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What’s on Your Plate for 2017?

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2017 Chicago Food Trends

Chicago is known for its superb culinary scene, boasting top-notch restaurants, caterers, and chefs. This city is comprised of many innovative and creative leaders in the food industry who set new culinary trends.

Let’s take a look at some of the exciting culinary trends that we can expect to see in Chicago this year.

  1. Restaurant Gardens

Fresh ingredients are in high demand and that demand will only continue to increase. For this reason, some restaurants in Chicago have their own vegetable and herb gardens so they can easily and efficiently use only the freshest ingredients in their dishes. Choose Chicago lists some of the local restaurants that have embraced the farm-to-table trend.

  1. Breakfast Gets a Texture Overhaul

In 2017, breakfast foods with a different texture than the traditional ones are expected to become menu staples for this important meal. These new items won’t have the “smooth” texture like eggs and cooked cereal, but a crunchier one, with items like fried chicken and crispy chorizo appearing on breakfast menus. Our restaurant in the Loop, tesori trattoria & bar, is debuting its new brunch menu on Saturday, February 25. Check out their crispy Chicken Milanese with poached egg, fontina fonduta, arugula, and a touch of lemon.

  1. Beer Cocktails

Several restaurants throughout Chicago are mixing popular beers with hard liquor to create some unique and delicious beer cocktails. These are the perfect beverages for when you’re in the mood for some brew with a lively twist!

  1. Goat Dishes

Yes, you read that correctly. According to Food Business News, goat may be the next big protein in restaurants across the United States. Goat is leaner than most meats – including chicken. Chicago’s own Girl and the Goat serves up a few goat dishes, including Goat Carpaccio, Goat Empanadas, and Goat Ribs.

  1. Gluten-Free Menus

With more and more people adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, restaurants have realized the importance of offering customers gluten-free options. Of course, Chicago restaurants take gluten-free to the next level and ensure that these dishes are packed with flavor, keeping their customers coming back for more.

The latest restaurant trends are also popping up in the catering scene. If you’re looking for catering in Chicago for your next corporate or social event, we’d love to show you how we can harness the flavors of your favorite Chicago restaurant dishes at your next gathering Contact us today so we can help bring your catering vision to life.

Make One of Your Favorite President’s Go-To Dishes

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President's Day Meals

With President’s Day coming up, many of us will have a nice, long weekend to spend with family and friends. Why not have some fun and celebrate by making a go-to dish of one of your favorite presidents?

To inspire you, we’ve gathered some interesting information about the favorite foods of some of our past presidents.

  •      President William Howard Taft Feasted on a huge breakfast every day that usually consisted of a twelve-ounce steak, two oranges, and a lot of buttered toast.

  •      President John F. Kennedy – Kennedy just about always had soup for lunch, with chowder being a favorite since it was tied to his New England background. Try this recipe for Bay Scallop Chowder.

  •      President Ronald Reagan – Known for his love of desserts and high-calorie American fare, Reagan enjoyed dining on steak, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate mousse (when his wife was out of town!). Cook up some mac and cheese, grill some steak, or make monkey bread, which is a Reagan family tradition. This Chai Spiced Monkey Bread recipe is especially yummy at this time of year.

  •      President Theodore Roosevelt – Fried chicken. But not just any fried chicken. It had to be served with white gravy soaked into the meat. Check out this Chicken Fried Steak with Sage Gravy
 recipe.

  •      President Thomas Jefferson – Waffles. Not the frozen kind that you throw in the toaster, of course. After trying waffles for the first time while in Holland, he was hooked and even bought a waffle iron! You’ll need to get out your waffle maker and try Aretha Frankenstein’s Waffles of Insane Greatness.

  •      President George W. Bush – Huevos Rancheros were his choice for a post-church lunch on most Sundays.

  •      President Barack Obama – Chili. This is definitely a great dish for this time of year. Try this recipe for Just Good Chili.

  •      President Richard Nixon – He loved his wife’s meatloaf and it was on the family dinner menu about once a month.

If your favorite president’s dish doesn’t appeal to you, then try another one that is more suitable to your tastes. Just have some fun in the kitchen and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Need party catering in Chicago for an upcoming event? Contact us to discuss your event and we’ll be happy to help!

Inside Our New Home, Larkin Hall

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Larkin Hall

More than 30 years ago, we opened up shop on the second floor of a coach house in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. Today, we are happy to call Larkin Hall our home. Our newly constructed, 80,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in the West Loop features expanded production, logistics and administrative spaces, as well as various onsite venues for meetings, events and celebrations.

 

Over the years, we’ve catered some of Chicago’s most special occasions, and now we’re honored to host you in our new home. The urban decor with warm wood finishes provide an easily transformable backdrop for any event, whether understated or glamorous. We invite you to come explore these new venue spaces.

Larkin Hall Tasting Room 2 Larkin Hall Tasting Room

Tasting Kitchen + 3 Tasting Rooms

Our fully equipped tasting kitchen is the perfect place to gather for a chef demonstration, intimate celebration, or corporate team-building experience. One, two or all three of the adjacent tasting rooms can be converted into breakout rooms, bars, specialty buffets or seated dinner areas. It’s a flexible space that our Culinary, Sales and Operations staff can convert to meet your needs.

Larkin Hall Bar Larkin Hall Bar

Bar + Event Space with Open-Air Patio

The built-in bar and event space can accommodate up to 60 guests for a seated dinner and as many as 100 for cocktails. Choose your favorite microbrew to serve on tap or treat guests to a creative, handcrafted cocktail. Combine all of the above event spaces for a unique mix-and-mingle experience where guests can explore different rooms and spaces to uncover a variety of featured bites, dishes, sweets and spirits.

Conference + Training Center

We’re ready to host your next meeting in our conference and training center. From AV to catered meals, we’ll help ensure your team has all the right tools to take planning and strategizing to the next level. The nearby tasting rooms double as breakout spaces. When your discussions have concluded, why not host a cocktail hour at the bar to celebrate the day’s work or an important milestone?

 

Commissary

The northwest side of Larkin Hall features a commissary with full picture windows and retractable glass doors. The bright room is the perfect spot to inspire productive meetings and brainstorming sessions. The space is flexible and can be arranged to accommodate the group’s needs, from 100 seated to 200 standing.

 

Future Venue: Wine Cellar

While still in the planning and design stage, ideas for the cellar include a large, built-in bar and a series of private dining rooms, each holding 20-30 guests. Collapsible walls accommodate larger groups in the private dining area. The space features a temperature-controlled wine collection with more than 6,000 bottles, viewable behind a glass wall.

 

Future Venue: Rooftop

Also in the planning and design stage, the rooftop venue on the third floor of Larkin Hall will be enclosed in glass on the south and east sides to preserve views of the city skyline. The outdoor space will include a landscaped patio area and green space perfect for any corporate or wedding event.
Situated at the western entrance to the Fulton Market corridor, Larkin Hall is located in one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Chicago and close to corporate offices, schools, airports, highways, stadiums and is minutes from downtown. Contact us to schedule a visit and start planning your next meeting or celebration!

Should You Get Married on the Most Romantic Day of the Year?

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Valentines Day Wedding

If you’re recently engaged, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, you’re most likely trying to nail down the date for this extremely special day in your life.

As a wedding caterer, we’ve seen how popular the 14th of February is for both proposals and weddings. And we’re curious – is Valentine’s Day an option for your wedding day, or would you never even consider it?

Whichever side you’re currently on in the Valentine’s Day wedding debate, we’ve listed some pros and cons that come with tying the knot on the most romantic day of the year.

Reasons to Get Married on Valentine’s Day (Pros)

  1. Memorable Anniversary Date

It will be ridiculously easy for you and your significant other to always remember your anniversary! It is also the perfect anniversary date for hopeless romantics.

 

  1. Fun Theme Ideas

Don’t settle for generic Valentine’s Day themes such as hearts and cupid. Go with a theme centered around colors – think pink, red, blush, gold, ivory, and champagne colors. These colors are beautiful and would be stunning for a Valentine’s Day themed wedding. Try incorporating these colors in florals and decor, bridesmaid dresses, and groomsman ties and pocket squares.

 

  1. Pretty- and Easy-to-Find Decoration Options

Whichever theme you choose, you’re sure to find a bunch of wonderful décor items for Valentine’s Day in brick-and-mortar and online stores that will work perfectly for your reception decorations, as well as favors. Try keeping it simple by incorporating twinkle lights, floating tea candles, and blush florals.

 

Reasons to Avoid a Valentine’s Day Wedding (Cons)

  1.  Sharing Your Wedding Anniversary

Your wedding anniversary will be shared with everyone else celebrating their love on that day. And because of this, you may not be able to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant – and if you do, it will likely be packed. If the restaurant has seatings at different times, you may not be able to enjoy lingering over your meal.

 

  1.  Needing to Book Way in Advance

Typically, you’ll have to book your wedding venue even further in advance than usual since this holiday is such a popular day for weddings. People often need to book up to two years (or more!) in advance to ensure their wedding date is secured for this day. Yikes!

 

  1. More Expensive Flowers

The cost of flowers for your wedding day will likely be much more expensive than if you had a wedding on a different day. Floral prices are usually higher during this time of year to begin with. This means the prices of your wedding flowers will be inflated as well – and the price difference adds up quickly!

So did this pros and cons list change your opinion, or did it confirm your initial feelings on this subject?

Whether or not you plan to get married on Valentine’s Day,, we’d love to share our catering ideas with you for your special day! Learn more about our wedding catering services and contact us to discuss your wedding details.

Tips for Designing a Successful Corporate Wellness Program

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Corporate Wellness Program

At the beginning of a new year, many individuals are hoping to create a healthier lifestyle by making resolutions to eat better and exercise regularly. Unfortunately, most people give up on these resolutions almost as soon as they get started working on them. But corporate wellness programs, especially those with an emphasis on healthy eating, can serve to help employees stick to their resolutions and make the long-term positive lifestyle changes they desire.

Benefits of Corporate Food Wellness Programs 

Healthy eating initiatives, when coupled with an active lifestyle, have been shown to lead to lessened stress, elevated moods, and reduced risk of heart disease for employees. Food wellness programs at work help employees achieve their personal goals, and can also have a positive impact on employee productivity. These factors, in addition to the cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation of these types of initiatives, make corporate wellness programs beneficial to both employers and employees.

Tips for Designing a Corporate Wellness Program

Below are a few top initiatives that are recommended when designing a corporate wellness program that has healthy eating as the main focus:

  • Organize regular “lunch-n-learn” programs, having speakers come in to discuss topics such as healthy eating habits at work.
  • Provide employees with healthy eating materials and information. For example, the American Heart Association offers a free downloadable Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit. This particular toolkit is full of useful information, including ideas for incorporating healthy food practices into corporate wellness programs.
  • Contact your vendor to substitute unhealthy vending machine items for ones that are lower in sodium and are made with natural sweeteners.
  • Instead of providing pastries and other baked items at meetings, offer more nutritious options like salads, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Encourage a reasonable lunch break so that employees don’t have to rush to eat their lunch. By having more time, employees will be more relaxed and can be more mindful about their lunch selections – they will also have time to actually taste and enjoy their food!

Additional Tips for a Successful Corporate Wellness Program

Below are two best practices that were identified in corporate wellness programs that tended to produce the results desired by both employees and employers.

  1. Practical and Accessible Programs

Successful wellness initiatives are comprehensive, offering a wide variety of practical and easily accessible programs to employees. Some examples include on-site yoga classes, healthy cooking classes, and stress management seminars. 

  1. Health-Conscious Work Environment

Offices with wellness programs that offer healthy vending machine and cafeteria options, as well as make nutritious foods available at meetings, are frequently on the top of the list as being environments that encourage healthy behaviors on a day-to-day basis. These simple measures display that the company values healthy eating and seeks to help employees become more health-conscious overall.

In addition to the information above, read this article at B.Komplete if you want tips for selecting the best corporate wellness program for your company.