Sunday, November 2, 2008

asian fusion in the melting pot of America

Last night CuisinEtc had the priviledge of catering a cutting edge event in a ecclectic shabby chic New York City gem of a setting, the Metropolitan Building in Long Island City. For those of you who rarely cross the bridge, the views of Manhattans twinkling lights from the top floor of this marvelous venue add to the enchantment of the space.

We blended CuisinEtc decor with the talents of the florists, Nina and Sonali of Terra Florals and Event Design, the venue's eclectic elegance, along with the client's great sense of color and style to produce a warm, elegant, cutting edge yet comfortable event. The guests were various members of several Asian families and from the most casually dressed to the most elegantly formally dressed guests they mingled, talked, ate, drank and enjoyed each others company.

The Metropolitan Building at
44-01 11th St
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 784-3716

Metropolitan Building a seemingly non descript from the outside, red brick former warehouse, is a designers dream of a venue and in fact besides weddings and events is in use for photos shoots constantly. There is exposed brick, shabby chic wood floors, statues and antique furniture which give the venue a totally "unique" and "inspired" feeling as their website purports. During the day the ample sunlight dapples the space, at night, the glittering lights of Manhattan and the views of the 59th street bridge provide an amazing backdrop, and the vast space is complimented with trelissed poles, little vignettes of rooms and a more than decent catering kitchen which makes intricate parties for larger groups feasible. I believe the room capacity is 300 guests for a seated meal.

We were able to use antique furniture from the buildings inventory to enhance the room and our food displays.

Our menu for the evening was pan asian and included
a curry bar with some med-rim and autumnal
additons for those guests who prefered not to eat curry.

It concept for the station started out as a martini mashed potato bar but morphed into a full fledged buffet when we expanded the range of choices to complement the wasabi mashed red skin gold potatoes and the roasted garlic yukon mashers.

The Asian duck and pear martini and Maple Glazed Salmon salad created a beautiful display for a grab and go salad station.

here's the ecclectic menu

Pre Dinner – 5:30 – 6:30
waiter passed HORS D'OEUVRES:

…seared baby rosemary lamb lollipops with pomegranate molasse drizzle
atop a bed of fresh rosemary with blood red rose garnish

…shrimp shooters with absolut citron coconut carib pipettes
presented on a long pewter leaf

…tostadita cups with fire roasted corn, late harvest
farmstand tomato
& roasted red pepper salsa
...simple but oh so delicious
opague dried leaf platter
indian red and speckled union square farmers market dried corn garnish

…cajun buttermilk biscuits with southern pulled pork
nestled into a garden basket surrounded by fresh red roses

…mushroom truffle risotto bytes
diplayed on an antique gold mirror
with enoki mushroom garnish & red poppy flowers

…korean meatballs with lemongrass and ginger
knotted bamboo skewers
displayed atop a wavy white ceramic plate

…spanish chorizo wontons with guacamole crema
displayed in a wrought iron boat basket atop
chinese long beans with oversized dusty rose orchids

when there are going to be a contingent of small children at an event, be it a family party or a wedding, they often don't have the patience or wherewithall to wait until dinner to eat. So we often suggest either a "for the kidz in all of us" station of comfort foods, or at least a few child friendly hors d'oeuvres, which also help with guests who are not adventurous eaters. Part of catering is making sure there is something for everyone.

tonights menu had two kid and "plain jane" eater friendly appetizers
which the waiters also passed.

…cows in the comforter
- our signature version of pigs in the blanket
all beef kosher mini hot dogs
wrapped in a pastry blanket nestled
into a catchers mitt
served in a field of wheat grass .

…mac - n - cheese on asian spoons
(larger portions available for kids)
passed on an enameled frame with burlap underliner

pre dinner – spanish influenced hors d’oeuvre station

a lovely display of spanish cheese, fruit, artisan breads and spreads
such as manchego cheese,
cabrales blue cheese from asturias,
tetilla ( a mild and creamy cow's milk from galicia)
garlic crostinis and housemade flatbreads
aceitunas a la madrileña
olives a la madrilene (spanish olive and artichoke tapenade)
smoked eggplant salad with sherry vinegar dressing
olive rosemary crostinis, cranberry walnut bytes
assorted house made flatbreads and tomcat crostinis

Saturday November 1, 2008,
Metropolitan Building, 4401 11th Street, LIC

Menu A Continued

Dinner Stations 6:30 – 7:30
curry mashed potato bar
displayed in hand wrought
mexican hammered copper chafers
blackberry crushed romance tablecloth overlays

…cardamon chicken & chickpea curry

…thai beef with green curry and kaffir leaves

…chili & sesame infused edamame and smoked tofu with chinese pickled vegetables

from casually dressed to party best
guests enjoying the buffet selections

…sautéed greens with garlic & roasted late summer tomato - square green glass platter

…woodland mushroom ragout fall medley of baby bello, shitake, portebello,
& cremini, mushrooms with bacon & sage large rd chafer

…petit samosa bundles of spiced vegetables accompanied by
our signature southern indian coconut chutney long copper tray, tongs

served with
garlic smashed yukon gold and wasabi mashed potato long chafer,


Asian green tea laquered roasted peking duck
layered with julienned farmstand bosc pears &
displayed on red pagoda shelves

adorned with a blueberry mango chutney aioli
in a miniature handmade wonton basket
perched atop jasmine and mango infused
wild rice & basmati with fresh mango,
dried blueberries & japanese cut scallions
served in a martini glass
I can not begin to tell you the raves we received
on this dish from both guests and seasoned staff.
The roasted duck was moist and tender,
combined with Union Square farmstand new crop bosc pears
(the taste and texture is amazingly differt
from the supermarket variety)and bits of crispy skin
enrobed in a silky dressing of mango chutney,
Niagra vineyards blueberry vinegar and housemade aioli
provided a memorable taste experience.

Don't you love the way that the prep tables look when there are rows and rows of beautifully presented plated food - although in this case the plate was an elegant crystal martini glass provided by Jacqui's Rentals.


maple glazed salmon salad
atop vermecilli rice noodles
roasted cilantro garlic vinaigrette served in asian takeout box

the white baby boo pumpkins were an inspiration for display that came to me when walking through the farms market a few weeks before the event. Knowing the colors were natural eggplant and deep reds with the exposed brick walls and not alot of flowers (mostly feathers, crystals and branches) we wanted to keep the buffet decor natural and seasonal. But upon returning to the market on a different day ready to purchase 2 cases of white baby pumpkins there were NONE to be found. Determined, we called all the farms on Long Island and a special thanks to Dave at Finks Farm who provided us with all the beautiful baby white pumpkins. Doesn't the table look fantastic - we use this concept of fresh produce under the glass often, such as the green apple table or brussel sprouts on the stem. And our rustic table fit right into the venue, seeming like it was part of their furntiture. Even the venue manager commented on this.

followed by a grand buffet dessert 7:45 – 8:30

the final indulgence….
dessert buffet with
rivers of imported belgium dark and milk chocolate dipping pond
with fresh fruit and berries, marshmallows,
cream puffs, rice krispie treats ,
petit cookies, meringues and lots
nostalgic candy display
plus a bevy of handcrafted desserts:
berries marco polo
rose-infused pear crumble
pumpkin trifle with caramelized apples
lavender infused cake, red velvet cake

The ginger pumpkin tiramisu was to die for
light and rich all at the same time

followed by decaf coffee served in antique punch cups

As always many hands went into making this event run professionally and smoothly

Our heartfelt thanks to our staff and vendors whose hard work made the evenign a success, with a special shout out to Jacqui Smith, good friend and fellow caterer, who consulted with me on many event aspects and worked diligently to ensure professional service and quality rentals, Carlos, the Metropolitan Building venue manager for all his help and patience, and to our executive chef Andrew Crossan, whose love of food and dilengence for fresh seasonal ingredients took this event to a new level.