Last Saturday night we held a very fancy communal dinner that fell under the category of "Dinner Impossible" and we are still traumatized by it! Don't get me wrong -- it was picture perfect in every respect and I do believe that our guests were well fed and enjoyed themselves tremendously. But here's the behind the scenes scoop.
Since this was our first event covered by the press we had no idea how many guests we'd be serving until the press hit and ticket sales closed. We were interviewed early in the week and then we waited for the press to hit. Daily Candy blasted us first on Thursday in their Weekend Edition. About 300 emails came in requesting more information in uder an hour. Next LA Times' Daily Dish hit around 1:30 and we got more emails. NBC FEAST closed out the day and our ticket sales were still open. We found out on Friday that EasterLA was also posting about us so we held the door open for last minute sales. At 10pm on Friday night we had the maximum number of people we could sit at ourr communal table which was 24. And it was supposed to rain. And we couldn't move the table inside under any cirucumstances. So we called the party rentals only to find out that a well lit and heated tent would cost us $1,500.00. We wanted to cry. And we wanted to quit. Instead we drank some wine and implored the great universe to please quash the rain.
Saturday morning we awoke to the most gorgeous morning... sunny with big white fluffy clouds floating lazily overhead. Okay one for the team. Now we had to shop and prep for a nine-course dinner for 24 that would commence at 8pm that night. Our relief was short-lived. We jumped into action. Called the party rentals, told them what we needed and hit the stores. We had also lost our sommelier earlier in the week and realized as we were selecting wines that we had no one to pour or present the beautiful grapes. And then a tall, handsome stranger offered me a box to hold the bottles I was juggling. His name is Bryon Holley and he happens to affiliated with the number one wine importer of the year (a company thoroughly explained below). When we found out who Bryon is and what he does for a living we tackled him and asked him to please come to our party and pour. He was and is a superstar. He showed up, uncorked the wines and got the party started by pouring a very inexpensive sparkling wine that beat out Dom Perignon in a blind taste test. This wine was purchased at Trader Joe's in another flukey twist of fate that had me shouting the story out loud to Steven who was waiting on me and everyone else within ear shot. That makes three big fat blessings in a row. But we still had to cook.
And we did. And then we packed up the truck to take everything over to our venue where our gorgeous communal table awaited. The last thing in tow was a bubbling pot of Michelle's seafood brodetto which of course burned us both. So we hit the road and once we arrived at the site our lovely sous chefs, friends and servers awaited. Must give the biggest shout out to Carl Montgomery, friend, fellow foodie, tennis mate and extraordinary amateur chef who left his family in the Palisades to work in the kitchen with us for the mere pleasure of participating in our psychotic work load. We could not have made the night such a success without him. Kevin Winston, sous chef and upcoming Le Cordon Bleu graduate, we adore you. Maki Metzger, total kamikaze in the kitchen. She gets it done. Amanda and Patrick we want to work with you from hereon out. And of course, we thank all of our beautiful guests for their patience, support and great vibes throughout the evening. Flowers were by Mae Appel and captured a little bit of Tuscany in the arrangements of heirloom Hydrangea, Scarlet Dahlias and Antique Roses. Divine desserts by Daniel Shapiro at Modern Bite. And photography by Christina Nickerson... It takes a village right?
Our contribution was a menu that started with a vichysoisse amuse served over crispy leek and crowned with a parmesan crisp. Next we served zucchini di fiori stuffed with honeyed goat cheese served with pumpkin jam. Followed by a petite beggar's purse stuffed with creamy sherried crab and tied with a chive. Gargenelli sauced with pureed peas and tarragon was followed by palate cleanser of pineapple sorbet. Main course consisted of cabernet braised short ribs served over silky gorgonzola polenta or the seafood brodetto with garlic aioli topped crostini. And we didn't stop there. We proceeded to an opulent cheese course: Comte', Manchego, Delice de Bourgogne, Morbier and Blue d'Auvergne. Followed by Chocolote Mocha tortes and pumkin profiterolles. Cognac and port were served and then it was over. The complete list of wines we served follows Bryon's company information.
My goodness. Now we're on to the next one. Wish us luck.
Lisa & Michelle
TGIC Importers, Inc. began 25 years ago as a wine import company with only a single Chilean winery in our portfolio. While our beginnings were small, our dreams were big and today our portfolio has grown to include the finest wineries, representing the best winemakers in the world today.
TGIC was founded with the singular focus to bring the best wines of the world to its customers. Our mission is to establish ourselves as a leading international producer, importer and marketer of the finest wines of the world with a rich and diverse portfolio. Through our strong commitments to our suppliers, wholesalers, accounts and consumers, we achieve this through establishing long-lasting relationships and alliances with the best winemakers and distributorships in the world.
Today, we are proud to represent 18 wineries from around the world as a national importer. We also offer a large selection of select imported and domestic wines for wholesale in the state of California. It is our pleasure to introduce to you the exceptional wines of the TGIC portfolio.
*Wine Enthusiast announced the 2010 Wine Star Award winners and TGIC Importers has been chosen as Importer of the Year.*
**Bryon Holley is a WSET Certified Wine Specialist and continues his education in the world of wine and spirits. His goal is to have a diploma in wine and is working to become a Sommelier. He works for TGIC Importers as a Chain Sales / Merchandising Representative for the Southern California Market.**
Wines from the Dinner Event.
1) Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
2) Montes Alpha Syrah 2007
3) Norton Reserve Malbec 2007
4) Opolo Summit Zinfandel 2007
5) Nugan Chardonnay 2008
6) Villa Maria Cellar Select Sauvignon Blanc 2010
7) Conundrum White Table Wine 2008
8) Chateau Ste Michelle / Domain Ste Michelle Brut Sparkling