Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blogger Prom (West Hollywood, CA)

Blogger Prom
8401 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Wed 07/22/2009, 07:00p-10:00p

Ahh prom...for some, the highlight of the high school experience; for others, an evening of dread, anxiety, of awkwardness, fear, loathing, of embarrassment. Sadly, my prom experience tended toward the latter, a sentiment that I imagine is shared by many of my blogger brethren. Perhaps that's why the idea of doing a "prom" came so easily...a chance to relive the fantasy, to redo the wrongs of years past. As a 1999 graduate (I just had my 10-year reunion), the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

The event was the handiwork of the Prom Committee (a.k.a. "the popular kids"), eight of LA's most preeminent, prestigious, prominent bloggers: Caroline of Caroline on Crack, Esther of e*star LA, H.C. of LA and OC Foodventures, Lindsay of LAist, Marni of Happy Go Marni, Maya of Shop Eat Sleep, Natalie of The Liquid Muse, Tara of When Tara Met Blog. The original idea was to have a simple gathering of Los Angeles-based bloggers, but as more than a couple Committee members work in the public relations industry, they were able to exploit their sway to secure all sorts of schweet swag, support, and sponsorships, subsequently setting the stage for Prom.

Though holding Blogger Prom in a high school gym would've been pretty rad, the Committee found something even more bodacious: the rooftop of the legendary Andaz West Hollywood, which had just undergone a $35 million renovation in January. Originally opened in 1963 as Gene Autry’s Hotel Continental (the first high-rise hotel on Sunset), the hotel was bought by Hyatt in 1966 and became widely known as the "Riot Hyatt" over the following years, thanks to the antics of touring rock bands in the late 1960s and 1970s (the hotel is located near numerous venues such as The Roxy, Troubadour, and Whisky a Go Go). Led Zeppelin and its entourage occupied as many as six floors of the hotel in the mid-to-late 1970s; drummer John Bonham was said to have ridden a motorcycle through the hallways. The Doors' Jim Morrison took up residence at the Continental Hyatt House, and both Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and The Who drummer Keith Moon have reportedly thrown television sets out the hotel's windows (there'll be no more of that, as the Andaz's balconies are now glass-enclosed sunrooms).

RH Bar Mixologist RH Bar Mixologist
Overestimating traffic, we arrived about 40 minutes early, and thus spent some time with our vivacious mixologist at RH Lounge.

Mr. Plant Lychee Cocktail
I ordered one of RH's signature cocktails, Mr. Plant, a homage to Led Zeppelin's frontman Robert Plant, made with No. 209 gin, cucumber, tangerine, agave syrup, and soda; I appreciated the gin's interaction with the various sweet components of the drink, while the cucumber made for a refreshing finish. My date, meanwhile, ordered a Lychee Blossom, a concoction of vanilla vodka, lychee juice, agave syrup, and lychees; the sweetness of this drink was much more apparent, with the lychee lending a sugary, juicy backdrop that tempered the intensity of the vodka.

The Steelo Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
Since we did have 40 minutes to kill after all, another round of drinks was in order. This time I sampled RH's other signature drink, The Steelo, with Hangar 1 vodka, St. Germain liqueur, grapefruit juice, and blueberries; this was a more potent drink than the preceding two, though its power was balanced by the tart sweetness of the blueberry, St. Germain, and grapefruit. Having her fill of mixed drinks, my date went with some bubbly, the Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs.

The View The Pool
At around 7:00, the official start of the party, we wandered to the hotel's lobby to check in, drinks in hand, and then made our way to the rooftop...

Prom Punch Jungle Juice Flor de Maria
...And immediately made a beeline to the bar. The very fact that there would be booze here meant that it was automatically more bitch'n than high school prom. The fact that it was free booze, well that made it all the more gnarly. Natalie of The Liquid Muse developed two signature cocktails for Blogger Prom. The first was the Prom Punch Jungle Juice (quite a step up from the Jungle Juice of my college days!), made with flower-infused Pinky Vodka and garnished with a pink sugar rim and lollipop. Next, the margarita-like Flor de Maria, replete with homemade hibiscus cabernet syrup, was created to showcase Gran Centenario's hibiscus-tinged Rosangel tequila. In addition to these complementary cocktails, also provided gratis were Martin Millers Gin, the 2007 Boro Hills Sauvignon Blanc, the 2008 Ambas Malbec, and for the beer-inclined, Newcastle in its new DraughtKeg container.

Smoked Salmon Maki with Mango Sauce Marinated Smoked Salmon
Skewered Insalata Caprese Shrimp Ceviche
And now for the grindage, 'cuz a blogger gotta eat. Though I was sort of hoping for a proper sit down dinner, we had several tables of food set up, courtesy of the hotel restaurant RH and its chef Sebastien Archambault. The Texas-born, French-trained Archambault was formerly executive chef at Le Pirate in Corsica, which earned a Michelin star during his tenure. At RH restaurant, Archambault strives to create an honest menu of fresh, light, seasonal fare, and at this first station we were able to enjoy smoked salmon makis with mango sauce, marinated smoked salmon, skewered insalata capreses, and a delectable shrimp ceviche.

Forever 21
Since the theme du jour was "cheesy 80's prom," I expected to see my share of hot pink and black lace, but what I didn't expect to see were no less than five girls with identical or similar dresses; blame Forever 21 for that! Above, we see my lovely date Kayla, together with Michelle.

Cheese Station Cheese Station
Making our way indoors, we stopped by the cheese station, manned by Barrie Lynn (the Cheese Impresario) and featuring cheese by Cowgirl Creamery. For my drink (the Flor de Maria), Barrie paired a goat brie and a goat cheese with blueberry and pomegranate compote (which I subsequently dropped all over my white pants...grr). In addition to cheese, there was also a charcuterie station.

Inside Action Inside Action
Inside Action Inside Action
Bloggers are a motley crew.

Hot Food Bread and Eggrolls
Skewered Caprese Beef and Chicken Skewers
Field Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan My Plate
The hot food station served up an assortment of bread, mini eggrolls, more caprese, beef and chicken skewers, and a field mushroom risotto with Parmesan.

Inside Action Inside Action
As the night progressed, the space filled out nicely with the City's best and brighest bloggers.

Flower Boom Box
Jonathan Fong was responsible for much of the interior decoration, including this kitschy flower-studded boom box.

HC-cum-Newcastle: a winning combination.

Caroline: a strong contender for the cheesiest costume award!

Mini-Cheesecake Pops Mini-Cupcakes
To indulge my sweet tooth, Pure Cheesecakes provided mini-cheesecake pops, while Polkatots served up some mini-cupcakes.

Christine & Joe
Christine, with the dapper Joe of Silver Lake Wine.

Raffle! Raffle!
Raffle winners were announced in three rounds, but sadly, I didn't win anything (and there were some phat prizes too!).

8oz Burger Bar
Afterwards, we headed over to 8oz Burger Bar to take advantage of their Blogger Prom special: a Melrose burger, fries, and a soda, all for $8--not a bad deal. The burger itself was topped with blue cheese, arugula, garlic roasted tomatoes, and red onion marmalade, making is rather similar to a Father's Office burger.

Swag Bag
Last but not least: the swag bag. Stuffed in a Fresh & Easy reusable canvas bag were the following goodies: a "Born to Blog" t-shirt from The Gap, a Dark Mocha Almond bar from Kashi, a set of Hearos earplugs, the 2009 Los Angeles edition of Hungry? Deck, a Rosangel Tequila silk scarf, a Fruit + Nut bar from Bear Naked, a card for a free taco from the Border Grill truck, a complement of Wet personal lubricants (for post-Prom activities), a coupon for a free Six Dollar Burger from Carl's Jr., a bottle of Volcanic Ash Root Amplifier from David Babaii for WildAid, a coupon for a complementary English muffin from La Grande Orange, a card for a free mojito and a free margarita at Border Grill in Santa Monica, a coupon for $30 off at Madam Tussauds, a free pass to a show at The Viper Room, miniature bottles of Martin Millers Gin and Pinky Vodka, a coupon for a free fruit parfait from Pinkberry, a box of chocolates from Charles Chocolates, a 12fl oz bottle of the new Pepsi Natural, a $5 off coupon from Fresh & Easy, a coupon for 30% off at Live! on Sunset, passes for two to The Comedy Store, a free membership card for Club Pogo, the Season 1 DVD of The Big Bang Theory, a gift certificate to Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar, a poster, and a 10.5oz bag of Sun Chips Original (whew!).

So in the end, perhaps Prom was a bit self-indulgent, a bit self-involved, a bit self-masturbatory, but it was also wicked cool. My hat's off to the Prom Committee: you gals (and one guy) pulled it off; thank you again. In fact, why let this be a one-off occurrence? Let's make this a yearly event, because, you know what, bloggers are the new rockstars (note: last line should be read with tongue firmly planted in cheek!).


Blogger ila said...

wow, that was quick. glad that you guys enjoyed it, sad that i had to miss it. :[

Thursday, July 23, 2009 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger gourmetpigs said...


1) Where's a photo of your outfit??

2) I don't think blogging is what you're supposed to do during a prom after-party! tsk tsk :P

Thursday, July 23, 2009 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger H. C. said...

OMGWTFBBQ! that photo of me is sooo BAD (and not bad as in good either) :P

Great to hear you had a blastin' time...

And "you gals"?

Thursday, July 23, 2009 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well written. I enjoy reading your blogs. You get right to the point and speak with your pictures. Unlike "mattatouille", he has much to learn.

Anyhow, keep the goods coming.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 8:37:00 AM  
Anonymous kayla said...

what on earth?!?! you are soooo fast! Thanks for being an awesome prom date. it was worth the wait! =)

Thursday, July 23, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger Food Marathon said...

Great meeting you finally.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The only reason you posted this so fast was so everyone could see hot hot your date way, admit it.

And she is SUPER hot. Is she single? Are you guys getting married and having babies yet?

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My FAV pic is the one of drunken HC!

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Michael JB said...

Thanks for this quickly posted, awesomely complete write up! i got there later in the evening (after the sun went down) so it was nice to see some pics of the place all naturally lit up. also, as soon as i got there, my camera battery started to die! :O so i will be hotlinking your pics like a fiend! (with credits to you of course). Thanks again!

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

i need to get my hands on some Pepsi Natural. Pronto!

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Evelina said...

Great post and nice meeting you last night!

Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger shopeatsleep said...

Wow, thanks for posting this so quickly! And thanks for being so thorough :) I'm glad you had a good time!

Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous tallnoe said...

It was SO fun. Mad I missed the first round of raffle gifts, but it was all awesome.
Missed the shrimp ceviche. Jealous.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Food GPS said...

Great photos of a hilarious event. Guess the '80s will live on for more than one night now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger yutjangsah said...

wahh. looks like a gnarly time. i love the 80's.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of your pics are so much better than mine, and you have some pics of food that I didn't take. Can I steal them for my post? Of course appropriate credit will be given! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009 1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good job kevin on your date. kayla...kevin is a great guy. hope you guys have a lot more prom dates together!


Thursday, July 23, 2009 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous michelle woo said...

So fun meeting you and my twinsie Kayla! Hope to see ya again sometime.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 5:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Nanciful said...

OMG! I can't believe I didn't meet you! I'm the one with the rainbow leopard print tights in your picture! Haha...maybe at the next food event? Great pics and post as always.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ila: It's too bad that you couldn't make it! What exactly were you doing?

Fiona: 1) My outfit really wasn't worth seeing. 2) It is if it's Blogger Prom. ;)

HC: Ah sorry, the "gals" has been fixed; that's what you get for being the token male in the group! ;) And that photo is totally rad.

Anon: When I first read Mattatouille, I made the comment that his writing could be somewhat "flowery" at times. I think he's tried to tone it down a bit.

Kayla: Since it was a late night, and I had an early morning meeting at work the next day, I decided to just pull an all-nighter. ;)

Neil: Yeah same here. It's quite surprising that we hadn't crossed paths before this.

Sunshine: Shh, not the only reason!

Connie: How come I didn't get to see you there?

Michael: You're quite welcome. I just saw your post--thanks for the linkage!

Charlie: I actually just drank the bottle. It definitely had a more "natural" taste to it, with a relatively complex attack leading to a lingering finish of rich caramel, laced with a touch of apple.

Evelina: Great to finally meet you! Hopefully you'll be coming out to more local events with Wes in the near future.

Maya: Thanks for setting it up. We gotta do it again!

Noelle: Shame about the ceviche, as it was the best item of the night! Heard the shrimp got a bit grody later in the night though.

Josh: Thanks man. The '80s will live on forever. Leaves me wondering what kind of fashion will define the '00s...

Sook: I think you would've had a totally tubular time at prom. We poured out a little Pinky Vodka in your honor.

hotpinkmanolo: Go right ahead. ;)

Paul: Hehe, me too. Thanks Paul.

Michelle: Twins? It was more like quintuplets! I still think that it was a shame we didn't get a photo of the entire fuchsia squad together.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Looks like you won out. Cute prom date.

But I thought you didn't blog "events"?

Friday, July 24, 2009 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

You were fast with this review Kevin. I take it you're all caught up now.

Like what a few ppl said before me, VERY nice choice for your prom date :) LOL

Friday, July 24, 2009 2:00:00 AM  
Blogger ila said...

lolz, i was at work trying to finish documents for a review... then i moved stuff to my new place :-P fun fun.

Friday, July 24, 2009 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Aaron: By "events," I mean I don't post about upcoming events (e.g. there's an anniversary special at Providence, or Taste of Santa Monica is coming up this week). The events themselves, certainly, may be blog-worthy.

Danny: Then I take it my taste in women is as refined as my taste in food then? ;) And yes, I'm all caught up now; I wanted to be the first to get out Blogger Prom.

Ila: Reviewing docs and moving stuff couldn't wait another day???

Saturday, July 25, 2009 4:57:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Nanciful: You sorta slipped your comment right in there lol. Yes, I definitely remember you in those rainbow tights. I really didn't have time to mingle as much as I planned. So I guess I'll meet you at a future event, but hopefully we won't have to wait another year!

Saturday, July 25, 2009 5:04:00 AM  
Blogger ila said...

the term 'wait another day' does not exist in the japanese company employee manual. by the time i gott off of work, it was 8, i was too tired to dress up go to LA so i moved stuff to the new pad instead :-\

Sunday, July 26, 2009 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

I think we have the same taste in food (per FD flavor match) and in women. Good stuff! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Food, she thought. said...


Thank you so much for covering this! I missed out due to work (I was in God-forsaken Barstow, I ate KFC, I kid you not it was that or Chili's). No one covers events and restaurants in as much detail, with as much photographic documentation, or with alliteration. I really feel like I got the mood and a small slice of the fun.

Question: Why were all the women dressed really prommy, but the men all dressed as though they were headed straight to 8 oz burger bar, don't pass bloggerprom?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 7:00:00 AM  
Anonymous GigiGotWet said...

Soooooo, how many of you skipped the post prom blogging and went straight for the Wet???

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Danny: The women were tastier than the food, in this case. ;)

Liz: KFC eh? Did you at least try their new grilled chicken? And as for the dress, you know very well that we boys don't have nearly the size of arnesal at our disposal that you girls have!

Gigi: Ha! Or maybe some didn't need the Wet? ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I went to a Yelp event on the rooftop of the Andaz and they did the exact same spread.
-I really enjoy reading your blog. It's very well-written and insightful. It was nice to meet you in person today at Hatchi (at Vinh's table).

Friday, July 31, 2009 3:39:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Thanks Laura! I saw the photos from the 007 event--is that what you're referring to? What's your Yelp page?

Friday, July 31, 2009 3:37:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, that was the event. It was an amazing event, although the alcohol ran out early and there was only one signature drink. is my page.
I'm looking forward to reading about your dinner at Langham and how Voltaggio has settled in there.

Friday, July 31, 2009 7:54:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Laura, can you double check that URL? "" just redirects to the main Yelp page. I just posted about The Dining Room here.

Monday, August 03, 2009 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

sorry, typo:

Monday, August 03, 2009 1:21:00 AM  
Blogger sdfafsadf said...

nice post!!! i can't believe i missed you at the prom. i must have been busy eating/drinking/winning awesome prizes.

liz, some guys went ALL OUT on their outfits. they might have to get more creative as they do not have forever 21 to help them out (actually there is a guy's section but it's not nearly as funny as some of the girly selection).

Monday, August 03, 2009 2:35:00 AM  

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