All the elements were there. In fact, Chester County Community Foundation’s Lincoln Oscar Party had a few “one ups” on the big televised affair in my opinion. For starters, The Town Dish Red Carpet was not only tread on by guests decked out in glamorous gowns and their handsome dates on Sunday, February 24, but there were creative costumes strolling through the front door at Milestone Events, too. Over 175 people held true to their RSVP’s, which was wise of them considering the invite came from none other than Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. While it’s obvious that the evening’s “hosts” weren’t actually present—and that the invites never came from these historical characters in the first place—there was plenty more at the Lincoln Oscar Party to keep guests entertained, happy and full.
Even though there weren’t a slew of celebrities, The Chester County Community Foundation was able to round up the next best thing and a blush-worthy guest, nonetheless. As the evening began at 6 p.m., people filed in for movie-themed cocktails and a special visit from esquire Lane Pearson. The name might not ring a bell but his appearance had everyone double taking. His tall, lean figure, charming smile and dark head of hair was convincing enough but it was his stories told during the event’s movie chat that were even more reliable. His facts and figures all checked out because this man was present on the set of a real life Steven Speilberg film. Not just that—Lane Pearson was a stand-in for Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln. In all honesty, he was a stand-in for the stand-in but after chatting for a moment, guests quickly discovered that his dashing look-alike was put to work during one day of shooting when both Daniel Day-Lewis and the primary stand-in were not present.
We were all starstruck, myself included, but the scent of New Street Catering’s butlered hors d’oeuvres and interactive pasta station had a wonderful way of breaking our kid in the candy store gaze. Good thing, since Lane Pearson was potentially beginning to get a little creeped out, plus he needed a break to sample the cuisine himself.
The Amour cocktail was my first drink of choice. Although I lacked all knowledge about the Oscar nominated film, it was a refreshing combination of champagne and vodka that caught me by surprise. One sip and my eyes lit up, not unlike those of any Oscar winner who’s taken aback by the announcement of their name. I’m not particularly a vodka fan, unless we’re talking extra dirty martinis, but the mix of dry champagne and drop of a raspberry added a pleasantly light touch to the drink. Guests also enjoyed a Lincoln Emancipator Punch, shots of whiskey in honor of Django Unchained, and James Bondesque Skyfall Martinis – shaken, not stirred, of course.
Each drink was created in a unique but thoughtful manner so they paired kindly with New Street’s movie-themes bites. I took an immediate liking to the Silver Linings Playbook Philadelphia Cheese Steak since the dark meat mingled perfectly with the dry champagne of my Amour cocktail.
My next favorite hors d’oeuvre was a Beasts of the Southern Wild Fried Chicken Slider with Pickled Slaw. I’ve always been a sucker for real down home cooking, which tends to originate from the south and this miniature sammie summed it up quite nicely in one bite. And, just as Life of Pi was a popular choice for the Oscar awards, guests were positively floored by New Street’s tandoori chicken with cucumber remoulade. It was a prime example of spicy kick calmed by a fresh, cooling vegetable dip. Cute potatoes topped with chives and sour cream, lovingly named The Hobbit, also took a top spot in the guests’ most desired hors d‘oeuvre category. How could you not love that?
As clever and delicious as New Street’s starting bites managed to be, it was the Red Carpet Pasta Station that captured many hearts. They offered up Oscar bowtie and penne pasta tossed to order with an alfredo sauce, marinara or olive oil. Guests could choose from toppings like Italian roasted broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, garlic cloves, red peppers, sweet sausage, peas & shaved parmesan. The red runner displayed under this plethora of ingredients made every option look unbelievably tempting but it was a personal combination of olive oil, heavy on the garlic, with broccoli rabe, mushroom paste and sausage that sent my dish through the roof. New Street’s chefs whipped up each dish with a smile and were as charming to the 89th guest as they were to the first. It was a magnificent experience made even better by the foccacia bread sticks and salad rounding out the interactive, main course station.
If they had any room left, guests made their way to the dessert table, finding tuxedo strawberries, apple pie tartlets, Russian tea cakes and dark chocolate mousse in chocolate cups. An offering so decadent and diverse need not offer more options but I wasn’t about to argue with the fondue station, plus candy and popcorn buffet. Old fashioned popcorn bags were provided so attendees could fill up with their favorite post-meal snack, grab a seat and tune in as the Oscar broadcast began.
It was a brand new experience gathering for such an event. It felt like the Super Bowl, only I was much more passionate. Where I haven’t cared about who wins the big game in years, I was personally rooting for a few nominees, made friends with other guests who wanted the same outcome, and cheered proudly when it occurred. There was a sense of movie camaraderie that I wouldn’t have easily found on my own if curling up at home for the Oscars. I also would never be able to provide more perfect glamour and grub than Chester County Community Foundation and New Street Catering did that night. The event was a hit from the start and I can’t wait to attend another.