Thursday, January 13, 2011


So Vegas is a pretty big place. Over a million people live there and nearly 40 million visit it each year.

So the fact that I picked a restaurant for our client event in one of the newest hotels on the strip and happened to know the pastry chef was pretty amazing don't you think? Even crazier! I was her babysitter on Glenwood Hill in Kalamazoo.

I came to check the set up. If I didn't ask to see the flowers I would have never run into Liz in the kitchen that morning.

I was so excited. Her mom and I were on Facebook and had told me that Liz worked there, but never did I expect to run into her. 

She was prepping our chocolate tarts.

I told her stories of her as a baby and remembered her Mom teaching the alley kids how to "clean as you cook" in the kitchen. I say that all the time and think of you Lori!!!

It was such a bonus to see little Elizabeth all grown up and making her masterpieces in the kitchen.

I could check the set up off my list. The room looked beautiful inside and the patio outside too.  Milo's prides itself on it's fresh and sustainable seafood, their Mediterranean menu and simple preparations. I was finally relaxed and looking forward to the event later that evening.

 I headed over to the Tropicana for the Raven's game.

My boss Chad rented one of the bars for a client party and I ordered breakfast food and snacks for the game. It was a blast and the win was just what we needed. Good job in finding the location Chad!!!

The weather was beautiful. After the game I walked back to make sure my boss approved of the set up of the restaurant.

We passed New York New York and the MGM lion on the way. I just read that I should have tried a piece of pizza in NYNY. The food choices in this town are limitless.

Everything in Vegas is connected by walkways and trams. It's actually nearly impossible to just walk across the street in this town. My cab driver said it has lowered the pedestrian death rate, so they've got that going for them. You can see the patio at Milo's that is partially open below the Roger's sign.

It was stunning, but I was a little nervous about the heat lamps for our reception. It was going to get down to 35 degrees and I didn't want our guests to freeze. But it all worked out perfectly and the lamps turned out to be too hot and we had to shut some off. I'm a nervous Nellie before events and I was seriously shaking about this little fact that the patio wasn't completely enclosed. 

My boss approved the set up and I had to tour the cheese and meat lockers before leaving.

Holy prosciutto.

I went back to my room to write the place cards and escort cards. It is one of my favorite things to do as an event planner. It's the most fun puzzle to put people where they need to be in relationship to customers.

And I had to stuff 52 gift bags for our awesome clients. We had a local Baltimore artist, Shawn Theron, create customized paintings for the gifts. They were awesome. He would be a great artist for the Art-O-Mat!

I promised him I would take a photo of his work on the strip.

Then I had a great bell team help me move two carts full of prizes to the event through the lobby of the third floor. I am so grateful for the helpful, helpful staff at The Cosmopolitan Hotel. From the doorman getting me cabs that took credit cards, to these great bell men who helped me wrangle all of these gifts, everyone was just awesome! Even though they had been there for only three weeks, they knew what they were doing.

The flowers were already on the tables and so beautiful. 

I love anemones.

Menu cards were printed, gifts placed, place card panic happened and wait.

People cancel. People add people. It's hilarious. And it happens every time. This time I couldn't have been more pleased with our last minute changes and cancellations. It just worked out that I could switch people perfectly. It's a delicate little balance. I'm not even sure if E. understands what I do but this is the part of my job that is the most stressful and the most FUN! I love a little bit of a challenge and to be able to say, "of course you can come!" The staff gets stuck having to shift table settings and chairs, but it is all part of the deal. It happens all the time.

Part of my team waited for the buses to arrive and had a great view of the strip from the patio. Everything was set. It was time for my dirty martini! 

The food was outstanding. We started with octopus and fava bean, cured pork, and a tzatziki crostini. I've had a million of these toasted goodies in my seasoned events career but these were to die for. They drizzled olive oil from a company that is owned by the owners sister.

This head banquet waitress flew all the way in from the New York restaurant to help with this event. We cocktailed for thirty minutes and then were invited inside. Everyone but three guests showed up! That is a miracle for a party of 72 seats. I was so thrilled.

The appetizers were served family style. This was the Milos Special, paper thin fried zucchini and saganagi cheese that was flash fried. I mean...there are no words.

The tomato salad had a perfect amount of seasoning and they were all heirlooms. I should have taken photos of the mountains of tomatoes that they keep in their open kitchen space.

There were Maryland crab cakes that I must say were not too shabby. They fly the crab meat in from the Chesapeake Bay. They were very, very good.

And then this platter of prawns, the size of my fist, were delivered and we were all astonished by the how big they were. It's hard to tell in the photo but they were ginormous! Everyone chose between the next three items.

Lobster Pasta that looked to have the whole tail and claw in the bowl.

Filet with Roasted Garlic. If you don't know about this, you must roast garlic in your oven and spread it over your beef like butter. This was my choice. I had one bite. It was so good but another thing people don't tell you as an events planner is that it is hard to eat at your events. But that one bite was just what I needed.

The Lou De Mer looked a little beat up. It is cooked whole and they plated it in the back of the house. My colleague jokingly said, "What was with the tuna fish?" I heard it was still delicious and I know it was the freshest fish you could get in the middle of the dessert.

They served fries and wilted spinach as sides for the table. This is funny, but my favorite place in the world to eat fries are at Greek restaurants. Zorba's in DuPont Circle wins hands down. These were a close second. 

And finally, dessert. This Greek Yogurt had honey drizzled over it and was paired with fruit. Such a healthy way to finish the meal. But I didn't get to try it. The buses were calling and I had to make sure they were in the right spot.

Amra came to visit Jeff and my table. I love the people I work with!!! And this photo was taken with my new cell phone. Amra looks stunning doesn't she? You too Jeffrey D.

Liz's walnut cake was so moist and delicious with a nuttiness that wasn't overpowering.

This dangerously delicious chocolate tart was so good! I got one bite and had to run to make sure the buses arrived for the departures. That is the unfortunate thing about being the planner. You literally are eating and running. 

I was fist pumping to the stars for a successful event and happy bosses from two different cities. Thanks for all of your wonderfully kind emails and Facebook postings (Heidi).

I am purposefully being vague about this event, it's clients and our partners. Again, this is a personal blog and I'm merely trying to share with you the delights I take in my job and the crazy thing that is event planning. Thank you to the great people of Milo's for walking me off the ledge and giving us the main dining room space as well as the patio. There are days where I stress out beyond belief and you all were wonderful in fixing a cold weather situation! Adam, I'm coming to see you in New York. Thanks again for the best attended event in my four years with my company. Liz, my bites of the walnut cake and chocolate tart were perfection! I can't wait to come back and see you at the Wynn!


Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

What fun, Nelle. I felt like I was there with you...only, I would have liked to have tried the food. YUM!

I used to work for Kate Spade in NY and my clients where our Japanese distributors. Oh, man...the panic that I did everything right for our huge dinners, taking into consideration their customs and Kate's eagle eye....I get heart burn thinking about it. But it is fun, too. Looks like you did an amazing job!

Nelle Somerville said...

Thanks Tiffany! You totally get it. No wonder I love you! xoxox

Ella said...

Wonderful to get to know more about your work and so much .......(I can't find words!) food.