Friday, November 04, 2005

A Fabulous Dinner ~ with Special Decor

Recently I attended a dinner held by the National Association of Catering Executives, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel near the Research Triangle Park.
Would you have enjoyed being there? I offer for your gustatory imagination, the menu for the evening:

Piedmont Salad: baby red oak (lettuce), buffalo mozzarella cheese, teardrop tomatoes and pine nuts, mixed in Spumante Vinaigrette.

Portuguese Dinner Rolls with whipped butter.

Tuscan Style Ballontine: roasted semi-boneless quail with porcini, pancetta and pheasant forcemeat served with shallot confit and a tian of potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Parfait with Moscato: Parfait of mango sobreto served with tropical fruit cheesecake and sprinkled with muscat wine.

All of it was excellent, except I am no fan of quail. I could have, however, eaten several portions of the salad, rolls, potatoes, vegetables and the dessert was divine (and I do not use that word lightly).


The highlight of the evening was the decor. I will kick myself in the shins often for deciding not to take my camera. I was afraid that they would not allow photos, and I didn't want to carry the camera needlessly. Each of the 15-20 tables was decorated by a different designer, planner, caterer or florist. The theme was celebration, be it a wedding, rehearsal dinner, anniversary or other type party. Most of the tables were fantastic in their perception and their execution. The one that won the contest was a "Dinner in Tuscany", under a grape covered vine gazebo, with butterscotch gold and terra cotta dinnerware and linen which complemented the flowers, in all shades of an autumn sunset. It really was magnificent. They even made a slate floor, with mosses growing in the cracks!

Another winner was a wedding reception table with a bird nest theme, in the popular current color scheme of brown and light blue. A concrete bird bath held lush flowers and corkscrew willow; which was hung with many small bird nests, replete with robin-blue eggs. The table appointments were in brown speckled, light-blue plates, copper colored napkins, bird's nests holding photos of the happy couple and place cards. It was wonderful.

My host supplied a theme party table featuring Harry Potter. A wrought-iron tree was hung with pumpkins, spiders, owls, ravens and candles. Sprouting out of the top of the tree was a host of calla lilies, curly willow and monstera leaves. The backs of the chairs held banners from each section of Hogwarts School, and white owls held a copy in their beaks of the menu for the evening. More pumpkins and witches and candles completed the look, along with small bags of the jelly beans made popular in Harry Potter books - Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (including vomit and ear wax)! The napkin rings were eyeglass frames like those worn by the main character (complete with masking tape). I cannot believe it didn't win a prize!

These are only a few of the fabulous tables, at which we got to actually sit and eat our wonderful meal. This is just one of the perks of the business I am in. Can you understand why I might never retire? Again, I apologize for not having photos to share. If they become available later, I will definitely re-post with illustrations.

P.S. No real birds, bird nests, owls, pumpkins, etc. were harmed in the execution of this event. Only the candles expired!

25 comments:

Pieces of Me said...

Mouth Watering...

sent here by Michele..

brendalove@gmail.com said...

That menu is kickin. I don't think I've ever eaten quail. It seems like it would just...ummm...taste like chicken.

millie garfield said...

What a fantastic evening you had. Many of the items that were served I have never had, only have had quail and what I remember about quail is that there was not much to eat, so tiny. But with all the goodies you had I am sure there was plenty.

And the table decoration, plenty to feast the eyes on!

What a job you have!!

Millie

srp said...

The dinner in Tuscany sounds heavenly and you're right you have a WONDERFUL job, if only you didn't have to work with brides having limited taste. I'm sure I was one of those way back then.

Gerbera Daisy said...

I am SO envious. I would have loved to have had dinner there!!!

Carol said...

Wow, from jumping off trees in Costa Rica to eating at finely decorated tables at the Sheraton, you know how to lead an exciting life.

Carol said...

I forgot, Michele sent me!

DayByDay4-2Day said...

Just wondering if you play boggle?

Carmi said...

I got hungry just reading it. Never mind that you didn't have your camera: your words painted such a vivid picture that no JPG was needed.

Shannon said...

Wait a minute... there isn't *really* such a thing as vomit-flavored jelly beans, is there?

Michele sent me!

jennypenny said...

I definitely would have loved to be there. Catering is what I do. I actually did my post grad in catering management. I am just starting doing some catering projects through work (I am the only one with any experience at all in that field) and love the thrill of making an event just right. Trouble is I am a really picky eater so I am not so good at coming up with fancy schmancy dishes. Here from Micheles tonight.

Müzikdüde said...

Yes, Shannon, there is a jelly bean.

Mrs. Muzikdude and I attended a "silent auction and gala" at the Sheriton near our house. The food was outstanding.

If you cater and you want a great treat, see if you can get into the annual food show hosted by Sysco.

craziequeen said...

Hi kenju, just nipped over from Michele's place....

'baby red oak' - what is that? Sounds most intriguing....

Of course - I would challenge these chefs to produce such a gastronomic delight for a vegetarian! [chuckle]

cq

Tammy said...

Hi Kenju, nice to see you again! :)

Sounds like a wonderful dinner, altho I tend to agree with you about the quail.

Michele sent me....this time!

Jennifer said...

It sounds positively lovely, and the strangest thing is you may have passed me in the parking lot, depending on the evening. :-)

SilverMoon said...

I'm salivating at the decor not the menu. The evening sounds fabulous and fun! Were one of your floral arrangements featured on a table?

terrilynn said...

That sounds fabulous. I could stand a night (or 15) in Tuscany myownself.

Sonia said...

That sounds delicious and wonderful!

rashbre said...

This sounds sumptuous. Your writing means camera shots are not so necessary.

My tip is having one of those cameraphones which can do at a pinch. Next time you upgrade;-)

Best. And Michele sent me, this time!

rashbre

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a fantastic evening! I don't think I could have eaten the quail myself, but everything else sounded wonderful. How inspiring to have all the tables be different and prizes, too! GREAT!

annie said...

How fun! I would love to see the decorations.
My camera-cell phone sure comes in handy sometimes.

Jamie Dawn said...

How exquisite! The salad sounds so delicious, and I would love to have seen the decor.

Le laquet said...

Lovely - I adore good buffalo mozzerella, yum and the spumante vinaigrette ... was it slightly sparkling? *actually salivating as I type*

Weary Hag said...

Sounds like an awesome evening! I've never had quail... does it taste like chicken? (hehe)

Angie said...

I am also one of those people who could absolutely kick myself when I don't bring a camera and know I really should have!

I am not a big fan of the brown and blue fad of the moment.

I like quail but much prefer dove.