by Nicki Wood
Catering is just the best thing ever if you're throwing a party. Especially if food fear is what keeps you from inviting people over.
My friend L. is a good cook with no time to cook for a crowd. For a long time, she held potluck gatherings, which worked well, except that people are sometimes reluctant to attend if they don't have time to make something.
L. settled on a great solution: hire a caterer who cooks the food she would have cooked if she had time.
For her last two gatherings, she's used Athens Family Restaurant. The pastitsio and moussaka look and taste homemade, and so do the green beans. Really, the baklava (difficult to pull off at home unless you're a phyllo dough virtuoso) and the aluminum pans are the only giveaway.
It's not that she's trying to fool anyone — it's that she wants to preserve the casual atmosphere that goes along with homemade food rather than the whole "catered affair" ethos.
For me, the restaurant that's close to homemade would be Carabba's. What about you — what eatery in town would you choose to cater a "homemade" dinner gathering at your place?