Three cheers for the winning caterer!!!
We’ve chosen Berghoff—a candidate we almost overlooked because we assumed they were all about beer and brats (although, as you can see from the menu, they go far beyond that). Thanks to an event at our gorgeous venue, we were able to sample a few of the preferred caterers—including Berghoff. We also came to find out that one of Dave’s former high school classmates worked there—Kelly’s thoughtful and detailed proposal reinforced my warm and fuzzy feelings about Berghoff. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning …
Tasting #1: Calihan Catering
The appetizers were pretty good overall. Standouts: butternut squash pizza, artichoke puff, brie and pear quesadilla, and the shrimp in a cracker cup. Nicole, the sales rep we met with couldn’t have been nicer and the service was great.
Each of the three caterers interpreted our theme differently: two buffet stations (long, drawn-out seated dinner is not our style), one Italian, one Latin/Mexican/Southwestern. The main courses were OK, but I didn’t see any cohesion, and the proposed menu was pretty minimal. In the end, the food just wasn’t “us.”
The jibarito (bottom row, middle) was really good, but it was more of an appetizer than an entree.
Tasting #2: Food For Thought
Food For Thought was great. Delicious food, great service and lots of nice, sweet personal touches. They were also extremely professional and seemed to really know what they were doing. Our sales rep Linda was great—a seasoned veteran of the catering biz. The beef beignet (first row, second from left), brie and pear quesadilla (yes, another one), crispy ravioli (first row, far right) and falafel skewer were my favorites of the hor dourves.
The pastas were really, really great—especially the wheat mushroom ravioli with cream sauce. YUM. I felt like I was at an upscale Italian restaurant. The stuffed pasta bar was great too. The Mexican portion of the meal was good, but again, the items seemed better suited as hor dourves. Mini ice cream cones and macarons were a sweet end to the meal. I knew Berghoff was going to have a hard time topping this …
Tasting #3: Berghoff
Berghoff started of on a very promising note: a Berghoff beer flight, house root beer and not one, but two Better-With-Butter-featured specialty cocktails (the Blushing Bride and the Green City Gimlet):
We loved everything (except that grape/cheese/nut ball in the bottom right corner—hey, you can’t win em all). As you can see, we’re going for the “gourmet comfort food” vibe: mac and cheese, grilled cheese, mini baked potatoes, paella bites, crab cakes—the stuff people stand outside the kitchen door and stalk the cocktail servers for. Kelly assured us they would pace the hor dourve service to avoid a feeding frenzy.
Then the buffets …
There’s something to be said for do-it-yourself “Food-Name-Here” bars. Pasta and salad bars? Pretty great. Tamale and a risotto bars??? That’s taking things to a whole ‘nother level. And this did. Tender carnitas, perfectly cooked flank steak and shredded chicken in red sauce on top of soft, moist tamale cakes or taco bowls with all the fixins, including an out-of-this-world avocado and black bean salad. YUM. Ooey, Gooey risotto with bacon, mushrooms, peas, asparagus and tomatoes; crispy, surprisingly delicate parmesan chicken; caesar salad; and Italian-style breads (including a phenomenal potato focaccia). DOUBLE YUM.
And as if we weren’t about to explode, cake tasting was next (a huge plus for Berghoff—their in-house pastry chef is great and can do just about anything. Not having to choose a baker: Just one more thing I can cross of the list).
So many amazing flavors and fillings, why choose? So we didn’t. Mini cupcakes for everyone!
So thanks Kelly and Berghoff—we are beyond thrilled to have you as our caterer!