Monday 2:00pm - 9:00pm
Tuesday 10:30am - 9:00pm
Wedneday 10:30am- 9:00pm
Thursday 10:30am - 9:00pm
Friday 10:30am - 10:00pm
Saturday 2:00pm - 10:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm - 9:00pm
640 N. SPRING ST.
LOS ANGELES, CA 90012
Them Eat Kabobs
This Year, Party Planners Are Bringing the Backyard
into the Boardroom
by Chris Coates
says the end of another calendar year quite like the
boring holiday office party. There's the clumsy banter
with the boss, the nondenominational decorations,
the tired finger food and Chuck from sales having
a bit too much to drink. It's all capped by the sprint
to the door.The Spring Street Smoke House grew out
of a catering company. It still serves numerous parties
every holiday season. Photo by Gary Leonard.
Of course, it doesn't have to be that way. Downtown
Los Angeles is chock full of creative caterers, restaurateurs
and event planners with ample experience turning the
dreaded corporate party into, well, a party. They
know how to transform the been-there-done-that into
Downtown party planners start getting offices small
and large ready for their holiday events, a few trends
naturally begin to emerge. This year, one of the most
common is to bring a little bit of the great outdoors
inside. This is sunny California, after all.
Spring Street Smoke House grew out of a catering
company. It still serves numerous parties every
holiday season. Photo by Gary Leonard.
Just ask Deborah Fabricant. She wrote the book on presenting
food in nontraditional ways (no, seriously - it's called
Stacks: The Art of Vertical Food). She says the hottest
catering trend for the 2005 holiday party circuit is
kabobs. Yes, meat and vegetables on skewers have finally
"The skewered food is really fun to serve,"
said Fabricant, whose West L.A. party planning company
has catered tons of holiday get-togethers Downtown.
"People are getting away from that big old formal
What is different now is that the traditional kabob
has been expanded. Rather than a simple hunk of red
meat, Fabricant says the new school skewers include
some unconventional ingredients, such as quail on a
bamboo stick and skewered shrimp with a dollop of Thai
Kabobs are relatively easy to make, and for most partygoers,
they're a pleasant and unexpected find at a button-down
work party. "It gets them out of their corporate
mode," Fabricant remarked.
There are other trends this year as well. Fabricant
said she has seen the diet fads of previous years lessen.
"It seems to me we're pulling away from that,"
she said, noting that dessert and cheese trays are popular.
But even for those still aiming for health, she has
a trick: Fabricant uses smaller plates, which makes
people feel like they're eating more.
But what really gets corporate types going are themed
drinks. Fabricant, for example, has created specialty
martinis for some parties, including one called the
"limoncello-lobster cocktail." The reaction
to her liquored concoctions is pleasant, she said, especially
after they've had more than one. "People just go
bonkers when they walk into a party and see a new drink,"
she said.Bringing the Outside In
For a strictly carnivore staff, a holiday party catered
by Spring Street Smoke House may be akin to getting
an early Christmas present. Unveiled this past summer,
the hole-in-wall, no-frills restaurant at the southern
edge of Chinatown has turned into a lunchtime must-have
among scores of Downtown workers, firefighters and police
For holiday parties they follow what they do best: mean
racks of ribs, along with brisket and hot links. Sides
include hush puppies, potato salad, baked beans and
other dishes. Additional options include barbecue pasta
and a smoked jumbo turkey leg.
The restaurant actually grew out of a catering operation
called D&L Catering, explains owner Dan Patterson.
The company opened in 1980 and has been serving weddings,
bar mitzvahs and corporate parties ever since (they
also have contracts to provide meals to several prisons).
The company has four kitchens and the Chinatown branch
caters mostly to office parties.
"The Smoke House was my little dream," said
Patterson. "Other than that we're a catering company.
I just always wanted a smokehouse."
The company has four prepared barbecue trays: tri tip
roast, baby back ribs, Hawaiian and the All American,
with hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecued chicken.
The D&L side, meanwhile, offers a wide variety of
hors devourers and entree trays, ranging from the four-course
duckling à l'orange or sea scallop brochette
to an all-you-can-eat taco bar.
In the ramp-up to the holidays, the most popular items
for work parties are turkeys and hams, Patterson said.
"During Thanksgiving, we'll do a truckload of turkeys,"
he noted, adding that deep-fried birds are becoming
Needless to say, it's a lot of meat. "During the
month of December, we have about 10 crews going full
time," Patterson said. "We've been going for
20 years; we've got a lot of customers."
At 640 N. Spring St., (213) 626-0535. D&L Catering,
For a less messy holiday party, Camille's Sidewalk Café
is another good example of a unique caterer with a decidedly
outdoors-y flair. The Financial District branch of this
national chain serves up a bounty of salads, paninis,
wraps and sandwiches. But it also offers Café
Box Lunches, wraps or sandwiches with chips and salsa,
a cookie and drink. Fittingly for the Downtown corporate
scene, they come with names like "The Executive,"
"The President" and "The CEO." Camille's
also prepares breakfast, brunch and dessert trays. Delivery
is free on orders more than $50.
At 655 S. Hope St., (213) 629-5555 or camillescafe.com.
Contact Chris Coates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
page 12, 10/17/2005
© Los Angeles Downtown News.