Ah, an elegant dinner party. The flowers, candles, and music. A beautifully set table. Wonderful Food, drink, and camaraderie. What’s not to love?
Well, if you’re the host, there’s those annoying little details like planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and serving. And worst of all, facing that mountain of dirty pots, pans, dishes, glasses, and silverware after the happy and satisfied guests have departed.
Cynthia and I chose a different option this holiday season, hiring Grits Catering to prepare the food for our party of six. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Jennifer Martin’s meals and hoped a catered dinner would allow us to better relax and enjoy the evening with our friends.
We assumed our order would be brought here in the same fashion as her lunches and dinners (although we wondered how the delivery guy was going to transport five courses for that many people on his motorcycle), and that we’d unpack and transfer each course to the proper serving dish.
So we were surprised when Jennifer called us to schedule the time when she would arrive. “You’re coming??” I asked. “Of course,” she replied. “I’ll be cooking the entree in your kitchen.” Cool!
Cynthia takes great pleasure in setting a lovely table and I think you’ll agree she does a fab job. Then all we had to do was wait for everyone to show up.
Jennifer got here with the food and her assistant Jennie (another surprise!) shortly before our guests arrived. When all were present I served libations and in no time a yummy appetizer platter of baked brie topped with caramelized onions and a jalapeño sauce was brought out.
Me serving that initial round and Cynthia refreshing wine and water glasses the rest of the evening turned out to be the total extent of our involvement. Shortly afterwards we were summoned to the dining room table for creamy cauliflower soup garnished with fried shallots,
followed by mixed greens tossed with Champagne-poached pears, candied walnuts, goat cheese and a honey-Dijon vinaigrette.
It was like our home had been transformed into a restaurant! While Jennie served each course Jennifer explained what we were about to eat. When we were done the dishes and silverware were quietly cleared. Our entree was Beef Wellington encased in flaky puff pastry served with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, roasted tomato and mashed potato puffs with ricotta cheese. Does this look delicious? It was!
After all the scrumptious food no one was ready for dessert--dark chocolate cake with red wine glaze--so Jennifer plated our final course for later and got ready to leave. When we went to say goodbye we got the biggest surprise of all--they had washed, dried, and put away every single thing. Our kitchen was spotless. WHAT?!?!?
For those of you who have hosted a party like this on your own, you know it’s fun but also stressful and exhausting. Or maybe you’ve never taken the leap because the whole thing just seems too daunting.
Trust me, this is the way to go. We all had a great time and wonderful meal, plus Cynthia and I got to visit with our guests the entire evening without distraction. Once everyone had departed we sat with a nightcap marveling that the occasion had been so enjoyable and effortless.
And considering that all the time-consuming and energy-draining aspects associated with hosting such an event were totally eliminated, we concluded having such an upscale dining experience in the comfort of our own home was actually a tremendous value.
Thank you, Jennifer Martin and Grits Catering, for a memorable event. We highly recommend you to everyone in Cuenca!