FOODIE PARTY AT THE CULVER HOTEL
Last year around this time, I hosted a mini food fest at the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City. It turned out to be so fabulous, and a wonderful prototype for all the Superbowl parties around town, that I decided to do it again this year, if only for you guys to have no-brainer ideas for football munchies.
Wanting the same perfect location, but always desiring a different feel to each of my soirees, I chose to use a different party room in the same venue. Last year, it was on the super-fun mezzanine, and was perfect. But since the Culver Hotel had just remodeled their skinny off-the-lobby dining area, I wanted to show it off to the assemblage. While the guests were equally divided in the debate over which room was better, many of them commented to the effect that this one is a “beautiful room” with a “great view,” and appreciated the “easier powder room accessibility!” And the thick black curtains kept it separated from the lobby din…so we could create our own!
The hotel had just re-done the floor, and added multiple chandeliers, a wall of classy library-type shelves, and a high, giant, silver-framed mirror. It has kind-of a film noir feel now. I almost felt like I was in a game of Clue!
Culver Hotel 9400 Culver Blvd. 310-558-9400 www.culverhotel.com
Always wanting to introduce my guests, (and the world!,) to new taste treats, I chose mostly different ones from last year. Due to popular demand, though, the pizza and wings paid a return visit.
Here’s all their info, with some of the attendees’ comments in quotes. Every single dish drew raves, including “loved,” “ the best,” and “my favorite!” I’m delighted that my guests’ tastes are as diverse as the dishes I picked-out for them! As always, these are listed in no particular order, except for category–just make sure to read them all, or you’ll miss out:
Got Wings–Lemon-Pepper Wings, Garlic-Parmesan Wings.
These are the same fabulous wings as last year–only the name has changed, to reflect a fresh approach to the menu. Maybe that’s because pre-party, many guests asked me, “Got wings?” It was “so easy” to eat these “tangy,” “not wet” wings at a crowded party, that they’re just about the only things I got to enjoy at my own party!
1544 S. LaCienega Blvd. 310-360-4800 www.gotwings.com
Monte Alban–Potato Molotes
These “perfectly seasoned” potato-stuffed pockets are the Oaxacan version of knishes or samosas. Guests “loved” them “with or without” the “excellent mole.” Since Oaxacan cuisine is new to most people, one guest said “this food I most dreaded tasting…was fabulous!” “YUM!”
11929 Santa Monica Blvd. West Los Angeles 310-444-7736 www.restaurantemontealban.com
Fresh Brothers–Greek Town Special Salad, Farmer’s Market Salad
Though Chicago-type pizza is their specialty, Mr. X and I were so impressed with their “excellent” “very fresh” “delicious” salads, we had to feature them at the party. Our guests were glad we did, as they were gobbled the quickest! Every comment echoed that the “balsamic vinaigrette is amazing!” and that they were the “best salads ever!”
4722 1/2 Admiralty Way Marina Del Rey 310-823-3800 www.freshbrothers.com
Cafe 50s–Southern Fried Mac & Cheese with Ranch Dressing, Green Bean Fries with Mustard-Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce and Spicy Ranch Dressing-
These “delectable,” “interesting” little wedges (of mac ’n cheese) are a “very cool concept” that “actually works.” The “flavors all balance out.”
As to the new-even-to-me “excellent” green beans, guests “really liked” these “fun” “instant favorites.”
11623 Santa Monica Blvd. West Los Angeles 310-479-1955 www.cafe50s.com
[Note: I can vouch for this location only.]
LaRocco’s Pizzeria–Cheese Pizza.
Once again, this “best ever,” “great,” “classic cheese pizza” proved to be a super-popular item. And the close proximity to the Culver Hotel allowed the generous Paul LaRocco to keep us supplied with “fresh, hot” pies all night, which the guests “really appreciated.’
3819 Main Street 310-837-8345 www.laroccospizzeria.com
Chipotle–Burritos Assortment: Grilled Chicken, Barbico (spicy shredded beef), Carnitas (pulled pork), and Vegetable. Also, chips with fresh guacamole, and 4 salsas.
We took advantage of their new party concept: burrito in a box. It’s perfect for group orders, whether it be a fabulous party like mine, or just an office lunch, and the guests were thrilled that they came foil-wrapped with easy-to-read labels. The vegetarian went the fastest, but everyone loved the “hearty,” “healthy,” fillings, and lauded the “fantastic guac!” Great party idea–serve the salsas and guac in individual containers to avoid double-dipping. “Very 2010!”
Chipotle 9512 Culver Blvd. 310- 841-0561 www.chipotle.com
You guys can actually taste this “excellent” “perfectly-spiced” “non-greasy” “sausage-filled” dish for yourselves at their Mardi Gras Festival on February 27. It benefits many charities, and, if last year’s was any indication, should be loads of fun.
2560 S. Lincoln Blvd. Marina Del Rey 310-306-4862 www.uncledarrows.com
Meet–Shrimp Carbonara (Linguini and shrimp in a creamy sauce.)
Fans of this “favorite” “classy dish” felt the “shrimp was perfectly cooked in the pasta,” which isn’t always the case at other restaurants. They said it was “divine” with “great subtle flavor.”
9727 Culver Blvd. 310-815-8222 www.meetrestaurantla.com
Swirls Cupcakes–Chocolate-Raspberry, Blueberry, Red Velvet (and assorted other flavors)
All my tasters agreed with me that these are “yummy” and the “best new cupcakes” in Los Angeles. (I’m adding New York to that.) One even noted, “I don’t usually like frosting but I ate all of it!” The blueberry ones “were quite a good surprise” because that’s not a flavor you’re “expecting to find in a cupcake.” (Even Clarence enjoyed some crumbs of that one. His comment was “Woof!”)
14006 Riverside Dr. Sherman Oaks (Fashion Square Mall)
Leslie’s Famous Biscotti--Hazelnut, Double Chocolate Hazelnut, Ginger Snappin’, and Coconut-Macadamia Nut
These “wonderful” “thin” biscotti, in creative flavors “hit the spot.” Now guests can’t wait to “visit Leslie’s cooking classes” to see if they can replicate them for themselves. Good luck with that!
10955 W. Pico Blvd. 310-553-8707 www.lesliesfamousbiscotti.com
Gotta Have S’more--Old-fashioned S’mores in Muffin Form (in a variety of flavors)
This is the newest dessert to hit the scene in quite awhile, and I was proud to feature them at my party. Guest comments included: “original,” “tasty,” “best thing I’ve tasted in years,” “perfection,” and “top drawer.” That last one was written to rhyme with “s’more,” I’m pretty sure. (Oh, I just added “sure” to the rhyme! So, if you see this poem on their website, remember–you read it here first.)
Casa Noble Tequila–I usually go with just classic wine at my parties, to not detract from the foods, but margaritas are such fun! Especially when they’re made with this new Casa Noble tequila. The bottles made for a beautiful display, as well, which added some pizzazz to the bar area. www.casanoble.com
That’s it for this year. If you’re an eatery who wants to participate in the future, (if I have energy enough to do it again next year,) please let me know throughout the year. Now please excuse me while I sleep-off this food hang-over!