This Supper Club Hosted a Dinner Party in the Middle of a Creek
Ask anyone who’s ever thrown a big party what it takes to pull off something extraordinary, and they’re likely to acknowledge that it really does take a village. In the case of this party, which draws style inspiration...
by Alyssa Brown

Ask anyone who’s ever thrown a big party what it takes to pull off something extraordinary, and they’re likely to acknowledge that it really does take a village. In the case of this party, which draws style inspiration from kaleidoscopes, Tiki culture, and Rorschach inkblots (amongst other wild influences, described below), the village worked together to fuel each other’s creativity and design a gorgeous creekside dinner. From the colorful floating florals to the seed bomb creation station to the Flamingo Spritz cocktails made with sparkling flamingo tears, every detail of this event was fun, playful and designed to make guests feel like part of a community.

Host Alisa Tongg of Bacon & Lox Society recently caught us up on all the efforts that went into creating such an event. And in true “it takes a village” fashion, each of the brilliantly creative vendors are weighing in how they found their inspiration, what their contributions were, and how they hope to make a ripple.

As Alisa says, “We all are responsible for starting our own ripple, and if we want to live life to the fullest, we’ll pay attention and bear witness to how that perfect circle of that ripple takes on new shapes as it expands.”

Photography by Alison Conklin

Rentals: Julie Piazza, Chippy White Table

What was your favorite moment?

"My favorite moment was when we arrived with our delivery truck full of furniture and a bunch of "strangers" (now friends) showed up and helped unload and carry everything down to the creek. It was amazing to see all these smiling faces I had never met before carrying our load with us." - Julie Piazza, Chippy White Table

Florist: Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design

What was your vision? 

"In the past, we've done a lot of overhead design at the long table and this year we really wanted to create something low that still had a lot of visual impacts. We were so inspired by the mandala-meets-Rorschach ideas that Nicole from Rabbit Rabbit started to put together and we really wanted to articulate that in bloom form." - Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design 

What was involved in bringing your vision to life?

 "I've been working hard to eliminate floral foam in our design practice. Obviously, the foam would have been the easy choice to build this flat design on, but since we make a point of not harming the creek, we chose not to use the microplastic. Instead, we built a table that would hold water, hydrating the flowers directly from the creek itself." - Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design

What was your favorite moment? 

"I always get to take a risk at these creek dinners and create something that I can personally enjoy and experience. Often I'm working with mechanics that I haven't used before or pushing myself to try some sort of new technique. We talked for a long time about these floating flower circles in the creek and we went back and forth about the best way to create them. It was a busy week of weddings prior to the creek dinner, so I didn't get to test our final design out to make sure that it would indeed float. You can only imagine my joy and relief when we popped them into the water and lo and behold....they sat perfectly on top." - Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design

Paper Artist: Karina Puente, Karina Puente Arts

What did you bring to /make for the gathering? 

"For the fourth annual BLS Creek Dinner, I hand-dyed and hand-cut four 5 ft by ft flags to stake claim, a homage to Indigenous women leaders. Flags are important because they symbolize presence and belonging. No one has a presence like Promise Ridge and Alisa Tongg: she claims her Cherokee background and weaves her identity as a celebrant into all aspects of leadership. Her energy shouts, 'Own It! Land, stories, and the ways in which we lift each other.' And I’m here for her creative movement building. Flags in hand." - Karina Puente, Karina Puente Arts

Designer: Ken Jones Jr., This Beautiful Life LLC

What did you bring to /make for the gathering? 

"We brought two things to the gathering. 1) We created a "Creation Station" called the “The Great Seed Bomb – Toss. Water. Grow." We fostered an environment of play and connection through making seed bombs. We supplied everyone with locally sourced clay, wildflower seeds, and compost. The act of gathering ones supplies, preparing a creation, and then being able to spread beauty by tossing the seed bomb into a dull corner of one's garden or an abandoned city lot was, to us, a metaphor for how our art leaves our studios and goes out into the world for a life all its own. 2) The two-in-one "Menu Napkin," which we created and designed in collaboration with our dear friend Vanessa Kreckle from TPD Design House." - Ken Jones Jr., This Beautiful Life LLC

What was your favorite moment?

"The giggling, the hugging, the crying, the connecting – it’s such open safe space that everyone helps to create and remind us that as creators – this is what we do for others. We provide meaning, joy, and environments for life to manifest." - Ken Jones Jr., This Beautiful Life LLC

Venue & Host: Alisa Tongg, Promise Ridge

What did you bring to /make for the gathering? 

"Promise Ridge is the gathering spot for this event; it is a special ceremony space that happens to be situated on the edge of a cliff directly above our secret creek spot. Guests arrive, enjoy a cocktail, and engage in some sort of activation station. This year Ken Jones Jr. (of This Beautiful Life LLC)  created a seed bomb-making workshop to serve as an ice breaker for gathering. Speaking of ice, Chef Erika Urso (Love Bites by Erika) made an impressive menu of gourmet and savory ice pops, which were enjoyed on the Infinity Deck. Honeywatts performed live music and Celebrant Alisa Tongg made her formal welcome address before attendees made their way down to the creek." - Alisa Tongg, Promise Ridge

Did anything inspire you in your creative process? 

"This year, we were very excited to host our first BLS gathering using the new beautiful Overlook Pavilion. Most of the energy getting Promise Ridge prepared to host this gathering reception involved completing a custom gold pigment carving of the Delaware Water Gap into the concrete floor and applying lots of fish emulsion to the gardens." - Alisa Tongg, Promise Ridge

Planner & Designer: Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew

What did you bring to /make for the gathering?

"I am super, ultra lucky to be one of the folks involved in the initial ideation of the creek dinner yearly aesthetic and programming. I am also the planner for the event, so alongside Alisa, we work with the various vendors and attendees to curate and communicate the yearly message and aesthetic, acquire the items needed to execute each attendees contribution, and coordinate timing for build-out, event flow, and breakdown." - Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew 

What was your vision?

"In the beginning, when Alisa shared the messaging she was thinking about for the approach to this year, I was really inspired by the thought that "something," although the same "thing," could look or feel completely different to each individual who was experiencing it. In collecting inspiration from that vibe, I ended up really focusing on the movement of a kaleidoscope, the concept of Rorschach inkblots, and by the end kind of connected those elements with the sentiment of atriums. To me, it was a representation of individual experiences, ever moving and transforming, while each beholder still has one thing in common, which was the intention." - Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew 

What was involved in bringing your vision to life?

"I ended up using symbols and elements to focus on intent for each need. For example, the goal for the front of the invite is for the recipient to understand the visual approach and vibe of the event, so we highlighted the new B&LS logo with holographic vinyl through a cut out with the intent of creating curiosity of what was inside. We wrote the requests in a way that, we hoped, would invoke inspiration and be personalized to each recipient. Our intent was to grow a mutual admiration society and promote just being excellent to each other. It kind of just all felt complete then, and the final touches came naturally. My most favorite detail or perhaps details are all of the hidden or secret elements, meanings, messages we included in the final design. I am ALMOST positive, even now, after the event, no one has found ALL of them." - Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew 

What are you hoping your ripple will be?

"From the planning end, my hope ALWAYS and FOREVER is that I am helpful and make folks feel taken care of. I want to be able to handle all of the logistical things from tiny to big so that the creatives contributing and attending can focus on their craft and sharing that at the event. 

I guess I always want my ripple to be to make someone smile- through making a joke, or acting up to make them laugh, or sharing words of admiration, or providing the support and structure so they can feel happy about their output."  - Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew 

Bartender: Jason Lonigro, Atomic Cocktail Experiences

Cocktails served at Promise Ridge

Pastures of Plenty
Garden Influenced Tequila & Mezcal
Campari, Watermelon, Lime, Poblano, Agave, Chili-Lime Dust

Flamingo Spritz
Aperol, Rosé, Lemon Oil, Strawberry
Sparkling Flamingo Tears, Passion Fruit LaCroix

Punch served Creekside

Shady Grove
Wild Turkey Bourbon, Bonded Apple Brandy, Lustau Sherry
Black Tea, Peach & Chocolate Mint Oleo

What was your vision? 

"We wanted the initial cocktail experience at Promise Ridge to be as immersive as possible. From the decorative straws and garnishes to the vintage Featherstone flamingo and barware we set up, the goal was to make our guests realize their reality is better than their dreams. 
Our approach when we started the prep work for the drinks was to be as environmentally friendly as possible. From compostable paper straws and cups to making citrus stock with the leftover lemon and lime husks, we had leftover from juicing to use for final dilution when batching." - Jason Lonigro, Atomic Cocktail Experiences

Did anything inspire you in your creative process?

"The fantasy world of tiki culture and the escapism it inspires. Cocktails are meant to be fun and when you can create a sense of place to go along with them is something very special." Jason Lonigro, Atomic Cocktail Experiences


What was your favorite moment?

When I was setting up the creekside punch I stepped back and looked at all of the people putting the final touches on the dinner set up in the creek. It’s seeing everyone doing their part, helping each other is what my favorite moment was. Selflessness is something people encounter, but to see it up close shown by so many is what this event truly is all about. - Jason Lonigro, Atomic Cocktail Experiences

Chef: Andre’ de Waal, Andre’s Restaurant

Please share some details about the process. What was involved in bringing your vision to life? 

"A kaleidoscope is three or more mirrors reflecting back on an item, or items. With this as inspiration, we chose the main ingredient and each chef reflected back on other ingredients or cooking methods until a dish was deemed complete. We did this via text message to create a 'sterile' environment void of ego, control, or judgment. The menu was then divided and each member of the team made two of the six dishes their own with the goal being to create a menu that was equal parts from each chef. "- Andre’ de Waal, Andre’s Restaurant

Chef: Brandon Grimila, 403 Broad

What was your vision? 

"The vision for this was collaborative. The other two chefs are two people I look up to and have been doing this a hell of a lot longer than I have. We wanted to make a meal where every course had a mutual amount of our input into it. 

For most meals like this, each chef makes two dishes that are completely theirs. In this case, each ingredient to every dish was picked by a different chef to form one dish. Once all the dishes are laid out on pen and paper, we then chose which ones we wanted to be responsible for. This gave each chef the opportunity to have a piece of their cooking in each dish – really showcases true collaboration." - Brandon Grimila, 403 Broad

What are you hoping your ripple will be?

"I hope my ripple will be for people to cook with their friends, to cook together. I think something magical happens when you cook with your friends, you see and feel each other's energy and this sounds crazy, but I swear it makes the food taste better. It brings out the best in people." - Brandon Grimila, 403 Broad

What was your favorite moment?

"My favorite moment is watching everyone eat at a table together and meet new people. There are new people at BLS every year and it’s great to watch worlds collide. Alisa said it perfectly - 'There are a lot of important people here, with a lot of responsibility and ego, today I need everyone to let all of that go and just be.'

I think that really resonates, we all focus so hard to be who we are however at the creek dinner you’re just in that moment, with a bunch of like-minded people, sharing a meal, everything is floating down the river. It’s pretty magical." - Brandon Grimila, 403 Broad 

Chef:Michael Carrino

Did anything inspire you in your creative process?  

"Nature, the seasons, the universe, the thought of a kaleidoscope and, of course, some weed!" - Michael Carrino 

What are you hoping your ripple will be?

"My sincerest and ultimate goal is to deliver memories and happiness through food. I cook because it’s what I love to do more than anything else in this world. And I want to share that with as many interesting and intriguing people in the most interesting and intriguing ways." - Michael Carrino 


Bacon & Lox Society Full Circle Meal | Celebrant, Founder + Producer: Alisa Tongg
Visual Direction, Planning & Invitation Design: Nicole Hutnyk, Rabbit Rabbit Crew | Floral Installations: Sarah Petryk, Allium Floral Design & Event Styling | Event Photographer: Alison Conklin | Film: Christian Lopez, Film | Papel Picado Installation: Karina Puente | Custom Builder: Abundat Inc | Communal Tables: Hand Sawn LLC | Creek Seating and Lounges: Chippy White Table | Water Portraits: Rob Yaskovic | Chefs: Andre de Waal, Mike Carrino and Brandon Grimila | Venue: Promise Ridge | Menu Napkins Collaboration: Ken Jones Jr. X Two Paper Dolls | Atomic Cocktail Experiences: Jason Lonigro | Glow & Glisten Station: Tia Jones | Ice Pops at Promise Ridge: Chef Erika Urso | Live Music: Honeywatts | Activation Station: Ken Jones Jr. | Shawnee Craft Brewery | Local Flower Growers: Periwinkle Flower Farm X Flores Temporis

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