Just like that, it’s January again. And in January, two things happen: We recommence spending the majority of our time in our Tysons Corner VA offices, and making resolutions to eat healthier in 2017.
You’re trading the cake for kale, the suds for seltzer, and the channel surfing on the couch for a daily dose of cardio; the year is not yet two weeks young, and you’ve got a long way to go to meet your goals, but you’re committed to making the right choices.
At home, it’s easy to do, but at work, temptations are many: cookies in the break room, the catered corporate lunch, happy hour invitations. How can you say no? It’s not easy, but you can do it. N-O.
The best thing about spending most of your day at work, on a set schedule, is the opportunity to make a plan. Block out ten minutes in the morning to have a healthy snack, and then take a break for lunch. Weight loss isn’t about eating less, but eating healthy. Planned snacks (Think almonds, or cheese, or fruit.) and a designated lunchtime should be priority items on your to-do list, every day.
Plan, and then prepare. Fill your lunchbox with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains; and make sure to keep a few more healthy options on hand in you’re desk for those days you’re just not feeling the brown bag. When you’re presented with multiple nutritious options, you’re less likely to give in when the lunching ladies come to call.
There’s eating right, and then there’s staying hydrated. We all know how important it is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but it’s just as easy to just… forget. Set a calendar reminder for once every half hour, and then drink up!
A commitment to healthy office eating habits doesn’t mean you’ll never get to have another of Carol’s cupcakes. It doesn’t mean you’ll never get to gab over greasy cheeseburgers on Friday afternoons, and it doesn’t mean you won’t get to enjoy the southern fried chicken your boss always orders from Boulevard Cafe Catering for the company retreat. It just means you have one cupcake a month (not a week). It means that you opt for a salad instead of a burger, and for one piece of chicken instead of two. Go ahead: Indulge. It’s the spice of life, but just like any other, a little goes a long way.
Working hard? Be honest, there’s a whole lot more ‘hardly working’ happening in the office today. Three days before Christmas, everyone’s ready to celebrate. We’re all daydreaming of sugar cookies and Santa, carols and cocoa — the year-end reports will be there next week. So plug in your headphones; pretend you’re focused and on task; and relive a few of your most cherished memories with Ralphie and the Goodfellas while you hum “Christmas is All Around Us.”
Christmas! It’s Christmas time!
Okay, well maybe not quite yet. Thanksgiving comes first, next week, but then it’s Christmas time! And in this jolliest season of the year, there is much to anticipate, much fun to be had. Parades of light, deck the halls, mulled cider, and the office holiday party.
But don’t just throw any ol’ party. Throw a great themed party.
Maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. Maybe you want to buy Ralphie that Red Ryder BB Gun yourself, or maybe you agree: He’ll shoot his eye out. Whatever your take on the matter, the classic holiday film is just that… a classic.
Just as A Christmas Story is set in the 1940s, so, too, should your A Christmas Story Christmas party be. Serve a holiday menu of duck and turkey — but be sure to keep the dog away! Decade-appropriate beverages and dessert should include Coca-Cola in glass bottles, root beer floats, Bit-o-Honey candies, Bazooka bubble gum, and Almond Joys.
Set a traditional scene with an elegant lit Christmas tree, a bar of soap for the naughty fudgers, themed prizes, and heavens, don’t forget the leg lamp photo opp!
If shtick isn’t your thing, and fancy is more your style, a formal masquerade ball is the IT party to throw! Gather your guest list, stock up on decorative masks for each of your guests, and decorate your home in rich purples and golds.
Any masquerade ball is a fancy party, and the food your serve at your masquerade ball should be just as fancy as the next. Serve a menu of passed hors d’oeuvres (May we suggest Mini Quiche Bites?) and champagne cocktails.
A high-class affair needs high-class entertainment. Hire a string quartet or live jazz musicians to entertain the masked masses; strike up the band, and fill the dance floor to the tune of Christmas classics.
Isn’t great food theme enough? Of course it is!
When you pair simple decorations and great music with a delectable twelve-course tasting menu, your guests will never leave hungry.
As October turns into November, and planning for the company holiday party kicks into high gear, you’re wondering how, or even if you can mix business and pleasure, to serve alcohol at the annual shindig. The answer is yes, with a little careful planning.
Emphasize that drinking to excess at an company event is unacceptable, and will be met with zero tolerance. Include information about alcohol usage in your company code of conduct, and be clear on your expectations (e.g., Is drinking at lunch discouraged? What is the policy for drinking at company events where clients are present?)
For no reason should you require that your employees attend events where alcohol will be served, nor should they be recommended to attend. All social gatherings should be strictly voluntary.
This goes hand-in-hand with your policy prohibiting excess consumption. Give each employee a set number of tickets (Say, two.) for drinks; once those tickets are gone, they’re gone. Serve non-alcoholic beverages — such as juice, soda, water — on an unlimited basis.
Liquor and spirits almost always have a higher alcohol content, and are harder to regulate.
That being said…
Never allow your employees to serve themselves, nor each other. Professional bartenders are trained to portion drinks appropriately, and make a living out of cutting people off when they’ve had too much.
Event guests who choose to remain sober can help identify co-workers who may have had too much to drink, and who might need a ride home.
Do so to ensure that you are properly covered, and aware of any exclusions in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong.
Your employees will be more comfortable and have more fun, and you will be less liable for damages if the event is held at a club or a restaurant, during nonworking hours.
Provide entertainment; arrange for a guest speaker; schedule games, dancing, raffles, team-building events, or other activities for your employees to participate in. The alcohol is just a bonus!
Boulevard Café Catering will provide hot or cold appetizers, entrees, salads, and/or dessert to whet your employees’ appetite, and to make sure no one drinks on an empty stomach.
Summer is for long lazy days at the pool, raucous concerts under the stars, and for company picnics. Corporate company picnics are a great way to say to your employees, “Thanks for all your hard work.” They give everyone a chance to relax, to socialize, to network, to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the summer season before it’s gone.
So much so that you’ve decided to throw one of your own. Your employees will be surprised, and delighted, and it’ll be all the talk around the water cooler — at least it might be… if only you could decide on the theme.
Boulevard Café Catering can help (with more than just the theme, but let’s start there). Consider the following, oh so popular themes, and which might be right for your next summer company picnic.
Incorporating foods from around the globe into your next corporate event is as trendy as it can be tasty. The menu options here are nearly endless: taco salad, German potato salad, whole roasted jerk chicken, and all the fixings. As your corporate event caterer, Boulevard Café Catering can help develop a picnic menu that is as Mexican, or Mediterranean as you want it to be.
Oh, there’s so much you can do. Think a day at the ballpark, or a tailgating extravaganza. Think food that can be eaten on the run, as your CFO is rounding the bases. Hot dogs and hamburgers. Ice cream and snow cones and cotton candy. Sounds like a great and tasty time to me.
At one company picnic we helped cater last year, they really went all out for the kids. There were bounce houses and obstacle courses and lawn games. It was so much fun. It’s a great idea for companies like yours with young families to schedule events and activities that keep the littlest ones occupied, so the adults have time to do all that socializing we talked about.
Maybe a 1950s themed picnic is more your style, or maybe you think “a picnic with food and music” is theme enough… No matter, we can help take your idea (or we’ll suggest a few more of our own) and turn it into a summer picnic to beat all.
Valentine’s Day is an occasion to celebrate love; it’s a day filled with chocolates, and flowers, and fine jewelry, and prix fixe dinner menus at fancy northern Virginia restaurants.
Surely, the love you feel for your significant other is reason enough to splurge a little, but splurging doesn’t have to mean blowing your budget. Opt for a bag of her favorite Reese’s peanut butter hearts; choose a bouquet of daisies from the grocery store display; and plan to prepare her favorite meal at home — there you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a special Valentine’s Day date at home, on any budget. Many relationship counselors believe that you must invest time into your relationship.
Cooking together is as much fun as it is practical, as it is romantic. Crack open a bottle of wine, and get to the chopping, and the sautéing.
You’ve already got the wine, and the fixings for a great meal; all that’s left to be had is the mood. Set the dining room table with your finest china. Adorn the room with candles and a vase for the flower you know she’ll love. Create a custom Spotify playlist for the occasion, and voila: the most romantic of settings all your own.
Make an event out of Valentine’s Day dinner at home by serving up several courses for the night. Get things started with an assortment of easy to prepare, delicious appetizers: Tomato and basil bruschetta, stuffed cheese puffs, potato nests and hummus with pita chips are a few of our favorite options. (Tip: Check out Pinterest or your favorite cookbook for more options to complement your main course.)
What’s more romantic than pasta and red wine? The truth is, nothing. Get creative; go out on a limb and try a pasta dish you’ve always wanted to try. Or stay within the old comfort zone with the Italian favorite, spaghetti and meatballs. Grab that second bottle of red wine, and settle in for a great meal with the best company.
Okay, maybe there is something more romantic than pasta — and that’s dessert.
Keep things simple with homemade chocolate-covered strawberries or an assortment of gourmet chocolates from a specialty chocolatier. Even a small tray of truffles can be enough to satisfy the sweet tooth while giving you an excuse to indulge for the night. Do a chocolate sampling together or enjoy some sweet treats with even a bit more red wine for a truly gourmet treat.
Show your sweetie how deep your love for her goes, without breaking the bank. (And not just on Valentine’s Day; every Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday is the perfect opportunity to let her know just how much you care — with a home cooked meal, a specially crafted playlist, or even just a five-dollar daisy bouquet.) Just because you are having dinner at home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t arrange for an executive car service to pick up your sweetheart.
Superbowl parties, birthday parties, and weddings — oh my!
Whatever the festive occasion, when you need to feed a crowd, it makes a lot of sense to set up a buffet. Your guests will feast at their convenience. (Some might even go back for seconds.)
But arranging a convenient display isn’t as simple as putting a few plates of food on the table with silverware and napkins, and calling it a day. Don’t get us wrong: It’s not rocket science, but there are a few key points to bear in mind when you decide to feed your guests buffet-style:
People gather in packs. Think herd mentality, and survey the room in which your buffet will be set up. Determine where people will gather and where people will walk, and only then will you be able to determine where to place the buffet table.
The food line needs a clear starting point, and a clear end point. Some people will, undoubtedly, go up the down staircase, but if you make the arrangement easy to navigate, most of your guests will get the picture.
Cold food first, then hot. This may seem like common sense, but it’s important to think of everything. Placing the hot, main dishes on the far end of the table will ensure that your guests enjoy each component of their meal at the correct temperature.
Think about it: If you serve a portion of lasagna first, and then must stand in a buffet line behind Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe who take five minutes decide whether they want green beans or brussels sprouts. Your lasagna will be cold by the time you find your seat.
Again, we’re back to flow. A beverage station — especially if there’s coffee — set on the same table as the food is guaranteed to interrupt flow. Can’t you just imagine Aunt Sally trying to juggle a plate of food while she pours a drink, all while doing her best to not hold up the line any further? T-r-o-u-b-l-e.
Make it easy for your guests to fill, and refill their glasses with ease and convenience. Also keep in mind that liquid sloshes and people are clumsy: The drink table is quite a bit more prone to spills than the food table, so you should stop by and tidy this station regularly.
Many people throughout northern Virginia know Boulevard Cafe as the best place to grab a quick lunch in Tysons Corner, and our lunch customers are a big part of the reason we’ve achieved so much success for so long. But the truth is, we’d be remiss to forget to mention our wonderful corporate catering clients. Boulevard Cafe Catering has had the unique opportunity to visit and serve many great corporate offices and their employees throughout the region; it truly makes our jobs worth the time when those clients leave reviews, and their feedback online.
“[The food I received from Boulevard Cafe Catering] tasted good every single time. Quality of food is great!”
“Boulevard Cafe catered a corporate SEO Training my company hosted and they did a great job. Mr. Rafeedie was a pleasure to work with and his suggestions on food were spot on. If your company is looking for a corporate catering service, I would definitely call them.”
“Best two over easy [eggs] I have ever had, and the owners are super nice.”
“[My event was] catered to perfection! :)”
Please consider leaving us a Google review. It’s simple and easy, and we’d greatly appreciate it. Simply follow these steps:
Did you know that September is National Food Safety Education Month?
As such, the Partnership for Food Safety Education; the US Department of Agriculture; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Food and Drug Administration; and the northern Virginia catering industry want consumers to know one thing: Just because you’ve “always done it” — that is, stored or prepared your food — one way doesn’t mean that it’s good, or even safe to continue doing so.
FACT: What feels cold to the human skin may very well not actually be cold enough to protect perishable foods. It’s important to use a thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator stays at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You might be surprised to learn that nearly half of all home refrigerators operate at temperatures above this level, placing your food and your health in the danger zone.
FACT: Many people believe that it’s too cold inside a properly cooled refrigerator for harmful bacteria to survive, but the truth is Listeria can grow at temperatures well below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, a recent study showed that your refrigerator’s produce compartment was one of the ‘germiest’ places in the kitchen, containing both Salmonella and Listeria.
Protect your food and your family:
FACT: Well, as we’ve already addressed: Bacteria are present, even in the refrigerator. Though cooler temperatures do slow the growth of bacteria, they will not stop their growth entirely. The best way you can avoid the infection of harmful bacteria is to follow the two-hour rule: Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cut fresh fruits and vegetables, and all cooked leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Cut that number in half if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
FACT: At Boulevard Café Catering, we’re glad that so many of our corporate catering customers recognize the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking, but too few understand the benefits of blotting dry. Research has indicated that drying fruits and vegetables after rinsing only further reduces the likelihood of contamination.
To get ahead in the business world in northern Virginia, networking is crucial, but it’s not always easy to walk into a room full of strangers and strike up a conversation. But see, here’s the thing: Everyone has come to the same networking event for the same thing, to meet strangers.
Consider the following tips for navigating a networking event. Go ahead, make some new business connections, and maybe even have a little fun while you’re at it.
With these tips, and a little gumption, you’re armed and ready to make the most out of your next professional networking event. Have fun, and if you’re ever hosting a corporate event in northern Virginia, you know who to call for catering: Boulevard Café Catering.