Monday, April 11, 2011


Eco-Friendly: The Metropolitan Suite---


123 West 18th Street, NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Beginning with the warm welcome from security and coat checkers...up a wide staircase to the second floor...

---we knew the retro-fitted Metropolitan Suite--an 8500 square foot spacious loft space would be something special---but even we gasped out a "wow" after seeing how this large area was elegantly transformed into a buzzy setting for the ultimate gorgethon ever.

And in a eco-aware manner too.

AS IN: sustainably harvested oak flooring, low heat waste ceramics of recycled materials/plant-fiber based tiles in the lobby and restroom areas (Emilceramics S.pA.),

-and low voltage LED track lighting...

... and on this occasion Scharff Weisberg Lightening's fabulous special occasion LED lights using the gee whiz, high technology (i.e. Color Blasts TRX etc.)--- for a stirring visual punch of an energy efficient mood changing experience--- that---fyi, can light up anything from weddings, rock concerts, to corporate tradeshows exhibits- with pizazz.

Presented with an eco-theme----

What really got to us though was the food...outta this world.
Excutive Chef Bernard Norget and team

Naturally we immediately gravitated towards the groan inducing, organic and Valhona chocolate based desert buffet table by Sterling Affair...a full service events company- in the tri-state area.
Chocolate Cups filled with liquors here----yummy

Presented on glass blocks-repurposed.

These pops were clever chewy cakes surrounded by icing-in three flavors. We tried them all...

Macaroons, brownies...chocolate crisps to more exotic cremes/mousses...

The ticket to culinary heaven---then came, courtesy of Thomas Preti Events To Savor---where a top notch staff of chefs managed to serve the most mouth watering small plates, buffet style  (on elegant recycled materials),
Chef Alan Chin

Chef Chris Page

...with passed hors d'oeuves by Sterling Affairs---made from the finest, freshest ingredients and produce---sourced locally and organic as much as possible.
Hors D'oeuvres by Sterling Affair

With the actual names of the farms provided...and dishes described so as to overwhelming entice even the harshest foodies.

Chef Luis

Chef Scott

We had a chance to talk with the Thomas Preti...a most congenial guy who has been in the food business for over 30 years.

Chef Manuel

We think we fell in love on the spot (lucky well fed girlfriend), listening to this man rhapsodize poetically about each dish...that for us, were some of the most delish bites we have ever had.
Pancetta Wrapped Monkfish

Chef Chris Page Serving Up The Cowboy Style Rubbed Ribeye

Amazingly, this company had four other catered affairs going on that same night, so we were told---including a cocktail party for 75, and a sit-down dinner for 400...

Executive Chef Ron Rando---lots of reasons to be cheerful!

Yet clearly this well organized events company with its professional staff ---is able to handle each and every occasion with the discerning premium services that have earned it high accolades, time and time again.


Not every night is hosted by something like the when we got an email about the TEENY TINY SPICE COMPANY OF VERMONT™---we thought great, a way to enliven our basic fare.

We know from experience that all spices are not created's like putting on cheap eyeshadow, without the intense pigment of pricier brands---and it all fades in an hour. Inferior spices fade too---
Image courtesy of Teeny Tine Spice  Company of Vermont

What we loved about every exotic aromatic mix that we tried from this family owned entity (they select, mix, grind it all)----was the use of organic cleverly assembled together -in air tight tins--(2.8 oz at $9.95 EACH) the culinary challenged a way to turn the basics like steamed vegetables, into a transporting dish from some far flung locale.

Our fav so far-the Garam Masala made from all organic Sweet Cinammon, Cardamon Seed, Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Nigella, Green Cardamom, and Clove...rated 0 out of 5 peppers for spiciness.

We even had a friend ---the gourmand...sample the 4 out of 5 Peppers Ethiopian Berberé ---a staple in the African country's cuisine. Made of exotic flavors---Himalayan Pink Salt, and  -organic spices all--- paprika, black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, ajwain, allspice, birdseye chilli pepper, fenugeek, cardamon, clove, onion and garlic....

She pronounced the combo "amazing."

There are 12 mixes in all...and we think cooks across America will be thrilled to ditch all those individual tins and bottles or questionable quality spices---for these easy to use fragrant TEENY TINY SPICEs.
Image from the TTSOV website

Up next---we gonna  give a go at the Chocolate Chili Brownies---recipe available online: