Everyone can use a little (or a lot of) help with home entertaining, and these pros make throwing a holiday party a snap.
Home entertaining during the holiday season can be stressful for any host or hostess. With all that work—preparing, cooking, serving, etc.—don’t you just wish there was some magic fairy godmother to make it all seamlessly come together? Wish no more. Whether it’s a foodie-driven feast; a modern Japanese cocktail party; or a cost-effective, casual dinner, you won’t have to lift a finger to put on a rockin’ celebration with these sensational services.
for your dining pleasure
The foodie entertainer won’t have to look too hard for farm-to-table fare. Love on the Run catering by Leslie Lampert, owner of Café of Love (914-242-9449; cafeofloveny.com/loveontherun) is a one-stop shop for food and service. Menu options include casual “take-out packages,” family-style platters, and stunningly assembled dishes for fancier occasions. Holiday menus are available, but Lampert “tailors food and service to your pocket and palate.” Erica Miller Wallace of Erica’s Kitchen (914-906-6892; eatlocalitmatters.com) also specializes in organic Hudson Valley cuisine, like heirloom lettuce salad with wild ramp sprouts; and fresh figs with toasted walnuts, local honey, and farmstead ricotta. For more than 30 years, Matt Miller Culinary Productions (231 1/2 S Highland Ave, Briarcliff 914-945-7177; mmcpparties.com) has incorporated classic techniques with contemporary flavors. Signature dishes, like potato nests with sevruga caviar and lobster towers with avocado and goat cheese, exemplify its innovative menu. You’re sure to find the perfect party fare among the 26 sample menus offered by Susan Lawrence catering (26 N Greeley Ave, Chappaqua 914-238-8833; susanlawrence.com). The fall-winter buffet menu includes wild-mushroom profiteroles and baked smokehouse salmon with horseradish cream sauce, which would get any guest hankering for seconds.
All Around Crowd Pleasers
Candida Canfield’s Dinner in Hand (914-380-5084, dinnerinhand.com) offers full-service catering with something for everyone. A full menu of dishes, including a 400-calories-or-less menu, and family-style faves like meatloaf and lasagna, is available. Check out the website and you’ll see how easy it is to order. All you have to do is point, click, and wait for delivery. Also consider Standing Room Only (1491 Weaver St, Scarsdale 914-472-3002; srofinefoods.com) for a twist on deli favorites such as Asian cole slaw with peanuts, and tequila-lime grilled chicken. Or check out Tastefully Yours (1250 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor 914-762-0299; tastefully yourscatering.us) for lobster chowder with morel mushrooms and mustard-herb-crusted rack of lamb with roasted vegetables.
Avril Kaye, Inc. (160 Summerfield St, Scarsdale 914-472-7712; avrilkaye.com) specializes in refined, seasonal, kosher food. For every Jewish holiday, Avril Kaye mixes traditional favorites with modern aesthetics. Such items include the Rosh Hashanah roasted chicken with Italian plums; Hanukkah sweet potato/parsnip latkes; fried lemon sole with tomato coulis; Passover chicken soup with chive matzo balls; and vegetable tzimmes, a roasted-vegetable dish with dried prunes, fresh sliced pear, and sweet and sour broth. Heislers Pastry (1321 North Ave, New Rochelle 914-235-8201) can put together tantalizing baked goods such as challah, rugelach, and potato kugel. Supersol (1066 Wilmot Rd, Scarsdale; supersolscarsdale.rapidorders.com), an all-Kosher grocery store, sells prepared foods like gefilte fish ($10.49/lb), assorted cheese blintzes ($4.59-$7.69), and stuffed cabbage ($10.49-$13.49 each) for any informal occasion.
Indian food lovers can easily create a menu fit for every guest’s palate from Mughal Palace (16 Broadway, Valhalla 914-997-6090; mughalpalace.com). It offers numerous platter combinations for affairs of any size. Curried fish, lamb tikka, mango pickles, and samosas are some of the menu items. Ginban Asian Bistro (421 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck 914-777-8889; ginbanasianfusion.com) can create a lush sushi spread for 15 to 200 people. It also offers fusion essentials like Thai curry tofu and mango jumbo shrimp. J Lincoln Barbeque (68 E Lincoln Ave, Mount Vernon 914-665-8800) has authentic, family-style Portuguese food. A spit-roasted suckling pig with oranges that feeds six to eight guests is a perfect substitute for the traditional holiday ham. Lincoln’s cod fritters also are great as passed hors d’oeuvres. Thai Chef Nisa Lee (914-552-5258; nisalee.com) and Myong Gourmet (487 Main St, Mount Kisco 914-241-6333; plgourmet.com), specialize in boldly flavored Asian delicacies. Check out Nisa Lee’s sweet-potato, carrot, and corn green-curry puffs and chicken satay. Myong’s Korean beef dumplings and soba-cucumber bites are savory and delicious.
On a Budget
Watching your pennies this holiday season? Channel your pro-party planner side with pinterest.com, a do-it-yourself, digital push-pin board that helps you organize your inspirations for the most fabulous fiesta. Surprisingly, the high-end Whole Foods Market (110 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains 914-288-1300; wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/catering) can accommodate even large parties for those looking to save a buck. Pick up the turkey, three sides, and traditional trimmings for four ($50), eight ($85), or 12 ($120). It also offers tons of treats: cupcakes from 99 cents, tarts from $6.99, and petit fours from $1.99. Family-owned Johnston’s Flowers (334 Ashford Ave, Dobbs Ferry 914-693-4200; dobbsferryflorist.net) can create floral arrangements for any price, ordered online or in-store ($40 minimum for delivery). Same-day delivery is possible for orders placed before noon—great for that last minute touch!
Au Ciel (50 S Buckhout St, #G105, Irvington 914-591-1135; au-ciel.com) is a luxury event-design company that will convert your event space into a chic, European fête. Transformations are made according to the scale of grandeur you wish to showcase. Fountains, upholstered lounges, and colored lighting can be added to your home, and budgets vary widely. EVENTually Green (Irvington 914-591-5419; eventuallygreenevent.com) approaches event-planning using environmentally friendly techniques. Founder Jill Selby disses Styrofoam and plastics, and opts for sustainable alternatives for decorations, tableware, and rentals. Cost varies, but Selby is dedicated to providing services that won’t kill your wallet. For the basics (and then some), rent from Alperson Party Rentals (107 Fairview Park Dr, Elmsford 914-592-8300; alpersonpartyrentals.com). It carries virtually everything but the food, and not just standard dishes and flatware, but richly colored linens, fine china, and stately candelabras to achieve a setting that does your feast or celebration justice.
For inexpensive holiday cheer, you can pick up iPod speakers at The Apple Store in The Westchester (125 Westchester Ave, White Plains 914-539-4530; apple.com/retail/thewestchester); for under $50, your guests can enjoy your very own mix of all-time favorites. Or you can have live music for as little as $60 with composer and bassist Isaac Jaffe (914-882-1095; isaacjaffe.com). “A little cocktail jazz goes a long way toward setting the proper mood,” says the musician. Hal Prince Music and Entertainment (111 Bowman Ave, Rye Brook 914-937-4700; halprince.com) books all types of musical ensembles (and soloists), from orchestras and harpists to jazz trios and steel-drum reggae bands.
Designate the setup, serving, and cleanup to Margaret Monteforte’s party staffing through Turco’s Supermarket (380 Downing Dr, Yorktown 914-243-9100). The staff arranges the food using your platters and silverware, and also sets up tables, serves guests, cleans dirty dishes, and packs up leftovers, all for a $25 deposit fee, then $20 per hour, per employee, for the event. Before the big day, have Errands on the Run (175 Main St, Mount Kisco 914-241-0079; errandontherun.com) do your legwork for you. The company will pick up the cake, food, decorations—even your suit from the dry cleaner. If you intend to have a grand-scale party, accommodate your guests with valet parking. Guests effortlessly arrive and depart using World Class Parking (16 N Central Ave, # 18, Hartsdale 914-683-1992; wcparking.com). The service organizes the cars along your property, or sequesters them to an off-premise lot (with the local authorities’ permission, of course) so your guests won’t get stuck in a rut on even the snowiest of nights. LifeWorx (400 King St, Chappaqua 914-458-9933; lifeworx.com) is a lifestyle service agency that provides chefs, sitters, assistants, and housekeepers for a day—or forever. From the kids to the cake, the details are arranged with its professional workforce, leaving you with no stress, and a great platform to get the party started.