Lezlie + Bill {June 2, 2013} – A Wedding Planned in 6 Days

Yes, that’s correct, I didn’t mean to write 60 – there’s no typo here. When Lezlie called me 9 days before her wedding last May, I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty excited. Tented home wedding in Wilmette on a Sunday…check, check, and check…sign me up! She booked us within 3 days and we got right to work on all the details.

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I LOVE tented weddings at home.  Besides the fact that there are lots of logistics involved, it always reminds me of Father of the Bride and that’s pretty darn good in my book.

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Despite the time crunch, Lezlie was so calm and wonderful to work with. She and Bill knew exactly what they were looking for in terms of the menu which made it very seamless. They started with passed hors d’oeuvres of mini cheeseburgers, lobster tacos, mini crab cakes, mini chicken & waffles, and saffron polenta cakes.

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For dinner, guests made their way to the tent in the backyard and sat down to a 3-course dinner starting with an Heirloom Tomato Salad.

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Next we served a palate cleanser of Champagne Granita with Preserved Strawberries in mini coupe glasses.

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For the entrée, Bill wanted a steakhouse-style ribeye – um yes! We paired this with potato dauphinoise, baby asparagus, cherry reduction, au jus, and horseradish.

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 We made our signature mini milk + cookie sandwiches, mini layer brownies, mini apple pies and mini lemon tarts for dessert.

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 The super talented Elysia Root of  Elysia Root Cakes also made individual wedding cakes for each guest that were a huge hit.

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Cornelia McNamara provided the gorgeous flowers, she’s one of the best!

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Last but not least, our good friend Kina of Kina Wicks Photography captured the day so beautifully!

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 Happy 1 year anniversary Lezlie and Bill! All our best from the Boutique Bites team!!

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xx

 

 

 

 

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Cinco De Mayo at West Elm for the Bright Bazaar Book Party

 Cinco de Mayo is probably my fav day of the year, so I was super excited when our good friends over at The Everygirl referred us to West Elm for the Chicago Bright Bazaar book party they co-hosted with Will Taylor.

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We created a mini margarita + taco bar using West Elm’s sleek lacquer trays to display the tacos and ­­­­­­­the Mid-Century Bar Cart for the margaritas.

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We offered 3 types of tacos: chorizo + papas; elote + cilantro; and beer battered pescado + jicama slaw. For the margaritas, we made classic with a pink salt rim, and watermelon with a cumin salt rim. Trust me when I say they were muy delicioso, and went very quickly.

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To capture the Bright Bazaar look, we served the tacos in mini disposable wooden boats that we lined with brightly colored washi tape. Mini clothespins held the tacos together, and the colorful trays made everything pop.

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  Will Taylor signed lots of copies of his book and basically made everyone want to be his bff.

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 Congrats on a fantastic book Will, and good luck to you and Toby on your upcoming wedding!

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xx

The talented duo of Stoffer Photography captured all of these beautiful images.

 

Boutique Bites + One Part Plant

I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant on her For Reals Meals series. Jessica is super passionate about her plant based lifestyle, so much so, that it kind of rubbed off on me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love butter and bacon just as much as the next girl, but through this project I did develop an appreciation for “clean eating”.

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For Reals Meals is a monthly lunch series that Jessica asks different people to host with the challenge of cooking completely plant based. We met over juice this past summer and she told me all about the project. I was in the middle of getting married so I asked her if we could reconnect after my wedding. When we met up a second time (at Protein bar, of course), I basically told her that I loved her concept but was not interested in hosting a lunch. Why?? Well, the thought of cooking without meat, fish, dairy, eggs, white flour, and processed sugar for a fun lunch just didn’t seem that…fun. Bless her heart, Jessica was so sweet and said, “no problem, it’s not for everyone.” We chatted for a little while longer and by the time we were ready to leave I totally wanted to host the lunch. I was suddenly up for the challenge and wanted to prove to Jessica (and myself) that I could embrace this style of cooking.

Next came the fun part: inviting guests. Jessica asked me to invite 4-5 people that don’t all know each other. That’s the best part about For Reals Meals, bringing people together that haven’t met before. I knew that I wanted to invite other female business owners who inspire me. My group consisted of:

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Marianne Sundquist, owner of Mess Hall & Co. Marianne has been one of my besties for about 8 years since our days cooking together at Avenues. Her company is known for their artisanal mustards and cocktail cherries. And I’m so excited that her cherries are available at Crate & Barrel for the holidays…go buy some!

Alexis Cozini, owner of Citizen Stone. I met Alexis when she owned Sarca, a premier women’s clothing boutique. I catered a few of her in-store events. She’s young, ambitious, awesome, and has killer style. We hit it off right away. As a side note, because of this lunch, Alexis is currently eating completely plant based!

Marie Whitney, owner of 2 Penny Blue. Marie’s company makes the most beautiful and stylish blazers, and OMG if ever there was a gift to put on your wish list, this is it. I met Marie at an event and had to know more about her. I reached out about borrowing a blazer for a photo shoot, and as luck would have it, she needed a caterer for her Pearl Jam pre-party she was throwing this summer. It was meant to be.

Amelia Canham Eaton, blogger babe behind The CHICago Life Blog and part of the Purely Fashion team. Amelia is that girl who somehow juggles it all – law school, a popular blog, an awesome job, and oh yeah, planning a wedding. And on top of it all, she’s one of the nicest people ever.

So now that the guest list was set, it was time for the food! My chef Jen and I went to work on creating a fall feast that was hearty and satisfying.

Since Jessica and I initially met over juice to discuss the project, I wanted to start off with one of my favorite infused juices – cantaloupe-lavender. Gold spray painted mini pumpkins add that extra bit of sparkle to my juice tray.

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Lunch started with a beautiful beet salad with arugula, dates, orange segments, and sherry-honey vinaigrette; along with french green lentils with roasted root vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice.

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Next I served butternut squash soup in mini pumpkins with toasted pumpkin seeds and ras el hanout oil

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For the entree, we made white wine pasta (made with just white wine and chickpea flour) served with baby carrots; and roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower served in mini cast iron skillets, of course.

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Dessert was definitely a challenge but a total success. We made an apple crumble parfait with honey roasted apples, oat crumble and a coconut “sorbet”

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And here’s a few photos of the table setup at my kitchen

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I’m so happy that I came to my senses and said yes to hosting this lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon spent with good friends and good food. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

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*photos by Boutique Bites and One Part Plant

Food & Fashion Friday – “1 Girl, 4 Looks: Meet the Fashionable Foodie Taking Over Chicago” (Refinery29 Feature!)

When Refinery29 contacted me about their “1 Girl, 4 Looks” feature, let’s just say I was a little more than excited. It’s one of my favorite blogs and go-to sources for fashion. The lovely and talented Anjali Pinto came by to snap some shots of me at my favorite neighborhood spots. Check out the feature here
 
We started out at my River North apartment. I’m wearing the cambridge blazer in Dahlia by  Two Penny Blue — one of my favorite new companies. My Alexandre Birman pumps (that I got at a Gilt City warehouse sale!) complete the look.
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Next, I changed into my best “dog walking” outfit — a barneys jumpsuit. Only the best for Deebo 🙂 He had quite a blast being photographed.
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After that it was onto GT Fish & Oyster, my favorite neighborhood restaurant. This called for something special, so I busted out my vintage Gucci dress. Chef Giuseppe was nice enough to give me some wine during my faux bar shot, so that made it even more enjoyable. It’s such a cool, beautiful restaurant and the food is amazing. Best clam chowder in the city.
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Finally, I slipped on one of my favorite skirts from Zara and lace top from Intermix to head over to my absolute favorite neighborhood stationery store Magnificent Milestones. It’s in a perfect location with all glass windows and has such a pretty aesthetic. They did my wedding invitations and I couldn’t be happier! I like to stop in to get cards and cute gifts for friends.
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Have a wonderfully fashionable weekend! xo

Food & Fashion Friday – Smoked Salmon Blini

Yes, it has been a while since we’ve posted one of these; but if you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that we’ve been a little busy launching our new offshoot brand, Edible Style by Elaina Vazquez. More about that next week! Today, we bring to you a little inspiration from one of our more popular brunch bites — smoked salmon blini.

It’s no secret that we love a good blini around here, and we just might be a little crazy about smoked salmon {with good reason, might we add}, but who knew the two together could inspire such a lovely casual outfit perfect for those low-key summer days? Add a punch of bold color to a muted salmon, and the result is pretty divine. Now, if only we could get the weather around here to cooperate! Happy Friday! 🙂

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Smoked Salmon Blini boardSmoked Salmon Blini by Boutique Bites | photo by Kina Wicks Photography; Calcada Dress at Anthropologie; Bangles at Forever 21; Yves Saint Laurent Rouge pur Couture No7 Le Fuchsia; Ralph Lauren clutch

Food & Fashion Friday – {not so} mellow yellow

Bright and sunny days may seem distant around here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t brighten up your wardrobe — in fact, we encourage it {maybe Mr. Sun will get the hint}. The Spring 2013 runways boasted an array of colors, perfect for brightening those dark and gloomy days that have been haunting Chicago as of late {let’s be positive, though –April showers do, in fact, bring May flowers}. And it’s no surprise that the ever-vibrant yellow has been embraced as one of Spring’s top color trends. From sheers to lace and sparkle to leather, fashion houses have something for everyone in this bold hue.

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Today’s food & fashion gives a little nod to the {not so} mellow yellow with our corn soup shooter with curried popcorn. Those who fear this daring color can balance it out with a complementary color like turquoise or one of Pantone’s fashion colors of the season, african violet. It’s bright and chic, and oh-so-cheerful. Bring on brighter days!Corn Soup Shooter

corn soup shooter by Boutique Bites | photo by Scott Thompson Photography; Candied Lemon Sheath Dress at Anthropologie; Lele Sadoughi Lotus Bib Necklace at Neiman Marcus; Pierre Hardy for Nars {available in May}; Isa Tapia Lia Sandals at Shopbop.com

Edible Style Guide – First Look Coming In May!

BBAHP0026If you were at our anniversary party last month, you were one of the lucky ones to get a ‘First Look’ at our Edible Style Guide. The Chicago Illuminating Company’s Room 21 has a beautiful glass door shelving unit in the center of the room that was just right for showcasing four of our five styles {Boho-Chic, Girly & Glam, Primp & Proper, Tailored & Timeless}. By pairing food elements with fashion accessories and meticulously styling each shelf, we wound up with one killer bookcase — if we do say so ourselves.

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Our Vintage Couture style stood front and center as the food station that invited guests on a nostalgic journey to fabulous olden days, with items like mini chicken pot pies, creamy mac n’ cheese, and melon gelee {our upscale spin on the jello salad}.

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Starting in May and running through September, we will be releasing one look each month over various social media outlets, including our newsletter {subscribe here if you haven’t already}, youtube, and {of course} our blog. Our Culinary Style Director & Foodie Fashionista, Elaina Vazquez will dish out tips on all things fashionable entertaining – including styling your party, styling your table, and styling yourself. We’ll share some of our real weddings, trends, and introduce you to our very own style icons. It couldn’t be any more timely with wedding season almost in full bloom and all of those holiday soirees just around the corner. Get excited and stay tuned; you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

Food & Fashion Friday – Chips & Caviar

Like it or not, spring and summer are all about baring some skin. Whether it’s your legs, arms and shoulders, or even your toes, something is bound to see the sun this season, and the midriff is no exception. Back by popular demand…wait, who are we kidding…bare midriffs are one of this season’s hottest trends. From peek-a-boo cutouts to cropped tops paired with high-waisted bottoms, the ready-to-wear fashion exposes an area that {let’s face it} many of us spend all winter trying to hide {thank goodness for spanx}. Guess that means we better hit the gym…and fast! But fear not, there were myriad looks that came down the runway back in September that are actually {get this} flattering. So forget about that cleanse that asks you to starve yourself — drastic measures need not be taken; just work out those abs and find a look that’s right for you. Tip: layering a blazer or cardigan over a cropped top will make this whole trend a little less scary!

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Designers From Left to Right: Whit, Rochas, Roland Mouret, Versace, Balenciaga, Marchesa

This week’s Food & Fashion Friday brings back Gucci’s beloved purple and tangerine Spring/Summer 2011 cutout dress. We’re still not over it, and it pairs so well with our caviar chips — looks like a match made in heaven to us. 🙂 Happy “baring” season!

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*purple potato chip with caviar and creme fraiche by Boutique Bites; photo by Amanda Hein Photography | Anja Konstantinova in Gucci cutout dress for Fashion Gone Rogue | Bobbi Brown ‘Caviar & Oyster Collection’ Palette at Nordstrom | Anchor Buckle Belt at J.Crew | Emily Sarah ring at Dana Rebecca Designs

Musings From Our Chef: Boutique Bites Turns 5

We recently celebrated an exciting milestone…5 years in business! It has been so incredible to watch my company grow from a mere idea in my Las Vegas apartment to where we are at today.

When my team and I started conceptualizing the look for our big 5 year bash {#BBFAB5}, we enlisted the help of Renee Price from Kehoe Designs to help us pull it all together. We wanted a look that was chic, stylish, and on-trend — enter the black & white motif {hello Spring!}. To really bring this theme to life, we partnered with some of our favorite vendors in the city; and on March 5th {despite the cold, blustery and snowy day}, we threw a pretty fabulous fete {if we do say so ourselves}!

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The Chicago Illuminating Company’s newest venue, Room 21, was the perfect backdrop, with a built-in white tufted bar and elements of white and black scattered throughout the modern space.

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Kehoe Designs went above and beyond incorporating our black and white theme into the décor and florals.

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They created custom banners that ran down the center of their Hudson highboy tables with fun phrases that describe Boutique Bites such as ‘Fashion to Fork’, ‘Couture Catering’, ‘Stylish Minis’, and ‘Culinary Chic’.

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Since our theme was black & white, with a pop of purple, and considering this was a party that was all about the food, Kehoe Designs made sure to incorporate some food elements in the florals. Baby eggplants nestled into lush flower arrangements really brought this concept to life.

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Private Label Linens provided a gorgeous white petal taffeta linen (quite the statement piece and my current favorite!) and striped black and white linen for the highboys and cabaret tables provided by Tablescapes Party Rentals {our go-to rental company}. Black and white mirage chairs and black chaivari bar chairs {also provided by Tablescapes Party Rentals} were the perfect complement to our tables.

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The star of the evening was the food, of course; and there was plenty of it to go around. The bar, perfectly situated at the front of the space, was themed ‘Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams’. Upon entering the party, guests were greeted with a champagne tower of Veuve Clicquot and our oh-so-chic purple potato chips with crème fraiche and osetra caviar.

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 Our specialty cocktail was aptly named the ‘Fab 5’ {not only because we were turning 5, but because it only requires 5 ingredients}. It was garnished with fresh lavender and passed on a beautiful custom recipe coaster made by Elizabeth Grace.

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Passed Hors D’oeuvres included:

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BBAHP0236Mini Beet & Goat Cheese Towers

BBAHP0117Mini Cheeseburgers in couture containers resembling Louis Vuitton’s Damier-inspired collection {made by Erickson Design}

FoodStations-001An Artisanal Cheese Station paired drunken goat, saint andre, and p’tit basque with white wine, fig & apricot jams, marinated olives, and wafer crackers.

The ‘Vintage Couture’ food station showcased retro bites that are getting oh so popular. Collages10

Tablescapes Party Rentals provided all of the adorable mini vessels for our food station as well as all of the beautiful glassware we used throughout the evening.

Our Vintage Couture Station included:

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BBAHP0137Braised Beef Short Rib ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ in a mini ramekin

BBAHP0144Melon Gelee with Prosciutto & Radish served in mini white skillets

BBAHP0145Lobster Mac N Cheese served in mini mason jars

Just when guests thought that might be it, we started passing late night breakfast bites. Ham, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Bites didn’t last long…who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?!

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Of course, no menu is complete without a sweet ending, so once again we surprised our guests with mini churros and rootbeer floats. Laura from Elizabeth Grace really helped us keep our theme going until the very end by providing all of the signage for the evening, including these beautiful labels for our mini churro “bags”.

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Rather than a step & repeat, we wanted to mix things up a bit and came up with the concept for a ‘Tweet & Eat’ wall filled with black and white balloons {obsessed!} as the backdrop. Guests posed for pics with their mini bites, then tweeted & instagrammed them with the hashtag #bbfab5.

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Amanda from Amanda Hein Photography captured every inch of the party beautifully.

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 Matt from Okyne Media Lab kept the party going until well past the end time on the invitation {always a good sign of a party}.

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Al + Stacy Okyne, owners of Okyne Media Lab

Thank you to my wonderful team, everyone who came out to celebrate, and all of our amazing clients and vendor partners who have supported my business throughout the years.

Cheers to another fabulous 5!

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*Special thanks to Amanda Hein for capturing everything so beautifully! For even more fun, check out our album on Facebook

Food & Fashion Friday – Checkers

Every once in a while, we walk into a store and are instantly inspired {who are we kidding, this happens a lot}. If you’re familiar with Louis Vuitton, then you’re familiar with the iconic Damier print…and if you’re familiar with this print, then you know it made a big splash on the Louis Vuitton Spring 2013 runway. It was checkers galore, and {of course} now the stores are chock-full of checkers. See some of our favorite looks from the Spring collection below.

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But there’s one look in particular that deserves credit as the inspiration behind our couture containers at our Fab Five Anniversary Party earlier this month–the perfectly tailored black and white checkered dress. Thank you LV! We totally owe you one! 🙂

Black & White Checkers *Runway LV photos via Vogue.com, Valentino pumps via Refinery29, Jessica Alba in LV checkered dress via Harper’s Bazaar, Michael Kors leather clutch via Neiman Marcus, Vintage Black sunglasses via chicnova | Mini cheeseburgers by Boutique Bites; Photo by Amanda Hein Photography; Couture Containers by Erickson Design