July 8, 2020

Quick party turnaround

Hey Alix,

I am hoping you can help me with something:

We are having somewhat of a last minute “big wig” dinner on our boat for a group of eleven this Thursday! The higher ups from a large corporation are coming in from all over the nation — including Hawaii — for this occasion. I am thinking finger food and cocktails along with our tour. We have hired a captain but feel like we don’t need catering staff. Looking for Northwest-y food, artfully displayed.


– Happy Boater

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Dear Happy Boater,

A small event two days from now, and you want the party to have a Northwest flair? Here are a couple of options:

1. If you’re looking for easy, my first suggestion would be to call caterer Madres Kitchen and see if they can get something together this quickly. They are great — two mothers own it (hence the name) — and they are terrific to work with. They can likely put together lovely platters that they simply drop off, rather than having to hang around and be “cater-y.”

2. Or, if you’re up for a little bit of assembly and a little bit of cooking, how about the Whole Foods route? Their prepared food section would have a bunch of good options, including outstanding crab cakes if you have access to an oven. A quick bake and some bottled sauce, and you’re all set. Chicken and vegetable skewers can be done slightly in advance, so that you’re not slaving over the grill and trying to be hostess with the mostess at the same time. Add a couple of salads from that same section, maybe a shrimp something and whatever orzo variety they have on hand.

Elsewhere in the store, pick up packaged lox, cream cheese, capers and sliced tomato, along with thin rye toasts; such a Northwest kind of thing to serve. A cheese plate with a selection of two to three always helps to round out heavy hors d’oeuvres; Mt. Townsend’s Seastack is one of my favorites.

3. As for beverages, how about St. Germain gin and tonics, made with gin from Spokane’s own Dry Fly Distilling. You might also want some beers on hand, and perhaps at the same Whole Foods you’ll be able to find some local options. Two of my personal favorites are made locally in Georgetown, Georgetown Brewing Company’s Manny’s Pale Ale and Baron Brewing Company’s Baron Pilsner.

4. For dessert, how about a tray of artfully broken up bars from Theo Chocolate or Fran’s salted caramels — both available at Whole Foods, I’m nearly certain. Add a couple of small bowls of different berries (strawberries and blueberries, say) and you’re set.