Crave Catering Co. of Central Arkansas-Lisa's Tips on How to Give a Party

Does the thought of hosting a party make you take to the bed or close the blinds and suck your thumb? Does it completely stress you out? Then you don't have the right people under "Favorites" on your phone. I have one name as my go to caterer. I'm a cook. So I'm very hard to impress. But once I tasted the goodness of what the gals at Crave Catering Co. can do, I was immediately culinarily smitten.

It was 2017, I think. Culinary school graduates Gina Marshall and Brooke Williams catered a little girls' night at friend Mara's house. OK, I thought. I'm sure I'll find the frozen quiches from Sam's Club (don't even get me started. I might gag) or fruit salad in a can, or wait, for it, the Knorr's mix spinach dip. People, if these are the foods you are accustomed to for your parties, you need a new set of friends. This is why I never liked get-togethers for so many years. I was always worried the homeowner had cats (sorry, but a lot of people think this) and if that nasty cold spinach dip was going to be served. Or party nuts and mints. Anywho, friend Mara knows how to host something. (Check out her website to see how freaking talented she is). The food was so dang good. Even the HOME CHEFS like me LOVED the food. Me: "Mara, what's your dealer's name?" Mara: "Crave Catering." I got my phone out and recorded their digits. I was hosting a bridal shower for my best friend's daughter shortly (and my best friend is one of the best cooks I know), and I needed something to impress the guests. I knew about 35 people would attend on a Sunday afternoon. So I actually called Brooke first and asked if I could meet with her about a party that would need to be gluten-free but still have delicious options for a gathering from 2-4 pm. I knew I wanted to do Aperol spritzes (oh my stars. Have you had one? I'll post the recipe below), and then I asked about doing a charcuterie spread with gluten-free breads. Brooke took my ideas, and she and Gina were HUHMAZING. They ended up getting more work just because of that small party. It was affordable (I gave them a budget), and they not only drop it off with all the platters et al, but they pick it up the next day. Every time! The nine other hosts washed all the wine glasses that day by hand so I was treated like royalty. I thought, THIS BRIDAL SHOWER THING IS EASY. (Thanks to Crave Catering.) And remember the freakishly talented Mara mentioned above? She did the florals for this event.

Then the next time I called them it was for my son-in-law's graduation party from physician assistant school. We wanted to feed 20 people a taco bar. We almost did a frozen margarita machine but it served about 150 margaritas and that was way too much hooch for us. So I made pitchers of margaritas. I don't have a photo (how is that even possible?) It was a perfect event. They even did some key lime tarts. It was so dang good.

The most recent party I had with them was a Sip and See the last week of January 2020. My daughter had just had her second daughter; my cousin Caroline had her fifth daughter. Neither girl wanted a real baby shower so we called it a Bottoms Up party because we were drinking (bottoms up!) and people brought diapers. GET IT???? Bottoms get covered with diapers. Anywho, I told the gals my budget, and they went from there. Brooke texted me and said, "Since the new moms can't travel at this time, we will take them around the world culinarily." It was perfect. There were 25 guests who drank good wines and ate really good food.

So we started in Spain. Tapas always makes women happy. We always want to eat small bites. The figs with the prosciutto. OH. MY WORD. This won first place of the night. Really. Nothing was left on this board. It was a cool wooden board that Gina had gotten when she lived in Germany. I loved it!

We then went to Italy. All the sliced meats and crudites. And slices of bread. And pickled products. So who's mouth just watered? MINE DID! For future reference, people liked the meats and cheeses but left some vegetables.


Finally, we ate the foods from France. You can't see the blue cheese and Brie but let me tell you, it was almost all gone by the time this crew finished up. I love the holy cheeses! (One more pro tip-start collecting salad size plates. I have maybe 40 or so. They come in handy for things like this. Don't use paper plates. These are easy to pop in the dishwasher, and the investment is already made.) (Final pro tip: If you're in central Arkansas, go to Legacy Wine & Spirits' website on Mondays for their cyber Monday specials. I scored cab sav wine for $5.97. Not even kidding.)

The other smart thing I did was rent the wine glasses from local business Party Time Rentals and Events. $16.99 to pick up 20 glasses. Then I didn't have to slave in the kitchen hand-washing the glasses (since I had no kitchen fairies this time). I returned the glasses the next day. And one more thing-I asked Tanarah Luxe Floral to do the centerpiece. Gave them a budget. Picked them up a few hours before the party. They lasted a week. I felt like a Kardashian with those florals.


Aperol is a fancy liqueur. Add a raspberry in each glass. You'll love these. I want to put them in a sippy cup and drive around town with them. But I won't. I like my driver's license way too much.

What to serve for dessert? I had these done by a local baker, Lana's Little Happys. Personalized petit fours. For babies Jovi and Adrian. They were perfect.

Now you know what to do. And if you need advice on your party, give me a holler. I have a squad of folks who is ready for a party any time!

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