Friday, February 18, 2011

Woodberry Kitchen Event

As a seasoned events planner I adore a restaurant that serves incredible food, has knowledgeable staff and a great ambience. I am loyal to Woodberry Kitchen for these reasons. They have gone above and beyond for the company I work for and value us as clients.

It is no shock that we returned for a client event with customers that come back to Baltimore twice a year. Woodberry Hall is a great private space with a wonderful lofty ceiling.

Everyone sits at long farm tables and is served a feast. It reminds me a little bit of what I image Hogwart's dining hall would be like.

I snuck into the kitchen to get a peek of our charcuterie boards.

They are curing all of their own meats now as you saw in my back-of-the-house tour with Nancy a few months ago.

Guests were treated to a lovely cocktail hour.

Spiced hot pecans were on the table to nibble.

Chive biscuits came hot out of the oven moments before the bus arrived. The pastry team gets big ups for these little babies.

The devilish eggs were added before landing on the tables.

And course salt was added to the butter.

The guests arrived and the party started.

Hors d'oeuvres were passed. The pork belly and cold slaw on a brioche crouton was a big winner.

Blue fish and horseradish sauce.

I nearly died when I saw our dessert sampler boards being assembled.

This was the pasty chef in charge for the night.

After being too tempted in the kitchen I ran back to enjoy the meal in progression. We all sat down for welcome announcements and our courses were served. We started off with an incredible Roasted Carrot Soup.

Next was the Truck Patch Spinach Salad with roasted pecans, goat cheese and cranberries.

At first glance this looks like killer mac and cheese. Second glance, maybe a sweet potato casserole. No my friends this was a Winter Squash Gratin. It was creamy and savory and a great pairing to the entrees.

There was a choice of two entrees to include Springfield Farm Beef Ribeye, cobbler potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, griddled onion and house steak sauce.

Or the Chesapeake Bay Rockfish & Marvesta Shrimp Stew, Yes We Canned tomato, lima beans, and herbed rice. 

Spike was away for the early part of the night so Nancy stepped up to the plate to explain the farm to table mission of Woodberry Kitchen to our guests. She introduced us to the new oyster shell recycling program. This video by shows you how WK is honoring the Chesapeake Bay and whole animal butchering on-site.

It pays to be pals with the pastry chef at any restaurant. Nancy called during a pre-planning meeting saying that Isaiah wanted to know in regards to the party, "what are we doing for Nelle." I always love a good dessert sampler but also know that the sinfully dark chocolate pudding is by far one of the most incredible items on their menu. So Isaiah made smaller versions of the chocolate pudding in little Weck jars

I also asked if he could somehow make a smaller version of the Cake 5 dessert. 

The result was the most beautiful display of sugar infused goodness. I need a Food Lovers Companion to get the terms correct but there were chocolate tarts, peanut butter cookies, mini Cake 5's with salt and peanut dust, sunflower seed brittle, heart shaped cookies and sugared fruit included. The macaroons are the best this side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The only way I can still fit into any of my clothes is by enjoying things in moderation. It is tough with so many amazing places to enjoy in this fair city, but just having a little sample of the dessert platter is satisfying enough. Plus they gave me a few macaroons for the road.

Spike did make it back in time to say hello to our guests and gave me one of the kindest compliments ever regarding my food photography. I'll take photos of your food any day Spike. 

It's great he and Amy can strike a good work life balance. Spike and Katy were rock climbing earlier in the evening.

As I was closing out our bill at the bar I saw one of the barista's, Beth, with this beautiful latte.

I have to learn how to do this. Allie, can we have another private lesson please? Be careful, I may ask you to teach a group of 20 if you are successful with me.

Finally, as guests departed they were all given newly roasted coffee from Counter Culure as their gift. It was from Ethiopia (Harfusa Yirgacheffe) and I've been drinking it this week. It is bright and fruity. The ground bean smelled like blueberries to me at first whif. I'm starting to find words for coffee finally. The gifts were such a great way to end a perfect evening.

One thousand, million thanks to Spike and Amy Gjerde for hiring the best staff, supporting the greatest farmers, giving back to the Bay and being cool as hell to boot. Thanks also to my company for affording me the opportunity to work with such incredible venues in Baltimore on multiple occasions. Isaiah, Cake 5 and pudding. Holla! Nancy, I couldn't do it without you sister. We've both come such a long way from that first meeting three years ago. This event couldn't have run any smoother, been any tastier and been more perfectly timed. I appreciate you more than you know. You are so damn good at your job!!! You should be very proud of what you do. 


Pigtown-Design said...

this gang is absolutely great! love WK! and love the Weck jars, too... tx for the shout!

Bethany said...

Looks amazing!!! I've always wanted to go there. Those dessert samplers looked so delicious. YUMMY!

Anonymous said...

As part of the program at the Culinary Institute of America, I did my culinary externship at WK.

One of the most amazing experiences in my life, even more so than walking cliffs in China.

Amazing folks there, extremelly skilled and always willing to share their knowledge.

Thanks and praises to WK.