Zócalo's Gregory Rodriguez: Founder/Executive Director/Executive Editor, Swati Pandey: Managing Editor, Laura Villalpando: Media & Field Producer, Dulce Vasquez: Program Director with Zócalo supporter/award-winning author/bon vivant Jonathan Gold
Zócalo Public Square is a Los Angeles-based idea-wrangler. Their popular lectures and panels often focus on politics, food, and the politics of food. But it would be unfair to pigeon-hole them, as their mission is about offering a forum for the entire spectrum, bringing together disparate fields and giving a voice to the unheard since 2003.
Zócalo also offers screenings, conferences, and produces a web-based magazine. Focusing on community, they They reach out to "...a new, young, and diverse generation...Zócalo Public Square connects people to ideas and to each other in an open, accessible, non-partisan and broad-minded spirit."
Jonathan Gold, who often volunteers with the organization to chair panels, hosted his second annual Cocktail Party at Union Square. It is the event of the season, with restaurants hand-selected by Gold and drinks organized by downtown mogul Cedd Moses.
The room is gorgeous, and in comparison to the last Cocktail Party, the organizers have a very fast learning curve. Tickets were less expensive, the room was dotted with round bar tables instead of a theater-set-up, and they dispensed with the panel and entertainment that proved difficult given the acoustics and wild drinking last year.
Not that we did not get a little wild again this year. I decided to stick with one liquor so as not to suffer a hangover the next day. I enjoyed the Cruzan Ace of Spades from the Cana Rum Bar:
A cacao-tinged daiquiri get an herbaceous update via Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum and cacao-infused bitters.
It tasted like stone fruit to me, maybe peaches. They were mysterious about the ingredients in the eyedroppers decoratively dotted on the cocktail. I let them drop what turned out to be cacao bitters directly onto my tongue. The manager and mixologists were friendly and fun on my two, errrr three? trips back to the bar.
Over at Las Perlas, they were serving the Spiced PaQui Tequila Daisy, and Bob attested to its heat.
PaQui Silver Tequila, fresh lime juice, organic agave nectar, fresh juiced jalapenos, basil and cucumber, Sal de gusano.
I'm not sure what was up with this lil feller. Maybe Golden Gopher will soon have a counterpart, The Rabid Raccoon? The Feral Ferret?
Other drinks featured were Seven Grand's Chivas Regal 12 year Highballs and the Varnish's Plymouth Fitzgerald
A classic sour gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar, shaken and served up and lightly drizzled with Angostura bitters
One of the mixologists was proving that he could get 12 drinks out of his giant shaker
Now, on to the food! Whereas mood lighting makes for a beautiful setting, it makes food photography difficult. I try not to blind people with the flash too much, and that often makes the food weirder. So, no, it was not a theme party with red-only food.
My darling Rivera offered his Pre-Columbian and Post-Columbian gazpacho. I asked Alexia doubtfully, "Pre-Columbian?" She said, "Really. He researches this stuff." I was only disappointed that John himself was not there for me to fawn all over.
Comme Ca offered Gougeres, duck rilletes, and chanterelle cream. I cannot count how many of these I ate.
In a somewhat similar vein, Jar was serving Pork croissant with mustard sauce, Suzanne Tracht's take on dim sum. The mustard was insanely hot, so depending on who was adding the sauce, it was either a nice burn or your sinuses were cleared out.
First and Hope went upscale with a butternut panna cotta wth crab salad. A little part of me wished it was corn panna cotta, but even in LA we have to accept it is Autumn at some point.
Grace restaurant brought the pork with a delicious squash flan and smoked sage jus.
At Lazy Ox Canteen we fell in love with yellowtail crudo with avocado, creme fraiche and white soy made into little taco-esque bites.
Rustic Canyon pleased our palates with Black mission figs, roasted chestnuts, burrata, saba and toasts. I could have used a second toast for the generous helping of burrata.
Susan Feniger's Street dished up a very refreshing watermelon salad with something like crunchy granola. The servers were so friendly the first time they scared me away. "Hi! Would you like to try Burmese melon salad???? It's VERY refreshing!" I needed another drink before I could handle the intensity. It was very refreshing. They were right.
Sadly, I missed Providence's Japanese kanpachi sushimi. The Rustic canyon and Seven Grand crowds merged to hide them from sight. They got rave reviews, though.
It was an extremely successful party. It was so nice to see HC, and Lindsay, and everyone pictured here. I certainly hope I get an invitation next year! I have a fringe dress. We have a top hat. I'm already watching the mail.
Ludo Lefebvre, whose name I can only spell with assistance.
Gotta love Hadley.
Chef Rachel Narins
The lovely Alexia, and date, who is NOT from England
Who would have thought one could get so much mileage out of a top hat?
Someone told me I should have a blog where I just follow Ludo around taking pictures of him with his perennial 5 o'clock shadow. She said it would be the most popular food blog ever. Well, here's one for you where-ever you are. Hopefully not outside Ludo's bushes.
One rule: Do not lick the chef.
The lovely Miss Caroline on Crack
Thank you, Dulce!!! Thank you Jonathan! Thank you, Cedd! And to everyone who works so hard throughout the year!