajitas, but they had also included an action station option, something we had both wanted but were pretty sure wouldn't fit into the budget. The bottom line was within the budget parameters so after the super fun task of finding room in the Mr.'s 80-hour work week schedule (mad props to them because they stayed late just for us!), we had scheduled our first tasting!

Having never done a catering tasting before, we weren't too sure what to expect. Would we just get a bite or two or get to hoss out completely? I can (happily!) say now with experience that it was definitely the latter!

When we arrived, we were shown to a nice table and served this *heavenly* citrus iced tea. I mean it was AMAZING! We each went through about 6 glasses of the stuff and neither of us are tea drinkers.

Prior to our tasting, Jessica had asked me to select a couple appetizers to taste. I chose the Chorizo and Queso Stuffed Mushroom and the Blue Crab Topped Blue Corn Chip. Unfortunately, I'm a lot better at eating said appetizers than taking pictures of them.
Case In Point

But, they were both absolutely delicious and we were huge fans!!

Luckily, I was much better at photographing everything else I'd say I deserve a C+. I'll do better next time.

Our original proposal including us selecting two salads from a group of choices. None of them really tickled my fancy so I asked instead if we could do a Southwest-ish Caesar Salad. They made my idea come to life better than I could have expected!The salad had mixed greens with sun-dried tomatoes and masa croutons with a zesty Caesar dressing with just the right amount of kick!

Next up came the main event...the FAJITAS! We were so surprised when they brought out a giant platter of chicken, steak and all the fixins!(This was after we had already dug in. Told you...this is purely C+ work). We were served moist, delicious chicken and steak plus sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and salsa for garnishes. On the side were (definitely homemade) spanish rice and AMAZING refried beans. Yeah these were not from an Old El Paso can.

We then got to sample one of the action station items - the Baja Fish Tacos with Grilled Mahi Mahi, Pickled Red Onions and a Cabbage Slaw. Again, I was so in love with these I forgot to take a picture. This is almost exactly what they looked like:

These were great as well. We would really love to be able to give a variety of TexMex foods, not just the stereotypical tacos and fajitas.

All in all, we were so impressed. And not just I was impressed, the Mr. was too. We really liked that Jessica and Mike, the chef and owner, brought the food out to us and then let us be so we could enjoy it (or not enjoy it!) alone. But not only that, we really felt like we clicked with them (which is actually something I felt almost immediately after the first email). We all talked about our different options after the meal was over. We let them know that we were just beginning our search and wanted to at least explore our other options but that we would stay in touch and let them know what we decide. And then we rolled ourselves out of there.

As this was almost two weeks ago, where does that leave us now?

Well, the Mr. just left to go up to another hospital about 2.5 hours away, where he'll remain for the next 4 weeks. Unless we can find another caterer willing to work with us on a weekend (not easy so far) we'll have to put our search on hold til October.

But really, I'm okay with that, seriously, no problem at all, I promise, I really mean it.

(Note: all photos the result of my creative genius cell phone unless otherwise noted. You're welcome.)

No comments:

Post a Comment