Tasting at AYZA!

Last Thursday I had a private tasting at Ayza West Village with the Director of Public Relations & Marketing, Irem Eren.

I’ve been to the Midtown location several times for their famous chocolate martinis but have never eaten there. I was quite impressed with the variety of selections presented at the tasting!

To start, we had the assorted cheese platter with French Brie, Tete de Moine, Wild Boar Prosciutto, Di Parma, agave paste and hummus.

The second course was Angry Chicken Lollipops, Shrimp Dumplings, White Truffle Pizza, Hot Artichoke, Wild Mushroom Pita Tart and our wine selections were a Torrentes, Chardonnay, Garnacha and Tempranillo.

For dessert the chef presented us with assorted chocolate truffles from Jacques Torres.

There were so many things I enjoyed but I have to say my favorites were the white truffle pizza, Tete de Moine from the cheese platter (which was also shaved to look like petals from a flower) and Ayza’s very own wine, Garnacha.

The West Village location is ideal for a private event, whether it’s a birthday or anniversary, a bridal shower, engagement party or wedding brunch – it has a cozy and comfortable atmosphere and they have different party packages to meet your needs. It’s also a great place for a romantic date or a girl’s night out. They even have Live Jazz Monday’s from 7-10pm if you’re looking for a fun group outing!

A Willy Wonka (post-Sandy) Bar Mitzvah!

Now that things are starting to normalize in Manhattan, last week feels like a blur. I had several friends without power and water due to the aftermath of Sandy, all looking for places to relocate. Even though my apartment building was right on the border of the outages I lucked out and continued to have all utilities which enabled me to take in friends who weren’t so lucky.

While all of that was happening, the bar mitzvah that I had been planning with my client since July had to be completely re-planned in three days. The venue was located in Chelsea and they were not expecting to have power back until sometime on Saturday, the day of the bar mitzvah. Since we couldn’t take that risk my client and I discussed alternatives with the most viable solution being to have it at their Synagogue. The final decision to change venues was made on Wednesday and I knew I would need to see the space as soon as possible to get a better idea of what we had to work with. Public transportation wasn’t in service and cabs were rare to find due to the gas shortage so my only option was to ride my bike to the Synagogue. I meet with the special events coordinator and the catering representative, Shari Vermeulen. Before we met we were told that the Synagogue had restrictions on the food that could be served – it all had to be kosher which we hadn’t originally planned for. This presented another obstacle but the executive Chef, Angelo Sessa from Sezz Medi and Shari didn’t miss a beat – in less than 24 hours they presented us with a new menu that met all of the kosher requirements!

The next hurdle was to make sure that all of the vendors could still deliver. Our A/V company Tallen had to be relocated from their New Jersey office to Philadelphia, our DJ company Scratch Events was without power and staff were working from home, our Long Island gluten free baker was without power and had no means of communication and our custom 36” balloons were trapped in the Party City on 14th Street with no way of getting them back in time. Needless to say we had a lot of challenges ahead of us!

In the end the bar mitzvah was a success! All of the vendors were able to make it into the city and my friend who had to relocate to my apartment due to not having water or electricity was nice enough to help me pick up balloons from another party city and deliver them personally by a Zipcar that was already running on empty due to the gas shortage.

Although the plans for the party weren’t exactly what I had prepared for, the most important thing was that the bar mitzvah boy was happy and had a great time!

To see pictures, please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.

5% goes to the Food Bank for NYC!

After planning a fantastic 30th birthday party for my client and her boyfriend, they chose Food Bank for NYC for their 5% donation – another Event that Gives Back!

An excerpt from their website:

“As one of the country’s largest food banks, our mission is to end hunger in New York City by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity. As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, the Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research.”

A Penthouse Party!

This past Saturday was my client’s joint 30th birthday party with her boyfriend, an event we have been planning since early August. Their ideal venue was a hotel penthouse with a view, preferably close to Central Park. After contacting close to a dozen hotels they decided to go with 6 Columbus and I’m so glad they did! The hotel was amazing to work with and the staff were extremely helpful and accommodating.

One of the keys to a successful party is to ensure that you have a reliable team and I am so thankful that I do! I was on vacation in the UK last week and didn’t return until the night of the party. I relied heavily on my assistant and the contracted vendors to make sure everything was in order and ran smoothly until I was able to get there. When I arrived (an hour and a half after the party start time) and walked through the penthouse door I received such a warm welcome from my client and their guests. There’s nothing like hearing your name shouted and accompanied with praise! That is unquestionably one of the highlights of my job, seeing people happy and knowing that I took part in creating special memories for them.

For more pictures please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.

Polar Lounge NYC!

Last night I attended the “Summer On Ice” cocktail party hosted by NiteTables at Polar Lounge located in Murray Hill. The signature cocktails were Caipirinhas and Mojitos and the DJ played a range of music, from lounge to top 40 and hip hop.

The space is cozy and a perfect place for a weekend night out or a more intimate night with close friends in one of their “caves”.

Sweet Pops & Fashion!

If you’re in the Austin area and are looking for custom cake pops, check out Sweet Pop! I ordered a dozen custom pops to have delivered for my dear friend’s birthday today, co-founder of the popular “name your price” jewelry auction Ball + Chain. Ashley is a fashionista on a budget (check out her blog!) so I requested designer label pops, as well as a few with her business logo.

If you’re into the latest fashions, trends in jewelry and love  accessories, check out Ball+Chain’s NAME YOUR PRICE auction which is held every Tuesday at 8:00pm CST. There is FREE SHIPPING on all sales!

5% Goes to Ronald McDonald House New York!

After planning a summer terrace cocktail party for my client’s 40th birthday, he chose the Ronald McDonald House New York for his 5% donation – another Event that Gives Back!

An excerpt from their website:

At Ronald McDonald House New York, we support each family and coordinate emotional and physical services, psychological care, ministry support, wellness programs, tutors, music, art, transportation, activities for siblings, holiday and birthday parties and camaraderie for parents struggling with their child’s cancer diagnosis.”

Party at the Brooklyn Clock Tower!

Today I met my client at his apartment, the famous clock tower of Brooklyn, to drop off items for his birthday cocktail party this weekend. One Hanson Place, a luxury apartment building, was once the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower and is still one of the world’s tallest four-sided clock towers.

I was in awe of the interior space and my client was kind enough to show me the old bank lobby which is now still used for events and parties.

The building also has an intimate lounge for residents to use for private parties which is where my client is having his cocktail party. It’s a great space with a nice size kitchen and includes a terrace overlooking Brooklyn.

Now that I have dropped off all the bits and pieces everything is set for Saturday’s party; bartender by A-List Event Staffing, catering by Brooklyn Fare and all the other necessary items to make the party complete!

Willy Wonka!

I had a lot of fun shopping today for a client gift and getting into the spirit of her son’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory bar mitzvah theme! When meeting a client for the first time I like to come with a themed gift and I chose candy from the Willy Wonka kiosk at the Times Square Toys “R” Us and a custom made “golden ticket” chocolate bar from Jacque Torres!

Taste of 2012 at the French Culinary Institute!

The French Culinary Institute hosted a “meet and greet” for wedding and event planners last night at their Loft, a beautiful venue space located in Soho on Crosby Street. They served liquid nitrogen cocktails, had wine tastings with food pairings, cake tastings by Ron Ben-Israel from Food Network’s Sweet Genius, and there were several table settings designed to set the mood for the spring season which will be upon us (soon I hope!).

Guests were also able to partake in hands-on cooking activities, creating our own spring rolls and chocolate bars. 

The venue is perfect for a small wedding and/or reception, private social gatherings, or corporate team building event.

To see more pictures from the event, check out my Facebook album.