Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Foodie Event Alert!

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Mark your calendars!

The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation is hosting the 7th Annual Taste of Shelby County on Thursday, September 11, 2014, from 5:30p – 8:00p at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center, 3660 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35243.
There will be vendors from all over Shelby County and the surrounding area offering a “taste” of their specialty dishes from their menus at the event. Vendors include restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries, and more! There will be a myriad of treats for you to enjoy! Bring your spouse, family, friends, or even make it a date night. What a deal for $25...dining, live music by the Duke School of Music, and each ticket includes a door prize ticket. You may purchase additional door prize tickets at the door for $5/each or 5 for $20.
Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. You may purchase tickets in advance over the phone at 682.5255 or visit  to purchase tickets online through September 10, 2014 and pick them up at Will Call at the event. Discover, M/C, Visa and American Express are accepted online.

The Taste of Shelby County
Thursday September 11th

Monday, August 18, 2014

Olexa's Cafe- Infamously delicious.

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I mentioned the name Olexa's to several people in Birmingham and most everyone I spoke with swooned and raved about their cakes. I've had a slice of their infamous cake and YES.... it is delicious. However, I was intrigued by their awesome looking menu and decided to venture out to an active area of Mountain Brook with a friend to have this highly anticipated lunch.

Atmosphere: This is nothing like I have ever seen. A quaint indoor cafĂ© with an outdoor feel. When you step inside it feels as if you've entered into a French courtyard. There are trees, street lamps and balconies. There is an ample amount of table seating. The hard to ignore bakery display is in the rear of the restaurant and filled with Olexa's infamous baked goods. Just try not to look while eating your lunch. It's hard, but you gotta be strong.

What I/we had: The shrimp, crab & lobstertini appetizer. This is a shrimp, crab & lobster mixture blended with a house made dressing called Louie dressing, with a lemon garnish and served in a martini glass. I'm tearing up just thinking about this. With every bite, I am thinking "the shrimp cocktail just lost it's place in  seafood history".  Our main entrees consisted of The Savory Trio. We both had the half turkey Panini, a 1/2 strawberry mandarin salad and a cup of soup. I had the tomato basil bisque and my fellow foodie had the white chicken chili. Everything tasted amazing.

The Staff: Friendly, upbeat and attentive. Lots and lots of smiles.

Prices: $8.95 for the shrimp & crab lobstertini, the Savory trio $12.95.

Overall experience: Had a great time, great tasting food, great service. I would definitely return to Olexa's.
If you would like to get more information, order a cake or to inquire about catering for your next event visit

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Shrimp/Crab Lobstertini
Savory trio w/ Strawberry mandarin salad, 1/2 turkey Panini and white chicken chili

Savory trio w/ tomato basil bisque

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Easy as 1-2-3" Connect To Catering - An Event Planner's Dream Tool

Any event planner knows that great food is probably the highlight of any event. Collecting catering quotes can be rather time consuming. Searching requires hours and sometimes days of contacting several restaurants or caterers and making call after call or composing tailored email requests for catering. has developed a wonderful website to take the hassle out of finding just the right caterer and the right menu. This user friendly site offers lots of specials, game day and even same day catering options.

Listed as one of Birmingham Business Journal's "People On The Move" Angela Olexa, the marketing guru at Connect to Catering offered a delightful conversation about the business.

Restaurant Raider: Who came up with the concept?
Angela Olexa: is the brainchild of a Birmingham woman who watched her husband face weekly challenges with ordering catering for business functions. It was a cumbersome process to play phone tag with caterers, track down current menus and confirm orders. Her solution was a website that streamlined local catering menus to one place and offered online ordering. 

RR: What has been your success rate?

AO: The concept has been very well received due to it's fast, easy and convenient method for customers to order catering. Because it is a virtual shopping mall of caterers/restaurants that allows the customer to find what they need for every occasion, it takes much of the 'legwork' out of catering by putting all of these menus and information on one site. With just a few clicks, customers can place their orders and mark the task off their list for the day. The site is for personal use and business use but currently our biggest clients are corporate customers who order lunches throughout the week. Since the initial launch in 2010, the site has built a loyal following of these customers that order consistently for corporate purposes and that following continues to grow.  

RR: What features do you plan to add for the upcoming year to enhance the experience for caterers & users? 

AO: is always adding new Catering Partners to the mix. Customers will find up-to-date menus, monthly specials and catering ideas for any occasion, including working lunches, tailgating, dinner for guests, weddings and other special events. The catering categories listed on that help a customer based on his/her catering needs are: Everyday, Same Day, Event, Game Day (Tailgating), Holiday, and Specialty Treats.
One of our newest features on the site is in our Event Catering category. It allows a customer to complete a simple Request for Proposal (RFP) from various caterers. This is very helpful when planning for an event. By filling out an RFP, a customer can learn about a caterer's menu, service, set-up, cost, etc. for an event--large or small. Brides-to-be and event planners especially find it to be a time-saving tool. Customers can complete RFPs for multiple caterers for the same event and then compare all of the proposals to make a final decision about what caterer to use. It's quite a handy tool that eliminates hours of research and phone calls.

The busy fall football season and the holidays are two of the most popular catering seasons. They are right around the corner!  During football season, our caterers provide numerous options to make the tailgating experience easy. The holidays are a time for parties and special dinners when our caterers provide delicious seasonal menus, offering both delivery and pick-up options.

RR: The site mentions that you cover Birmingham & Montgomery mainly? Do you service any other areas?

AO: Not YET. :)

RR: Is there anything not on the website that you would like to feature. 

AO: I think our main push is the convenience of so many options in one place and the opportunity to browse/compare menus and complete an order with very little time commitment. 

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