Havin’ A Party owner Larry Scott is the life of the party—whether he attends it or not. Larry loves to delight crowds as a magician, a role he’s played for the Brooklyn Arts Council, and he’s also happy to be the DJ. But as Havin’ A Party owner, Larry can also answer the needs of every party, from balloons to piñatas to special effects entertainment.
For the past 29 years, Havin’ A Party has furnished party goers with full-body costumes, ranging from a laughing bunny to Abe Lincoln. Larry also honors his own interest in magic with an extensive supply of tricks and gags—you can fool your friends with a clock that runs backwards, or shock your parents with a fake-arm trick. And the store also supplies more-practical supplies, such as rental chairs, tables, and paper goods.
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.
Had the butchers of Aaron’s Gourmet not been hired to prepare glatt kosher meats for delivery, they could perhaps have survived by manufacturing Russian matryoshka dolls—they have a knack for nesting. Supervised by Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg, Aaron's Gourmet's menu boasts many versions of poultries collapsed inside of each other, from turduckens—a hen inside of a duck inside of a turkey—to gooseduckenquails, a similar concoction that begins with a quail and ends with a goose. These creations join an encyclopedic list that includes exotic cuts of pheasant and oxtail, traditional slabs of Black Angus and smoked salmon, organic meats, and grass-fed roasts. Once Aaron’s processes an order, which can be made online, by fax, over the phone, or by smoke signal from an empty grill, the company generally ships the package overnight via UPS. Additionally, Aaron’s can cater for groups of up to 500 people, building holiday meals or barbecue-style cookouts from meats that can be prepared in American, Japanese, European, or Middle Eastern styles.
Under the twinkle of a dramatic chandelier, alcohol alchemists blend top-shelf liquors into cocktails that chase bites of authentic Caribbean cuisine. Groups flirt unabashedly with their own reflections in the mirror-like sheen of the solid-oak bar while bartenders pour potables such as the whiskey-drenched three wise men, a generous blend of Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and Old Grand-Dad. A shaken french martini with vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice sways within its elegant stemware, whereas the mint from a classic mojito leaves mouths with a cool sensation reminiscent of reciting beat poetry. Sink into oven-roasted chicken wings dressed in spicy-jerk outerwear as they flip and dive through cool ponds of coconut-and-herb-cream sauce. The chef may also grace tables with a generous portion of jerked or fried jumbo marinated shrimp alongside bell peppers and onion with fried plantain fritters. Al fresco sippers gaze at the stars or draw new constellations that resemble beloved pet scorpions from the brick-enclosed patio dotted with contemporary metallic dining tables. Call ahead to reserve a table.
Though chef Nadege Fleurimond was once forced to stretch her culinary creativity as a contestant on Food Network's Chopped, she experiments in the kitchen every day. Her menus blend a unique array of American, French, Italian, Latin, and Caribbean recipes into dishes for all on- and off-camera occasions. Her culinary teams follow her instructions to build international entrees and desserts, passed appetizers, and cocktails during festive buffets and lavish sit-down dinners.
When Chef Nadege and her staff aren’t traveling to events all over the East Coast, they host local group cooking lessons. These informal classes have taught guests to decorate cakes, simmer Thai curries, and cook traditional Caribbean dishes. They also host regular events, such as themed dinner parties and knitting circles using handmade pasta.
With a focus on organic, sustainable, and local ingredients, Urban Rustic sets the stage for fresh and hearty eats that are both good for you and the environment. Hungry mouths lay siege to sandwiches of house-baked bread piled high with in-house-roasted meats such as the Colvin—roast beef on rosemary garlic bread. The Wolf Jaw, whose grilled tofu lies resplendent on a bed of arugula, tomato, vegenaise, and multigrain, and custom sandwiches pair with sides of three cheese mac 'n' cheese and garlic-and-sage mashed potatoes. Surrounded by floors, shelves, and counters built from Adirondack wood harvested and milled by the proprietors themselves, diners sip growlers filled with beer from breweries such as Harpoon and Mild at Heart while discussing the facility's wind-powered electricity harvested from chatty politicians.