One of the best experiences in LA is being invited to a swanky address and having a caterer come in-house to cook specially for you. I was fortunate to have been invited to a place in West Hollywood, beautiful house with unmatched views of the city, being set in a hill.
Hor D'oeuvres of salmon tartar on a crisp wafer, and brie with honey and roasted almonds served on an endive leave greeted us as we walked in, picked up our drinks and did the grand tour.
No wonder, and Patina Catering did live up to its name. So double fortune! That's why they call it Hollywood...
For starters, the arugula salad with Medjool dates, aged Parmesan, combined with a very light vinaigrette and given a fresh boost from the apple slices was a wondrous combination of flavours, textures and very appetising. The spicy leaves, neutralised by the sweet and plum dates, given a slightly sharp overtone from the cheese, and then teased by the vinaigrette and crunchy apples were brilliant. So good it makes any one want to eat all their vegetables and for a table of 10 to have all finished it, is testament in itself.
The main course of the chicken was my least favourite although the sauce is what I like to do at home. A simple wholegrain mustard sauce made all yummy by the drippings and reduced with butter and a splash of wine. I like my dark meat and would have been happier with it but the chicken breast was well executed and not as dry as I thought it looked. But because it was the breast, there wasn't enough gravy to go round, since I had it with the creamy mash, garlic spinach, and sweet baby carrots.
Dessert was a slight hit and miss although I did like it. If you don't like bananas, then you would skip this. But I do like a mean banana dessert, and this did not disappoint, although it was a little big for me. Slightly unripened bananas mashed up and filled a hard crust cup (a little too hard so that towards the end I just dug out the bananas), and topped with fresh cream. The sauce I have to guess had a little brandy in it, caramelised to make it a delicious golden brown, and lent a nice twist to the otherwise one-dimensioned cream. A brilliant finish.
And of course, clever conversation in LA's fading light on a cool crisp evenings made for a lovely way to enjoy food and company all at once. For those who are less fortunate to get a Hollywood invite, the Patina group has quite a group of restaurants to choose from.