WE TAKE A LOOK AT A NEW BOUTIQUE CATERING PROPOSAL IN SOUTH FLORIDA, WITH A HOMEMADE TASTE, OR A TASTE OF HOME. SUSIE LUSTGARTEN, WIFE AND MOTHER, WORKS WITH HER FAMILY TO PRECISELY BRING FAMILY MEALS TO BUSY FAMILIES THAT HAVE NO TIME TO COOK AT HOME.
By Annabella Goshen | Photography by The Lunch Box Studio | Tableware by C.A.S.A.
Four years ago, Susie Lustgarten began taking orders for challah from her home. Due to the combination of love, exquisite taste, and wholesome flavor that a home cooked meal offers, word of mouth quickly spread. People wanted to savor her meals in their own homes. In no time, she began offering a wide array of salads and desserts. Nowadays, she has opened a storefront called So Heavenly, which evokes just that: the taste of heaven on Earth.
In South Florida, Susie found her niche market. She understood that individuals want to enjoy a nice home-cooked meal without the hassle of preparing it. Since Susie’s clients wanted very specific flavors and solutions for their festive meals, including holidays and Shabbat dinners, a necessity arose. Susie explains, “This is not compared to a kosher supermarket where someone can stand at the counter and ask for a pound of this or that. Clients call me, tell me the type of flavors they want, and I offer a personalized approach to catering.”
A CULINARY CONSULTANT
Whether it’s a shiur, a Shabbat meal for ten or a hundred people, Rosh Hashanah dinner or a special theme under the Sukkah among other meals, Susie patiently listens to her clients. They tell Susie the number of people that will attend, the types of flavors they are interested in, and whether they want to mix certain regional foods. For instance, Susie can offer a Peruvian/Colombian meal with a Jewish twist. After all, Susie is not a pastry chef and did not go to culinary school. She cooks wholesome traditional meals that remind us of our grandmother’s flavors and those mesmerizing finishing touches. She wants families to have traditional home-style food when people have no time to cook.
Being family owned and operated, for them, guarantees family flavor.
The reason why So Heavenly opened its store was to attain its hashgacha. She has a kitchen for catering as well as a storefront with food to order, a daily menu, frozen appetizers, precooked meals and desserts. Each day, there is a lunch special in which you can pick different options of a salad, a side and entrée. Clients call, text or email to pick it up the same day. Within this cozy atmosphere, there are three tables for clients to sit down and have their meals. There is even a large table for eight, where people love to celebrate intimate birthdays or gatherings. After the meal, there is cake, coffee and the act of “sobremesa,” where clients can stay as long as they want without the pressure and noise of a typical fast paced restaurant.
For clients that order in advance for a particular festive meal. So Heavenly offers deliveries throughout Surfside, Bal Harbour, Bay Area, Miami Dade and Broward County. Same day delivery is also available.
SO HEAVENLY’S SPECIALTIES
Susie Lustgarten’s mother and grandmother taught her to cook Sephardic food, which is quite a delicacy. Therefore, So Heavenly offers different types of flavors that will appeal to most palates, such as Mediterranean, Latin American, and Oriental cuisine, always with Latin flavors embedded in them.
So Heavenly is famous for its trendy salads, such as kale, quinoa, mango ceviche and Israeli cous cous with butternut squash. With regards to its bakery, it is not a classical overpriced pastry shop. Cakes are delicious and appealing with a fresh homemade touch. The bestsellers include the apple cake, carrot, chocolate truffle, and creamy berry merengón.
A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
So Heavenly understands that people travel, yet they can still enjoy the meals they are used to. For example, there are numerous clients that come to South Florida from Panama. Although they are on vacation, they still want their kibbe hamda soup, accompanied with kibbe, empanadas, lajmayin, bourekas, beef phyllo bites, and a wide array of salads along with their brisket and stuffed artichokes. Therefore, if someone is travelling to South Florida and spends Shabat or another festive meal here, they can still feel as if they were eating their grandmother’s home cooked meal. This is an elaborated version of Jewish food that will evoke many a fond memory.
For tourists staying in a hotel, So Heavenly has taken care of all finishing touches. For a Shabbat meal, So Heavenly can deliver Glatt kosher foods, the blech to maintain meals warm, and wine for Kiddush.
The cherry on top of this great culinary proposal is that this is a family owned and run business. Susie Lustgarten’s team consists of her husband William, innovative pastry chef/son Mark, storefront manager/ daughter Sofia, and administrative manager/son Isaac. Being family owned and operated, for them, guarantees true family flavor. Susie shared with us a few of her famous recipes. After all, who wouldn’t want to taste them?