THREE INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
I’m sure it’s just coincidental, but I had three events last week from three different countries. They were a great diversion from all the American Halloween celebrations. And I always love learning about different cultures. In case you do, too, here are the highlights.
A NIGHT WITH THAI CUISINE
This was a very beautiful and different type of event at the Castaway Restaurant in the hills of Burbank. It was also properly official, with His Excellency Mr. Niwattamrong Boonsongpaisal, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce and Deputy Prime Minister, being the guest of honor. It looked like something out of a high budget foreign film!
The dining room was decked-out in white and red, with unusual fruits in sparkly boxes as the centerpieces. In keeping with the evening’s theme of “celebrating the cuisine of the four distinct regions of Thailand: North, South, Central, and Northeast,” there were food stations from about a half dozen Thai restaurants, and no two dishes were the same. Previously, I had thought of Thai cuisine as mainly Pad Thai and Me Krab, but this event showed me how much more there is to this fare.
Many of the guests loved drinking coconut water out of a real coconut, and the presentation was so attractive that I lamented the fact that I don’t like that beverage. My guest and several others at our table were very taken with the different Thai beers that were served throughout the evening.
The purpose of the soiree was to present the 2013 Thai Select Certification Awards to ten restaurants in the western region of the United States. (Over half are from California! Yay, us!) To that end, there were a few brief and interesting speeches from luminaries, including some celebrity chefs.
There were also some original visual presentations, including dancers and musicians plying their trade in front of screens showing the different regions of Thailand.
We each left with a goodie bag filled with rice to cook and fun juices. And a new appreciation for this area of the world!
SPICE PRINCESS PARTY AT NIRVANA
The kickoff party for the webs series Spice Princess, starring lovely Indian chef Durey Shevar, was held at Nirvana restaurant in Beverly Hills. It was the night before Halloween, and I had a costume party to get to, so I couldn’t spend all that much time at this one, but I was there long enough to see how delightful the fete was.
My friend and I spent a good portion of our time there with Durey, who was indeed the star of the evening, and she appeared to be as nice and genuine as she is beautiful. And her eyes lit up when she told us about her Indian cooking, and the spices involved; kind-of the way mine light up when I get to eat food that others make!
Speaking of the food, the plentiful passed appetizers were absolutely delish! My friend is a vegetarian, and she was able to eat almost as much as we carnivores did. The gussied-up mushrooms were out of this world, and the super-spicy spinach-potato patties worked perfectly with the less tangy cheese naan.
More importantly than anything, though, was that server Derek could not have been kinder to us. (There’s just something great about all guys with that name, I guess–Derek Jeter, Derek Hough, and now Derek, the waiter at Nirvana!)
I hope to pay a return visit soon, and do a full restaurant review there for you.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS LATIN DANCE PARTY
Even Mr. X said that this was a really fun thing to do on a Saturday night! (Yes, you read that right—he did come out with me, but only because it was a dance event. And a krumper doesn’t have too many opportunities in his own style, so you gotta grab movement recreation wherever you can.)
It was a private Dia de Los Muertos party at a ground-floor dance studio right on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks! The hosts, Vanessa and Rome, had set-up the room like a performance nightclub; the tables were rockin’ red satin tablecloths, and there were colorful disco lights throughout, which gave it a really cool vibe. And everyone knew enough to dress-up, not like at the hip-hop clubs I used to run!
You know that I feel an event can’t call itself a “party” without some sustenance, and this one had so many beverages and snacks that even I couldn’t get to try them all!
Rome gave a Latin dance class for the first hour and a half. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get out on the floor because they were partner dances and I still can’t risk anybody touching my hands. But it was really fun to watch. I can’t believe how many people have talent in that category!
But the main event was the three-performance dance show. First up was Leela Bellydance Productions, which featured seven woman and one really entertaining guy. In honor of the occasion, they were wearing outfits that featured skeleton shirts, and Mr. X loved that they really accentuated the torso isolations that are a hallmark of belly-dancing.
Next up was the troupe we came to see, Galante Salsa Dance. It was three of the most agile big men ever dancing with three of the thinnest women ever! No wonder the guys could throw the ladies around so much! It was spectacular to see these moves being performed so up-close and personal, especially by dancers who knew what they were doing. I believe I even saw one of the males do a flip!
The evening ended with Lena’s Pole Dancing. I can’t imagine that Lena has even one percent body fat, and what she did was truly amazing. After watching her do two numbers on the pole, I asked Mr. X to guess which part of her body I was the most jealous of. I’ll give you a second to think of the answer, as well, so play the Jeopardy end-question theme song in your mind, and then look to the middle of the next paragraph to see if you are correct.
Okay, ready? Mr. X’s first two guesses were “abs” and “butt,” but then a lightbulb went on over his head, and he immediately knew the answer was…“hands!” Yup, that is correct—I was most jealous that someone could grip a pole with her hands. Who am I now? Trust me, if I weren’t going through hand issues, the answer would’ve been abs, but you get no credit for it here.
Okay, I have to stop writing now and practice my spicy latin dancing—see how I Thai-ed it all up there?