Just in time for the holiday season, I was invited for an intimate luncheon at the Creative Edge Tasting Room with President and Owner Carla Ruben and a handful of industry insiders.
Creative Edge has worked with top chefs like Rocco Dispirito and Geoffrey Zakarian, has planned parties for companies like Martha Stewart Living and Tiffany & Co, and can call Beyonce and Jay-Z clients! Being one of the most innovative catering and party planning companies in the city, I knew I would not be disappointed with what was to follow.
Guests were greeted at the door with their choice of either a Blood Orange Bellini or Cucumber Mule. Although Carla has said how adamant she is about not serving crudités, she was able to display vegetables in a colorful and playful way that made them look enticing enough to not be left on the plate!
Once everyone was seated, Carla explained that just the day before she brainstormed how to make a table setting using a mirror so that she could write names on it instead of place cards, and outline where the plates would be placed. Carla wanted spherical homemade potato chips to be take the place of flowers on the table, but since flowers were sent anyway, she settled with displaying both.
Carla gave tons of hosting tips while we were served our whimsical dishes. One of the most important pointers she gave is that it is impossible to make everyone happy with a menu, so focus on making a menu you’re happy with and take it from there. Creative Edge’s theme is based around the idea of an egg, so the first course, a Cauliflower-Parmesan Flan was served in an egg cup.
The second course, a Beef Tenderloin and Tuna Checkerboard, served on a Forbidden Rice Cracker, was an innovative combination that I would not have thought to put together, but the flavors complimented each other while also having a fun appearance. Carla said that the dishes that were served didn’t necessarily go together, but when it comes to hosting parties, instead of being so worried about sticking to rules, throw them out the window. What’s most important is to be comfortable so you can enjoy your own party!
During my favorite course, the Ricotta Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Guanciale, Carla stressed the importance of party timing. If you have a soiree earlier in the evening, there’s a chance that a person can grab dinner afterwards, but if you have it during dinner hours, you should offer dinner, not just appetizers. Even if it’s just pasta or chili, your guests will feel fulfilled.
Speaking of being fulfilled, we were getting pretty full at this point in our meal, but our lunch was far from over. Pan Seared Wild Striped Bass followed our gnocchi, and our dessert of alternating Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts and Brown Butter Poached Pear were passed out shortly after.
As if that didn’t end the meal on a sweet enough note, what made the afternoon stand out was a setup of all mini dessert bars in a variety of flavors that were set up for guests to take home in branded tins. Attention to detail is the type of thing that makes Creative Edge stand out as an authority in catering and party planning in the city.
If I receive any additional invitations to anything Creative Edge-related in the future, I will make sure to clear my schedule!
For more information on Creative Edge, please visit: http://www.creativeedgeparties.com/.
– Stephanie Carino
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Carino and Jenny Anderson