Tonight, Zocalo Public Square hosted Jonathan Gold’s Second Annual Union Station Cocktail Party in Downtown LA. With a 1920’s Speakeasy theme, there were flappers, newsboys and mobsters galore.
Naturally, we made an “entrance” and arrived an hour late to a pretty full house. I was a bit disappointed that some of the booths had already ran out of food and shut down by the time we arrived. Therefore we missed out on tasting a few of samples that Grace, Providence & Lazy Ox Cantee had to offer. Luckily the other six restaurant that we did try was very interesting and still had plenty of tasty epicurean delights to try.
Comme Ca featured a dish with Gourgeres, duck rillettes & chanterelle cream which looked & tasted like a creampuff with a light mustard sauce.
First & Hope had a milky butternut panna cotta with a light dungeness crab salad, which tasted very creamy and blended well with the delicate crab apertiff on top.
Rivera created a light Pre-Columbia and post-Columbian gazpacho, which was presented in a shot glass. I took my first shot which tasted like a mixture sour cream and some type of squash soup. It was not one of my favorites of the night.
Also featured were:
Jar presented a Pork croissant with a tart mustard sauce, that was quite heavy and oily, but as a carb lover I enjoyed the flaky crust.
Rustic Canyon’s Black mission figs, roasted chesnuts, burrata, saba and toast was very different, with a mix of sweet and cheesy flavors. Which left me feeling very unsure about how I felt about the mix of flavors.
Susan Ferniger’s Street”s chefs cooled things down with a Burmese melon salad that boasted pine nuts & cashews on top of the sweet fruits. This light dish was my favorite sample of the evening.
There were also some tasty drinks, including one that was rimmed with “Lucas” powder! They even featured a few with 1920’s themed names such as: the “Cruzan Rum Ace of Spades”, “Pikesville Classic Manhattan”, “Spiced Paqui Tequilla Daisy”, “Chivas Regal 12 yr Scotch Highballs” & “The Plymouth Fitzgerald”.
This is the second year that I was invited to the swanky soiree and I noticed that there were a few noticible changes.
Unlike last year, where our debauchery was exposed for all of the Union Station patrons to see, this year we were protected by skyscraper-like black velvet curtains. Unfortunately this also increased the temperature inside tenfold and there was no air conditioning available.
I was very excited that several more people dressed up this year as opposed to last year, where only a handful of people were even in formal outfits for the event. I saw several beautiful vintage dresses including a gorgeous hand-beaded flapper dress! The room was filled with beads, feathers, newsboy hats & long strings of pearls. All of the Zocalo staff went all out in their outfits which added to the ambiance of the Union Station location.
I do miss the “Green Fairy” Absinthe booths with glasses set up with cubes of sugar from last year, because they gave the event more character and authenticity. Despite the strong push for everyone to dress up for the event, I was a bit disappointed that the event itself didn’t completely transport us to a simpler time.
One of the other things that detracted from the event was the choice of music, KCRW’s DJ Garth Trinidad was selected as the entertainment for the evening. Though he did play several songs that got a handful of people dancing, I feel that simplying playing 1920’s music off of a cd and having professional dancers perform or teach the guests how to dance would have been more appropriate. It’s hard to have a “Whoopee” time when they are bumping modern music on the speakers.
All in all we had a great time, enjoyed some exotic foods & drinks and got the opportunity to feel like celebrities for the evening.