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Restaurant Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin


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GREAT TASTES IN BRENTWOOD

Turns out, Great Tastes in Brentwood, a one-day-only food fest to be held on San Vicente this Sunday, Oct. 7, sponsored by Coldwell Bankers, has been going on for twenty years, and I didn’t even know about it until last year! That means that I missed the first eighteen of them! To make sure that the same fate doesn’t befall you, I’m here to apprise you of the situation.

In addition to being a fun fall social activity for the whole family, it’s a great way to sample some of the fare from the area’s priciest restaurants for a fraction of what the bills would be if you tried them for dinner. This way, you know in advance if you want to actually frequent the place, without going into debt.

Some of the more affordable restaurants are participating, as well. And there’s a wine garden, live music, children’s activities, and an auction, to keep everyone occupied in-between bites.

Best of all, the event benefits local PUBLIC schools, a worthy charity. And to make you feel even better (which helping others always does), if you bring a can of food to be donated to the Westside Food Bank, admission is free. Then you simply purchase scrip for the tastes.

I’m off to work-out right now, so I can sample as many dishes as possible. If it were a contest to see how many different ones you can eat in a few hours, I just might win. If I can stop chatting long enough.

Great Tastes In Brentwood October 7, 2007 310-442-1384
www.GreatTastesinBrentwood.com


CELADON

The cast of NBC’s new series “Life” The cast of NBC’s new series “Life”
at the premiere party at Celadon

I’m planning to review this restaurant at a later date, but I just have to tell you about a fabulous party that I attended there last week. It was for the premiere of NBC’s new show, “Life.” Celadon has enough big screen TVs in every area that the entire assemblage was able to watch it from a decent vantage point.

The place was packed, and the passed hors d’oeuvres kept coming all night. I’ve actually never seen anything like it at any party I’ve ever been to in my whole life. At most functions, you have to stand by the kitchen to even get a crack at a morsel of food. Here, they brought out new and innovative appetizers almost every minute! And beyond-ample amounts. They made sure that everyone got some, no matter where they were situated in the three-area space.

And what an assortment! My favorite, by far, was individual butternut squash raviolis on spoons, followed closely by the Kobe beef sliders (mini-burgers) and fabulous fries in cups. Here’s a list of just SOME of the rest: tuna tartare lollipops, chicken samosas, andouille sausage balls, steak on toast, and octopus! Dessert minis included fruit tarts and fruit ceviche(very interesting and not seen before), and cheesecakes on sticks, covered in mocha.

The manager, Brian Keeth was fabulous, as was the adorable chef, Danny Elmaleh. With cute men and delicious food, you know I’ll be doing the full review soon. Well, depending on the Yankees post-season schedule, anyway.

BTW--in case you’re wondering, “Life” looks good, so far. Click over to my entertainment column for mini-reviews of this season’s new shows.

Celadon 7910 W. Third St. 323-658-8028
www.celadongalerieculinaire.com
 
 

PARTY AT SOFITEL (BUT DON’T BLAME THEM)
And lastly, I recently went to the worst party ever!!! It was billed as the 20th Anniversary Party for E! (Entertainment Television), but was really for the guys who started Movietime, the pre-cursor to E!, which, taking a wild guess here, I’d assume began twenty years ago. I spoke to people at E! before the event, and they knew nothing about it.

For my purposes, I don’t really care for whom a party is (as long as it’s not for someone/something I disagree with or dislike). I’m interested solely in the quality and fun factor of the soiree. In this case, there was just plenty of nothing.

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The very sparse dessert buffet.

It was held at the beautiful and hip Sofitel Hotel (across from the Beverly Center, for you non-scenesters), so, of course, my friend, Lucia, and I were expecting a fabulous time. It was held in the Stone Rose Lounge, the hotel’s upscale bar, and when we walked in, we saw a small dessert buffet set-up with fun items, such as cotton candy and mini-mock-ups of Hostess Cupcakes and Snowballs. So, we erroneously thought we were in for a fun and tasty evening.

The party was called for 8PM, and, totally by accident, we were there right on time. So, we were able to score good, comfortable seating, and were ready for the real food to begin. (I hadn’t gotten to eat that day, and was almost shaking with hunger. But I tend to over-do it at parties with good food, so I was just as happy to be famished.)

615
Karen and Lucia smiling through
their hunger at the non-E! party.

The waitress came over to take our drink order, and I asked if the food would be passed or a buffet. She answered, “There is no food.” If you visit the lounge anytime soon, I’m sure you’ll still find my jaw on the ground, where it totally dropped. She told us the bar was no-host, as well. (Perhaps we should have taken a doggie bag from the party at Celadon the night before!)

How do you throw a grown-up, business function in this manner??? How do you have the chutzpah to invite anyone, let alone press and celebs, to a “party” at a fancy hotel, in Los Angeles, at dinner hour, no less, and not provide the refreshments??? We were in shock, as was everyone to whom we had to break the bad news as they joined in the surrounding seating.

In a roped-off area at the back of the patio, they had set-up a make-shift “gifting suite” for the celebrities in attendance. As loyal readers know, Gifting Suites R US (meaning “me”), so I’m pretty much an expert on them now. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: there were only about nine sponsors, the best one being the spa at the hotel, which I’ve been meaning to try anyway. That table had a lovely woman manning it.

The products went downhill from there. No fooling, one of the tables was taken up with tiny packages of mints, and another with a new version of Chia Pets!!! Kindergartners wouldn’t even put together such a lame “suite.”

We ordered our own appetizers and beverages, and stayed at least an hour and a half to see if the action would pick up. On the way out, my friend spotted Jon Lovitz walking in, and a friend who stayed till the end said that Greg Kinnear did, too. They said he was an original personality of Movietime, so that was good of him. But those two appeared to be it in the celebrity category.

Not since my club promoter days of a decade ago had I seen such a misleading invite to an event. Maybe they hired a club guy to stage this party, as well. Oh, but then we would at least have had good dance music.

Stone Rose Lounge 8555 Beverly blvd. 310-228-6677 www.sofitella.com

“Karen’s Restaurant Revue” airs on October 4 and 11, 2007 (2 different shows) at 10PM on Time-Warner Cable, Channels 98, 77, 37, or 3. Check the listings in your area.

 
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