Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who's Hungry?

At Coastal Gourmet, the most important things to us is the quality and presentation of our food; along with, of course the overall taste! We pride ourselves in using only the freshest ingredients and gourmet food. It is for this reason that we love doing bridal tastings for our clients (who doesn't like an excuse to show off?!) While the summer might seem far away, it is this time of year that all of the details are starting to fall into place for our 2011 summer brides- beginning with wedding menu tastings.
While we host many private tastings for our brides and grooms, we all look forward to our annual bridal tasting every winter. We are holding our annual group bridal tasting event this coming weeekend and couldn't be more excited about it! It's a day where our brides & grooms get to meet each other in a casual setting, fill up on fabulous food, and share their ideas with eachother about their upcoming weddings.
Whether you are attending a group bridal tasting, or a private one, there are a couple of things to take into consideration when attending one:

This is something you might not think of doing, but keep in mind that almost anything tastes good when you are hungry. Remember that the purpose of a wedding tasting is to get a small sample of the dishes to be served at your wedding. Try not to fill up on one dish, so you can save room to sample others. A couple of bites is enough to determine whether or not you like the taste.

The main objective at a wedding tasting is to ensure that you like what is being offered at your wedding. However, I'm sure there are items that you know that you already like, so why not try something that you are unsure of? We might make the best mashed potatoes, but most people know what mashed potatoes taste like already, so why not try our parmesan herb risotto cakes?
A great thing about Coastal Gourmet is that you can always go into one of our Mystic Markets or restaurants and try something on your own. Order the mashed potatoes with your next steak dinner at Latitude 41, and try our parmesan herb risotto cakes at your tasting! Which takes me to my next point...

You don't have to choose anything that you and your fiance don't care for, but be flexible enough to consider a dish that you might not have initially chosen. A menu item that you wouldn't usually consider might be prepared in a new way that appeals to you, and could just turn out to be your new favorite meal!

It's fun to bring your parents or your future in-laws, but don't bring a large group of friends to your tasting. While you want everyone to enjoy the ultimate wedding celebration, the day really belongs to the bride & groom. It is their tastes that truly matters, and with so many opinions at the table, it's sometimes diffuclt to get a clear idea of what the bride & groom actually like and want for their wedding. Treat the tasting like a date night out for you and your fiance, where you can relax and try fabulous food without the pressures of other people being there.

Don't be afraid to speak with your catering sales coordinator to discuss about what menu items work best within your budget. Lobster tails and filet mignon might have been in the wedding of your dreams, but your prefrences might not match your wallet. You event coordinator will be able to suggest delicious alternatives to some higher priced items that will fit perfectly with your budget. We can also suggest different styles of service, or possibly serving fewer courses for a less expensive menu.

Bring a notepad to the tasting. Take notes on how the food not only looks and tastes, but it's overall presentation. You can use this information to discuss items of interest with your event coordinator at your menu & detail meeting.

Make sure to check back for a recap of our group bridal tasting that we are holding this weekend!
Photography Credits:
Scallops & Tuna Hors'd: Maggie Conley Photography
Scallops Entree: Orchard Cove Photography
Salmon & Filet Entree: Seth Jacobson Photography

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simple Elegance: Brittany and Phil's Wedding!

Brittany and Phil hosted their Wedding Reception at the Mystic Arts Center, in downtown Mystic on a beautiful September evening. Their simple, elegant taste was reflected in their decor and the little details, like the beautiful silk flowers Brittany wore in her hair.

The menu was very important to Brittany and Phil - they chose a variety of hors d'oeuvres for cocktail hour, a plated meal service and assorted desserts!

A sampling of their menu...

Honey Mustard Glazed Stonington Sea Scallops, Wrapped in Crispy Bacon
Harissa and Honey Grilled Shrimp with Lime Creme Fraiche
Spicy Chicken Quesadillas with Avocado Cream
Brown Sugar Seared Figs, Roaring Forties Bleu and Balsamic Syrup
Warm Goat Cheese Crostini, Roasted Tomato Confit

Crab and Butternut Bisque

Surf 'n' Turf Entree
Petite Filet Mignon with Mystic Market's Signature Baked Crab Cake with Mango Chipotle Aioli
Creamy Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Haricot Vert

Assorted Miniature Cupcakes

Check out some tips from the experts on how to replicate the color palate and design inspirations from Brittany and Phil's Wedding on on the
K.I.S.S. Wedding Blog!

A Note From the Bride:

"Coastal Gourmet did so much more than the catering. They really know what they are doing and can provide you with helpful information and suggestions. The food was fabulous - everyone raved about it. We were so pleased with Coastal Gourmet- they made putting together a wedding so easy for us - we would highly recommend them!"
For the full review, visit Wedding Wire!

Mystic Arts Center
Coastal Gourmet
Wedding Coordinator: Keri Gannon
Day Of Coordinator: Alyson Devaney
Tony Spinelli Photography
Florist: Thames River Greenery
Entertainment: Atmosphere Productions

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spotlight: Emily and Pat's Wedding

Emily and Pat were two of my favorite clients in 2010; they are one of those couples that remind me of why I am so passionate about what I do. When I meet a couple like Emily and Pat, it melts my heart - you can feel how deep their love is every time you see them look at one another. I first met these love birds at our sales office at Stonington Meadows, along with both sets of parents. You couldn't ask for a better group of people to plan a wedding with - they are all so genuine and fun-loving, and I knew right away that they would be a blast to work with. We spent most of the meeting laughing at Emily's father's jokes, and talking about good food, wine, and Emily and Pat's vision for their wedding at Saltwater Farm Vineyard.

Planning a wedding can be very stressful for all parties involved, especially the bride, and it is very easy to get caught up in all of the craziness; Emily was definitely one of the calmest brides I had ever met, even when she found out that Hurricane Earl would strike on her wedding day! Most would be frantic, trying to figure out how to stop the storm from coming, or where to buy giant golf umbrellas in bulk. Emily sat in my office and just laughed and shrugged...what could you do?

Well, Hurricane Earl did arrive on that Friday afternoon - in the form of a sprinkling rain - nothing compared to the forecast that was originally predicted! Emily and Pat's wedding day came together without a hitch, and they even got to take some amazing pictures outside! Pat and his groomsmen even embraced the storm, kicking off their shoes and having fun in the vines for their pre-wedding photo shoot!

Emily and Pat really wanted an elegant but fun and comfortable reception. They chose foods that their guests would recognize, but added a gourmet twist. Their Family Style Dinner Service allowed their family and friends to interact at their tables and enjoy a variety of dishes. See their menu below!

For the Cocktail Hour...

Coastline Seafood Raw Bar with a Seafaring Display of Colossal Shrimp, Freshly Shucked Little Necks and Oysters over a Bed of Ice, with Spicy Cocktail Sauce, Orange Mignonette, Habanero Sauce, Fresh Lemon

Butlered Hors d'Oeuvres
Coastal Gourmet's Signature Beef Sliders
Tuscan Chicken Bundles with Roasted Tomato Cream
Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna on a Won Ton Crisp with Wasabi Aioli and Micro Greens
Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Plum Sauce
Crab and Butternut Bisque Sippers

Family Style Dinner Service...

Fresh Salad of Baby Lettuces, Crumbled Chevre, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds, Drizzled with Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette
Hearth Baked Breads and Sweet Whipped Butter, Pink Sea Salt

Citrus and Ginger Poached Atlantic Salmon with Lime Creme Fraiche
Sliced Tenderloin of Beef with Port and Roasted Shallot Demi-Glace
Steamed Haricot Vert with Carmelized Shallots and Blistered Pear Tomatoes
Oven Roasted Trio of Yukon Gold, Red Bliss and Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Endings...

Three Tiered Traditional Wedding Cake with Layers of Vanilla and Chocolate Genoise, filled and covered with Vanilla Buttercream
Roasted Marshmallows, Graham Crackers and Assorted Hershey's Miniature Chocolates

Wedding Coordinator: Keri Gannon
The Flower District
Carla Ten Eyck (check out more photos!)
Jim Altieri's Vintage Cinema (watch a quick video!)
Bales & Gitlin Music

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stonington Vineyards Promotion

Book Your 2011 Event at Stonington Vineyards by March 31, 2011 and receive up to $7,800 in savings!

Click Here for More Information about our Promotion and Participating Vendors!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whoever Is Praying for Snow... Please Stop

I don't know about you, but all this snow, ice & rain has gotten me down. My bad mood came to a head this morning. I don't know if it was scraping ice off from my car while simultaneously trying not to break the window; or if it was being pelted in the face by freezing rain as I did it. It could have been the huge chunk of ice that fell into my boot and started to melt, wetting my sock (which didn't fully dry until mid-day, might I add). It might just have been the fact that I spent 30 minutes "de-icing" the car, only to find that once I was actually in the car, I hadn't gotten it all off my windshield wipers and I had to sit hunched over, barely eye level with the steering wheel, just to see out the front window.

As I drove to work, I realized I needed a serious attitude adjustment. Well, what better way to kick the winter blues but with food?! I did some research and came up with the best winter foods to fight my way through to Spring:

Pomegranate seeds are high in polyphenols, plant chemicals that fight inflamation. Mix the seeds with some oatmeal for more flavor & crunch.

You might be able to catch some potato-leek soup at Mystic Market on some days.
You can also finely slice leeks and add them to omelets, salads & rice.

Remove the outer layer of the leaves, trim the stems & toss with olive oil & sea salt.
Roast at 425 degrees until nicely browned

One kiwi contains 100 miligrams of immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Add kiwi slices to a spinach salad.

Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A & C, as well as being a good source for vitamin B-6, fiber, copper & potassium.
Bake un-peeled at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
According to Punxsatawney Phil, "Spring is right around the corner"...
Here's hoping we round that corner quickly.
*Healthy Foods from Men's Health