Government Connections - Fall 2016 - 22
With small plates still popular for 2016, tapas are an ideal way
to please picky palates - and adventurous ones. Practiced
planners can find favor with all their attendees - and stay
foodie-forward - by curating crafty menus in which versatility
keeps cost low while allowing your venue's F&B pros to let their
"Tapas are meant to be shared, which makes them a great
icebreaker at events," says restaurant critic and food writer
Rona Gindin (ronarecommends.com), who has been following
food-service trends for some 30 years. "Put a bunch of people
at a table, place an assortment of tapas in the center and watch
the communication begin!"
Food is universal - and as such a natural springboard into
new connections - says Gindin, a Zagat editor and Epicurious
contributor. But as tastes are highly subjective, they're ideal for
a mixed crowd whose tastes can't possibly be predicted with
100 percent accuracy.
"At a typical seated meal, everyone gets the same dish," she
points out. If it's chicken or beef, the vegetarians need a special
order. If it's a vegetarian entrée, the carnivores complain. And
fish? There's generally at least one at every table who can't
stomach it." It's tapas' variety that makes them a winner.
"Beef, chicken, fish, egg, dairy, veggie, potato ... whatever,"
she rattles off. "Every attendee is bound to find something
they'll at least enjoy enough to fill up on."
The picky eaters are easy, she says, and can often
be satisfied - pleased, in fact - with breaded and fried options
a la your favorite pub's appetizer menu. Things like chicken
tenders, slider-style burgers, mac and cheese. But savvy
planners and food pros know that these, and other dishes like
them, are easily modified to please adventurous eaters as well.
"Add a twist!" she says. "Tenders paired with a creamy, creative
aioli dip; sliders with pickled vegetables and spicy cheese, mac
and cheese that can be served with or without lobster chunks."
Site Selection 101
Whether you're planning something close to home, or spreading
your wings a bit, with so many vibrant cities offering so much in
the way of quality hotel/conference center venues and off-site
locations and fun things to do, how do you narrow down the list?
What Color is Your City/Venue? An increasing number
of cities and businesses are getting on the train toward
sustainability, which may be something you'd like to factor into
your event. Do research to find out which take an Earth-friendly
approach and/or have LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) certifications.
GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS | FALL/WINTER 2016
Look for Fun When Business is Done. When the programs
wrap, will there be entertainment options for attendees and will
they be on-site or walkable? The latter matters. New connections
will often look to grab a drink or coffee to continue their
conversation, or perhaps even explore the area together.
Small/Alternative Venues for Smaller Events. Universities,
high schools, small hotel chains, restaurants with private rooms
and even churches, airports and libraries often have spaces
ideally suited for trainings sessions or similar events - at a much
lower rate than traditional meeting spaces.