Catering two sit down tea parties on the same day in two far flung reaches of Los Angeles is not a job for sissies. It requires military like precision, lots of list making, a love hate relationship with Costco, and plenty of back-up from a team of dedicated tea mavens. But I’m happy to report that we aced them both.
We were up bright and early on Saturday morning – 5.00am call (groan) at our kitchen, making a shed load of sandwiches and baking up dozens of our fresh strawberry, blueberry and raspberry scones. Of course we had to taste test a few of those babies- quality control you understand and you can’t expect an army of tea pot wielding staffers to pour on an empty stomach.
By 9.00am we were ready for business. Both orders were packed up, checked, double and triple checked (it’s my worse nightmare to arrive at a location only to discover that someone forgot to load in the scones – and yes it’s happened, but only once and never again!) One set of staffers headed off to Pasadena and me and my team to Brentwood. For those of you who know nothing about the geographical layout of Los Angeles -both places are about an hours drive apart – that’s on a good day with very little traffic and when you’ve lived in LA long enough you learn to always allow yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B – Traffic is totally unpredictable, but a fact of life in the City of Angels (none of whom drive). I had thought of trying to clone myself so that I could be at both parties at once, but I soon learned that was not possible, learning to delegate was a much more realistic option and so that’s what I settled for.
One of the many things I love about my job is all the gorgeous homes we get to work in. And believe me we get to see some incredible homes, many of which are featured in glossy architectural magazines. But this mediterranean style home in Brentwood definitely made it onto my top ten favorite homes ever. Our hostess had pitch perfect taste, everywhere you turned there was something beautiful to feast your eyes upon. It felt as if we had been transported to the South of France.
It was a picture perfect sun drenched California Saturday and the outdoor garden setting for the party couldn’t have been more beautiful. The garden was a glorious overflowing mass of colors with cascading deep pink bouganvillia covering the walls, delicately scented white roses scattered here and there and Meyer lemon trees heavy with fruit.
As guests arrived they were directed to the downstairs pool area for hors d’oeuvres & chilled rose wine and were encouraged to get creative at a crafts table decorating plain white baby ones-ies with colored markers & glitter.
The highlight of the afternoon unfolded just before the guests sat down for lunch. No one (except the expectant parents) knew the gender of the new baby. There was of course much debating amongst the guests and lots of stroking of the mum to be’s baby bump, trying to predict the sex of the unborn one. Guests were ushered from the pool area up to the dining patio and presented with a champagne toast and then to great fanfare…. hundreds and hundreds of pink balloons were released up into the blue, blue California sky. Glasses were raised in congratulations as everyone cheered and chanted ”It’s a girl, it’s a girl!” Only in Hollywood!
And so to lunch…Which was a witty modern interpretation of a traditional tea, just the way I like it. No fuss, and not a lace doiley in sight. Guests feasted on a buffet of lightly curried chicken salad with fresh mango and grapes, a delicious tabouleh salad loaded with fresh mint, parsley, cucumber & tomatoes, Organic arugula salad with shaved parmesan and mini heirloom tomatoes tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette, along with a selection of delicate finger sandwiches and an organic vegetable platter with homemade hummus and spinach and kale dips. Favorite desserts included our fresh fruit scones (of course) with homemade strawberry jam and devonshire cream, cupcakes with baby bottle decorations, masses of homemade cookies and (for those ladies watching their figures) a beautiful fresh fruit bowl. All washed down with more champagne and loose leaf English breakfast, fresh mint and Darjeeling teas. A perfect contemporary tea time inspired luncheon!
Once the guests were fed and my staffers were busy pouring the drinks I made my exit and headed over to the Pasadena party. Thankfully the traffic was relatively light and by the time I arrived at my destination everything had been cleared away ready for me to collect and bring back to the kitchen. Actually I was rather disappointed, I’d hoped to get an eye-full of the beautifully orchestrated Bridal shower tea – in yet another picture perfect home. But hey, I shouldn’t complain, at least I didn’t have to do any washing-up. My staff did a stellar job and the client was blissfully happy. There was a professional photographer taking pictures, which I hope to be able to share with you very soon.
We loaded up my SUV and then it was back on the road for the return trip to Brentwood, to help clear up and make sure the client was still smiling. The party was winding down by the time I finally arrived, exhausted but relieved that the day had been a success.
Guest’s party favors were 2 deliciously delicate pink macarons from Botegga Louie – presented in the most exquisite pink and white jewel boxes. A perfect ending to a perfect day.