Laura Estes and Sara Fougere will make you forget those boring veggie trays!

COLUMBIA, 10/21/12 (Op Ed) --
At an event we catered a few months ago, my wife and I said goodbye to un-eaten veggie and fruit trays, unimaginative meats and cold cuts, bland desserts.

We hired Columbia Catering Kitchen (CCK) and "I MUST take some of that home!" was all we heard after everyone was finished. Not one "to die for" citrus marinated shrimp was left. The key lime pies were so out of this world, people competed to take the last piece.

With chef-proprietors Laura Estes and Sara Fougere, CCK may be the best caterer we've ever used. The menu wasn't only delicious, it was superbly presented, with each item a new twist on an old favorite.

You know the old shrimp routine -- a pile of cold, dry-ish pink prawns. But CCK's shrimp were entirely different. Think "Key Lime Shrimp" that simply melt in your mouth.

We had a Jamaican jerk chicken so tender it slid off the bone; mango salsa and blue corn chips; a strawberry spinach salad; and lime-infused black beans and rice, in keeping with the tropical theme.

The current menu sounds equally scrumptious: Cottage Pie, with seasoned ground sirloin, corn, and peas topped with cheesy mashed potatoes; BBQ Chicken Pot Pie: chicken simmered in a chili sauce seasoned with coriander, cumin, (and chocolate!), topped with a cornbread crust.

Vegetarian spinach and black bean lasagna, with creamy ricotta, and gooey Monterey Jack. Red Pepper, Green Chile, and Cranberry Chicken. Frozen Pink Lemonade Pie in a graham cracker crust.

How many times have you wished your guests would line up to take home the catering leftovers? That won't be a problem with Columbia Catering Kitchen, where one guest -- a local ear, nose, and throat doctor (in other words, a man in touch with his senses) said the key lime pie was "the absolute best I've ever tasted."

Columbia Catering Kitchen