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Business spouses dinner near Miami Hilton Downtown - help!

I am hosting a group of 10 women, ranging in age from 35 to 60, for dinner in Miami. They are spouses of senior managers from my husband's company, from offices all over the country. We spouses have never met one another before. We are staying at the Hilton Downtown (and departing on a 4-night cruise the following day).

I would appreciate a recommendation for a place for dinner. This dinner is a thank-you, so these ladies should come away feeling that they have had a special night -- but I only have $60 - $70 pp (including tax and tip). That's not much, but it is the best the company can do.

I am thinking of a place that has fish, small plates, or a menu full of fabulous appetizers we could make a meal out of. The place shouldn't be too loud, so we can get to know one another. It would be nice if we could dress up a little and it would be helpful for it to be within walking distance to the hotel (10 ladies would require 3 taxis!).

I don't even know Miami well enough to know how to narrow down this location in a Google search. My travel agent suggested Bin 18 or City Hall. What do you think?

Help!

Jan 23, 2012
collinsline in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Tosca, Marcel, Ray's, Jaleo: need pleasant atmosphere for four 50-somethings to have a grown up dinner

Thanks, Bigcitywine. What are your thoughts about The Oval Room?

Oct 05, 2011
collinsline in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tosca, Marcel, Ray's, Jaleo: need pleasant atmosphere for four 50-somethings to have a grown up dinner

Thanks, Elyssa. I thought Central's menu looked very French bistro -- mussels, whole roasted chicken, steak frites, etc... My husband and I have another evening in DC (just the two of us). Maybe we can make Central our stop at that time.

Sep 19, 2011
collinsline in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tosca, Marcel, Ray's, Jaleo: need pleasant atmosphere for four 50-somethings to have a grown up dinner

Thanks, Indy 67. 701 was actually on our short-list but we really enjoy a cheese course and didn't see one on their menu. The Oval Room was on our list as well, but some comments on other threads said that it is little dated and rather stodgy. Funny -- although I want a grown-up atmosphere, I don't want stodgy. I am not sure how to articulate the difference between the two -- it's a fine line. I just know that I'll know it when I see it. (We can only dine on a Monday night, so no jazz. In fact, Monday closures have limited our options as well.)

Another one that we came close to including in our list was Central. I voted yes (just for the good food) but my husband thought their menu looked too casual. (Citronelle will have to wait for a fatter wallet!)

Sep 19, 2011
collinsline in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tosca, Marcel, Ray's, Jaleo: need pleasant atmosphere for four 50-somethings to have a grown up dinner

Thanks, Daniel, for the prompt reply. We were partial to Tosca - and your post make us even more so.

Sep 18, 2011
collinsline in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tosca, Marcel, Ray's, Jaleo: need pleasant atmosphere for four 50-somethings to have a grown up dinner

To make a very long story short, we are four 'hounds visiting DC and celebrating our shared anniversary. We have narrowed our choices down to Ray's the Steaks, Marcel's, Tosca and Jaleo - each has an appeal to us for a different reason. What I want to know is - at which one is the atmosphere the most conducive to a pleasant meal?

I don't want to have to shout to be heard. I don't want the room bright like an office. We ladies want to wear a nice dress and not feel out of place, and I don't want the tables so close together that I can hear my neighbor's conversation better than the one in my own party. Not to sound overly picky, but at this point in my life, I know what I like. I appreciate all your inputs -- you 'hounds are amazing! Thank you!

Sep 18, 2011
collinsline in Washington DC & Baltimore

Need suggestions for an interesting veggie/crudite tray

As a follow-up, I used many of your suggestions and made two beautiful veggie trays for my party. At the end of the evening, there wasn't much left but the swiss chard I used as a base. Thank you for your great suggestions.

Feb 06, 2011
collinsline in Home Cooking

Need suggestions for an interesting veggie/crudite tray

Would I serve baby squashed raw?

Feb 04, 2011
collinsline in Home Cooking

Need suggestions for an interesting veggie/crudite tray

Holy cow! You guys are amazing. Such great suggestions. I am inspired.
This is my first time posting to Chowhound, but it won't be my last. Thank you!

Feb 04, 2011
collinsline in Home Cooking

Need suggestions for an interesting veggie/crudite tray

Oh, great suggestions. I like the idea of fennel - I never thought of serving it raw (so you don't think I should blanch it?) Jicama is a great idea, especially since dinner is Mexican. I tried kale chips once and they were so fragile that they crumbled on me (probably my mistake). Roasted brussel sprouts sound good, too. Thank you!

Feb 04, 2011
collinsline in Home Cooking

Need suggestions for an interesting veggie/crudite tray

I am preparing a veggie/crudite platter (and dips) for a friend's husband's surprise 60th birthday party. Veggie platters can be so boring -- I really want to make this a tray that people really want to eat.

In the past, I have tried blanching the veggies first -- and I like the way that sets the color and makes them a little more tasty (due to the salted boiling water as well as the softer texture). However, I seem to always use the same boring vegetables: carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower and green beans.

Can anyone suggest something else that would work well? CI once suggested adding fingerling potatoes to such a tray. I may try that -- but they will get cold. Is that a problem?

Thanks!

Feb 04, 2011
collinsline in Home Cooking