Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wow, December Already??

Hello Friends!!

I know it's been a while but never fear, Dining With Grace is still here!
What have I been up to? Quite a few things, and I guess I don't mind sharing...

Well, I know I ought to be embarrassed to say but... I finally got my license! Yes, Brooklyn girl is all grown up! I knew that I needed to drive ASAP to get my catering business on the level that it needs to be and with the visions of my custom Dining With Grace decal on the side of my ride, I knew that time was of the essence! ;-)

Secondly, I've been researching grants, many people don't realize how many opportunities are out there for small businesses and even for education. My point is this, yes you have to work hard to get the reward but the reward is still out there to be taken. I decided to go to school part-time to study Hospitality Management while I continue working on my business. Very excited.

Then of course, there's my marketing campaign. Folks, listen....you have the idea, you have the product or service, the next important thing is MARKETING it. Creativity, persistence, and a visionary eye is key here. I'm back to the drawing board, utilizing professionals to get it done right.

Oh and let's not forget to mention Thanksgiving! I had a few orders to handle then went to work on my contribution to the family meal. What was on the menu this year you ask?? This is how eclectic my family is! I love it! We had Egusi soup and pounded yam, a Jerked Leg of lamb, Beef Vindaloo, Creamed Spinach, Cajun Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlic Shrimp, Spring Salad with Beets, Red Grapes, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnuts w/a Honey Vinaigrette and lastly a Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Dried Cranberries! Don't pigeonhole my family (or DWG!!), we are connoisseurs of Fine International Cuisine! :-)

Other than that, I've been scoping out new potential sites for a commercial kitchen, fine-tuning business plan, getting some legal advice and continuing to take this adventure one day at a time.

2010 lays ahead as 2009 winds to an end, on the 12th of this month I will be 1 year older but much more the wiser. Thank you God for the opportunity to experience this journey. Thank you friends for being there, I look forward to sharing much more Dining With Grace moments with you!


Grace O.

P.S. Dining With Grace is now on Twitter! Follow me! http://twitter.com/DiningWithGrace

Stay tuned for our Revamped Website and our December 2009 Newsletter!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Signs from Above

I've had quite possibly the craziest time of my life within the past month , especially the last 10 days.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you how completely random its been.

But believe this, I wouldn't replace the experience for anything. I'm a WHOLE lot wiser than I was a few months ago and that's where I've won.

Ladies & Gents- the Dining With Grace Cafe opening is postponed until further notice.

So much work had been done-construction, market research, business plan, design implementation, neighborhood introductions, personal financing...and the list goes on. But sometimes God literally has to pull you away by your ear...and so He did. You see, things were going fast and I wasn't looking back. Things that may have been placed as signs, I looked at them as challenges and fought my way over and around them. God had to do something drastic, something I couldn't jump over or scurry around. ( I had prayed for this to happen if my ways were not aligned with His.) He made it plain that I needed to HALT! And so here I am halted, contemplative, and honestly a little relaxed (I feel cared for). I see how something so randomly placed to stop a situation from going from bad to worse could only have been orchestrated by the heavenlies. He totally threw a wrench in it.

So I am regrouping, back to my drawing board, knowing that when He closes a door he opens a window. I've learned so much about people, business, law, entrepreneurship, restaurants, designing and planning, marketing...the list goes on! How much wealthier will I be when I approach my next venture?? Very excited!! But for now...I will gladly...halt. This needs not be rushed. I was given a second chance and I will not be hasty or ignorant with it. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Dining With Grace still offers Fine Catering and Cakes! Look out for our Holiday Specials, coming soon! Dining With Grace Cafe will continue to be a work in progress...stay tuned!


Grace O.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bridal Luncheon Catering Photos & More

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of catering for a beautiful bridal luncheon in New Jersey for 30 guests.

This is what was on the 3-course menu:


General Tso Chicken Sticks
Shrimp w/Oregano & Garlic


Grilled Greek-Style Chicken Breast w/Chimchurri Sauce
Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese w/Roasted Tomato
Cheddar Scallion Biscuit
Greek Salad


Vineyard Decor- Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake

Dining With Grace was a hit once again! Thank you to Ms. Michelle Smith for letting a girl do her thing! For more information on Dining With Grace Catering services and our unique menu please visit our web page at http://www.diningwithgrace.com/. If you stand for nothing less than fabulous, we are your team!

Enjoy some photos below of my other crowd favorites from past events! More photos soon to come...

Smoked Salmon Bites w/ Creme Fraiche, Dill and Red Onion
Taste of Tuscany Bruschetta on Crostini

Kickin' Chicken Littles

Bon Appetit!

Grace O.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank God For You...My Friends

I took a minute out today to catch up with a friend over dinner and it felt so good. I was feeling a little stressed out after meeting with a Small Business Development Advisor (hey Miriam, thanks a million!!) and realizing my ultimate to-do list. But afterwards, having a leisurely conversation with my friend allowed me to briefly focus on other things, not to mention she's crazy Hilarious!!
Hey Ana!

So here's my Confession: I kinda miss my social life. Catching up with friends over dinner used to be ALL I did, lol. Ahh, and yoga...oh and movies...sigh. Nooo, don't fret guys I'm not complaining.

It's just that I realized with all that I'm trying to do I am almost cocooning myself, where only Dining With Grace and I exist. While I understand that that needs to be done in order to get tasks accomplished, I also realized I cannot lose touch with those who genuinely care about me and support me. What sense would it make if I get Dining With Grace up and running and there is no friends there to support? "Errr...Congrats but where have you been for the past year???" lol. That can't happen.

So friends, I know it's probably been a while but I want this to happen so bad. For me and for you (cheesy sounding, I know. But it's true...I want to make us proud.) But know that I still love you guys! Let's make a date!

I also want to thank my new friends and supporters in this venture. Those who have ordered my cakes, asked me to cater their special events, spoke to their friends or their networks about me, even those who have simply offered a word of encouragement or advice. Thank you, it means so much to this girl with a dream -Sorry, I really don't mean to be cheesy ;-)


Grace O.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Over Easy...

Hello Everyone!

As I sit here in this Brooklyn Coffeeshop, backpack in tow, laptop, research papers and books scattered on my (too) little table, I felt my supporters needed a progress update on the DWG Project.

I must say this is the internship I never had, but always needed! I see now how an MBA could help any start-up business. Especially, when the budget is low you can't afford to pay professionals to do things for you. You have to know the nuts and bolts of starting a business by learning it for yourself! Def use professionals where you must but be sure you also have an understanding of what they are doing. Also, trust and admire the people you chose to be on your team!! That is very important!

I have encountered some delays in the building out of my catering kitchen but I am happy to say the ball is officially rolling (slowly and steadily but rolling nevertheless) and is anticipated to pick up speed further down the road. Among working on my business plan, doing marketing research and financial projections, working with contractors, visiting the DWG site, baking cakes, and catering events I'm one stretched out chick. But would I have it any other way? NOPE. Will it get done? YES. How so? Because I am determined to do so. It's not easy, but I'm thinking that its pressure that makes a diamond shine.

I want Dining With Grace to be a quality establishment, not a rush job. So if time and energy and patience is what it takes...I'm still willing to shake on it. And, oh yeah....MONEY!!!

Thank you all for your kind thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. I am excited to be on this journey and I look forward to sharing it with you!

I am SOOOO over easy.


Grace O.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New American is...

The New American Demystified:

New American is harmony perfected.

New American is eclectic yet familiar.

New American is cherishing the past and anticipating the future.

New American is undefined yet refined.

New American is receptive to life's journey.

New American is proud yet in awe.

New American is the love of cultural gems.

New American is a melting pot.

New American is a shock to the Old American.

New American is brave.

New American is creative and catalytic.

New American is Brooklyn.

New American is Dining With Grace.

New American is Grace O.

DWG Conceptual Story:

When I brainstormed about the kind of restaurant I would open, I had one major criteria: To create food that I loved to eat. To create food that showed who I am, what I'm about, and where I'm from. It had to be a reflection of sorts. I soon realized...I am many things...eluding stringent definitions, I cannot be held to social dictations and neither can my culinary inspirations.

As a Brooklyn born & raised Nigerian-American lady I would tear up my Momma's *ogbono soup with okra and pounded yam, or her **moyin-moyin or her ***jollof rice just as quickly as I will devour some ...kimchi, toro sushi, Korean bbq, ceviche, roti, lasagna, rib-eye steak, guacamole, mandoo, tuna tartare, pate, smoked gouda and oh yeah... Chicken Wings & Pork Fried Rice!!! Lmao :-)

My point is this...I enjoy eating, creating, and learning about GOOD FOOD- this is my criteria. Not just Nigerian food or just American food. But furthermore, I appreciate exploring other cultures and paying homage to the delicacies found within them. As a lady who loves to travel, who loves to learn, and who loves to explore the culinary arts of other regions my palate has become quite adventurous. My favorite culinary inspirations are from the Mediterranean, Thailand, Asia, Caribbean & American Comfort cuisines.

My goal in Dining With Grace is to subtly draw people out of their comfort zone by offering the new with the old, by taking the familiar and introducing foreign, by taking comfort food and splashing a little gourmet in there with fresh and unique ingredients. It is who I am. It is who my friends are. It is who I serve.

My Best With Love,
The New American- Grace O.

**Ogbono soup with okra and pounded yam is my favorite Nigerian dish! Typically made with the ogbono seed which is blended to a paste with various seasonings and aromatics including onions, celery and garlic creating the viscous base for the soup. Leafy green vegetables are added, usually spinach with meat variations such as beef, oxtail, and goat (can also be made with stockfish aka dried fish) with dried shrimp added for extra flavor. Sliced okra is then added to give the soup more texture. This soup is eaten with pounded yam (my preference anyway) which can best be described as a molded ball of mashed potatoes with a slightly thicker consistency. Wash your hands thoroughly and tear of a piece of pounded yam, mold it into a lil mini ball in your hand, dip it in the soup and voila. Naija yumminess!! Dining With Grace will have special nights featuring the Nigerian dining experience! **

**Moi-Moi (some spell it moyin-moyin) is a childhood favorite of mine! Its not really something I had very often because its so time consuming (and my Mom used to make me do all the work!!). But its delicious nevertheless. It is a savory steamed bean cake. Black-eye peas are soaked for several hours or overnight, peeled, then blended with tomatoes, onions, a little oil, salt and hot cayenne pepper. Corned beef and a boiled egg are added to the mix for more flavor. The thick paste is then put in foil wrap or aluminum cans then put in a water bath for about 35-40 minutes. When solid the bean cake is done. Always delicious! I love you too Mommy!

**Jollof Rice is a Nigerian-American staple!! Lol. Think about the most delicious spicy fried rice or pilaf you can ever have and that's what jollof rice is. From the tender rice grains with its famous orange-reddish tint from its tomato, tomato paste , onions and pepper base to the small pieces of well flavored meat or chicken, Jolloff rice is Nigerian Comfort Food at its Finest!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Honey!!! I'm Home!! (Original Brooklyn Revisted)

Change has come to Brooklyn!! No, I’m not talking about Park Slope…or Red Hook…or Fort Greene…or DUMBO. No, change has come to (dare I say??) the Real Brooklyn. We’ve already seen what the aforementioned neighborhoods can do, giving fellow Brooklynites a taste of fine dining. It’s time to expand that hospitality! Dining With Grace Catering & Cafe is coming to Brownsville to introduce quality cuisine to the masses. Don't be shy :-)

Let's step correct about what Dining With Grace is about. What is it doing in Brooklyn? Specifically, what is it doing in Brownsville? Well, Ladies and Gents...I have a story to tell. As a Real Brooklyn native I know where the "in" Brooklyn restaurants are...they are in the New Brooklyn. But let's take a look back... let's see what would happen if we bring the new ideas, the new image, the new energy for the better life over to the Original Brooklyn and get it poppin' slowly and steadily. (Yes...I said "poppin'"!). Dining With Grace is coming to Brownsville to continue the upward trend of quality goods and services spreading to under- served areas.

Dining With Grace is excited to bring something fresh to this area of Brooklyn. We are here to take this community to a new level, bringing quality where quality is needed. Although our style is typically reserved for the "new Brooklyn" neighborhoods, Dining With Grace aims to not only be part of this neighborhood but to work with the community to create new opportunities in uplifting it. We believe change has to begin somewhere. It takes someone or something brave to challenge existing conditions in order to make it better. Isn't every new invention made to upgrade a former inhabitant of lower standard if not voidness?

What is it that we say? Brooklyn...WE GO HARD?!? Yeah, let's get it.

Grace O.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Dining With Grace Cake Sale

Hand-crafted & Customized Gourmet Layer Cakes for Any Special Occasion or None at all!!


A moist and tender buttermilk cake with a hint of cocoa and a gorgeous red hue. Filled and topped with our decadent cream cheese frosting & crushed walnuts. TOP SELLER!

Mouthwatering, hearty cake filled with carrot, fruit, nuts and spices. Frosted and filled with our special recipe of cardamom-cream cheese– coconut frosting. TOP SELLER!

An intensely chocolaty experience. 3 varieties of premium chocolates creating ultimate satisfaction. Filled with our velvety chocolate mousse and topped with a rich chocolate buttercream and your choice of hazelnuts or almonds. ***May be also topped and filled with a fluffy white vanilla frosting per request. Also available- Dark Chocolate Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Orange.

Tastes just like sunshine! A refreshingly light lemon flavored chiffon cake with a raspberry cream filling and a lemon meringue frosting. Also Available in Strawberry Lemonade.

A perfectly balanced combination! A tender coco nut flavored cake filled with sweet pineapple and frosted with a light coconut- lemon frosting.

Fall is here, cozy up to this delicious and comforting slice of heaven. A moist cake that is simply divine with pumpkin, a touch of fresh ginger and spices. Topped and filled with your choice of cream cheese frosting or whipped cream. Also wonderful served plain.

Your perfect destination awaits you. A moist & fluffy citrus flavored cake with a peach & mango cream filling topped with our Meyer Lemon Swiss Buttercream Frosting.

Tender banana cake with chopped walnuts (optional) topped and filled with a caramel buttercream frosting. Also Available: Strawberry Banana– same banana cake with strawberry cream filling.

A moist vanilla cake filled with your choice filling– vanilla cream, chocolate mousse, strawberry cream, lemon curd, or pineapple with your choice of a Vanilla, Lemon or Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Featured Below are Strawberry Lemonade, Decadent Dark Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry, Ravishing Red Velvet, Pineapple-Filled Yellow Cake, and Carrot Cake Deluxe!

Price List For all Cakes

8”- $40
10”- $60
12”- $75

Banana Bread or Cran Orange Nut Loaf- $20

Payment Info: Please Pay By Check, PayPal or
Cash Only
**PayPal or Cash Preferred**
If By Pay Pal, Submit Payment toVendor: Grace@DiningWithGrace.com



Thank You For Your Support!!

My Best to You,
Ms. Grace
Owner, Dining With Grace, Inc.

Additional Options

On Your Mark...Get Set...OMG!!

Dining With Grace Catering & Cafe is opening FALL 2009!

It started from a dream and now the time has come...get ready for the launch of Dining With Grace- Catering & Cafe!! Get to know us...

What is Dining With Grace?
Dining With Grace (DWG) is a Brooklyn-based Catering Kitchen and Cafe servicing all who seek a touch of "gourmet" and flair in all their dining experiences. Whether it be at a celebration of a special occasion or just a quiet night out with your friends or family, Dining With Grace wants each experience of our guests to be memorable. Dining With Grace Café will open daily for breakfast and lunch offering freshly made innovative American fare. Twice a month we will feature DWG Dinner Party nights where an eclectic menu of local and global favorites will be featured with live entertainment.

Where is Dining With Grace located?

Located in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY- Dining With Grace is primely positioned directly next door to one of the largest banquet halls in Brooklyn.

What kind of events does Dining With Grace cater for?

DWG Catering is the provider of fine catering for dinners, parties, exposes, fashion shows, banquets and all of your special affairs. With the capacity to cater for an intimate dinner for 2, a dinner party for your friends and family in your home, a wedding reception, or a gala- we are always ready to make your event memorable.

The Dining With Grace customer loves a great dining experience. They dine with all their senses not simply to satisfy hunger. They expect a great meal not just quick food. They cannot be easily defined simply by their nationality, neighborhood, or others' expectations. Their exploration of world cuisine and cultures leads them to find favorites dishes all over the world. DWG Catering extends services to individuals, small businesses, and corporate accounts. Please contact us at catering@diningwithgrace.com to ask about setting up a Small Business/Corporate Catering account.

When is the Dining With Grace Grand Opening?

Fall 2009! Stay tuned! In the meantime, please support our PRE-ORDER CAKE SALE! Serving Brooklyn and NYC the most delicious quality cakes. From what I've been told...you taste the love!

How can I get more information about Dining With Grace?

Check out our website at http://www.diningwithgrace.com/! Please be patient as we are currently updating it with new information. Please also feel free to email me at info@diningwithgrace.com or call our office 347-933-0196.

Dining With Grace will also be distributing a Monthly Newsletter featuring upcoming events, restaurant news and updates, personal stories from the kitchen, contests, as well as our monthly Dinner Party dates. To be sure that you are on our mailing list please send your name and e-mail address to info@diningwithgrace.com.