Let's Have a Fiesta

Written by Thursday, 21 April 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | April 21, 2016
A Pretty Pink Pinata

Photo Courtesy of Wild Whim Design
A Mexican fiesta theme is a perfect excuse to invite a bright colors to your event! Mix different colors and textures with large floral arrangements and potted cacti for a fun and unexpected tablescape. We love these cacti in the glass vases to protect from accidental prickly pokes! 
Mexican blankets provide an exotic table runner and mini pinatas add a touch of whimsy without being cliche.


Authentic Mexican Food

Photo Courtesy of Lesley Tellez


An authentic Mexican fiesta should include authentic dishes. According to Lesley Tellez Mexico regional cuisine is as diverse as it is in America. 


3 pounds skinless chicken legs, thighs, and breasts, fat trimmed
1 pound chicken backs, fat trimmed
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 dried Mexican bay leaf
5 peppercorns
1 medium onion, quartered
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 large serrano chiles
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lard or canola oil
24 corn tortillas
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups Mexican crema (or sour cream)
1 cup mild, shredded cheese, such as Monterrey Jack or Colby

At least 2 hours before you'd like to eat, place the chicken, 1 garlic clove, the bay leaf, peppercorns and a quarter of the onion in a large stockpot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken legs, thighs and breasts with tongs or a slotted spoon and let cool. Discard the chicken backs and strain the stock; set aside.
Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Set aside.
Place the tomatillos in a large saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and 2 quarters of the onion. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat until the tomatillos turn pea green and soften, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. (Vegetarians can reserve the cooking water, turn up the flame, and reduce for 15 to 20 minutes, to use in lieu of chicken stock, if they choose.)
Stem the chiles and chop roughly with the cooked garlic. Add to a blender jar with half of the tomatillo mixture, and 1/2 cup of the strained chicken stock. (If you have a high-powered blender, toss all the ingredients in at once.) Blend until smooth. Add the remaining tomatillo-onion mixture and 1 teaspoon salt, and blend again until smooth.
Warm 1 tablespoon lard in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the sauce in one quick pour, being careful as it might splatter. Cook until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.
Heat 2 teaspoons lard in a small skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom. Fry the tortillas lightly, one at a time, until slightly tougher but still pliable, about 30 seconds per side. (They shouldn't be crisp.) As you work, remove the fried tortillas to serving plates-I like to serve 4 tortillas per person. Fold the tortillas in a half-moon shape and make sure they sit in an even layer on each plate.
Dice the remaining quarter of onion. Ladle 3/4 cup sauce over over each serving of tortillas, spreading slightly so the tortillas are entirely smothered in sauce. Add a layer of diced onion and cilantro, a layer of shredded cheese, a layer of chicken, some crema and another layer of sauce. Top with another light sprinkling of diced onion.

Cooks' Note
I recommend making your own light stock here, using the water in which you've cooked the chicken. If you can find a hen, which Mexican cooks consider to be the most flavorful stock base, use that. If you're vegetarian, this dish can still be pretty wonderful, especially if you use homemade vegetable stock.
The Other Agave Drink

Photo Courtesy of  Elana Lepkowski
Mezcal is the hottest flavor out of Mexico, which like tequila, comes from the agave plant. Unlike tequila, mezcal must be at least 80% agave (tequila weighs in at 51%.) We like the fizzy and bright fruity flavors in this drink.


1 ounce mezcal, such as Del Maguey Vida

3/4 ounce Aperol

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon

2 to 3 dashes of either Angostura or chocolate bitters, such as Scrappy's

3 ounces club soda

Lemon peel, for garnish



Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add mezcal, Aperol, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice. Add club soda to glass and strain cocktail on top. Garnish with lemon peel.

Events in Full Circle

Photo Courtesy of Yahoo
Google's YouTube's latest push into virtual reality will allow viewers to experience live events with 360 degree videos. 
The 360 and virtual reality will come into play more and more over the next few years as companies continue to develop the 360 filming technology, 
soon to be on cell phones. 
For now, events can live stream and push 360 videos to YouTube allowing more people to participate even if they cannot attend the event. 


Earth Day Every Day

Written by Thursday, 14 April 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | April 14, 2016
A Toast to the Earth

Photo Courtesy of Shadow PR
Do more good for the earth by serving cocktails that are not only from nature's bounty, but are also made with "do good" products like One Hope, where half the profits go to Save Our Planet or End Childhood Hunger.
White Peach Sangria


1 bottle ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc (half of the profits go to Save Our Planet)

1 bottle ONEHOPE sparkling wine (half of the profits go to End Childhood Hunger)

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

1 cup Raspberries

Lime Slices from 1/2 lime

Orange slices (1/2 large navel orange)

2 Ripe peaches (cut into wedges)

2 Apples (seeded and cut into slices)

Orange juice (from 2nd half of large navel orange or ~1/4 cup)



Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a sangria bar carafe and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Fill glasses with crushed ice and garnish with fresh orange slices, raspberries, and peaches. Top with sparkling wine before serving (if desired).



Good Food that's Good for the Planet

Photo Courtesy of Jay Weinstein


Focusing on saving mother nature this upcoming Earth Day, by serving food that is sustainable. This arctic char fish is a fast reproducing fish that's similar to Atlantic salmon in flavor and texture.

4 small red potatoes (about 3/4 lb.), sliced 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 skin-on arctic char fillets (about 5 oz. each), scaled

3 Tbs. olive oil

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 3 inches long

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

3 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

4 lemon wedges


In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the potatoes to a boil in enough salted water to cover them by 1 inch. Reduce the heat to a brisk simmer and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Drain. Set aside.
Pat the fish dry and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Arrange the fish skin side down in the pan so the fillets fit without touching. Cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook until the fish is cooked through, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to a serving platter or plates.
Add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and rosemary and cook, flipping occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, parsley, balsamic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir gently to heat. Arrange the potato mixture around the fish. Serve garnished with the lemon wedges.

Tip Courtesy of Fine Cooking


Nature's Table

Photo Courtesy of  Jason Speth
Natural elements can show up anywhere on your table. Wood chairs, flower centerpieces, and living gardens all come to mind. Incorporate natural elements into your serving dishes as well by adding flowers, twigs, and grasses into a round bowl and filled with ice make for a functional and elegant showpiece. 

Graffiti Gone

Photo Courtesy of Foto Master
Get your virtual spray cans out to paint the town. Instead of painting with real paint, guests in this Neon Photo Booth can use an LED spray can while standing in front of a dark background. The camera tracks the LED light turning it into a sprayed graffiti like effect on screen. Guests can save their artwork as a video or even choose to turn it into a flip book. Party organizers can even brand with logos and messages.


Spring Fancy

Written by Thursday, 07 April 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | April 7, 2016
Natural Nature Decor

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Curtis
Every spring as the weather warms, thoughts of outdoor events start to prevail. Outdoor gatherings can blend seamlessly with the environment by using natural décor items such as silk canopies, woven rugs and leather accents that create a comfortable natural setting without being overly "outdoorsy."

Tip Courtesy of Biz Bash

Sunshine in a Pan

Photo Courtesy of Vicky Wasik


These bars are bright and lemony, making them perfect for spring when few fruits are in season. These sweet treats would make a perfect addition to any spring time event.



For the Crust:

4 1/2 ounces (1 cup; 130g) all-purpose flour

2 ounces (1/2 cup; 60g) powdered sugar, preferably organic

1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as much by volume

1/8 ounce (1 tablespoon; 4g) freshly grated lemon zest

4 ounces (1 stick; 115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch dice


For the Custard:

3 large eggs, cold

4 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup; 135g) egg yolks, from about 8 large eggs

9 1/2 ounces (1 1/3 cups; 270g) granulated sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

1/4 ounce (1 packed tablespoon; 8g) freshly grated lemon zest

11 ounces (1 1/3 cups; 310g) lemon juice, from about 8 large lemons (see note above)


For Garnishing:

2 ounces (1/2 cup; 55g) powdered sugar (optional)

6 ounces (1 cup; 170g) Lemon Chantilly(optional)

5 ounces (1 cup; 140g) Crispy Citrus-Candied Pistachios (optional)



1. For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position, preheat oven to 350°F, and line an 8- by 8- by 2-inch anodized-aluminum baking pan with a piece of parchment paper long enough to overhang the pan's edges. Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, lemon zest, and butter in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to form a dry but pebbly meal. Scatter into the prepared baking pan, press into an even layer, and bake until pale gold and firm, about 30 minutes. Use hot or set aside until needed, up to 48 hours at room temperature if tightly covered.



2. For the Custard: Combine whole eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan, then whisk in lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly but not vigorously, until warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until thick and steaming-hot (custard should register 170°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 8 minutes. Immediately strain into the prepared crust, smooth into an even layer, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until smooth and firm, about 10 minutes. Remove foil and cool to room temperature, then re-cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 1 hour.



3. To Serve: Loosen chilled custard from sides of pan with a bench or butter knife, then carefully tug loose and lift using overhanging parchment and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 two-inch squares, rinsing the knife clean between each slice. Serve plain, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, or topped with Lemon Chantilly and Crispy Citrus-Candied Pistachios. Store up to 1 week in an airtight container.





Smoked Rum Punch

Photo Courtesy of  Elana Lepkowski
An outdoor picnic calls for a drink that's both refreshing and natural. This Smoked Rosemary Rum Punch is a smooth mix of savory woodsy flavors, with a light lemony sweet syrup.

For the Smoked-Rosemary Citrus Syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Zest from 2 medium lemons

3 ounces freshly squeezed juice from 2 medium lemons

Zest from 2 small limes

1 ounce freshly squeezed juice from 2 small limes

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary


For the Punch:

24 ounces gold rum, such as Parce 8-Year

4 ounces orgeat, such as Small Hand Foods orgeat

12 ounces smoked-rosemary citrus syrup

4 ounces overproof rum, such as Smith & Cross

4 ounces water

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

  1. For the Smoked-Rosemary Citrus Syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, water, and lemon and lime zest and juices. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to just under a boil, then remove from heat and cover. Meanwhile, hold rosemary over an open flame using heatproof tongs, turning continually, until it begins to smoke. As soon as it starts to smoke, uncover syrup and place rosemary in saucepan. Cover again and let steep 30 minutes. Strain solids out and reserve syrup for the punch in an airtight container. The syrup will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator, but flavors will be best if used within 2 days.
  2. For the Punch: In a punch bowl, combine gold rum, orgeat, smoked-rosemary citrus syrup, overproof rum, and water. Stir to combine and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight. To serve, add a large ice cube to the punch bowl. Ladle about 3 ounces into a punch glass and grate fresh cinnamon on top. Serve.

Perfectly Practical

Photo Courtesy of Laura Decarlo
Deciding on event swag can be practical. These Gifts for the Good Life "miracle worker kits" contain gifts that are simple in design but practical and useful. Think "first-aid" for event related emergencies like a blister, a nail file, and more.


The Artist's Palette of Events

Written by Thursday, 31 March 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | March 31, 2016
Life Size Color

Photo Courtesy of Juan Cabrera
Adult coloring books have become all the rage. The signature style of the books lean towards intricate designs inviting you to color as you please with variety. The Perez Art Museum Gal in Miami took this concept to a life size level with a floor to ceiling coloring book which invited guests to color on the wall. Bring out your guests inner artists (or inner childs) and consider this ever evolving piece to your decor.

Tip Courtesy of Biz Bash

Foodie Art

Photo Courtesy of FYI Bite  Club

 We all love a good stylized food photo and this takes food as an artform to a new level. The wall is made of completely edible foods. Invite your guests to take pictures of the food wall, but at a certain time, invite them to eat the wall. Include items such as cookies, donuts but also fresh vegetables, leafy lettuce and cheeses. Use words that go with your event. This one here, is the FYI, Feed Your Imagination. 

Art Goes High Tech

Photo Courtesy of  Robert Kusel
Creating an artistic technical effect involves more than simple projections. This 2 story design created by Frost created a one of a kind artistic event.  These effects can also change as the night progresses or slowly transform blending into another scene.

A Starry Night

Photo Courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka
Did you know there was a vodka named for Van Gogh? We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate artistic works with a Starry Night Cocktail.

4 oz Sparkling rosé
1 oz Chilled Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry Vodka

1 Starfruit
Glass: Flute
Pour chilled Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry Vodka into a flute.

Top with sparkling rosé wine and garnish with a starfruit.


Pretty Pastels for Easter or Spring

Written by Thursday, 24 March 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | March 24, 2016
Polka Dot Pastels

Photo Courtesy of Debi Lilly Design
Setting a lovely spring table for your event is as easy as picking the right flowers. Pink tulips and hydrangeas are ideal for spring tables and add a light and fluffy cloud like feel. Add sky blue linens and a simple polka dot table runner to create a simple yet elegant party atmosphere. We love the extra touch of the sky blue glasses as well as the pretty pastel ribbons on the party favors featured above.

Tip Courtesy of Biz Bash

Pretty in Pink Cocktail

Photo Courtesy of Hector Sanchez


Pink is the perfect pastel for spring and this Agricole Guava Cooler is a nice refreshing pink drink. We like the mint garnish for the lighter flavored kick.


2 ounces guava nectar
2 ounces rhum agricole
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce Navan
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces club soda
Freshly grated cinnamon
Mint sprig, cinnamon stick or lime wheel, for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the guava nectar, rhum agricole, lime juice, Simple Syrup, Navan and bitters; shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass; top with club soda and cinnamon. Garnish with a mint sprig, cinnamon stick or lime wheel (or all three).
Cake Stand

Photo Courtesy of  Scott Indermauer
A cake stand takes on new meaning with this larger than life cake display filled with serve-yourself desserts. Guests can help themselves to single servings of cake pops, chocolate dipped strawberries, colorful macaroons (the perfect pastel treat) and miniature twinkies.

Pop Music

Photo Courtesy of Noise Pop

Do more with events with the DoStuff app. Recently featured in San Francisco's Noise Pop Festival, DoStuff acted as the official festival app and communication source increasing attendance to various events by more than double. Combined with Lyft, DoStuff helped festival goers see more artists in more venues with recommendations and geo-targeted notifications. 


Celebrating All Things Green

Written by Thursday, 17 March 2016

GOURMET EVENTS HAWAII * 808 735 7788 * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | March 17, 2016
An Irish Table

Photo Courtesy of Babs R
Celebrating Irish heritage on St. Patrick's Day is often done with lots of green and lots of shamrocks. However, putting an Irish décor together can be tasteful like the Irish cottage spread seen here. Starting with a nice tablecloth, the table is accented by scenic village, bone china plates as well as a basket collection of traditional Irish veggies.

Tip Courtesy of Upstairs Downstairs
Drink Your (Healthy) Greens

Photo Courtesy of Paramount Events


If you're looking for a vibrant green and healthy drink, look no further than this avocado concoction. The avocado adds a creamy smoothness to the texture of the drink.

-2 Average Ripe Avocados
-6oz Cleaned Tuscan Kale
-8oz Coconut Milk
-Lime Juice From 2 Limes
-1oz Agave Nectar
-12oz Ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. I pass through a chinois to remove excess fiber from the kale. An alternative method would be to juice the kale before adding it to the blender. This is a great dairy free option for a smoothie. The avocado mimics yogurt in texture and is a clean, healthy and inviting tropical drink.




A Pinch of Green

Photo Courtesy of  Yasmin Fahr
Adding a little pop of green  to this dish brings just enough of the color to be a little out of the ordinary, but still a delicious pairing. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spicy Italian-style chicken or pork sausage
1 pound broccoli rabe, coarse stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated with a Microplane (about 2 teaspoons)
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken broth
3 cups whole wheat or regular dried orecchiette
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed juice and 1 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
Homemade or store-bought breadcrumbs


Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate. Add broccoli rabe and sautée until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add to plate with sausage. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the pasta and adjust heat to maintain strong, active bubbles. Cook until just not quite tender, 7 to 9 minutes minutes, maintaining active bubbles in the liquid. Return broccoli rabe and sausage to pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking, until pasta is fully cooked and broccoli is tender, about 3 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in lemon juice and zest. Stir in the cheese, place into serving bowls and top with the breadcrumbs. Serve

Finding the Way

Photo Courtesy of Meetings Net

What do you do when you're feeling 'green' at an event and don't know where to go. At this month's SXSW the event app coordinators at Eventbase came up with SXSW Go, an event app that added a recommendation engine. The feature generates suggestions for sessions, films, musical acts, or additional content based on the attendees profile and favorites. The algorithm then suggests happenings based on the user's interests that are not on their schedule yet.


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