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CPS Summer Travels | Great Performances


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CPS Summer Travels
CPS Events at The Plaza
by CPS Team

As the summer is coming to an end, all of us reminisce on our various travels and memories from the summer. See where we have spent our summer and what we have been eating:

Lauren Longhi, Catering Sales Manager

“This summer I was lucky enough to travel to Italy with my boyfriend, Mike. We visited Lake Como, Florence, and Rome. Each city had its own character and features to admire. In Lake Como I was enchanted by the landscapes and pure romance of the city. Florence welcomed us with the fantastic smell of leather in the air and a perfectly sized landscape to enjoy all of its wonders in only a few days. Our most historic stop was in Rome where we were able to visit ancient ruins, the Vatican City and many more of the cities influential pieces. Rome did not only enrich our minds and our memories it enriched our bodies. The food was AMAZING! We found the most delicious restaurant thanks to my colleague, Rob Arango. The restaurant was called Ristorante Macceroni located a few minutes from Piazza Navona. We were only in Rome for a few days but we managed to visit Macceroni twice - which my colleague Rob did as well! I have to admit my favorite item was the Fettuccine al Tartufo Nero also known in my book as “Heaven”. Here is the recipe:”

Macceroni Fettuccine al Tartufo Mero


2 Ladles of Sodium Free Broth

2 oz. of Butter

Just under a Pound of Fettuccine Pasta

1 Garlic Clove

Black Truffles to the Chef’s Taste (the more the better) - Some suggest 150 grams and it can be found in a jar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1.  Boil water on the stove to cook pasta

2.  Brush the truffle to remove the mold and cut into julienne strips leaving a few slices for decoration

3.  In a pan put the oil and the garlic clove and fry in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

4.  Let warm over very low heat and low heat so that it gifts its entire aroma

5.  Remove the garlic before taking color and add the truffle julienne; stir and add salt. Leave to flavor a few seconds and turn off the flame

6.  Put in the cooked noodles, making sure to always make al dente with truffles, with the sauce (butter and sodium free broth, adding a ladle of cooking water)

7.  Stir for a few seconds the noodles and serve immediately

(actual footage of Macceroni Fettuccine al Tartufo Mero)

Rob Arango, Director of Client Development

“I have a long term relationship with mac ‘n’ cheese.  From an early age I remember my first day with a box from Kraft with the orange day glow powered cheese.  Serving for four soon became for one.  Last month I traveled to Vermont where I was introduced to a “healthy” form of mac ‘n’ cheese when my brother used his organic home grown baby kale as a primary ingredient.  I hope you enjoy his recipe as much as I did.”

Baked White Cheddar Mac ‘n' Cheese with Kale and Bacon


1 lb. Macaroni (cavatappi is my favorite, but any sort of elbow would work)

3 tbsp Butter

½ of a Purple Onion, Diced

½ tsp Minced Garlic

¼ cup Flour

3 cups Whole Milk

8 oz. Sharp White Cheddar, Grated

1 oz. Parmesan, Finely Grated

A dash Nutmeg (to taste)

A dash Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

¼ tsp Black Pepper

¼ to ½ tsp Salt, or according to personal preference

6 oz. Center Cut Bacon or Pancetta, cooked and crumbled

3.5 oz. Fresh Kale, Stems Removed and Chopped (about a half a bunch)

Panko or Seasoned Bread Crumbs


1.  Cook pasta one to two minutes less than package instructions. Drain and set aside

2.  Cut the bacon slices in half vertically, then into small bite sized pieces. Cook until crispy – do not burn. Drain and set aside

3.  In a large dutch oven, melt the butter, sauté the onion for 3 - 5 minutes over medium heat, or until tender and golden

4.  Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute or two, until fragrant

5.  Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat until golden

6.  Slowly whisk in the milk while cooking over medium heat.

7.  Stir in the sharp white cheddar and parmesan cheese, whisking until melted and creamy. 

8.  Add the nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, and salt (if desired). 

9.  Bring to a slow simmer (sauce will thicken); gently stir in the pasta, bacon, and kale to blend.

10.  Transfer the pasta mixture to a 3 1/2 quart oven-safe casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top with panko or seasoned bread crumbs.

11.  Bake at 375 degrees on the oven’s center rack for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.  Serve immediately.  Also freezes beautifully.

Rachel Hernandez, Catering Sales Coordinator

“For the past few years, I have been taking my vacation in South Florida. It has become my second home! Miami is one of my second favorite cities (NYC is of course #1) because of the culture, the food and the beach, of course. Miami is known for its large Cuban community, and whenever I visit I am sure to have authentic Cuban food. Ropa Vieja is my favorite dish! You can get it at any Cuban/Spanish restaurant in Miami.  Here is the recipe:

Ropa Vieja


4 lbs. Flank or Skirt Steak

2 Medium Carrots, Sliced

2 Bay Leaves

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 Large Spanish Onion, thin strips

1 Large Red Bell Pepper, thin strips

1 Large Green Bell Pepper, thin strips

3 Cloves Chopped Garlic

2 ½ cups Crushed Tomato, canned

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch fresh ground pepper


1.  In a large stock pot, place water, flank steak, bay leaves, sliced carrots and one Spanish onion cut in quarters

  1. Let cook at medium heat for 1.5 hours or until meat is tender to a fork
  2. Save at one-two cups of the stock and strain the rest of liquid from stock pot
  3. Let steak cool down, when steak is at room temperature shred meat with a fork
  4. In a large skillet at medium heat add olive oil, garlic, green and red peppers, the second onion and cook until translucent
  5. Now add shredded steak and 2 1/2 cups of crushed tomato along with one cup of beef stock, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. (May use more beef stock depending on desired consistency)
  6. Cook all ingredients together for one hour
  7. Serve in a gentle pile of shredded meat with traditional white rice

Sasha Lal, Catering Sales Coordinator

“Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Cuba with my family for a week long vacation. Cuba was unlike any place I have ever visited. It felt as if I was in a time warp, watching as a 1955 Chevy Belair drove down the street with not a Range Rover or Toyota in sight. Where the variation of vehicles may have been lacking, the city of Havana made up the gap in culture. I was able to enjoy traditional Cuban foods including Lechon Asado (Mojo Marinated Pork), Fried Plantains, Arroz con Pollo (Traditional yellow rice with chicken), and my personal favorite Ropa Vieja.” As Rachel lists above, this dish is delicious over a bowl of rice. Usually marinated and cooked in a slow cooker, the Ropa Vieja was truly one of the most memorable parts of my trip.”

Mike Warren, Director of Catering

“Ever since I was a young child I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and decided that this is the year I was going to make it happen.  Not only did we see the Grand Canyon, but we did the entire Grand Circle which included Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Natural Bridges, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon North and South Rim.  

At the Grand Canyon South Rim we stayed at The Sheridan Inn - a lovely bed and breakfast in Williams Arizona.  While most of the trip the food was not on par with the breathtaking scenery, that was certainly not the case at the inn.  Every night a menu was left in your room for you to select breakfast for the next morning.  Breakfast was served in an intimate setting on their porch surrounded by trees filled with hummingbirds. We knew that we would be ravenous by the end of our hikes so each morning we were sure to have a big breakfast! My favorite was the lemon blueberry pancakes that were out of this world (see their recipe below).

As Director of Catering of The Plaza I am fortunate enough to be exposed to superb food and service on a daily basis.  In my travels I have found that it comes in many forms.  Claire and Nick, proprietors of the inn, exemplify hospitality and warmth -making every guest feel at home.  You can tell that they genuinely enjoy pleasing their guests.”

Nick's Blueberry Lemon Pancakes


8 oz. Self-Rising Flour

4 oz. Pure Cane Sugar

1 Egg

7 fl. oz. Milk

1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla

Zest of Half a Lemon

Fresh Blueberries


1.  Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add sugar and mix

2. Combine the egg and milk together in an a jug and whisk into the flour mixture

3. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat by hand until you have a smooth batter

4. Ladle mixture onto flat top, or into a frying pan coated with butter and decorate each one with fresh blueberries whilst batter is still soft

5. Flip halfway through cooking to brown on both sides


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