Book your 2015 wedding

As the winter months begin to fade away and spring is starting to show, it’s easy to forget that you still might need to follow up with your caterer and get that deposit in.  Many quality caterers do not do that many weddings in one weekend or even one day.

The great folks at To Dine For Catering in Portland really take weddings seriously and only do one per day.  Owner Nick, realizes that the only way to make sure everything is perfect for your big day, is to completely focus all his and the staffs energy on one event.  Yours!  So, if you haven’t called or emailed about getting your reception catered this summer, please do asap or you might miss out as weekends are getting booked up.

We can direct you to Portland’s top ranked wedding and event coordinators and top ranked rental companies for all the details your event space might not provide.

Amazing catered food in Portland and beyond, including Vancouver and surrounding areas.

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How much alcohol for a wedding

The big question everyone wants to know is “how much beer and wine do I need to purchase”?  This is an excellent question!

Portland’s top caterer To Dine For has the answers.  We recently interviewed Nick Zorich at To Dine For, a Portland catering company, about drinks for an event or wedding and here is what he said.

One bottle of wine holds five drinks for an event.  I say for an event, because if you were to pour yourself a glass of wine at home of if you went to a bar, you would most typically get four drinks out of a 750 ml bottle.  This all depaend on the size of the glass and your bartender of course, but it is a sfae measure when buying for a crowd.

When it comes to beer it can be as easy as, one bottle of beer is one drink.  But what about a keg?   A 1/2 barrel or keg, has 124 pints.  Will you get that much out of it? Nope!  If you rent a kegerator you will get more than if you use a pump system.  With a kegerator you will have less foaming and will lose about a 1/2 gallon or more.  With a pump system, of course remembering that the keg needs to be cold and has to sit for a bit for it to settle after being transported, you will lose about 1+ gallons to foam easily.  Ok, your thinking “I’ll use 12oz cups instead of 16oz (pints)  That is a great call!  The keg will go farther and your guests will have a better chance of not over consuming.  12oz cups will give you approximately 165 cups less the gallon or so for foam.

So lets do an example.  You have 100 guests, how much do you buy?  Wine versus beer, red versus white, different kinds of beer?  This will all depend on your guests.  Nobody knows them better than you.

Will it be hot?  More whites than reds and more lighter beers rather than stouts.

I good rule of thumb for a temperate day is…

2 drinks per person per hour.  So out of your 100 guests are under 21 or don’t drink?  Let’s say 20, now you have to buy for 80 guests for a 4 hour event.  And I mean when the bar opens till it closes.

4 hours x 80 guests = 320 drinks divided by 2 = 160 beers and 160 glasses of wine

or 1 keg or 2 pony kegs if you want two styles (or 160 bottles) and 32 bottles of wine.  I would do one light red like a pinot noir and a red blend for a bolder wine.  For the whites I would go with pinot gris and a sparkling.

There you have it, all the knowledge of tried and true method from a Portland wedding caterer, To Dine For Catering in Portland, Oregon.  A company that doesn’t charge a corkage fee, what!  Really?! Yes.

Thank for reading and happy booze shopping.

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2015 Summer Weddings in Oregon and Washington

Have you recently gotten engaged?  Are you thinking about your wedding plans or have a friend that is having a wedding this summer?  This is the time to start getting items off your check list.

We at To Dine For Catering, in Portland, OR have all the delicious menu items you are looking for.  We are in the process of updating our menu and there are many new items for 2015.  Especially in the appetizer area!

We also have partnered up with some of Portland’s top vendors for wedding planners, bartending, desserts, floral and photography.

More to come about our services later, we just wanted to give everyone a heads up about booking your caterer, bar service, florist, photographer, wedding cake or event planner early.  We have already marked off several weekends as booked full, so don’t delay, and give us a call today.  Or email.

Also, don’t forget to check out our face book page for photos and fun info.

Bell Tower Chapel Bartending

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Anthropology of squash

Anthropology of squash brought to you by:

To Dine for Catering, serving Portland’s catering needs.

            All of the wonderful squash varieties that we are most familiar with come from the Cucurbita genus. Their ancestors are native to the Americas and were growing here long before the arrival of humans. It is believed that their originated somewhere in southern Mexico, then variations made their way further south into southern South America as well as north into what is now known as the southwestern US. Even though the Cucurbita hybridizations started early, no species of Cucurbita is genetically isolated from any of the other members of the genus; this means that they can cross breed making for the almost endless varieties that we see in the fall.

According to some anthropologists, human use of these species dates between 8,000-10,000 years ago. These dates are based on evidence found in a series of excavations at Oaxaca, Mexico in the 1960’s and 1970’s where cashes of seeds were found is association with human dwellings. The process of the domestication and agricultural pursuit of the squashes took place between 5,000 and 6,500 years ago in Mesoamerica with the advent of cultivated corn and beans shortly after that. This trifecta of crops became known as the three sister’s agricultural system of companion planting. The three crops benefit from being grown with each other; corn giving beans something to climb up while the squash leaves blocked sunlight from the ground inhibiting weed growth. The many forms of squash have had a culinary place in almost every native group from South America to southern Canada and the three crops were depicted together in artwork of the Native Peoples of this continent for at least 2,000 years. In the Narragansett language, used by the Native Peoples of Rhode Island, called them askutasquash while similar words for squash exist in the Algonquin family of languages as well.

We can attribute the global proliferation of squash to Christopher Columbus’s contact with the Americas in 1492. Shortly after that the first depiction of squashes appeared in Rome originating somewhere between 1515 and 1518. Current production of squash world wide is dominated by China where they produce over six million metric tons per year. India is a close second at over 4 million metric tons of squash while the third producer, Russia, and fourth producer America produce under a million metric tons per year respectively. The US likes squash so much that they are the world’s largest importer of this delicacy with over 250,000 metric tons coming from Mexico annually.    

For your next event in Portland, call To Dine for Catering and remember to order some zucchini, acorn squash or butternut squash and celebrate a multifaceted food source that was one of the first domesticated food stuffs in our continent.

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Anthropology of Asparagus

Anthropology of Asparagus brought to you by:

To Dine For Catering, serving Portland’s catering needs.

               The oldest representation of Asparagus comes from Egypt and was found on what is known as a Frieze, which is basically a column with crown molding at the top; the asparagus is shown as an offering to the gods and it dates 3,000 years B.C. This perennial plant is thought to be native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia and its Latin name is Asparagus officinalis. The later part of its name, officinalis, is a Medieval Latin epithet that is used when an organism is used in herbalism as medicine.

            In previous taxonomy asparagus, onions and garlic were all classified in the lily family but now, like a vegetative broken home, the family has been split up and their last names have changed. The Greeks and Romans enjoyed this spring vegetable both fresh and dried but the Romans may have loved it most of all. They were so fond of asparagus that they would freeze it in the high Alpine snow and then fetch it again for the feast of Epicurus which happened once a month and was dedicated to the belief that peace and freedom from fear can be attained by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends and, seemingly, asparagus. The first Emperor of Rome, Augustus (who ruled from 27 B.C. till his death in 14 A.D) enjoyed the vegetable so much that he had a specific fleet of asparagus movers and coined the much used expression “Faster than cooking asparagus” when he wanted something done quickly. In the oldest known cook book dates to the 5th century A.D. and is called the Apicius or De re coquinaria, which means “On the Subject of Cooking”. With its pages we find the first written recipe for an asparagus dish.

Throughout most of Europe asparagus is white and is known as “the Royal Vegetable”, “white gold” or “edible ivory” and must be peeled before it can be eaten. This white variety is accomplished by depriving the young shoots from light so that no photosynthesis occurs. In Germany it is common for local cities to have an annual Spargelfest which translated means asparagus festival to celebrate the harvest of asparagus. The Germanic town of Schwetzingen holds the title of “Asparagus capital of the World” and at their festival they crown the Asparagus Queen and most likely also have the most fragrant restrooms known to man.

Next time you are going to have a celebration that needs catering in Portland remember to call To Dine for Catering and remember to ask for the 6,000 year old delicacy asparagus in one of your dishes!

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Anthropology of Pasta

Anthropology of Pasta brought to you by:

To Dine for Catering, serving Portland’s catering needs.


Arguably pasta has been around since before Christ; it was written about by the Roman poet Horace who lived from 65 B.C to 8 B.C. These early pastas may not have resembled what we think of as pasta today because ancient pasta was thin sheets of dough that was cooked by frying in oil not boiling in water. They show up again in writings from the 1st century and in the early 5th century when early forms of lasagna start to appear in Italy; but during this time the dough was till fried, which may account for its popularity. During this same early time, in Jerusalem, the Talmud mentions boiled dough. Boiled pasta was probably not invented by the Italians but by the Palestinians some where in the 4th or 5th century.

According to some historians, the first written record of “dried” pasta was in the 9th century when Arabian travelers utilized it as a staple on their notoriously long journeys. The pasta they used was thought to be produced in what is now known as Sicily, Italy. Pasta finally became really successful as a foodstuff around the 14th century probably due to the fact that it could be stored for a long time. Pasta was an important foodstuff whose long shelf life allowed people to explore the world. This idea is supported by the fact that pasta had world wide distribution by the 15th century which correlated with the voyages of discovery. It seems that pasta was a hit unlike the European domination the brought it.

Technically there are 310 forms of pasta but they go by over 1300 names globally. For lack of the ability to go in depth into each verity, I will define them by category.

The long pasta: are made by rolling and cutting pasta dough or by forcing the dough through a plate with an opening in it known as a pasta die. This method is called extrusion and is how they make: Spaghetti, Capellini and Fusilli pastas. There are also short cut extruded pastas like: Cannelloni, Manicotti and macaroni which are made the same way but the end product come out as a shorter noodle.

Next we have the ribbon cut pastas like: Lasagna, Fettuccine and Linguini which come from dough that has been rolled flat and cut into strips either by hand or machine.

Then there are the decorative cut pastas which take any form that the pasta maker chooses and are easily the prettiest looking of all the pasta varieties. Within this group there are also the less visually appealing, but still delicious, irregular shaped pastas like: Gnocchi and Spatzle.

Last but not least are the stuffed pastas which include: Ravioli, Tortellini and Pierogi; there common names sometimes translate as dumplings or little pies or bellybuttons.

For your next event in Portland, call To Dine for Catering and remember to order some pasta and celebrate a noodle that spanned the globe!

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Cassius Clay Cocktail

2 parts Rye Whiskey

1 part Cassis Liquor

2 squeezes Agave Syrup

juice from 1/2 a lime and 1/2 a lemon

Stir with ice and pour over a giant ice cube in a separate glass.

Makes one cocktail that will make you float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

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Instant Manhattan – fig infused bourbon

Super easy recipe.

Fill a quart jar 3/4’s of the way full with dried black mission figs.

Add Maker Mark bourbon to the top.

Let it sit for about 3 weeks.

Pour over ice and enjoy.

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Anthropology of Grape Wine

Anthropology of Grape Wine

brought to you by:

To Dine For Catering, serving Portland’s catering needs.

             Historically fermented drinks were a far better option than water because the alcohol content and fermentation process meant that they were safer to drink when the quality of water was a bit uncertain. Some have even suggested that the addition of alcohol to the human diet was a keystone in the advancement of societies because it limited the occurrence of water born disease. The history of grape wine is deeply intertwined with the advent of agriculture but its beginnings surely started with wild fruit of many kinds that were often mixed with honey and sometimes grains.

            The first archaeological evidence of wine production comes from China where wine residues (tartaric acid) were found on pottery shards at the Jiahu site. The shards have been radiocarbon dated to around 7,000 B.C. In Iran an archaeological site called Hajji Firuz has been associated with wine production and storage because clay jars found at the site have tannin and tartaric acid sediments that date to around 5,000 years B.C. Soon after this we start to see wine production all around the area with the oldest known winery found in Armenia; it dates to around 4,100 B.C. Archaeologists found a wine press, fermentation vats, grape seeds and grape vines at this location. By 3,200 B.C. there is evidence that domesticated grapes were starting to be farmed in western Asia and Egypt.

Wine was an influential component in early globalization because it was used as a trade product and a social lubricant that fostered communication between cultures and paved the way for these cultures to come together to share ideas and technologies. The Phoenicians were the first to employ this strategy in 1,500 B.C. when they distribute wine throughout the Mediterranean. Around 0 A.D there is a record of Jesus turning water into wine at the marriage at Cana. He reluctantly does this when his mother tells him that the party has run out of wine and she wants him to do something about it. It is noted in the bible that one person at the wedding said that Jesus’ wine was the best wine served at the marriage. This event where Jesus makes wine is his first recorded miracle and also noted as the moment when his disciples started to believe in him (John 2:11). Wine has a deep connection to Greek and Roman religions too with gods like Dionysus and Bacchus showing reverence for the intoxication brought on by wine consumption with reverent if not fully religious tone. A thousand years after Jesus Chateau de Goulaine was built; it is the oldest known still operating winery.

At To Dine For Catering, in junction with Drink – Bar and Events, we are more than happy to include wine, beer or full service bars at your next event. Contact us with inquiries and we will fulfill all your Portland catering needs. Cheers!

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Anthropology of Cheese

Anthropology of Cheese

brought to you by:

To Dine For Catering, serving Portland’s catering needs.

             Cheese is formed by denaturing the protein casein in milk which causes the proteins to then stick together; this is called coagulation. The name casein is derived from a Latin word caseus which is also where we derive the word cheese. The denaturing is usually done by an enzyme called Rennet that acidifies the milk causing the curds to separate from the rest of the liquid. This liquid is also knows as whey. These curds separated from the whey and are further processed into cheese by methods specific to the kind of cheese being produced. Depending on the animal milk, the molds or other ingredients introduced and the artisanal nature of the cheese maker hundreds of different cheeses are produced around the world.

Archaeologically cheese shows up first in the record in Poland where cheese strainers with milk fat on them have been recovered and dated to 5,500 year ago. It has also been proposed that cheese making coincided with sheep domestication which may have started as much as 8,000 years ago. It is thought by some that cheese may have been discovered by traders who were storing milk in animal stomachs (a common container in the years before zip lock bags); the rennet in the stomach caused the proteins to denature and separated the curds from the whey. There are many legends of an Arabian trader who stored milk in stomachs; he is credited by some with discovering cheese but it is likely that cheese could have also been discovered many times independently due to a desire to store milk for long periods. Egyptian tomb paintings have representations of cheese that date back 2,000 years. Homer has a Cyclops making cheese in his Odyssey and Pliny the Elder devotes a chapter in his Natural History describing the diversity of cheeses in the early Roman Empire. Because house and monastery cheese making became popular, local characteristics (due to local molds) became regionally prevalent in cheeses. Brittan claims to have 700 distinct cheese varieties while France and Italy have 400 different cheeses attributed to each of their countries. The cheeses we know as Cheddar, Gouda, Camembert, and Parmesan are all cheeses that came about after about 1,500 A.D. Today The International Dairy Association only acknowledges around 500 different cheeses worldwide. This year Swiss Emmentaler has been named the best cheese in the world scoring 97.85 out of 100 points at the international cheese competition held in Wisconsin.

Cheese is not just delicious; it has been shown to have positive effects on sleep as well. In 2005 the British Cheese Board released a study in which the majority of people who consumed cheese claimed to have better sleep. This is due to the amino acid in cheese called tryptophan which is the same amino acid in Turkey that makes you fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, this study showed that different cheeses produce different types of dreams. This makes me wonder if there is a cheese that makes you dream of cheese and if so where can I get some? So, the next time you are having an event catered around Portland don’t forget to call us at To Dine For Catering and we will make sure to add the cheese!

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