It starts with dough made from scratch each day. Chefs continue the pizza-making process by ladling on sauce made in house from freshly peeled Italian tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Whole-milk mozzarella then melts around gyro meat, eggplant, sausage, and other toppings in the rippling heat of an oven. Washington Deli’s owners supervise the entire process, drawing on pizza expertise accumulated during formative years spent in New York. Their workers rush from the kitchen, carrying paninis, boxed lunches, and platters—including vegan and gluten-free options—to fuel workplace parties or collapse the flimsy tables of rival offices.
Inside The Afghan Grill's warm-hued dining room, the aromas of authentic Afghan specialties swirl and waft up from dishes plated in kaleidoscopes of color. Nosh skewered morsels of charbroiled chicken breast and grilled vegetables off kebabs one mouthful at a time ($16.95). In the sabzi chalao, one of a flavorful stable of entrees, spinach is slowly simmered with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and peppers ($16.95), and can be bolstered with an edible entourage of lamb ($1 extra). Chefs steam beef dumplings before coating them with garlic yogurt and vegetable sauce in the mantoo ($17.95), a dish that can be ordered to fill growling people bellies or loaded into wide-barreled paintball guns and shot into the bills of ravenous pterodactyls.
Judge-N-Jury events take food to trial, at once showcasing the edible testimonies of caterers and asking foodies to hand down a verdict on every gourmet dish. Driven by creative themes such as Mad About Chili or Carefree Kabobs, each gathering celebrates dishes, drinks, and recipes from around the world. After learning about each creation, attendees engage in a blind taste test to rank the entries on a deliciousness scale. Beyond the culinary contests, Judge-N-Jury functions invite groups to mingle with new friends and compete for raffle prizes such as fully catered dinners.
Armed with an expansive library of recipes and party-planning prowess, Entree Metropolitan's event specialists work closely with clients to bring soirees to fruition. Menus culled from family secrets and palm readings of famous chefs offer caribbean jerk chicken strips and hors d'oeuvres such as flaky crescent twists, beef roulades, and roasted yam sticks. Entree Metropolitan rounds out its service with floral arrangements and décor including crystalware, flatware, table coverings, and napkins.
Walking into The Carlyle Club isn't quite time-travel, but it's not far off. Evoking both the look and feel of a swank, 1930s New York nightclub, the lounge and supper club combines swirling wallpaper, gilded mirrors, and lamp-lit tables with a robust entertainment calendar that encourages guests to strap on their dancing shoes and their singing-along snorkels.
Established in 1998, Cornucopia Cruise Line's three ships transport guests along the New York City harbor or the inland waterways along the New Jersey and Staten Island shorelines. Each ship is appointed with uplit ceilings, brass railings, hardwood dance floors, and glittering lights. During evening cruises, wait staff serve a sit-down dinner of surf-and-turf entrees as the DJ's tunes coax diners onto the dance floor. Excursions on Saturday and Sunday sate guests with buffet-style lunch or brunch, respectively. The ships range in size from the Cornucopia Majesty's vast 1,200-person capacity to the Cornucopia Destiny's intimate 250-person quarters, where guests should wear business-casual attire, eschewing gym shoes on their feet and flip-flops on their hands.