Summer Food Options

Summer is here in the bay area, which means the time has arrived for all those wonderful summer foods to take center stage at all your catering events. Fortunately, in the bay area, we’ve got terrific foods to choose from, and we here, at Handheld Catering, keep this in mind when it comes to our food selections for these unique and physically demanding summer months.

At Handheld Catering, many of our best choices, for your upcoming bay area events, keep summer specifically in mind. We realize that during these hotter months, it is important to focus on hydration and meals rich in nutrients. Our unique farm-to-fork approach continues to lead the industry because of our fresh flavors, nutrients and signature flavor.

Because of our commitment to use only local area foods in our catering menus, our meals do not lose their value and flavor, like they would through long-distance shipping. The look and appeal of fresh food makes all the difference as well.

Our years of experience in creating just the right type of summer offerings includes an abundance of green leafy green vegetables, thirst-quenching fruits and the all-important fibrous vegetables. Created with these facts in mind, our popular vegetarian dishes include:

  • The Vegetable Tower (grilled seasonal vegetables, charred tomato coulis, basil oil)
  • Stuffed Sweet Chili Peppers with Wild Rice and Wilted Spinach in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.
  • Seasonal Vegetable and Red Quinoa Streusel with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

 

Everyone knows lighter meals are easier on the digestive system, especially during summer. We have created several meals specifically for this time of year, including:

  • Chipotle, Honey and Lime-glazed Prawns
  • Smoked Baby Back Ribs with an Apricot and Siracha Glaze
  • BBQ Chicken with a Chipotle and Lime Glaze

 

Often, our repeat customers select these meals

over and over again because of their satisfying taste, appeal and hydrating, nutritious effects.

Also included in our summer selections are our tasty roasted seasonal vegetables, such as our Caramelized Brussel Sprouts and our ever-popular Balsamic Marinated Grilled Vegetables. .

Because watermelon is 90 percent water, this, and so many other locally grown melons, also adds to Summer’s demands while appealing to your guests.

Let the team at Handheld Catering take your next bay area summer event to the next level, like we have for so many of our other satisfied and repeat customers. Call us today at 408-692-4782 or by emailing info@handheldcatering.com.

The post Summer Food Options appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Vetting Your Caterer: What to Know

Nowadays it pays to vet anyone in the Bay Area, and throughout the country, who is responsible for any major event in your life, including the caterer of your important upcoming event. This can make the difference between a positively remarkable event and one that could end up being one of life’s worst nightmares.

In addition to the many other questions you will want to ask your prospective caterer, you will also want to ask him or her questions to verify his or her legitimacy and compliance.

Following are some questions you might want to ask to guarantee the person responsible for providing the food at your event, in or around the Bay Area, is responsible and reputable;

Can the caterer provide the names and phone numbers of three references – this question is so standard that a good caterer would be surprised if this question was not asked.

Where can you read reviews of their services – typically reviews can be found on their website. If not, they might possibly have third-party validations from past customers who were pleased with their catering services.

Do they have a business license – a professional caterer must have a business license, and make sure their business license is current.

Do they have liability coverage – a reputable caterer will also carry liability insurance. If not, you could be responsible and held liable for any unexpected damages that occurred during the food services portion of your event.

Do they have a liquor license – a caterer can only serve liquor with a current liquor license.

Is the kitchen where the food is prepared licensed as a Food Service Establishment – some states require this, so that the kitchen and the caterer follow all health codes.

Is food stored, prepared and transported adequately – you will want to make sure your food is free from cross-contamination by dust, insects or other sources.

Is food stored and displayed at safe temperatures – this is not the time for people to get sick, so make the caterer is knowledgeable and compliant with food temperatures.  

What hygienic measures do they follow – this includes all cooks, servers and other staff members. Food, kitchens, equipment and vehicles must be sanitary.

Would that we could just trust everyone that comes our way, but, when it comes to a costly, time-consuming, one-time event, in the Bay Area, that’s meant to impress, entertain or inform your guests, one can’t ever be too careful when choosing a reputable caterer. Contact Handheld Catering today!

The post Vetting Your Caterer: What to Know appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Things to Know for a Summer Wedding in San Francisco

Whether you are a San Francisco Wedding Planner or simply planning a wedding in the San Francisco area, there are a few things you should know when you or your planner creates your Summer wedding, namely:

Keep your eye on the sky – because weather is always unpredictable—in the San Francisco area as well, keep an eye on the forecast. Websites, like weather.com, can give you a broad idea of what the weather might be like through their long-range forecasts.  

Have a plan B – if holding an outdoor event, make sure to have a backup plan in mind, just in case the weather decides not to cooperate.  

Give a heads up – Summer is a busy time for most individuals, couples and families, so enough time should be given so your guests can plan accordingly. Sending a Save-the-Date card can also give your guests even more time to plan.

Keep your cool – no one wants to ever see a guest hauled off on a stretcher because of heat stroke, which is why every effort must be given to this aspect of your wedding planning. You, or your wedding planner should make sure proper ventilation inside the venue is clearly understood and well-defined, especially when selecting your location during the cold Winter months. If air conditioning is not available, give each of your guests a cool hand towel and/or use portable fans. Make sure to have water available for all guests and staff.

Keep it light – hot weather is tough on the digestive system, so avoid heavy foods. Light foods should be served, including fresh green salads, pasta salads, locally grown fruit and/or vegetable trays. Easy-to-digest foods and drinks should also be considered. Popsicles are a popular Summer wedding delight, particularly if the heat is unavoidable.

Take in the shade – consider renting umbrellas and/or awnings for outdoor weddings. When selecting a venue, keep in mind those places that provide a lot of natural shade.

Include an ice sculpture or two – whether it is a dolphin or other custom design, ice sculptors are a refreshing addition to any Summer wedding.

Wear comfortable attire – Summer weddings usually attract simple designs of light-weight material.

Offer repellent and sunscreen – consider placing bug repellent and sunscreen around the area, so guests can use these if desired.

    With the right Summer planning in the San Francisco area by your or your wedding planner,  your wedding will be one that’s filled with many fond and endearing memories. Contact Handheld Catering today for more information!

The post Things to Know for a Summer Wedding in San Francisco appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Dealing with Picky Guests

As caterers in the San Jose area, we know that picky guests can be part of any event. Possibly, the guest does not like the food that’s being served. Possibly this guest is one of the most important people at the event, such as the groom’s father. Possibly, he is on a salt-free diet or simply does not like most foods and the foods he does like, he only likes them cooked a certain way. Or, he is too hot or too cold, his chair is uncomfortable, the guests are too loud or he had to park too far away.

Whether in the San Jose area or somewhere else, the question then becomes, how should this picky guest be handled? Here are some suggestions:

Avoid embarrassment – Never bring undue attention to the picky guest to avoid looking rude or disrespectful. Possibly ask the person if he or she would to like to join you in a more private setting so you can better understand his or her needs and how to best help.  

Listen – The first rule of communication and interaction with a picky guest is to listen enough to understand. Being listened to and understood can sometimes work to diffuse an otherwise difficult situation. Being willing to absorb at least a little bit of his or her fears, anger and/or dissatisfaction can help.

Plan ahead of time – if you know Grandma is always cold, bring a blanket. If Uncle Bob has a bad back, know where a pillow might be. Sometimes, a buffet-style dinner is served if the event includes a lot of people with special needs diets or unique food preferences.

Do not feel pressured to cater to picky guests – sometimes the old rule, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” is the governing them. Just as some picky guests might choose to be this way because they enjoy the attention, others might just be unhappy people inside or outside of your party setting. For these people, again, listen to them, possibly even apologize that their needs have not been met and that this was not your intention, and then just move on, knowing you have given them as much time and attention as the situation required.

Let us help you plan your next event, all things included—even those picky guests, by contacting Handheld Catering at  (408) 692-4782.

The post Dealing with Picky Guests appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Ask the Experts! Questions for Your Caterer

You have an event coming up and have decided to have it catered. Using a catering company in the San Jose area is no different from any other part of the country when it comes to what questions should you ask a caterer to make sure all of your bases are covered. Here are the top twenty most important questions to ask when meeting with a caterer:

  1. What is the company’s history? How long have they been in business, including employee work history? Any awards or special recognitions?
  2. How many events do they cater per year?
  3. What is their food type: fresh? frozen? canned? local?
  4. Can they accommodate special diets, like allergy-free or vegan?  
  5. Will they have any other events that day?
  6. Do they hold food tastings and is there a charge for this?
  7. Is there a set-up fee and drink rate for a separate bar? How long will alcohol be served?
  8. Is there a separate fee for their set-up and clean-up?
  9. Do they have any specials or package deals?
  10. What can be expected as far as presentation of food?
  11. What type of décor do they provide?
  12. Is there a reduced price for children’s meals?
  13. Is there a different rate for buffet service as opposed to table service?
  14. Do they have a portfolio that highlights past events?
  15. What are the names and phone numbers of three references?
  16. Can an outside baker be used and, if so, is there a rate to cut the cake?
  17. Do they have access to rental equipment?
  18. Will they provide linens, glassware, plates and flatware? If so, is there a separate rate for this?
  19. What is their leftover food policy?
  20. What is their server to guest ratio?
  21. What is the attire for servers?
  22. Do they provide their own coordinator for the services they provide?
  23. What is their policy if the event runs longer than expected?
  24. How much time in advance do they need for a final head count?
  25. What is their payment policy? Deposit?
  26. Are there any other fees that have not been mentioned?
  27. If selected, when does the signing of a contract take place?
  28. What is their cancellation policy?

At Handheld catering, we delight in making sure your event meets or exceeds your expectations. Let us know, not only what you need, but what you want, and, together, we will make sure your event is something you look back on with fondness year after year. Call Handheld Catering today at (408)692-4782 and let’s get working on making sure your event is a great one.

The post Ask the Experts! Questions for Your Caterer appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Spring Catering in the Bay

Ideas That Resonate

Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, you can wear your sandals again without unwelcome judgment from passerby — spring is here! What better way to ring in the new season than by throwing a springtime celebration? Answer: there is no better way. It was a rhetorical question. Read on for some ideas to keep your next party as fresh as the new leaves.

 

Keep it green. This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s swept under the rug in the pursuit of an extravagant, up-to-trend party, even in the environmentally-conscious Bay Area. But there’s no need to sacrifice flavor, fun or creativity for the sake of environmental friendliness — find you a catering company that can do both! Handheld Catering is the perfect choice for sustainable, delicious and beautifully-prepared Palo Alto catering. Their farm-to-table approach to dining ensures your food this spring is as kind to the earth as the earth is to you.

 

Take advantage of re-opening farmers’ markets. Warmer weather means farmers’ markets are opening back up all across the country. Let your countrymen have their fun, and try your best not to brag about California’s unbeatable produce. Bay Area residents certainly know it: we have it best. Take advantage of the springtime haul by finding a catering company that sources its ingredients from local farms and thanks the vendors in person.

 

Work flowers into your event design, and even your food! You’d be hard-pressed to find a person that doesn’t like spring flowers. (And if you’ve found one, do you even want them at your party?) If you’re keeping it classic, consider placing a variety of coordinating wildflower bouquets throughout your venue, but if you’d really like to surprise your guests, figure out a way to work flowers into the meal. Better yet, find a catering company that can do it for you! Edible flowers can be a delightful and sophisticated accent to your dining offerings, and the creative culinary team at Handheld Catering is always up for a challenge. Ask how they can work flowers into your meal and into your event decorations.

 

If you’re planning a springtime soiree, give Handheld Catering a call at (408)692-4782 to start planning an event that resonates with your guests senses and their sensibilities. Very little compares to the joy of a new season under the sun (or fog), but delicious and sustainable Palo Alto catering served with kindness comes pretty close.

The post Spring Catering in the Bay appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Top Ten Places to Throw a Party in the Bay Area

Getting ready to throw a party in the San Francisco Bay Area? Consider yourself lucky — you’re playing host in one of the most vibrant and exciting places in the country. The central challenge of Bay Area event planning isn’t finding a venue, it’s choosing a venue. Make the most of all your surroundings have to offer by booking one of these top ten event venues in the Bay Area.

 

 

  • The Box SF. For effortless cool, look no further than The Box. The Box is an event center located in a gorgeous historic building in San Francisco, and its intimate vibe makes it perfect for smaller gatherings. If you don’t believe it, ask SF Weekly — they named The Box the best venue for small parties in San Francisco.
  • The Pearl. Just look at this place. Really. This all-inclusive venue has something for every guest: it’s sophisticated yet laid-back, and trendy without being cloying. The reclaimed cedar ceiling, theatrical lighting capabilities and built-in cranes holding indoor living gardens put The Pearl on a whole new level.  
  • Avenue. A beautiful modern studio in San Francisco, Avenue offers an airy, inspiring and fully customizable space so you can match your gathering to your artistic vision.
  • Mints & Honey. If too cute were a thing, Mints & Honey might be that thing. Thankfully, there’s no such thing as too cute. Mints & Honey is a beyond adorable gathering place in a neighborhood cafe in San Carlos. A beautiful and bright location for an intimate baby or bridal shower, Mints & Honey also offers in-house floral design.
  • Impact Hub. This socially-conscious venue has beauty and brains. Celebrate your organization’s social activism, entrepreneurship or positive impact in your community by hosting your next work party or fundraiser at Impact Hub.
  • TPC Stonebrae Country Club. Recently voted the “2nd Best New Clubhouse in the World” by Golf INC Magazine, TPC Stonebrae is the newest clubhouse in the Bay Area, with top-notch amenities and a beautiful outdoor setting. And hey, second in the world?  We’ll take it.
  • The Reata. A Bay Area event planning classic, The Reata’s wood and brick Spanish-style interior accented with glowing chandeliers lends a sophisticated and warm atmosphere, and their attentive service will keep your guests feeling like VIPs all night.
  • Midsummer Studios. Impress even the most aloof of your artsy friends by inviting your creative community to enjoy a special night at Midsummer Studios. The venue is relaxed yet elegant, and it plays host to hundreds of shoots, concerts, art shows and other events.
  • Dogpatch Studios. Dance the night away at Dogpatch Studios in San Francisco. The venue offers three distinct environments, a DJ booth and the opportunity to get creative with your lighting design.
  • Rengstorff House. For sunny outdoor celebrations at an affordable price, Rengstorff House can’t be beat! The beautiful, lakeside Victorian house is the oldest home in Mountain View, providing the perfect backdrop for a baby shower, wedding reception or outdoor gathering.

 

 

What’s a party without good eats? Once you’ve found the perfect event venue, compliment it with the perfect meal by giving Handheld Catering a call at (408)692-4782. Handheld Catering matches delicious farm-to-table catering with sustainable Bay Area event planning, and their impeccable service and creative flair put the cherry on top.

The post Top Ten Places to Throw a Party in the Bay Area appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Does Your Business Need Lunch Catering?

It’s another busy day at the office, and you’re dropping coins into the vending machine to pay for a healthy lunch of Peanut M&Ms. Save your quarters for laundry and step away from the vending machine. You and your grumbling stomach have options! When work gets too busy to take a full luxurious hour to head home, make a sandwich and let the dog out, corporate lunch catering is the way to go. (Your dog is on their own.)

 

Here are some reasons to hop on the Mountain View corporate catering train:

 

Convenience. Plain and simple, corporate catering makes lunchtime more convenient. No long lists of dietary preferences handed off to questionably-competent interns, no slow drive-thru lines and no running late to your meeting with ketchup on your shirt. On-site corporate catering means you don’t have to rush — you can enjoy your meal at your own pace in the few minutes you have away from your desk, or you can eat while you work.

 

Quality. On-site corporate catering means you don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience (see above). An excellent Mountain View corporate catering company won’t just whip up your meal, they’ll make it with love. If you get lucky, they’ll also make it with fresh, locally-sourced, farm-to-table ingredients that’ll tickle your tastebuds and give your brain the fuel it needs to get through the rest of the work day.

 

Take care of yourself and your employees. Fast food lunches or the aforementioned vending machine snack might get you through a day or two, but scarfing down a less-than-nourishing lunch on a regular basis can take a toll on your body. Work might be high on your list of priorities, but in order to do your best at work, you have to put yourself first. Hiring a corporate catering team to handle your lunches will help support healthy habits, a clearer head, and a happier tummy. Be kind to yourself by choosing a Mountain View corporate catering company that will hand-prepare a lunch that’s both delicious and nutritious.

 

Improved morale, which means improved productivity! If you’re the boss, you know that a happy team means a productive team. Giving well-deserved praise to employees is one way to go, but sometimes words can’t say quite as much as a delicious meal can. Treating your office to a catered lunch shows your gratitude for your staff’s hard work — and you’ll get some leftovers out of the deal.

 

For delicious, sustainable and healthy Mountain View corporate catering, Handheld Catering is where it’s at. Their farm-to-table approach means your food is treated with love at every step from the farm to your plate. And say goodbye to soggy, lukewarm lunches that barely survived the trip from the kitchen to your office — Handheld Catering prepares food on-site in their mobile, open-air kitchen, so your lunch is always fresh and tasty. Give Handheld Catering a call at (408)692-4782 and take a step toward a happier, healthier work day.

The post Does Your Business Need Lunch Catering? appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Bay Area Event Planning Tips

 

What’s not to love about the Bay Area? Okay, traffic. Smog. We get it. But really — you couldn’t pick a better place to live, and you couldn’t pick a better place to throw a party. If real estate agents throughout the ages have contributed anything to our collective societal wisdom, it’s that it’s all about location. Read on for some tips on how to harness the spirit of the bay in your Bay Area event planning process.

 

Go green. Support Bay Area green initiatives and impress your in-laws from Berkeley by finding an event planner with creative ideas about how to reduce your event’s waste and environmental impact. Make sure your food is as kind to the earth as it is to your tastebuds, so you can feel good during and after your meal.

 

Keep it local. What better way to support the Bay Area than to source from the Bay Area? Local catering and event planning company Handheld Catering does it right: produce sourced from Northern California farmers wherever possible and ingredients carefully selected from local farmers’ markets. Choose locally-owned vendors to ensure your event has that personal touch.

 

Variety means inclusivity. If you’re planning an event in the Bay Area, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have at least one gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian guest. Make sure all of your guests are able to enjoy the dining offerings by providing a variety of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian meal options. Choose a catering company that’s experienced in cooking for a variety of dietary needs, so that eliminating ingredients doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. And be kind to any teetotalers in your circle by providing alcohol-free cocktails or ciders, because toasts are no fun without a fun drink in hand.

 

Don’t be afraid to show your weird. The Bay Area celebrates individuality, creativity and innovation. If you’re dreaming big, choose a Bay Area event planning company that will help you go there. Love who you are and plaster it all over the walls if need be — it’ll embolden your guests to do the same.

 

If you’re knee-deep in Bay Area event planning, don’t cheat yourself out of the vibrancy of the community. Take advantage of the free spirit, big heart and quirky thinking native to the Bay Area when hosting an event and call Handheld Catering at (408)692-4782.

The post Bay Area Event Planning Tips appeared first on Handheld Catering.

Seasonal Ideas for Corporate Events

The prospect of corporate events might bring to mind endless to-do lists and long waits on hold with vendors. But if you have the right event planner in your corner, corporate event planning can be a breeze! Take advantage of the year-round beauty of the Bay Area by choosing an event planner who will help you devise your event aesthetic and menu around the season or traditional holidays.  

 

Creativity means inclusivity. Planning a seasonal corporate event requires a delicate dance between convention and creativity. Not only will out-of-the-box planning make your event stand out, it’ll also make your event more inclusive for guests who might not necessarily be celebrating the holiday your event is… well, celebrating. Not everybody might be into Easter, but everyone can get behind quirky seasonal floral arrangements and a beautifully-presented meal.

 

Put a twist on traditional seasonal favorites. Choose a catering company that knows what classic dishes guests expect during the holidays so they can subvert and surpass expectations. Traditional dishes with a modern flair means old-school investor and start-up innovator alike will finish their meal satisfied — and hopefully talking. Harness the creative spirit of the Bay Area by reaching out to local corporate event planning company Handheld Catering; they’ll put a spin on traditional menus so old classics taste fresh.

 

Choose in-season produce and greenery. On a practical level, choosing in-season produce for your meal and in-season greenery for decoration will help you to maximize your budget. But choosing in-season options will also help you weave the spirit of the season seamlessly into your event. A meal utilizing a wide variety of seasonal produce will also widen the color palette of your event decor — as an example, oranges are in season in winter, when the traditional palette is red and green. Unexpected accent colors can add depth and vibrancy to your decor, and you’d better believe your meal can be decoration in and of itself.

 

For creative approaches to seasonal corporate event planning in the Bay Area, give Handheld Catering a call at (408)692-4782. They’re all about fresh — and forgive the pun, but we mean on all levels. From their priority on locally-sourced, in-season produce to their innovative approach to dining and presentation, they’re the company to hire to get ahead of the corporate event planning curve.

 

The post Seasonal Ideas for Corporate Events appeared first on Handheld Catering.