WOW Factor Catering – Bringing the Party to You!
Aug01

WOW Factor Catering – Bringing the Party to You!

Summer is upon us as evidenced by the long hot days, children (okay, and me) playing Pokémon Go in the streets, and endless festivities. Between weddings, backyard parties, baby showers, birthday parties, and dog adoptions parties (yes, that is a thing) it oftentimes seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get anything done. That’s where Waiter on the Way comes in. You most likely have heard of Waiter on the Way, Fort Wayne’s locally owned restaurant food delivery service, that brings over 150 restaurants directly to you. Owner Derek Berkes prides himself on excellent customer service and delivering beyond expectations. Having been with the business 15 years, he has has seen it expand from food delivery, an acquisition of local dessert staple Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies (can I just tell you how addicting the Lemon Ricotta cookies are?!), and a change in locale. The business exploded in popularity and demand until it literally ran out of space. Berkes made the decision to move downtown to be more central to the city and create better visibility with an actual storefront, WOW Factor, that serves quick grab-and-go boxed lunches that include delicious sandwiches, salads, and, of course, the aforementioned cookie. In typical fashion, Waiter on the Way is expanding once again with the addition of WOW Factor Catering. This new venture has Berkes partnering with General Manager, Brandi Schorey, to custom-make creative culinary concoctions for anything from bridal showers to dinner parties, baby showers, weddings, and more. I was especially intrigued by the brunch option in which you can design your very own backyard brunch (or indoors if you prefer!) for you and your friends. They deliver everything to your specifications, including utensils, and can even bring the beer and wine as long as you give them advanced notice! Its like Uber for your party! While you have the ability to order pre-designed items online, Brandi recommends that you contact her directly so that she can work with you on custom-designing your event. She has been working with Waiter on the Way for 13 years and has organized numerous events. She can help you navigate through your event menu and make sure everything matches your specifications. When I met with her she was overflowing with ideas from custom-designed cupcakes to mouth watering entrees. You can even schedule time for a tasting to see what flavor profiles you prefer. Nakia, formerly the in-house baker at Vanilla Bean, designs many of the desserts on their menu and enjoys the creative challenge. I peeped her Hello Kitty cupcakes that were custom-made for an event and they were beyond adorable! You will be able...

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All We Want For Christmas is Fort Wayne
Dec18

All We Want For Christmas is Fort Wayne

The holidays are upon us and if you are anything like me, you are probably scrambling to get that perfect gift for a special someone. Here at Living Fort Wayne, we love to shop local and promote small businesses right here in the heart of downtown. To continue on with this tradition, we asked our staff what they wanted the most for Christmas. So sit back, relax, read our 2015 edition of All We Want For Christmas is Fort Wayne, and hope you’re not on Santa’s “Naughty” list.   Leslie Snare Well, I’m hoping Santa (or someone equally as cool) gets me a Brewerker membership from Summit City Brewerks. I’d definitely be better equipped to deal with the holiday shopping crowds! Plus, membership includes a t-shirt so that’s an extra special bonus! This membership also includes a SCB logo beer glass, birthday fill, membership card & sticker, and even special invitation-only events. Becca Bell I want a Patagonia pullover from Fort Wayne Outfitters and a year’s supply of weekly bottles from Juice Jar. I’d love for Santa to add to my collection of Susan and Steven Shaikh’s gemstone rings, which are sold at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art Paradigm Gallery. Also, mugs from Laura Brandenburg’s Stonewares. Tim Zink I know this is an old standby favorite in Fort Wayne. Since I thoroughly enjoy cookies, I wouldn’t mind having a box of cookies from the Cookie Cottage to replace every meal for a couple days (or to share…I guess). Jasmine Bejar I’ll add anything from Hedgehog Press. I love the unique and Fort Wayne-centric prints and art! I’m specifically itching for some of her wood cut coasters. Some Hedgehog Press products are also sold at Valontine Vintage inside the City Exchange Shops. Jade Kelsey If Santa could bring me a shiny new bike from Human Motor Works, I promise to be good all year! Human Motor Works also sells great running gear, bike accessories, and everything you’ll need for your next triathlon! Lynn Altevogt I just want absolutely everything from Fancy & Staple! But since I don’t expect anyone to spend quite that much money on me, a gift card would do just fine. Honestly, browsing around the shop is half the fun. I usually have to make two or three rounds to look at everything. Here are a few things on my wish list from there:     Travis Bartlett  I would love a bottle of beard oil from Valontine Vintage and some gourmet popcorn from Poptique, both located inside The City Exchange Shops. Some goodies from the Vanilla Bean to satisfy my relentless sweet tooth and I would also...

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Indulge in Delicious Baked Delights at Vanilla Bean
May20

Indulge in Delicious Baked Delights at Vanilla Bean

Looking for a sweet treat made from real, natural, and fresh ingredients that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face? Then put that package of Chips Ahoy back on the shelf, toss your Twinkies to the dog, and head over to Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes at 3410 North Anthony; or give them a call, they deliver locally and ship nationwide. The first things you’ll notice as soon as you walk in are the mouthwatering aroma of fresh baked goodness and a smiling hello. It’s a quaint space, but there’s plenty of room for a few tables and chairs to sit down and savor your dessert. A chalkboard hanging behind the display case lists the options of the day, which while I was visiting included five varieties of cookies and six cupcake choices. They also have biscotti, along with gluten free cookies…I’m reassured by the proprietor they are every bit as good as the gluten-ful versions. I sat down with Co-owner and Marketing Chef, Sandra Wharton, who is as energetic and endearing as you would want in a store full of homemade goodness. Ms. Wharton took the time to walk me through their experience being on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, how their cookies were the talk of the Daytime Emmys gift baskets in Hollywood, and the extensive process they went through to get accepted into the prestigious Specialty Food Association. Those are all very fine accomplishments and points of recognition, putting Vanilla Bean in very rare company locally. However, it seems that while Vanilla Bean is renown regionally and even nationally, it is still a hidden gem in Fort Wayne. My co-workers and I tried a number of different cupcakes and cookies and not surprisingly, we were extremely impressed. After the first bite there’s no doubt that they use real butter and sugar, no artificial stuff or substitutes. Our consensus favorite was the Lemon Ricotta cookie, which was not overly sweet or tart, just a soft, tangy, tasty delight. Not many people have nearly the sweet tooth I do, but there was something for everyone to enjoy. Seriously, I loved everything, enough so that it doesn’t make sense for me to try and describe each one – check out their website and you can see that they’ve already done that for you. All I can say is you cannot go wrong with whatever you choose. Some of my other favorites were the Cinnamon Toast cupcake, the Chocolate Dream cupcake, the Simply Vanilla cupcake, the Cherry Chip Cordial cookie, the Funky Chocolate Chip, Toffee, & Pecan cookie, and the Margarita sandwich cookie – did I mention I have an insatiable sweet tooth? And don’t hesitate...

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