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Catering A Birthday Party -- Lower Westchester

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valerie Jul 24, 2007 08:15 AM

Hi,

My son's 1st birthday is coming up in September and I'm trying to plan a party that will be at my house. We recently moved from Manhattan to Scarsdale and I don't really know where to begin in terms of catered food.

It will be on a Sunday, for lunch, and I'm guessing that we'll have about 25 adults and about 10 kids (of various ages). It will be the first time that most of these people will be at our new house, so while it is my son's birthday, I'm also looking at this as a way doing some entertaining, but I don't want to cook.

I'm thinking something like sandwiches and salads, but I'm completely open to any suggestions. Don't want super-fancy as this will be a very casual thing, but want the food to be delicious, nonetheless.

Separately, sort of, I'm also looking for a place to get a fabulous cake. I mean, a cake that not only looks good, but one that tastes good too.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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    RawTunaFan RE: valerie Jul 24, 2007 08:40 PM

    You should see what kind of party platters Standing Room Only can whip up for you. We went to a kids/ adult party catered by them and they made some FANSTASTIC platters and sandwiches -- not your run-of the-mill stuff either-- Plus they deliver! I've had parties catered by them as well - -Sharon is pretty helpful (I think she's one of the owners) Michaels in Scarsdale village also make great sandwiches with wonderful side dishes. I know that Ruffled Feathers makes great stuff too -- not normally sandwiches, but if you special order, I'm sure Kenny (the owner) would give you the TLC and an amazing selection of sandwiches if you ordered in advance (they get their bread from Balthazar) Balduccis also has a catering menu...you may want to check them out. I love a lot of their prepared sandwiches.

    For the cake, the obvious choice would be Lulu. The strawberry shortcake and the brooklyn blackout are my favorite. A little pricey, but def worth the splurge. They also make those fancy "ace of cakes" looking cakes in shapes of cars and planes and stuff-- they always have something beautiful in their window... If you are on a budget, you may want to try Riviera in Ardsley - -they do pretty cakes too, but they dont taste as good.

    Good Luck!

    10 Replies
    1. re: RawTunaFan
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      valerie RE: RawTunaFan Jul 25, 2007 06:51 AM

      Thank you for the suggestions. I was going to check out Standing Room Only, since I've seen it mentioned in some posts here on CH. And I will look into the rest of the places as well.

      Definitely not set on sandwiches, and I'm interested to hear what anyone can suggest. I'm not really crazy about Balducci's. Maybe it's just a bias that I have since I use to go to the original "real" Balducci's.

      I was also going to stop by Lulu's since I've seen that mentioned here as well. Not really on any budget -- my son only turns 1 once! And for my daughter's 1st and 2nd birthday parties, the cakes (from places in the city) cost about $125-$150 each. So I'm prepared to spend around that amount. Hopefully that's in line with the cost of the cakes at Lulu's.

      Thanks again...

      1. re: RawTunaFan
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        tarrytown hound RE: RawTunaFan Jul 25, 2007 05:55 PM

        I completely second the Standing Room Only recommendation (we catered my daughter's baby naming from there and got rave reviews from our guests!) They do such a great job. The platters look great and taste great. We were also recently at a cocktail party catered from there too.

        Riviera is by no means a "budget bakery". They make beautiful cakes in any theme and they are delicious! Their oreo filling and chocolate fudge frosting are our favorites! We ordered my son's second birthday cake from Lulu's to try something different from Riviera and were not as happy. It looked nice, but the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (maybe it was the blackout) was not as appealing to the kids. It was too dense and not sweet enough.

        1. re: tarrytown hound
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          valerie RE: tarrytown hound Jul 25, 2007 07:13 PM

          Thank you, I will definitely look into Standing Room Only. Sounds like it will be a great choice.

          With regard to the cakes, I obviously have not been into either Lulu's or Riveria, and I would like to visit both places. Will it be possible for me to taste any of the cakes prior to ordering? I mean, do they sell cakes by the slice? Definitely something with chocolate/vanilla combo (and no fruit). As much as I love chocolate cake with chocolate filling/frosting, I always wonder it that's just too much chocolate for most people.

          1. re: valerie
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            tarrytown hound RE: valerie Jul 26, 2007 04:11 AM

            Riviera does not sell cakes by the slice, but they do sell smaller cakes that you could buy to try out their different kinds. The seven layer cake is delicious!

            1. re: tarrytown hound
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              valerie RE: tarrytown hound Jul 26, 2007 06:10 AM

              Great, I'm having a few friends over next weekend, so maybe I'll buy one and see how it goes. Thanks!

          2. re: tarrytown hound
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            RawTunaFan RE: tarrytown hound Jul 26, 2007 07:16 AM

            I was actually suprised by the quality of SRO, they seem to keep getting better.... but someone else here mentioned Great American BBQ. I believe these are the same people who own Sam's of Gedney Way and once attended a BBQ party there, and if thats the case, then thats also an excellent choice! The ribs were practically falling off the bone!

            As far as Lulu's Brooklyn Blackout cake, it is more of a dark chocolate cake, so I can see why kids may not go crazy over the bitterness of it. Thats why I thought the Strawberry Shortcake would go over well. I also like the philosophy behind Lulu's in that they bake organic. I'm not a big fan of cakes that use partially hydrogenated oils and preservatives and I can definitely taste those ingredients as well as an imposter whipped cream in Riviera's cakes. You should try the Oreo cake at Lulu's- not only do they use fresh cream, but their own home made oreos.

            Another great place for birthday cakes is City Limits. They have gorgeous cakes on display and the pastry chef there really knows what they are doing. They also have a fab Brooklyn blackot, but once again it may be too dark for your taste.

            1. re: RawTunaFan
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              valerie RE: RawTunaFan Jul 26, 2007 11:14 AM

              I must admit that I am torn, so I will visit both places in the next few weeks. Definitely want something with chocolate (anything with Oreo's sounds delicious), not really into any type of fruity cakes for birthdays.

              I hate nothing more than a cake that looks beautiful, but is dry or otherwise doesn't taste good, but I also hate fake whipped cream!

              I'll report back in a few weeks....

          3. re: RawTunaFan
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            valerie RE: RawTunaFan Sep 5, 2007 10:49 AM

            Well, my son's birthday party is next Sunday, the 16th. We're having about 30 adults and about 10 kids. After initially reading this thread, I stopped into Standing Room Only to see what the food was about. I bought some of the tuna salad, which is often a benchmark of a place for me (and it was very tasty). I also spoke to Jack when I was there. He was very nice and suggested that I call him right after Labor Day to arrange the party.

            So I called him yesterday and left a message with whomever answered the phone, since Jack was unavailable. I never heard back from him. I called again this morning and he was "meeting with a client". Again, I left a message and mentioned that I had also called yesterday. I still haven't heard back.

            I must admit, I'm a little put off by this. I'm not going to keep calling the guy. The control-freak part of me is getting worried that I'm having over 30 people at my house next week and I have no food ordered. I stopped into Ruffled Feathers and bought a chicken, which was good, but not really what I had in mind for this party.

            I went back and re-read this thread and I'm wondering if I should call someplace else -- maybe Michael's? Or should I give Standing Room Only the benefit of the doubt and call once more (or maybe he'll call back this afternoon)? I realize that for them, it's not a huge order, but in my opinion it shouldn't matter.

            By the way, we went into Riviera Bakery and sampled a cake. It was okay. Then last week we went to Lulu's and spoke with Jay. He was as nice as can be and gave us some cakes to sample. We ordered the cake from him on the spot. I can't wait to see it and taste it!

            1. re: valerie
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              RawTunaFan RE: valerie Sep 6, 2007 06:27 PM

              You can't go wrong with Ruffled Feathers -- been going there for schmears since they opened. Kenny should be able to put something nice together for you. Different that SRO and perhaps they are really busy or unfortunately "too busy" for you which sucks because they should really be up front with you rather than spinning your wheels if thats the case. Personally, I've never had a problem with Jack or Sharon, but if they haven't gotten back to you by now.

              I also don't think you can go wrong with Lulu. Everything thing there is wonderful. What kind of cake are you getting?

              1. re: RawTunaFan
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                valerie RE: RawTunaFan Sep 6, 2007 07:24 PM

                As it turns out, last night I got an email from Jack apologizing for not getting back to me sooner. I felt much better. And although I realized (and he admitted to me) that they were probably busy with orders for the Jewish holidays next week, I was concerned that I got things squared away for that exact reason since my party is immediately on the heels of the holiday. (Thankfully, I'm going to my sister's place for the holiday dinner -- I couldn't host 2 crowds in 1 week!)

                Anyway, after several emails back and forth since last night, we have already finalized a menu and now all I have to do is give him a final head count on Monday.

                The menu sounds great (various sandwiches and salads) and I'm really looking forward to the food. The cake will have 2 tiers with a "dinosaur" theme -- one tier with yellow cake and a chocolate pudding filling, and the other tier a chocolate cake with their oreo filling. Mmmm.... And if that's not enough, I also ordered "dinosaur" cookies from Duane Park Patisserie in Tribeca. My sister lives right near that and she will pick them up on the way to my house that day.

                I have hosted several luncheon parties before while living in Manhattan and I must admit (although I hope I'm not speaking too soon!), I think the food and the cake at this upcoming party will top all of the others! I will certainly post a report and pictures (particularly the cake) afterwards.

                RawTunaFan, thank you for all of your advice! It helped tremendously.

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            yeshana RE: valerie Jul 25, 2007 04:41 PM

            If you have a sizable back yard, the Great American Barbeque company does a delicious catered affair for a great price, although there is a minimum on numbers. The selection of foods is wonderful with seafood, lobsters, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, etc. Even desserts- don't know about the cake but i believe most affairs do have a cake.Call them- don't let the lobster intimidate- I was shocked when i was told the LOW price!I don't even know if they need an outdoor location.

            7 Replies
            1. re: yeshana
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              valerie RE: yeshana Jul 25, 2007 07:14 PM

              Thanks for this lead. It sounds interesting, just not what I'm thinking for this party. Will file it away for future parties.

              1. re: valerie
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                debmom RE: valerie Jul 26, 2007 12:17 PM

                I find that the kids really prefer the simplest cake,( ie. the Costco $15 sheet cake or cupcakes) then get something super special for the adults! Have a wonderful birthday celebration!

                1. re: debmom
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                  tarrytown hound RE: debmom Jul 26, 2007 01:02 PM

                  That's what I do! I make cupcakes (from a mix! gasp!) for the kids with sprinkles and using a can of frosting(!) and then I have this fabulous Riviera cake for the adults. After making the bday party rounds for a couple of years, the parents really appreciate it!

                  1. re: tarrytown hound
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                    yeshana RE: tarrytown hound Jul 28, 2007 04:20 PM

                    BETTY CROCKER RULES!!!!

                    1. re: yeshana
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                      dolores RE: yeshana Jul 28, 2007 06:51 PM

                      valerie, I recommend Plaza Sweets in Mamaroneck for cakes. I had a cake buffet for a birthday party many years back, and their cakes were a big hit. They're not Umanoff and Parsons, but they are good. If you are interested, they're only open during the week.

                      1. re: dolores
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                        valerie RE: dolores Jul 28, 2007 07:29 PM

                        Thanks, I will check them out too. I'm wondering, though. I just looked at the website, and while the cakes look beautiful, it seems as though they don't really sell to individuals (other than a handful of choices), but more to larger scale accounts.

                        This is from the website: "Our customers include restaurants, corporate accounts, distributors, hotels, country clubs, caterers and specialty food establishments".

                        But it doesn't say anything about customized birthday cakes. Do you have any idea if that is, in fact, the case?

                        http://www.plazasweetsbakery.com/plaz...

                        1. re: valerie
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                          RawTunaFan RE: valerie Jul 29, 2007 10:08 PM

                          hey valerie

                          the DO sell to individuals, just call, and they can ship to your home. One year my company shipped abotu 50 of their sinful pumpkin cognac cheesecakes (frozen of course) But the stuff there is mass produced and and I found the prices a little steep for Frozen desserts. I think its like 75 for a 10 inch and the six inch chocolate mountain cake (also delish) goes fo 50 if I last remembered. If Im gonna defrost a cake, I would rather doctor up yeshana's advice betty crocker!

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              Shayna Madel RE: valerie Aug 10, 2007 05:42 PM

              If you are doing an outside party and the weather is still warm enough, you might want to consider having a Mister Softee truck paying a housecall. If you look at www.mistersoftee.com, you can find information. A family member of mine did it for a 4-year old's birthday party this summer and everyone had a blast, even (particularly) the adults. The guy charged about $150 flat and was willing to stay for an hour and a half, but they let him go early, as all 40-50 of us were served.

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