Move over J. Lo, the UGs have somehow become the new wedding planners. Josie agreed a few months ago to help a friend of her dad’s plan a wedding. She was a little overwhelmed and I agreed to help a fellow UG out. Was I getting paid? No, but I new it would make for a good blog post…too bad I was too busy running around to snap any photos. However, before the wedding madness I received an invitation to check out Henry’s Hat for Halftime Hilarity. Do I like sports? Um, refer to the previous post where I called Scrabble a sport and where I mistook Cal Ripken Jr. for Tom Coliccho. However, I am an enormous fan of free food, gastropubs, comedians, and interesting cocktails. The invite came from Wagstaff PR and I was extremely excited to check out Henry’s Hat after I learned it was from the Luna Park people and that one of my Facebook friends told me about the great Sunday Brunch he had on his birthday. Josie was in class so I took a date with me. Here’s some advice ladies, as if the UGs have any qualifications to give dating advice, take boys on dates where you have the hookups and then they will owe you something. This particular date I took is the one writing the UG comic book called, The Insatiables. One of the blogger perks for this first night of Halftime Hilarity was 2 cocktails, popcorn, and pizza. I was thinking of getting both of the cocktails for myself but I instead was a good girl and shared with my date. I had the strawberry basil drink and he had one that had a chili pepper in it, what a show-off.
We went with the margherita pizza and the spiced popcorn. Clearly I made good ordering decisions as e*starLA and SquashBlossom, who were seated at a nearby table, got the exact same thing. This food wasn’t quite enough for my date and I so we added on some fries, chili, and a peach cobbler. I am pretty sure I frightened my date when after I ran out of fries to dip in my chili I switched to throwing popcorn in my chili bowl. What’s so weird about that? I always add corn to my chili, why not corn in the popped form?
So here’s the verdict: the comedians during halftime hilarity were hit or miss, the food and drinks were decent and well priced, and our waitress was great. Would I come to watch the game? Probably not, but I am not watching any games. Would I come here to have a cocktail, brunch, or lunch? Most definitely. I’ll bring my other UG half here shortly.
The wedding preparations began on Friday bright and early. At 6AM we hit the LA Flower Mart. It was my first time but Josie is a clearly a regular as everyone in the place knew her and was saving her the best of the floral best. We grabbed all kinds of cool flowers and foliage for our 8 table arrangements we had to create. I was amazed to see orchids for so cheap and of such amazing quality.
I am used to waking up at this ungodly hour but I normally stay in bed, check email, grab an apple, and stay horizontal. Since I was out and about I decided to use the new Yelp app for BlackBerry and typed in chilaquiles. The place that Yelp recommended was called El Huarachito in Lincoln Heights. We ordered the plato campesino, which came with carne and chilaquiles and an order of flautas. It was good. The UGs are very familiar with Highland Park and both realized that Lincoln Heights is an area that we must explore more. The little restaurant, with only one server, was packed and there was even some unwelcome critters. Did a cockroach on the wall cause the UGs to flee? Of course not. Josie said, “Good thing there is nothing beneath us and we are uncouth” and I simply put my shoes back on and sat on my feet.
The breakfast was filling, traditional, and yummy; we will definitely come back. We needed this big meal for all the work that was to be done for not only the wedding preparations but also for the rehearsal dinner that night. Josie was not loving my flower arranging skills so I got put on Dora the Explorer duty, which was searching through a lush backyard for some extra foliage. I was also there for comic relief. Josie proceed to tell me the next two days, “Carina, I seriously believe you were a mule in your past life”. Clearly, my working skills in this life are pretty sub-par. Thankfully, Josie also recruited another friend who was a champion and a worker that I can simply admire but never duplicate. This girl juggled many balls and had the flower arranging and kitchen skills that Josie possesses.
The entire wedding was themed around an alcoholic beverage, clearly these were our kind of people! The drink of inspiration was a mojito and the menu was Cuban themed. For the rehearsal dinner we made a wilted spinach salad and the Kitchen for Exploring Foods provided a homemade sausage penne dish and a shrimp alfredo pasta dish.
It was a lot of work and this was only day 1. We got out of there at around 8pm. Josie and I were planning a date out when I received a text from my friend Barrett saying that there was one extra seat at the Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah dinner downtown. I had Josie over and after realizing that I would be unable to sneak her in I quickly heated her up a $12 piece of lasagna in my fridge from Porta Via and changed into more kosher clothing. Josie’s lasagna was still cold and I left my other UG half at my place so she could sit and relax for awhile. I headed to Rabbi Moshe’s, from Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles, home and was, of course, the last one to arrive. I was starving and sat down to eat completely forgetting the hand-washing ritual…uncouth! Why is this not on camera? Oh well, the Rabbi’s hot younger brother took me in the kitchen for hand washing. The meal was lovely and I learned the secret to a good brisket was equal parts brown sugar, ketchup, and beer. It was a beautiful way to bring in the New Year. Happy 5770 to all! Time with Barrett and his friends almost always means a lot of drinks and laughs, this time I was prepared. I drove and parked somewhere where I knew that I would be forced to leave by 2am. I did just that and got into my car at 1:58A and saw the boys from Tony’s bar last weekend. I am like practically a Downtowner, when will I make the move?
The wedding day was as chaotic as can be. We picked up more food from Josie’s employer of 8 years, The Kitchen, and began work on just about everything. We had to heat up the appetizers and all of the food, set up the 8 tables, make a cupcake tower, serve, and pretend like everything was under control. The menu was as followed:
AppetizersCheese Twists and Toasts
Jerk Chicken in a banana tostone with Pineapple Salsa and Chipotle
Plaintain Turnovers with Queso FrescoChipotle SalsaTomatillo Salsa
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Coconut Shrimp with Mojo and Pineapple Salsa
12-hr Pork with Tomatillo Sauce
Chicken in Ti Leaf with Pom Curry Sauce
Green Salad,Vin, Papaya, Jicama, and Toasted Pinenuts
The food was delicious and I was the charming server. Josie was the mad women in the kitchen who had every pot boiling, every cupboard open, and every oven on. She did a miraculous job and at one point in the night the two of us snuck off and sat by the trashcans in order to steer clear of a drunk Artie Lange lookalike and to avoid the mess we made out of the kitchen for just 5 more minutes. The funniest line of the evening came from me when I went back to the kitchen to replenish my appetizer tray. This was how the dialogue went:
Carina: What are these appetizers?
Josie: Bacon wrapped dates
Carina: Oh, that’s exactly how I like my dates to come!
A couple of months ago we said happy hour is the new dinner and now we have a new tagline: Un-kosher is the new Uncouth! The wedding was a success and we are so grateful that the happy couple let us be a part of their special day. On Monday, I was Josie’s +1 to The Kitchen for Exploring Foods annual company party. It was in the home of the catering and entertaining goddess Peggy Dark, founder of The Kitchen. The night had an open bar, sushi, espresso machines, and was catered by Gourmet Grill Masters LA (amazing chicken) and Get Shaved (shaved ice over vanilla ice cream with some condensed milk on top). We now have a new found appreciation for caterers and the entertaining goddesses of the land. While I may not be a bride any time soon, I will be a Birthday Girl soon and perhaps we can put our party throwing expertise to work. I was planning on spending my birthday in the air on the way to Singapore but since that may now be put on hold, anyone have any awesome party ideas?