The sun begins to set over the home of designer Ito Curata. It has been a week filled with work, events and several rendezvous, but he is excited about having a close set of friends over at his residence. He expects 20 guests to arrive on a Sunday night. The date of his dinner was intended so that his friends would not have to navigate through traffic on the way to the south. As a result, there were no last minute cancellations.
The first bottle of Veuve Clicquot was popped as early as five in the afternoon. “I love to drink. I’m a champagne person. I don’t have any vices except for champagne and caviar,” he says. There is a butler waiting by the door ready to welcome guests with a glass of bubbly and lead them to the living room, which serves as the receiving area. A pianist plays soft melodies that set the mood. Caviar, assorted cold cuts and a variety of cheeses are spread on a large marble table at the corner of the living room. Guests of Ito are drawn to a homemade caviar pie, which takes up a special place on the coffee table.
Inside the kitchen, Chef Innan Soriano of the Tower Club prepares an eight-course meal. Innan’s assistant chef, Lance, and headwaiter William are experts working behind the scene who make Ito’s dinners exceptional. “William knows our style. He knows where things are and we trust him. He is a banquet waiter and we usually just text him. If he’s free, he shows up!” says the host. Ito’s table settings are often unusual. He will create a setting without linen tablecloths “just because.” He also does the floral arrangements himself. Having owned several flower shops in the past, Ito has developed an interest and knowledge on how to create centerpieces that are unique.
His partner, Bob Miller, is a co-host to most of Ito’s dinners. He shares their party philosophy. The hallmark of a good party is having a good mix of people. If it’s somebody we like we don’t mind inviting them. We don’t like parties that are usually snooty. We like people who are genuine or interesting,”
As soon as appetizers of Salmon Carpaccio are served, Ito raises his flute to toast to good company gathered around the table. “Hear! Hear!” his guests chant in response. It the just one of many toasts that take place throughout the evening in celebration of a life well lived.
ITO’S CAVIAR PIE
1 1/2 pound block of regular, unflavored cream cheese
500 grams soft, unflavored, spreadable cream cheese
2 hardboiled eggs
100 grams of black, lumpfish caviar (or higher quality if the budget will allow)
2 medium lemons (thinly sliced)
Cocktail crackers or toasted, thin slices of French bread
100 grams sour cream (optional)
Boil two eggs, remove shells and let cool in refrigerator.
Place the regular cream cheese block in a bowl and add the soft cream cheese. Add sour cream if desired and mix thoroughly.
Line the aluminum pan with cling wrap.
Add 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture to the pan and smoothen the top of the mixture.
Chop hardboiled eggs and spread evenly on the of the cream cheese.
Add another layer of the cream cheese mixture.
Cover pan with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours minimum.
Remove the cling wrap cover and turn it upside down on a serving plate.
Remove the pan and gently lifting the cling wrap; discard the plastic cover
Evenly spread caviar on top of the pie.
Add lemon slices in an even pattern to the sides of the pie
Serve with crackers or French bread slices
MORE PHOTOS FROM ITO CURATA’S PARTY…
Text by Chino R. Hernandez
Photography by Hub Pacheco
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