Atmosphere at Houston Hall
When it comes to cooking and hosting guests in our homes, there are so many factors to take in. The perfect recipe, the right ingredients, musical selections, decor, crowd, and presentation. What would a dinner party be without a proper presentation on beautiful plates and table linens of our favorite course, the hors d’oeuvres and snacks? The folks at The Laughing Cow have the mission to #ReinventSnacking, and have held a number of Love Your Local events in various markets pairing bloggers with food & entertaining experts to teach us the goods.
I attended the New York City edition of Love Your Local at Houston Hall in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
Guests learning stop motion video with Visual Country
Upon entering the massive beer hall, the space was divided into various sections. Beer and a signature cocktail were available at the bar all evening, self-serve small bites were along the opposite wall, the back section had a set-up to learn stop motion video, a communal table near the center had bites, flatware & linens for food styling, and the front section featured a Southern-flavored snack workshop from Chef Sarah Simmons of Birds & Bubbles.
Showing us the ropes
My first stop was the food styling section. Aside from making, searching for, and eating all the food, I love to set up proper photos of meals to snap away and post on Instagram, my blog, or portfolio. I found a spot on the communal table for the session taught by food stylist and photographer Kristen Hess of TheArtfulGourmet.
The area was complete with a wide selection of beautiful plates, boards, linens and cutlery to pair with various Laughing Cow cheeses, charcuterie, fruits, and other small bites to create the perfect spread.
In the zone
I am competitive by nature and have a great eye, so once we we given the foundations from Kristen, it was my mission to create one of the best spreads at the table. In the area of decorating, I love neutrals with a good color pop, so I found a white polka dot hand towel, which I folded on an angle to be the foundation.
Prepping the shot
I used two small plates, one white to display the various cheeses and crostini with micro greens, and one in a tan/white motif in which I featured salami, figs drizzled with honey, and a sprig of micro greens for color and added texture. I originally wanted to include my cocktail in the shot, but it looked a bit cheesy (no pun intended).
The money shot
Once I fully committed to my ingredients and tools, I properly set up my shot, and snapped the beauty you see above. I felt REALLY COOL that the event’s photographer captured various shots of my spread.
Once the session was over, I head over to Chef Sarah Simmons workshop on Southern-inspired snacks.
Chef Sarah Simmons of Birds & Bubbles
A Carolina native, Chef Sarah Simmons is a culinary force; the CEO of CITY GRIT Hospitality Group and Executive Chef & owner of Birds & Bubbles in the Lower East Side which serves elevated Southern cuisine. In her workshop we learned how to create hors d’oeuvres with a Southern flair.
We all sat at a communal table with ingredients fit for a king, spanning sliced meats, fruit, fluffy biscuits, crackers, and cheeses. She demonstrated a unique treat which included a slice of ham topped with a smear of Laughing Cow’s asiago cheese, wrapped over melon. Paired with a biscuit, this combo was a winner amongst guests, that I can’t wait to try at home.
We received hefty gift bags which included a full variety of Laughing Cow cheese, jam, water crackers, a New York State-shaped slate board and spreading knife to start the party. A great time indeed.
*Photos courtesy of the Laughing Cow