Champagne Bar: Two of the Loveliest Words in the English Language

Come warm yourself by our champagne fireplace.

Ain’t that the truth?

Earlier this month we shared some ideas for a Hot Chocolate Bar; after doing extensive research on DIY stations, including ignoring my children and eating an entire bag of butterscotch chips, I couldn’t resist creating a mini-series on this idea of DIY stations for guests.

Today’s Treat: Champagne

Service with a smile.

Service with a smile at Union Station.

Just writing it makes me happy.

Nothing says ‘celebrate’ quite like champagne. My friends, family, and that one know-it-all guy at Corridor 44 who thought I should eat something before having another glass of the nectar of the gods can attest that champagne is, by far, my own personal favorite drink. But you can’t drink it all the time. Because those other mothers at preschool would be jealous concerned.

I don’t need to add anything to my champagne – like dinner – but this is not about me. It’s about you AND me – and anyone else who appreciates a glass of bubbly. Like all of us at Epicurean Group. Parties are our game. And our job. Put those in whatever order you wish.

Let's pray some of my co-workers were drinking prior to the second photo.

Let’s pray some of my co-workers were drinking prior to the second photo.

The holidays are a perfect time to create a self-serve station for your guests. It allows for more socializing and less stressing. Always a good thing.

Labels are helpful. Especially, um, later...

Labels are helpful. Especially, um, later…

Today is New Year’s Eve so if you are hosting a soiree or simply want to do something special on New Year’s Day, may we introduce you to the MmmmMimosa Station? Simple elegance, with an emphasis on simple.

Yum.

Yum.

Why bother with glasses? Tie a straw to mini bottles of bubbly!

Why bother with glasses? Tie a straw to mini bottles of bubbly!

MmmmMimosa Station

Ingredients and Accouterments:

  • Ice buckets or other large bin filled with with ice
  • Four containers for fruit (try IKEA or the dollar store if you don’t have any on hand – or use the coffee cups from your wedding china set because, let’s face it, you’re not drinking coffee when champagne is available)
  • Four glass bottles for juice
  • Labels (for labeling juice and for guests to tag their glasses – I use paint sample cards – free! And any color you want. And did I mention free! )
  • Glasses (one per guest)
  • DIY labels
  • Sharpie Pen
  • Champagne or prosecco
  • Sparkling cider
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Raspberry lemonade concentrate
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple (feel free to improvise)
  • Sugar cubes
How sweet are these sugar cubes?

How sweet are these sugar cubes?

Paint samples make great labels.

Paint samples make great labels.

Directions:

  • Chill champagne, prosseco, juice and cider overnight or in an ice bath
  • Pour juice in glass containers, write or print out labels and tie to the bottle
  • Place champagne in an ice bucket on the table
  • Place glasses, fruit, napkins, juice, labels, sugar cubes, and marker on the table

Pour yourself a glass and say hello to 2015 (and maybe a tiny-but-worth-it-headache)!

 

 

submitted by Stephanie Blackford

Advertisements

Reeb: Reinvented

So long, farewell, we hate to see you go....

Tara Reeb is leaving Epicurean. Even as I type the words, the panic sets in…who is going to spell check this post for me?

As hard as it is to say goodbye to Tara, we know her new gig at Pelligrini promises great things for her. And for them. And that makes us happy and sad and a little bit jealous because Pelligrini just landed one of the brightest stars in Denver. And while we are over the moon that our favorite team member is moving onward and upward, we will miss the shining light that is Tara Reeb.

 

Who do you know? | Meet Shaun Reed

Shaun_01 Funwith_Shaun

Twenty-six year-old Colorado native Shaun Reed makes the magic happen at Epicurean, though you would never know it. As the Director of Operations. Shaun’s the one who oversees all event logistics and custom builds our gorgeous design and décor pieces. He also makes sure that the trucks include the food, and the ice, and the ovens, and even those teeny tiny teaspoons used for espresso.  Yes, he’s the one that does all of that.

But here’s a little secret, just this week Shaun was asked to split his time between operations and sales.  As usual, sales gets everything, even the incredible Shaun. Consider this a formal informal announcement about our newest sales designer, a guy who knows how to do it all and more.

When we asked Shaun about his favorite meal after an event, he answered “my pillow,” which makes sense considering this guy works long and hard for Epicurean and he’s too tired to eat at the end of the night. And, he works for a catering company for goodness’ sake– wait till the chefs hear this!  Still, if he thinks he’s tired now, the sales/operations role will only add to his already busy schedule. But we have a feeling he can handle this, because he can handle – well – anything.

Favorite beverage?

It depends on the time of day but Maker’s Mark, Orange Gatorade and coffee are all on the list, for obvious reasons.

What is the one thing you always keep in your fridge?

Way too many condiments.

Freezer?

Ice cubes, of course.

What is your favorite meal from childhood?

Bacon and “Yegs.”

What is one restaurant that we will never find you at?

“Oysters, Oysters, Oysters” if that even exists – I’m allergic to oysters.

What’s your favorite time of day?

Before 7am or after 10pm, good times to start and finish work.

Do you have a lucky something you wear for a big meeting?

US Constitution tie or bike messenger gear, depending on the meeting.

Do you wear that tie to work?

Oh no, no. I am more “mountain business casual” – working in these elements requires flannel and a decent winter vest.

What’s your favorite meal after a long event?

My pillow.

Do you have a go-to meal for company?

Taco bar, lettuce wraps or steak.

Do you have an Epicurean favorite?

Beef short ribs and shrimp duo – isn’t that everyone’s favorite?

What’s your favorite thing to make?

Beef tenderloin with roasted asparagus, both rubbed with a blend of olive oil, sea salt and cracked peppercorns. Love.

In this past couple years, what was your biggest professional accomplishment?

Building decor for “Skin and Bones” and “Expect the Unexpected.”

What’s been your favorite event of your career and why?

I’ve actually been hanging around the Epicurean family since I was nine. Back then I volunteered at the International Golf Tournament at Castle Pines. But the Winter X Games in Aspen is definitely a favorite; I love that Epicurean can be part of a global event hosted in our home state.

What do you know now that you wish you had known then?

Time does heal all wounds.

How did you learn to do what you do?

I learned to do by doing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

Participate in national politics.

What’s something you’d hate to live without?

The 1970-1980’s TV show MASH!

Do you eat breakfast?

Is 6 cups of coffee breakfast?

What is your favorite celebratory meal?

Scallops paired with the just-right bottle of white.

What is your favorite comfort food?

UDI’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

If you got to visit the kitchen of a famous person, who would you choose?

Gordon Ramsey or  Tom Colicchio.

What foods do you think are overrated?

Truffle oil.

What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment?

Surviving cancer.

What is your personal motto?

“I can do it. If not I can learn to do it. Either way it will get done.”

Who do you know? | Meet Louise Mercer

Louise_04

While Princess Kate has been garnering the attention lately, Louise Mercer is our favorite girl from across the pond. Louise has been with Epicurean for one year and today – yes – TODAY – is her last day with us. She is heading back to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Sad for us, good for her. We love Louise, mostly because she is a world traveler, uses words like “mum” and has the most adorable accent. The fact that she hates peanut butter and sushi is a bit of a concern, but we’ll let it slide…she’s not from these parts, you know? 

 What is your favorite app?

I don’t have a lot of apps but I am a little addicted to Instagram, it makes any picture look semi decent.

 What is the one thing you always keep in your freezer?

Ice cream or frozen yogurt depending on how healthy I feel when I buy it.

What is your favorite reality show obsession and why?

Dance Moms!  I think it is hilarious! Being a gymnast for most of my life I have seen a lot of pushy parents but this show takes it to a whole other level.

 What is your favorite beverage?

Pink lemonade… maybe with a splash of vodka… maybe the other way around .

 What would surprise us to learn about you?

I LOVE to travel and I hate to be in one place for too long. I have travelled the world… I am originally from England but moved to the US for college but I have been to Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Beijing, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Grenada and many others.

What is your favorite meal from childhood?

My mum’s homemade lasagna and chocolate swirl cheesecake. I request them every time I go home!

 What’s your favorite time of day?

Let’s just say I am not a morning person.

What fashion designer do you find you wear the most or what fashion design do you like?

I really like an English designer Ted Baker for purses and wallets but for clothes I tend to stick to Express, Nordstrom, River Island and Miss Selfridge.

What is one restaurant that we will never find you at?

A SUSHI restaurant!! Gross, gross, gross!

What do you serve to guests when hosting a dinner party?

I love to cook my mum’s homemade lasagna recipe! I am not a great cook, but I can make pretty good lasagna.

What is one food that you refuse to eat?

PEANUT BUTTER! I hate the smell, the taste and everything about it. I’m clearly not an American!

What’s your favorite thing to make?

I am not the best cook so the next best thing was to date a chef… definitely makes my life a lot easier and tastier! Thanks James!

Biggest accomplishment this year?

I graduated college in June and moved back to Colorado in hopes to find a job that I love… success!

What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment?

Competing internationally for the Great Britain gymnastics team and getting a full ride scholarship to DU.

 What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

That everything happens for a reason and it will work out in the end, no matter how bad things seem in the moment.

What irritates you the most about modern life?

How rude some people can be, manners and being polite is definitely dying.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

Visit every continent and go to Rio to watch the 2016 Olympics.

What’s something you’d hate to live without?

Chocolate- I am a serious chocoholic!

What did you pack in your lunchbox as a kid?

Turkey sandwiches, crisps (chips) and an apple.

What is your favorite holiday food tradition?

Turkey at Christmas and “piggies in blankets” sausages wrapped in bacon… delicious!

List one thing on your bucket list.

I actually created a Colorado bucket to complete before I move home and one of my top priorities is to watch the sunrise at Red Rocks.

Favorite someecard

Funny Thinking of You Ecard: I feel a spree coming on. Its either a shopping one, or a killing one. The choice is totally up to you.

 What is your motto?

“Eventually all the pieces will fall into place, until then… laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know that everything happens for a reason.”

text here

Who Do You Know? Meet Connor Pettibone

Connor_01
Connor Pettibone (apparently not his real name, but it TOTALLY works for him!) is an up and coming star. Connor started his catering career almost 10 years ago, left to pursue the ski slopes less traveled, and finally found his true home at Epicurean in April 2012. Lucky for us, he may have left the industry for a bit, but he kept his same charming personality and delightful eagerness.  We forced him to answer some questions for us. We’ll let you in on what makes Mr. Pettibone tick:

Favorite app?

The Chive!!!! There is no better site to show how amazing people can be and how one small act of kindness can change someone completely.

What will we always find in your fridge?

Bacon.

Freezer?

Fireball.

What is one food that you refuse to eat?

Oysters.

Do you have a favorite holiday meal?

Penne Alfredo with Bacon – bacon being the key ingredient of course.

What do you serve to friends and family?

Spaghetti with a hearty meat and garlic marinara sauce and garlic bread.

What did you pack in your lunchbox as a kid?

PB&J everyday!

Do you have an Epi food favorite?

Our green chili and cheddar polenta with the bistro coffee spiced short ribs.

What’s your favorite thing to make?

Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso White Russians – tastes like chocolate milk!!

Do you have a favorite holiday food tradition?

Breakfast pizza and my mom’s homemade rolls.

What kitchen gadget do you love?

A corn shucker – I just like to say the name!

What is your favorite reality show obsession and why?

I loved Nitro Circus. I always dreamed of being the next Evil Kenevil so it’s a reminder that I still have some crazy shenanigans left to accomplish.

What would surprise us to learn about you?

As time consuming and as difficult as they are to plan, I love weddings. They just have so much joy surrounding them that it makes all the stress worth it in the end.

In this past year, what was your biggest accomplishment professionally?

Starting as a captain in training last May and being promoted enough in one year to become an event designer.

What’s been your favorite event and why of your career?

MCPN Green Tie Gala and the Matthew Sheppard Foundation. MCPN was my biggest event to date and was successful all the way around. Matthew Sheppard Foundation was just amazing! Having the opportunity to be even a small part of such an incredible organization and hearing Mrs. Sheppard speak was an experience I will never forget.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

I just want to be happy and satisfied with life when death makes its way towards me. A great man once said “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!”

What’s something you’d hate to live without?

Music.

Favorite Pinterest board?

Tattoos.

List one thing on your bucket list.

Learn to base jump.

Favorite someecard
bacon_connor

Do you have a motto?

Don’t take life to seriously, nobody makes it out alive.

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

Everything will work out in the end…….

Who Do You Know? | Meet Tara Reeb

Tara_2 Fun with Tara

Do you have that one go-to person in your office? Dear God, I hope so.  In case you are wondering, it is that person you run to when your full-color proposal gets jammed in the printer six minutes before clients walk in the door. It is the person you stealthily email when your cubicle mate is chewing gum SUPER loud.  It is the person who will drink wine with you after a long day, who will calm your nerves before a big presentation, who will pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat when necessary.  Meet Tara Reeb. She has been called “the glue that keeps Epicurean going,” but she’s way more than that. With a quick wit, a (borderline obsessive) love of both country music and her dog, and a die-hard goal to figure out how to take over the social media world, Tara is a diamond without the rough..

What’s your favorite meal after a long event?

Red wine.

Favorite app?

Starbucks (so I don’t need to get my wallet out), Spotify, Pinterest, Instagram/PicStitch and ESPN FFL.

What fashion designer do you find you wear the most or what fashion design do you like?

I usually have one or more Vera Bradley bags or accessories with me at all times.

What we will always find in your fridge?

Beer.

Do you entertain at home and – if so – what’s your go-to menu?

Something I’ve never made before. Which usually turns into something burnt, tasteless or not edible.

What kitchen gadget do you love?

Silicon spatulas!

What is your favorite meal from childhood?

Breakfast for dinner on Sundays.

Name your favorite beverage?

Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat or Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha…and all the calories that go with the two. Free.

Do you have an Epicurean food favorite?

I love our mac and cheese.

Favorite recipe from our 30 year cookbook.

Lemoncello!

Do you have a favorite Tara Reeb recipe?

My avocado, corn and black bean salsa.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far this year?

Gaining interaction (follows and comments) on our social media posts.

What is the one thing you’d like to accomplish in life – big or small?

Pay off my student loan.

What can’t you live without?

Country music.

Do you have a favorite comfort food?

Anything Mexican!

What is your favorite holiday food tradition?

Crab legs for Christmas dinner.

If you got to visit the kitchen of a famous person, who would you choose?

Dierks Bentley. Whether he had food or not, there would for sure be beer – and I want nothing more than to have a beer with him.

Favorite wedding or event blog?

Parker Presley by Epicurean (Stephanie Blackford is the funniest!) or Alexan Events Blog.

Local celebrity you want to meet.

The newest arrival: Wes Welker!

List one thing on your bucket list.

Go to the honky tonks in Nashville!

Favorite someecard.

jobdescription
Success is doing what you love and making it a career but I don’t know who will pay me to drink wine while looking at Pinterest.” I love my job.

What is your motto?

“All you need is love…and a dog.”

Who Do You Know? | Benjamin Garcia

Benjamin_01  Fun with Benjamin

Benjamin Garcia is one of the newest kids on the Epicurean block, and boy does he fit the bill. He sports a matching set of dimples, a quick laugh, and Capri Sun in the fridge. But under all of that contagious charm,  you will find a savvy business guy who loves what he does and does it really well. In fact, he was recently awarded Manager of the Quarter by the head honchos at Epicurean Culinary Group. That Capri Sun really does the job!

Favorite beverage?

Cream Soda or Vodka Press

What foods are overrated, in your opinion?

Lobster and Dim Sum

What is your favorite app?

Petite Naked Meatball

What is the one thing you always keep in your fridge?

Capri Sun

What is the one thing you always keep in your freezer?

Beer mugs

What is your favorite reality show obsession and why?

RuPaul’s drag race – it’s ridiculously funny

What would surprise us to learn about you?

I was a finalist in a local American Idol competition back in Texas

Do you have a favorite childhood meal?

Chicken Spaghetti

What’s your favorite time of day?

Walking through the front door of my house and being greeted by my dog Riley

What brings you good luck?

My argyle socks

What do you nosh on after a long event?

Cheese and crackers

Do you have a go-to menu when entertaining at home?

Pork loin, cous cous, fresh bread, salad and dessert

What is one food that you refuse to eat?

Crawfish

Do you have a favorite Epicurean item?

Short rib with polenta

What’s your favorite thing to make?

Chile con carne over white rice

What’s been your biggest accomplishment this year?

Becoming an Event Designer at Epicurean – and I couldn’t be happier!

During your career, what’s been your favorite event? Why?

The Special Event Show & Conference: I met designers and event professionals and walked away with tons of new décor ideas

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

That things are not always going to go as planned….and that’s OK

What’s something you’d hate to live without?

The mall

Do you eat breakfast?

Cereal and a granola bar

What is your favorite comfort food?

Chicken fried steak – YUM!!!

What is your favorite holiday food tradition?

Making hot cocoa with mom and sitting by the fireplace with my family

If you got to visit the kitchen of a famous person, who would you choose?

P!nk- because she’s awesome!!

List one thing on your bucket list.

Backpack through Europe for three months

What is your motto?

 “It’s all part of the adventure”