TASTE: A Food Tasting Isn’t Optional in Party Planning

December 8, 2016


Food is part of the entertainment…

One very important, and always challenging-but-exciting, aspect of what we do here at Evantine Design is menu design and planning. Each event we design and produce has unique requirements for food, beverage, display, and service. As a result, we are always looking to create the NEXT exciting food experience for our clients!

A food tasting that wowed…

To that end, earlier this week we were treated to an absolutely exquisite tasting, right here in our design studio. One of our favorite New York caterers created an open kitchen in our floral studio that gave us a chance to see all the culinary magic come to life as each plate was made. It also afforded us the opportunity to ask questions of the chef and culinary team. We are collaborating on many upcoming projects with this caterer in the 2017-2018 event season and it was great fun introducing them to our client in such an interactive fashion!

Only crumbs remained…

We took just a few photos of the food tasting as we were just too busy eating all the delicious food! But as you can see, the chef really pulled out all the tasty stops for us… {nom, nom, nom}

The table is set for the food tasting...

The table is set for the food tasting…

Our floral design studio became an open kitchen...

Our floral design studio became an open kitchen…

A sirloin beef slider with 3 pepper ketchup that was insane, with homemade chips...

We enjoyed a sirloin beef slider with 3 pepper ketchup that was insane, with homemade chips…

Persian Cucumber with Yellowfin Tuna, black olive, caperberry...

Persian Cucumber with Yellowfin Tuna, black olive, caperberry…

Event Planner Paige Dietz tasting the Truffle Grilled Cheese with smoked tomato jam...

Event Planner Paige Dietz tasting the Truffle Grilled Cheese with smoked tomato jam…

Paige loving her Kippered Salmon hors d’oeuvre before we could photograph it...

Paige loving her Kippered Salmon hors d’oeuvre before we could photograph it…

Event Planner Robert Canada, who has dropped his phone one too many times, helps document the tasting...

Event Planner Robert Canada, who has dropped his phone one too many times, helps document the tasting…

An amazing Frank en Croute with spicy mustard...

An amazing Frank en Croute with spicy mustard…

A Citrus Roasted Baby Carrots – Blood orange, puffed rice, parsley-honey dressing...

A Citrus Roasted Baby Carrots – Blood orange, puffed rice, parsley-honey dressing…

The chef plating up the carrot salad...

The chef plating up the carrot salad…

Market Beets with heirloom Apples – SO GOOD.

Market Beets with heirloom Apples – SO GOOD.

Herb roasted beef tenderloin with butternut squash polenta, bordelaise sauce... ahhh-mazing...

Herb roasted beef tenderloin with butternut squash polenta, bordelaise sauce… ahhh-mazing…

Applewood Smoked Chicken Roulade – So smoky and delicious. Served with Cauliflower farrotto, Spinach, Braised Cipollini...

Applewood Smoked Chicken Roulade – So smoky and delicious. Served with Cauliflower farrotto, Spinach, Braised Cipollini…

...and with a rich and mind-blowing Chocolate Bomb for dessert.

…and with a rich and mind-blowing Chocolate Bomb for dessert.


ABOUT US: Celebrating 20 Years at The Rittenhouse Hotel!

April 29, 2015


**UPDATE** After 21 years at The Rittenhouse, we have moved our retail boutique to another new location. Please come visit us at 715 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, just off Washington Square in Center City, Philadelphia. Need to reach the store or need directions? please reach out via 215-790-2576 or tina@evantinedesign.com 


Unbelievably, this week marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of our Evantine Boutique at The Rittenhouse!!!!!

Although we were creating some of Philadelphia’s chicest parties for years (and years, and years…) before we moved into this prestigious hotel, it seems like just yesterday we signed the lease for the lobby retail space. From designing stylish parties and lavish weddings in their elegant ballroom, to wrapping up fresh floral bouquets daily for dedicated clients, landscaping the garden with seasonal blooms, and decorating the lobby for the holidays, over the past 20 years we have gotten to know the hotel inside and out as our second home! Truly, it has been an inspiring 20 year partnership!

Over the years we have had the pleasure to work with many talented members of The Rittenhouse staff. Most particularly, Lori Maslowski in the catering department. Right up to last night when we were back in the ballroom with a cool Mad Men-themed party! As usual, Lori and her talented food and beverage team made sure each and every detail was taken care of beautifully and efficiently.

Thank you Team Rittenhouse for all that you have done and continue to do! Everyone at Team Evantine looks forward to another 20 years!

Love, Brian Kappra, Creative Director of Evantine Design

{Photo of a classic Rittenhouse Wedding we designed in the hotel ballroom courtesy of Faith West Photography}

**UPDATE** After 21 years at The Rittenhouse, we have moved our retail boutique to another new location. Please come visit us at 715 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, just off Washington Square in Center City, Philadelphia. Need to reach the store or need directions? please reach out via 215-790-2576 or tina@evantinedesign.com

TASTE: Our Kind of Cheese “Cake”

July 19, 2013

wedding-cheese-cake-tasha seccombe

Making a “cake” out of whole cheeses or cheese wheels is a trendy alternative to the traditional tiered wedding cake. Even though we love the amazing confectionery cakes that we regularly see from some of the nation’s best bakers, it is no secret that the wedding cake often goes to waste or simply is not a planning priority for the bride and groom. Hence, our enthusiasm for a stacked wedding “cake” constructed entirely out of delicious cheese! If the bridal couple does not fancy the sweet and traditional, why not dish them up a little savory fromage with all the appropriate accoutrement?

Displayed and served during the cocktail reception is sure to get everyone’s attention when they are fresh and, well, attentive to the details. But also, from an event designer’s stand point, this stunning concept dresses up a classic food station in a charming fashion. You can keep the cheeses available the whole evening for guests to snack on, roll them out after dinner on mahogany cheese carts, or serve them at an intimate after hours party.

wedding cake made with cheese wheels tasha seccombe

If this concept of a wedding cake intrigues you as much as it does us, check out these other examples of the foodie trend below for a little more inspiration.

wedding cakes made with cheese wheels evantine design blog

{Photo credits: Tasha Seccombe; Tasha Seccombe; Braebourne Farms; Emmaline Bride, Aneta Mak}

TASTE: Now THAT’S a Sexy Sushi Station!

July 16, 2012

stylish sushi stations for parties philadelphia party planners

For a recent private party, we styled up a fabulous sushi station using mirror tables, crystal hurricanes and magenta orchids. Oh, and 24 feet of assorted nigiri sushi, maki and uramaki rolls, sashimi, seaweed salad and steamed edamame!  Who said food can’t be glamorous?

{Photos: Tyler Boye; Catering: Leslie Rosen}

sushi station designs mirrors crystals orchids philadelphia event planners

sexy sushi station ideas mirror tables evantine design

WE LOVE: Outdoor Weddings and Celebrations! {Bring on the Summer Party Season!}

May 23, 2012

Who doesn’t love attending a party outside, in a tent, under the trees, next to the ocean or by the pool?  Okay, so there might also be scorching temperatures, thunder storms, flying sand, muddy walks, and biting mosquitos, but WHO CARES? Those natural occurrences are all part of the mystique and spontaneity of entertaining out-of-doors. This week marks the beginning of another Summer Party Season and we no longer need to dream of sunny days and balmy nights. They’re upon us and we’re ready! So bring on those steamy days and sultry nights! We thought we’d share just a few photos from some of our favorite outdoor weddings and celebrations from years past…

Anniversary Party Tented Events Evantine Design Philadelphia Wedding Planners

A wedding anniversary celebrated with friends in a formally-attired tent in the backyard. After a seven-course dinner catered by Chef Georges Perrier of Le Bec Fin, guests enjoyed the cabaret stylings of Karen Akers before dancing the night away to Gary Racan and the Studio E Band. {Photo: Paul Loftland}

high school graduation parties outdoor movies beanbags philadelphia event designers

For a high school graduation party, we created bean bag hang out areas outside a sailcloth tent, as well as an outdoor movie theater with a first-run double feature and S’mores campfires for after dinner. {Photo: Tyler Boye}

Asian Parasols for Wedding Ceremonies Summer Parties Evantine DesignHot Pink and Green Wedding Design Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Event Design Philadelphia WeddingsHot Pink and Green Outdoor Weddings Tented Parties in Philadelphia Peonies Hydrangea

Even unseasonably HOT weather (102 degrees) didn’t stop the party from continuing late into the evening. A gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer-style wedding for 300 in giant pole tents situated by the Delaware River at the picturesque Andalusia estate.  (Those poor hydrangeas…)  {Photo: Liz Banfield}

tents over pools outdoor parties in philadelphia suburbs cantilevered stages

A stylish poolside birthday bash with a cantilevered stage over a swimming pool for the performances of Starlight Orchestra and comedian, Robert Klein.  {Photo and tent: EventQuip}

Air conditioned tents for weddings philadephia wedding planners evantine designEnglish Garden themed weddings South Jersey Wedding Planners Evantine DesignLanterns Tented Weddings Evantine Design Philadelphia Event Designers

An elegant English Garden wedding for 200 at a private home located at a prestigious golfing community in Southern New Jersey. Carefully placed tents were nestled between pine trees, over flagstone terraces and koi ponds. As June on the East Coast does get sticky with humidity, we zipped up the clear tent sides and pumped in plenty of air-conditioning!  {Tent: EventQuip; Photo: Melissa Mermin }

Birthday Parties in Tents Main Line Philadelphia Party Planners Evantine Design

Despite the downpour, we styled up an intimate hot pink and tangerine cocktail party setting for 75 guests celebrating a client’s birthday. {Photo: Susan Beard}

Garden Wedding Champagne and Ivory Tented weddings main line pa Evantine Design

A lush, French garden-style wedding layered with champagne and ivory fabric and dripping with greenery.  {Photo: Marie Labbancz}

fireworks cake cutting philadelphia weddings evantine design

A country club wedding in Southern New Jersey ends, as every outdoor celebration should, with a kiss stolen under a sky filled with colorful fireworks. {Photo: Peter Van Beever}

TASTE: Sushi Bars, Always a Popular Food Station at Parties

July 27, 2011

When it comes to planning your special event, wedding or bar/bat mitzvah menu, invariably the question “what are the most popular food stations at parties?” gets asked.  The answer, at least on the East Coast, is an enthusiastic “SUSHI!!!!”  In one form or another, sushi stations or sushi bars, are a guaranteed win-win choice for cocktail receptions for discerning palates.  Sushi and sashimi are even served at children’s parties for the kids to enjoy!  Over the years we’ve designed and styled many a sushi presentation using carved ice, glass vessels, running water, river rock, custom-made wooden planks, light up tables, lucite shelves, red lacquered boxes, gold vessels, Asian statuary, and on and on.  Below are just some of the sushi stations we’ve created for weddings, parties and social gatherings.  [Above, Catering:  Leslie Rosen Catering; Photo:  Philip Gabriel]

For a modern white and purple 25th wedding anniversary we worked with Leslie Rosen Catering to create a stylish Seafood Crudite with colorful mixed sushi, salty steamed edamame and a large ice bowl filled with cocktail shrimp.  [Above, Photo: Paul Loftland]

Multiple light up tables were placed in a row to create a large sushi display that would allow a large group of guests to graze all at one time.  Each table was composed of multiple mirrors in silver metallic frames that held monochromatic displays of sushi, sashimi and seaweed salad. [Above, Caterer:  Wolfgang Puck Catering; Photo: Susan Beard Design]

For a tented cocktail reception for a bar mitzvah at a private home, this floating ice sushi station presented multiple sushi rolls on glass and metal platters.  [Above, Catering:  Leslie Rosen Catering; Photo:  Phil Kramer]

Sushi isn’t just for cocktail receptions. Why not serve it as a surprise second course during a sit-down dinner?  That’s exactly what we did for a bar mitzvah at Peche at Sherman Mills.  Just as the first course was ending, a wall of drape opened on one side of the ballroom to reveal a forty foot sushi station laden with gold vases filled with purple orchids and plate-after-plate of sushi! [Above, Catering: Leslie Rosen Catering; Photo: Susan Beard Design]

Sushi Cabanas built with tents inside a building gave the adult guests at this bat mitzah a fun activity to enjoy while they watched the kids dance below.  [Above, Catering:  Peachtree & Ward; Photo:  Phil Kramer]

Bamboo, black beans, sushi mats and vintage Asian elements combine to make this sushi stationa hit at a boy’s bar mitzvah celebration at Peche at Sherman Mills.  [Above, Catering:  Leslie Rosen Catering; Photo:  Philip Gabriel]

WE LOVE: Wedding Cakes by Truli Confectionary Arts

February 26, 2010

Can you ever see enough photos of beautiful wedding cakes?  We think not.  We’re definitely obsessed with the “cake art” from Truli Confectionary Arts.

A simple stacked stunner for an outdoor May wedding we designed at the Appleford Estate.  We placed the cake on a vintage cake stand which sat on top of an antique carved wooden table.  [photo by Rachel McGinn]

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WE LOVE: Wedding Cakes!

August 5, 2009

We have received many fabulous messages regarding the groom’s cake we showed a few weeks ago and people are asking to see some of our favorite wedding cakes.  So we went through some of our event folders and found wonderful examples of special wedding cakes which captured the design theme of each particular wedding.  Enjoy!


Sylvia Weinstock created this absolutely gorgeous cake for a wedding we designed in Philadelphia at The Westin Hotel.  The coral peonies on the cake were a nod to the real coral peonies which the bride carried in her bouquet and the textured appliques on the surface of the cake reflect the exact lace appliques on the bride’s gown.

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TASTE: Chef’s Table at Lacroix

July 21, 2009

Recently, we had the wonderful opportunity to host a chef’s tasting dinner in the kitchen of Lacroix at The Rittenhouse.  In a word, FABULOUS!!!  Chef de Cuisine Jason Cichonski, along with Sous Chefs Jon Cichon and Adam Lazarick, created the most amazing dining experience for us and our invited guests.  Twelve Courses, plus an Amuse Bouche and two Desserts!  Dinner was paired with impeccable wines selected by sommelier Eric Simonis. 

chefs table NO CHEF _0807 (1)

We at Evantine Design are not new to hotel and restaurant kitchens.  In fact, our business dictates that we know our way in, out, and around many of them in the city!  Therefore, the thought of dining in the kitchen was not exactly thrilling.  However, the experience exceeded our wildest expectations!  The entire line of chefs in Lacroix was nothing short of amazing.  The Chef’s table is a beautiful marble-top, set just inches from the stoves and finishing table. Watching the staff perfom was like watching a well choreographed ballet!  Timing is everything, and they perform as a team in perfect cadence.

Tastings in the kitchen typically begin from 6-6:30pm, which allows ample time to enjoy each and every course (ours lasted until 11pm!) After an amazing Amuse Bouche, we were served a pickled Strawberry Soda!  There is no way to adequately describe the intense, fresh flavor of this “soda”!  Other highlights from the menu, which you can see below, included the Striped Bass Belly, Ramp Ice Cream, an amazing Kindai Tuna, Foie Gras paired with a mouth-watering Peach-Miso, a simply melt-in-your mouth perfect Duck with Melon Bisque and Fava Beans, and Lamb with to-die-for Grits!  A stunning surprise was the Robiola Bosina which literally exploded in our mouths! 

Food Image 2UNTITLED 4

These kids in the kitchen ROCK!!  (Sorry, but they are all in their 20’s!)  The detail and thought put into the combination of different tastes and textures was purely amazing.  You can see, smell, taste and feel the passion they have for food!  Any questions we asked were answered with enthusiasm and gusto and made the entire experience one of the highlights of our culinary lives!

Suitable for framing, each of us received a signed menu in a gift bag with Lacroix chocolates as we left.  Ours will be hung on the wall as a wonderful reminder of our adventure.


In addition to this amazing menu, sommelier Eric Simonis selected awesome wines to pair with each course.  Some of our favorites were:

Chateau de la Vieille Tour, Domaine Boissonneau, Bordeaux, 2008 –A wonderful blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle with aromas of citrus fruits and mango.  The wine tastes unwooded, crisp and refreshing.

Monbazillac, Domaine du Petit Paris, Dordogne, 2006 –From the district of Bergerac in Southwestern France.  This wine has all the quality of its Bordeaux cousin, the great Sauterne, yet at a fraction of the cost.

Mercurey, “Clos de la Marche” Monopole, Domaine Louis Max, Bourgogne, 2005 — From Southern Burgundy, 100% Pinot Noir, medium-bodied with dark fruit flavor, soft tannins and a touch of oak.

Maury, “Dix Ans d’ Age”, Pyrenees Orientales, NV  –100% Grenache Noir.  This fortified wine is aged outside in glass demi-johns for one year, followed by nine years in oak!  A beautiful copper-tinted robe, very complex and reminiscent of an old Madeira.  Perfect with blue cheese and chocolate desserts.   And it was!

Treat yourself, your friends or your family to an unforgettable dining experience!  Every aspect was incredible and memorable!

WE LOVE: Groom’s Cakes

July 8, 2009

Looking at the various wedding magazines and tv shows where fantastic cakes are carved and built with great skill, we thought we might share one of the best we’ve seen in our corner of the world. Below is a photograph taken by Stacey Kane at a wedding we did together at Appleford Estate in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

In true Southern tradition, the bride decided to have a surprise groom’s cake presented to her new husband at the wedding reception.  From the get-go there was absolutely no doubt what the cake would be; an exact replica of the groom’s beloved childhood dog Tripp.  The surprise was successful and the groom and his entire family were incredibly emotional about the tribute.  The cake was the ROCK STAR of the evening and the dance floor was filled with paparazzi rather than dancers for a good 20 minutes until we took the cake away.  But it was TOO life-like for dessert service.

Needless to say, no one had the stomach to nibble on Tripp or his bowl of Kibble.  The cake was enthusiastically and fabulously created by Truli Confectionary Arts.