We’re getting ready to re-do the website for The Cheese Board, so we thought we’d ask the obvious question: What do YOU (our amazing and valued customer!) want to see in the new website? To knock a couple things off of the list, YES, we are going to responsive web design, so you can surf on your phone or tablet, and yes, we are going to incorporate our new Instagram account, so you can see “hot off the grill” photos of our catered events, business lunches, weddings, and what-have-you. So there’s that. But if you’ve got a moment, we’d like to hear from you about the types of things you’d like to see (and yes, we’re moving the Daily Specials up so it’s one click to yumminess when you’ve got that Cheese Board craving! From all of us here at The Cheese Board, thank you for 35 fabulous years of sharing the joys of the table — and the joys of your life’s many celebrations — with us!
Fall is a magical time to get married at Lake Tahoe, and last Saturday’s event at the Thunderbird Lodge was no exception with bluebird weather, the lake like a millpond, and an adorable Reno couple tying the knot in front of family and friends. Debbie Branby, Chef Kaimi Coonrad, and the catering team from The Cheese Board arrived early to make everything “just so” for a glorious wedding reception, with passed hors d’oeuvres and a yummy wedding buffet set up to take in the view. Wedding guests enjoyed a wonderful guitarist playing while the drinks flowed and laughter filled the air. Reno’s own Eldorado provided a gorgeous wedding cake, and a rocking DJ kept things moving well into the evening. Our thanks to the charming couple for letting us be a part of their special day. Wedding catering at Lake Tahoe: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!
We’re doing our part to support Reno’s Artown this summer by opening up The Cheese Board‘s parking lot on the corner of Hill St. and Cal Ave. on Saturday, July 14th and Saturday, July 28th for the California Avenue Artists Market, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once you’ve loaded up on local art, stop in for Chef Kaimi’s fabulous omelets and pancakes featuring fresh fruit from Reno’s own farmer’s markets or maybe a glass or two of great California wine. It’s all for the sake of art — come on down and do your part at 247 California Avenue in artful Reno, Nevada!
Usually, Open Houses have simple needs that must be met: a cheese display, something sweet, and of course, beer and wine. This time, my client gave me a challenge: something “Western.” Okay…Western it is. At first we were going to do a nod to Western with the menu with an elegant touch, navy lamour linens downplayed with a beautiful, elegant sunflower centerpiece. I know what you are thinking: if you are going to go Western, you need to go all the way. Well, you’re right…and so was the client.
Here’s the menu we put together:
Tequila Lime and Mango Chicken Skewers
with and avocado crema drizzle
filled with lightly spiced black beans, corn,
tomatoes, cilantro, and jack cheese
served with house-made pico de gallo
Pulled Pork Sliders
ancho chili spiced pork topped with cilantro slaw
In petite ciabatta rolls
Fresh Vegetable Platter
served with cumin lime aioli
Mini Chicken Tostadas
with avocado, red onion, peppers.
cotija cheese, with a fresh orange and cilantro crema
Green Chili and Cheddar Dip
Served warm with tortilla chips
With the right mix of bandanas and burlap linens, the tables looked the part. Galvanized tubs and bandana linens made for an effortless set-up and went perfectly with the theme. The cocktail tables had denim linens with simple hurricane candles wrapped in faux barbed wire. I literally put those together 20 minutes before the event started, they were that easy! Finally, Devonwoods tied it all together with the happy sunflowers in galvanized steel containers, a pop of blue from the irises, and tying in the Western theme with strands of wheat. They also sourced some mini hay bales that we placed on the food table to add the final touch.
Floral by Devonwoods
Linens by Creative Coverings
Rentals by Camelot Party Rentals
For one Reno couple, the decision to have a fall wedding reception outdoors turned into a dream come true, thanks to a little cooperation from Mother Nature and a little help from the wedding catering staff at The Cheese Board.
For Krista Kintop-Phillips, wedding catering manager, and Debbie Branby, owner of The Cheese Board, it was another happy outcome, thanks to careful planning and flawless execution. The two veteran wedding planners began by carefully considering the couple’s vision for sharing their October 16th outdoor wedding reception with 180 guests. Then, they got to work putting together a fabulous menu, a top-notch kitchen and service team, handling the countless details, and praying for great weather to make this fall wedding a memorable one.
The wedding was set on the lovely grounds of one of Reno’s most notable early homes, and the lucky couple created a simple yet elegant tone with their choices of white linens and gorgeous floral arrangements lovingly made by family members and friends.
“It was just beautiful. Everything came together perfectly,” Krista said. “And, because you never know about weather in Nevada, we had all the food and beverage stations tented just in case.”
The Cheese Board’s chefs and service staff set up a discreet “al fresco” kitchen, where they prepared a post-ceremony passed hors d’oeuvre of a Zinfandel-Poached Pear on a brown butter cracker with blue cheese and candied walnut; a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres, including Petite Artichoke Tartlets with Kalamata olives and goat cheese topped with roasted artichoke heart; a Petite Soup and Sandwich consisting of a sippable tomato basil soup with a petite grilled cheese sandwich with port salut and black forest ham; and a Sesame Tuna Tartare served in a wonton chip with wasabi roe and ginger aioli. As the guests strolled the gorgeous grounds of this landmark property, The Cheese Board staff set up six stationary hors d’oeuvres stations, where guests could nibble on a Mediterranean Platter with fresh vegetables, olives, grilled pita bread and house-made hummus; a Grilled Spiced Prawn drizzled with lemongrass curry; an Asian Noodle Salad served in mini to-go boxes with chopsticks; Lamb Lollipops consisting of grilled marinated petite lamb chops served with a tomato chutney; Wild Mushroom Tarts topped with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pecans; and Truffled Mac-n-Cheese baked and served in a petite ramekin.
At the end of the lovely afternoon and evening, “the client was just thrilled.” Krista enthused. A few days later, a lovely note from the bride’s mother arrived with her reflections on the event.
“Thanks to both of you for ensuring that the wedding reception was perfect! Working with both of you before the occasion inspired confidence, and we were thrilled with all the details. We have many “foodie” friends, and we received nothing but glowing reports about your creations and service. I knew you’d impress all those guests from New York City to Los Angeles.”
Feed all the fans at your house with Super Bowl Super Food from The Cheese Board! Call now to order your special Super Bowl Lasagna, Chili, and people-pleasing Platters for pick up on Saturday, February 5th. We are taking pre-orders now through February 2nd. Call (775) 323-2444, x105 or x104 to place your order today!
By Dave Kidder
Moving from summer into fall is a nice time of year for the kitchen staff at The Cheese Board. We have such an amazing crew of chefs putting in long hours and after a long hot summer in the kitchen—and all over Reno and Tahoe—for catered events; we embrace this time of year as the dust settles. Now is our chance to get caught up on all of our projects and refine our menu to bring in all the fantastic fall/winter ingredients, before the next wave of holiday catering begins. Everything gets cleaned, organized, and ready to go in preparation for the long, cold winter, because once the holiday catering season begins, we will be going full steam again and it won’t be until the great spring thaw until we can do it again.
The crew can be seen busy in the kitchen and around the restaurant, working on cleaning projects, doing maintenance on our equipment, and on more intensive projects which there really isn’t time for while we are cranking out food for the masses during the busy summer restaurant, weddings and event catering season. Amy will be hard at work cleaning the compressors on the refrigeration systems, Kaimi and Izzy will be overseeing all the important cleaning projects and general “fix it” type jobs; Arnoldo will be tackling stove and hood fans with a bucket of soapy water and a stainless steel scrubber. Rafael will be out back cleaning out the vans after they’ve been used for multiple deliveries and scrubbing the rubber floor mats. Theresa will be restocking the catering equipment boxes and honing in the chaffers, Cambros and timely detail-oriented systems which make our catering department run smoothly. It’s a well oiled machine here. It’s got to be.
In the meantime, Debbie and Krista are hard at work upstairs in the offices, scheduling upcoming events and doing research to help The Cheese Board stay ahead of our competition. Larissa, the bookkeeper, will be cranking out the numbers, making sure we are continuing to run the business in a fiscally-sustainable manor. Catlin, Gigi and the front of the house staff will be tearing apart the dining room in search of dust and dirt and anything else needing to be polished, along with researching new retail products for the counter. It’s really a fantastic time of year to watch this team during slower times; instead of getting complacent or restful, we are flying into action in preparation for the next busy season. It’s fun to watch.
In the meantime, I can be found talking on the phone to our local farmers and purveyors, arranging the delivery of all the new seasonal ingredients and developing new menu items to knock the socks off of our wonderful, appreciative customers. Honestly, I wish everybody could enjoy their work as much as we do around The Cheese Board. Come on in and see us…you’re the reason we’re here. [DK]
One of our favorite events of the year is the fundraiser for Nevada Musuem of Art called “A Taste For Art.” For the past 25 years, we’ve thrown our support behind this event and showcased our cuisine before thousands of wine fans and foodies from across Northern Nevada. Join us on Aug. 20th at the hottest art party in town, and stop by The Cheese Board’s table for a taste of something truly extraordinary. We can’t wait to see you there! For tickets, please visit www.nevadaart.org.
By Dave Kidder
Sweet juicy fruits reminiscent of warm sunny days are practically nonexistent during the colder months here in Reno. Hearty, savory vegetables tend to dominate the menus in most restaurants and bistros. But, there is one type of fruit that shines during the deep freeze, and that is citrus. Blood oranges, grapefruits, satsuma mandarins, kumquats, sweet oranges, lemons and limes are all in their peak of ripeness and deliciousness. I primarily use citrus fruits in salads because they lend a sweetness to counter the flavor of savory ingredients such as onions, olives and fennel. A salad of roasted lamb with oranges, olives & fennel or a salad of pan seared salmon filet with grapefruit and avocado are types of menu items featuring citrus fruits here at The Cheese Board. We cut the fruits into sections, or supreme. They add beautiful color and immense sweetness to our dishes. I have included a recipe featuring citrus fruits, so it can be made at home. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to write or call me any time if you have any questions at (775) 323-3115.
CRISPY SEARED SALMON FILET SALAD with GRAPEFRUIT and AVOCADO
(Serves four portions)
-1 pound fresh salmon filet (skin removed)
-4 large handfuls of baby lettuces (mesclun mix)
-2 large ruby red grapefruits
-2 large Haas avocados
-4 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
-6 ounces pecan halves (toasted)
-1 shallot (finely minced)
-zest and juice of 1 lemon
-1/4 cup sherry vinegar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tbsp dijon mustard
Fresh ground black pepper
-Cut fish into four quarter pound filets, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
-Pre-heat a large non stick sauté pan over medium high heat until just smoking, add enough canola oil to liberally cover the bottom of the pan. Delicately place the fish, seasoned side down in the pan and let it cook for about three minutes. The goal is to get a nice crispy sear on the flesh. Carefully flip salmon in a motion moving away from yourself in order to avoid getting burned by hot spattering oil. Continue cooking for another two minutes, or until desired temperature, remove from pan, let rest on a plate lined with paper towels.
Prepare vinaigrette; in a large mixing bowl, soak the minced shallot in sherry vinegar for fifteen minutes in order to remove the harsh oniony flavor. Add mustard, sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, blend with a whisk. After all ingredients are incorporated, slowly drizzle oil while whisking. Taste your final product before serving; it may need more salt, pepper, sugar to your desired taste.
Toast pecan halves in 350 degree oven for ten minutes
Crumble feta cheese
Peel and cut avocado into thin wedges, peel and cut grapefruit (removing pith) into sections, or supremes.
Toss baby lettuces in a large salad bowl with a small amount of vinaigrette, you can always add more, but an over dressed salad is not very pleasant.
Place dressed lettuce on plate, arrange grapefruit and avocado around lettuce. Put salmon on top and finish the salad with toasted pecans and crumbled feta cheese.
That’s it. Enjoy!
We are making a commitment to American Artisan cheeses here at The Cheese Board and will have fresh deliveries every other week. This totally compliments our involvement with the Slow Food movement and the support of small farmers across America. America is such an amazing country and sometimes we just have to look in our own backyard…
Constant Bliss is made at Jasper Hill Farms, a small farm in Greensboro, Vermont. Made from raw, uncooled, evening Ayershire cow’s milk, it is aged for 60 days. It is a soft, mild-ripened drum of yumminess. Constant Bliss gets its name from a revolutionary war scout killed in Greensboro guarding the Bayley Hazen Military Road. $14.00 each
Barely Buzzed is a hand-made cheese made by brothers-in-law, Tim Welsh and Pat Ford, at Beehive Cheese Creamery in Utah. It is a creamy, nutty cheese encased in an irresistible rind of crushed lavender and exotic coffee. Barely Buzzed won the American Cheese Society competition in 2007 and has an intriguing flavor combination that is a delight on the tongue. $15.00 per half pound
Cowgirl Creamery named its signature cheese MT TAM in deference to the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais in Northern California. It’s smooth, creamy, elegant, 10 oz triple cream made with tasty organic mild from the Straus Family Dairy. MT TAM is firm with a texture of beaten butter and a mellow, earthy flavor reminiscent of white mushrooms. MT TAM placed first at the Los Angeles County Fair, in 2008 and second the American Cheese Society in 2008.