Teacher Appreciation Luncheon – Hawaiian Theme! Aloha and Mahalo!

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - Hawaiian Theme! Aloha!

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Hawaiian Theme! Aloha and Mahalo!

Cowabunga! Imagine going to work one day to find your workplace transformed into a tropical island paradise. Imagine stepping out of your office (or classroom) and onto an island in the balmy blue South Pacific…for lunch!

The surf is exhilarating, the tropical fare is heavenly, and the hospitality could not be more gracious. We are enchanted by the Polynesian atmosphere complete with an island-theme tablescape, beach chairs, sand, surf boards, wetsuits, orchids & hibiscus, island music and Elvis’ Blue Hawaii on the big screen.

Each year the generous, creative parents of children at Rolling Hills Country Day School transform our auditorium into a delightful oasis in the middle of the workday. This year’s Aloha Theme was especially enjoyable and refreshing as an ocean breeze.

The parents chose the shaka sign (extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled) as the logo for this event. Its meaning conveys Aloha Spirit – capturing friendship, camaraderie and gratitude, the laid-back, fun-loving, and especially hang-loose nature of the Hawaiian culture.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - Hawaiian Theme! Aloha & Mahalo!

Aloha & Mahalo Invitation

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Spring Strawberry Farro Salad by Baran’s 2239

Spring Strawberry Farro Salad by Baran's 2239

Baran’s 2239 Spring Strawberry & Farro Salad
English Peas, Asparagus, Burrata

The highlight of Teacher Appreciation Week, as usual, was our Annual Luncheon. This year it had a super-fun hang loose Hawaiian Island theme. Our friends at Baran’s 2239 Restaurant generously donated the salad course, a delightful Strawberry & Farro Salad, the epitome of springtime in a bowl. Chef Tyler Gugliotta shares his recipe here on Taste With The Eyes. Mahalo Chef!

Spring Strawberry & Farro Salad Recipe

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Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party
Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ninety of us gathered at the Bluewater Grill at sunset in King Harbor, Redondo Beach amidst the sailboats and palm trees to celebrate the holiday season.

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. With the help of fabulously creative colleagues, a super-fun theme, and a waterfront venue that exceeded expectations – this gala was another smashing success.

Guests arrived for Après Ski in ski lodge attire, presumably after a day on the slopes, as the sun was setting over the Pacific. They mingled during a cocktail hour with an open bar enhanced with an array of passed appetizers.

As the sky turned from hues of blue to shades of red, orange, violet and yellow – the DJs played a nostalgic mix of Christmas music and our favorite songs (saving those hot dance tunes for after dinner). The photo booth was a big hit as groups of skiers grabbed props to strike a pose.

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

To set the holiday mood, just before dinner, guests gathered around the “piano and fireplace” (actually the DJ booth and cocktail tables with candles) for a group sing-a-long. With lyrics in hand, everyone joined together, enthusiastically belting out White Christmas along with Bing Crosby. Dean Martin’s Let It Snow was sung in verses alternated by the guys and the gals. So fun!

Immediately after the sing-a-long guests took their seats for dinner. Waiters served the award-winning New England Clam Chowder, then table-by-table guests were invited to the buffet featuring carved-to-order prime rib roast. The meal concluded with a Dessert Station and Hot Beverage Bar brimming with whipped cream and all the accoutrements to warm a winter evening.

The night continued with general merrymaking, dancing, photo booth pics with ski lodge antics and prizes. Before leaving, guests picked up a cozy blanket and made a trip to the Hot Chocolate Bar to personalize hot cocoa to take home.

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Baran’s 2239 ~ Rainbow Carrots with Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel, Hollandaise

Baran's 2239 ~ Rainbow Carrots with Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel, Hollandaise

Baran’s 2239 Baby Rainbow Carrots
Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel,
Browned Butter Hollandaise

Leave it to Chef Tyler Gugliotta of Baran’s 2239 to take the humble carrot and turn it into a root vegetable fantasyland. Visually stunning, the colorful carrot-garden-in-a-bowl has three wildly distinctive sauces: a heady hazelnut truffle aillade, a sweet and earthy carrot caramel, and the rich silky hollandaise made with nutty browned butter.

Baran’s 2239 is arguably the hottest restaurant in the South Bay. The culinary collaboration by owners and brothers, Jonathan and Jason Baran and their friend Chef Tyler Gugliotta, opened earlier this year in Hermosa Beach, California.

“Fantastic pedigree in the kitchen.” -Los Angeles Magazine

“Progressive. Delicious. Unexpected.” -LA WEEKLY

“Best New South Bay Restaurant” -LA WEEKLY

“Atmosphere is casual, food is not.” -Los Angeles Times

#4 restaurant for “Best Overall” restaurants in Los Angeles -OpenTable

Jon Baran and I have been colleagues for several years and enjoy discussing recipes and esoteric ingredients…and it turns out that Tyler’s dad, Chef Greg Gugliotta and I worked together decades ago at Chez Melange. Small. World.

It has been my honor and pleasure to shoot Tyler’s food. His dishes are inspired, innovative, refreshingly original. Baran’s 2239 super-seasonal menu is fun and adventurous, this carrot dish is a perfect example. I loved this dish and asked if he would share…

Thank you for this wonderfully imaginative recipe, Chef!

Chef Tyler Gugliotta
Chef Tyler Gugliotta
Baby Rainbow Carrot Recipe
By Chef Tyler Gugliotta

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