Samantha “Sam” Schoenbaum is “hospitality royalty,” earning her affinity for the color purple. She is the daughter of Sandra and Clive Bank of Added Touch Catering, and daughter-in-law of restaurateur Ray (and Susan) Schoenbaum. So Sam was in a prime spot for celebrating a 40th birthday milestone this past summer at a Friday lunch at the Ray’s On the River Grand Pavilion.
A group of 60 of Sam’s friends and family entered through a cascaded garland of purple balloons (Let’s Celebrate) into a floral fantasy of more lavender and lilac shades to enjoy her specially selected menu topped by seafood towers. Sam, a mother of three, ages 4, 8 and 11, said, “I do look at turning 40 as a big landmark. And yes, everything was purple from head to toe. I loved the live music, guitar and saxophone, which took it all to the next level.”
Guests were greeted with bubbles in a champagne flute filled with crème de cassis and guest seating spots noted on an attached purple place card.
Inside was cold brewed coffee, lavender skinny lemonade, raspberry iced tea, and purple straws. White trays were stacked with glace paper bags full of nuts and purple grapes, to extend the theme.
Sandra Bank did the planning, décor, florals and dessert while Ray’s prepared the appetizers and lunch. The highboys were covered in fluffy purple textured petals by Valerie Levin’s Cover Ups. Everything else was served on crisp white, except the purple personalized napkins.
Food was passed on large wooden boards beginning with tomato bruschetta and goat cheese balls. Nine family-style tables anchored a seared tuna platter with sauces, french fries and ketchup, chopped salad, gem baby lettuce salad, grilled asparagus and a bread basket with butter.
Nine Ray’s servers made a dramatic entrance, walking in concurrently to live music with dry ice seafood towers. “We are foodies,” Sam said. “All we do is eat! Yet Waffle House is our favorite family spot.”
Mom Sandra did not disappoint, with a dessert extravaganza composed of purple-lilac meringue Pavlova, purple marshmallows and lavender cream with blueberries and blackberries, fresh plums, “Happy Birthday Sam” in meringue letters and large candy displays with “Purple Baggies to Go.”
One of the most novel areas was lipstick reader Jan Levie of Handy Entertainment, who had guests pick out a lipstick and blot on a keep sake card. “It was so cool,” Sam said. “She read our fortune based on the blot. It was actually very emotional for some people hearing her predictions about life.” The photo booth with frame and boxwood wall was joyful as well.
Specialty furniture was by Collection Event Furnishings. Outdoor lounging areas had personalized purple cushions “S A M 40” in white script. The entrance table was loaded with an abundance of purple flowers. Upon leaving, guests were encouraged to select from the blooms to make their own bouquets to enjoy at home.
“Mother makes all our simchas special,” Sam said. “She is incredible, and I am fortunate to have her as a mom, caterer and best friend.”