Tag Archives: Armenian

Granada Hills First Birthday Party

16 May
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Bartending in Granada Hills

Sunday afternoon Shaken Not Stirred contracted to provide bartending services at a first birthday party in Granada Hills. I have done a few of these first birthday parties, which are a big deal in many different cultures. The parents and family members of the birthday boy were of Armenian heritage and they are known for their great parties.

The hots put out an elaborate spread of appetizers, including various cheeses, prosciutto, salami, and parma. It reminded me of when I worked in an Italian restaurant and the Italian manager constantly told me how ignorant most Americans are of food and wine. That tends to be true. I remember growing up when the most sophisticated appetizers we had at parties were cheeze whiz, potato chips, and Vienna sausages. They had some great stuff at this first birthday party in Granada Hills, and the hosts obviously put some thought into it.

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The guest of honor at first birthday party

I served Moscow Mules, Mojitos, Margaritas, Jalapeno Margaritas, and Bay Breezes. The host invented a new drink – the Spicy Jalapeno Mojito. It has a unique blend of flavors, from mint, to rum, to lime and spicy jalapeno. I also made an adhock Long Island Ice tea with what ingredients I had on hand, including vodka, gin, tequila, and margarita mix. Artie’s Kabob did the catering. He served up a great spread of mediterranean cuisine, including all of the favorites.

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Better than Grey Goose

First Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Theme decorations
  • Invite the entire family
  • Sundays are good
  • Cater the event
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My dream car

I noticed a really slick two tone Rolls Royce parked outside and I had a feeling who owned it. It was one of the guests at the party. I had always dreamed of owning a Rolls when I was a kid, because film director Alfred Hitchcock owned one. I asked the guest if the car was his and it was. He explained that he worked his ass off for that car and had many lean years building his business. He is enjoying the fruits of his labor now. Of course the Obamas and the Elizabeth Warrens of the world would say, “You didn’t build that!”  Under the current administration, business owners and entrepreneurs are the bad guys, and worthless, lazy bums are the victims. Only a few more months of this nonsense left…

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Guests mingle at backyard first birthday party

Next weekend, I will go to Palm Springs to bartend two parties, while two of my other bartenders will be doing a large baptism party in La Canada. This has been a stressful month for me organizing all of the graduation parties and weddings. I try to accommodate me repeat customers whenever I can and this month I could not do them all myself. Later in the month I will be doing a large corporate event in Orange County and a wedding in downtown LA.

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

15 Feb

westhills1Saturday was Valentine’s Day and Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service and servers for a wedding in West Hills. This was my first time bartending an Ethiopian wedding, and it was quite an incredible experience. This is what I love about doing event bartending. I am exposed to so many different cultural customs and traditions at landmark events in people’s lives. I have bartended at Mexican weddings, Armenian Christenings, Qinceaneras,  Vietnamese engagement parties, Persian weddings, traditional Jewish weddings, military weddings,  and all kinds of birthday parties.

This Valentine’s Day wedding was held at a house in West Hills, on the far North west edge of the San Fernando Valley that overlooks the entire valley. The weather could not have been nicer. When you are planning weddings in Southern California, the odds are pretty good that there is a ninety percent chance of no rain. This particular house is available for weddings and other events, and I did not get the name of it, but it was an incredible venue.

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

I brought two servers with me and three of us were busy the entire time. I had spoken with the bride several times leading up to the event and I helped her plan a shopping menu.  Unfortunately, we had plenty of alcohol, but everybody seemed to only want one choice – Grey Goose. We ran out of Grey Goose vodka two hours into the reception and I sent one of my girls out to buy more.  Then a couple hours later we ran out again! I left the reception leaving the girls to hold down the fort and went and bought more. I am not a big believer in Grey Goose and think that it is way overpriced, but it was what the hosts wanted.

We served the champagne toast and we helped serve the wedding cake and then the party started winding down. I am bartending a 60th birthday party in Northridge on the 28th and am still available for the 21st, so who knows where that will take me. In March I have three events in Palm Springs, all on weekdays, so I still have three Saturdays open. The final Saturday of March I have a big wedding in Santa Ynez, where I will provide bartending service. And winter is almost over.

February in Southern California

February in Southern California

San Diego Engagement Party

30 Nov
Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at an Engagement party in San Diego last night. I book some parties in San Diego, if I feel they are worth traveling that far, and this one definitely was.  This was my first Vietnamese American party and the hosts and guests couldn’t have been nicer. Operating a bartending service in Southern California, I do events for all kinds of ethnic groups, and it is always interesting. I have bartended at Armenian parties, Mexican parties, Russian parties, African American, Italian, and Salvadoran parties.  The language barrier doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

This particular event was an engagement party and it seemed to be done in a traditional way. The women were dressed in their traditional dresses, and the men wore suits. This is a very important part of Vietnamese culture where the two families come together for the first time. The party was held at the family of the future bride, and the family of the future groom all arrived at once. They brought a number of gifts and roasted pig.

I served Long Island Ice teas, Remy Martin cognac, and Heinekens. There were over 100 guests and that will keep one bartender busy. When I serve a drink like the Long Island Ice Tea, I usually make a big batch of it. If you don’t know already the Long Island is a potent drink and contains vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec, topped of with a bit of sweet and sour and Coke. The funny thing is that it tastes a little bit like iced tea. It will sneak up on you.

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Some party crashers showed up and I thought they were neighbors and served them. The hosts did not want them there and told them to leave. They flat out refused to leave and I thought it was going to be an issue. This can get a little dicey in Southern California, since I hear about shootings at neighborhood parties all the time when party crashers are turned away.

The Christmas party season starts in full swing next weekend. I am bartending two parties. I will stay close to home on Friday night and am bartending a birthday party in Studio city. On Saturday I will travel to Yorba Linda in Orange County to serve drinks at the first Christmas party of the season. I some others booked, but still have many dates left available in December. Call me and let’s talk about it.

Shots!

Shots!

Porter Ranch Christening Party

6 Oct

Sunday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for the third time in the weekend at a Christening party at a home in Porter Ranch. I never know what to expect when I show up to an event. I have to assume that people are going to drink a lot and I am going to be very busy for seven hours straight and I have to prepare for that. There were over 100 people at this party and I was working by myself, so I had the potential to be very busy. I did have an initial rush of people at the beginning and was steadily busy for awhile, then it dropped off. This was a Sunday party.

People have events and they serve alcohol. Most people drink responsibly and not all parties are huge blow outs, where we have to go for more booze. This was a very mellow event on a Sunday night and I must say was just what I needed to end up a busy weekend. Somebody asked me how my night was going and I said “perfect”. I mean, who can complain when you are listening to good music, seeing and meeting beautiful people who are all dressed up, making money, and eating wonderful food? Not me.

Speaking of food, the meal they served at this party was excellent. I have eaten all kinds of food at all kinds of events and some of it is mediocre. This meal, was catered by the host’s father. He owns an Italian Deli in Thousand Oaks called Benvenuti

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Friends and family celebrate

Friends and family celebrate

Shots!

Shots!

. The Chicken Marsala they served at the party was out of this world, it was so tender. They also had lasagna which was very good and pasta salad and veggies. I highly recommend them, if you are having a party anywhere in the San Fernando or Conejo Valleys.

I served a case of Prosecco, and had to pour half of the last bottle out at the end of the night. That is what I call a successful party. We had just enough. The signature drink the host chose in honor of her daughter’s christening was the Madras. Vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange juice. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black Label, and Stella Artois beer.

When I’m not busy behind the bar I try to help keep the tables cleared of cups and bottles. This is something I have just been trained to do over the years working at fine dining establishments. The hosts and guests always seem to appreciate that. Next weekend I have a wedding to bartend in Temecula, and am in negotiations to bartend an anniversary party the following weekend in Palmdale. I’m coming up on a year anniversary myself of when I quit my full time job, and I must say I am loving every minute of it.

La Canada 40th Birthday Party

30 Mar

A person’s 40th birthday is an important milestone and certainly a cause for a huge celebration. I was a part of an epic celebration last night at an estate in La Canada. The property, as you can see in the pictures is made for throwing big parties. There was a brand new outside wet bar and another very nice formal bar inside the house, where I was stationed as the special martini bartender.

I was hired kind of last minute for this event and they also hired three additional bartenders for the outside bar. I was there just to make martinis. I had real martini glasses, which is always nice and I probably made over 100 martinis throughout the night. I made dirty martinis, Cosmopolitans, Lemon Drops, Gimlets, and margaritas. I went through five large bottles of Grey Goose. I was shaking all night long, which reminded me of my days at Frascati Ristorante in Redondo Beach.

Backyard before  the action started

Backyard before the action started

Inside "Martini" bar

Inside “Martini” bar

A great party atmosphere!

A great party atmosphere!

Street in La Canada outside event

Street in La Canada outside event

This is the kind of bartending I love to do.

There were supposed to be 200 people at the party and I think there were at least that many there. They had a dance floor set up in the back of the yard and at one point I walked outside and it was raging. The caterer put out a spread of traditional Armenian food and it was excellent. I finally had a chance to eat at around one AM. Celebrating Life by Dona coordinated the event and I hope to work with them again.

After one AM they released the outside bartenders and they had me stay on as the closing bartender. I was irritated by the condition the other bartenders left the outside bar. It was a total mess. They left all of the caps off of the liquor bottles and the mixers and I couldn’t find them. So, the mixers will probably have to be poured out, and what do you do with liquor bottles left half full with no caps on them? This is a sloppy, greedy attitude that is prevalent among many bartenders. They just want to make as much money as possible and split on the minute they were supposed to work until. I won’t have any bartenders working for me that are like that.

Next weekend I have a big engagement party scheduled in West Hollywood where I am taking a crew of three extra people. I am booked every Saturday in April and have a wedding in Valencia, and birthday parties in El Monte and Woodland Hills. I have also booked some gigs as far away as next October. Book your parties now – put down a 20 percent deposit and the day is yours.