Tag Archives: Castaic

A Bunch of Events, New Orleans, and Fractured Ribs

27 May
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Famous Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans

Today is the first day I have felt like sitting at a desk and writing since returning from my trip from New Orleans and recovering from fractured ribs. I visited New Orleans for the first time last week and had an accident falling out of the hotel shower where I fractured my ribs. I returned to LA and have been laid up in severe pain this entire week – I finally feel much better today, but am not 100 percent. Shaken Not Stirred was very busy the week before I left on my trip, and I have even done a couple events since I’ve been back and haven’t written about any of them on this blog.

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Interior, Maple Leaf Bar

The week before I left on my trip I did five big events. I bartended an alumni event in Burbank, did a bris celebration in Studio City, traveled to Indian Wells to bartend a rehearsal dinner for Goodfella’s Tacos, drove back to Castaic to bartend a graduation party, and then on Sunday bartended a Mother’s Day party in Woodland Hills. I left for New Orleans the next morning. That was one of my busiest weeks since I started the company.

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Alumni event, Burbank

I went to New Orleans to attend the wedding of my friend, Jason Ricci. He is one of the best harmonica players in the world today. My accident happened on the day before the wedding. I was able to attend the wedding ceremony, but was in so much pain, had to leave shortly after and missed the big jam session at the famous Maple Leaf Bar where the wedding party was held. I was very disappointed about that. Despite my accident, I loved the city and people of New Orleans, and will return for sure. The food is incredible, and we Yankees could all learn a thing or two about Southern hospitality.

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Indian Wells Rehearsal Dinner 

The flight back was excruciating with broken ribs, and had not the nice lady sitting next to me given me a Vicodin, I can imagine the plane having to land in Nashville or somewhere because I was moaning so much. I returned on Thursday and had two upcoming gigs on Saturday and Sunday that I had no idea how I was going to complete. I could not bend down, turn my body, or lift anything above four pounds without wincing in pain.

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Mariachis perform at Castaic graduation party

I called some other bartenders and tried to get somebody to take my gigs, but could not find anybody on short notice. I decided to get a friend to help me and I could sit on a stool and mix drinks. I will never cancel a gig I have taken a deposit for, and will to the best of my ability get the job done. My friend drove me to Fontana and we got the job done and I bartended a birthday party for 60 people. It was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

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Shots!

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Irvine Graduation Party 

The next day we turned around and drove to Irvine to bartend a graduation party of 100 people. Once again, we got the job done, and I couldn’t have done it without my friend, Steve, who had no previous bartending experience. While we were doing that gig, I had three other bartenders doing a fundraiser event in Beverly Hills, which came off very well I have heard.

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Guests enjoy cigars at Fontana birthday party

I spend all of last week laying around letter my ribs heal. I went to the doctor and got xrays and at least three ribs are fractured. I have several events already scheduled for this month, but am not taking on any new ones until I am completely healed. Tonight I am bartending a birthday party in Santa Monica, and my friend is coming along to help me. Next week I am doing a birthday party close to home in Van Nuys. Hopefully, by next month I will be fully recovered and ready to roll for the summer party and wedding season.

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Injured bartender in Fontana

Spring Bartending Business is Picking up for Mobile Bartender

8 May
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Alternate “White Party” in Palm Springs

This is looking to be the busiest Spring season for Shaken Not Stirred since I began as a mobile bartender four years ago. I had three events last week and am doing five this week, and am booked up on Saturdays through June and July.  It takes a lot of work to manage all the events, and so far I have not messed up and forgotten one (knock on wood). Last weekend I bartended a 40th birthday party/pool party in Palm Springs Friday night, and then returned to the San Fernando Valley for two events on Saturday Night: a 60th birthday party in Sherman Oaks, and then sent another bartender to do a private school event in Encino.

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Summer Water keg

Palm Springs Alternate White Party

The “White Party” is an annual big deal and gay event in Palm springs and took place last weekend. It is one of many annual events in the area that brings in thousands of people for the weekend. I know, because hotels are expensive and hard to find during these events. Luckily I used my rewards points to get a room this time. The party I worked was an alternate straight “White Party,” and all the guests dressed in white in honor of it.

I made spicy margaritas, and Mezcal drinks. One of the guests was a wine make and he brought a keg of “Summer Water” Rose, that kept many of the guests busy throughout the night. AB’s Tacos provided the food and it was very good. I mixed drinks until 11pm and then left the guests to fend for themselves. I guess the city of Palm Springs has passed some new law that prohibits people from playing music outside after a certain time. Another business killing regulation. Neighboring Cathedral City will just take all of the rental business. I hate California politics that kills business left and right.

San Fernando Valley Events

I live and work in the San Fernando Valley. The “Valley” get a lot of flack from people on the other side of the hill and elsewhere, but the fact is that the valley has some of the nicest properties you will find anywhere. I bartended a party at a home in Sherman Oaks that is utterly fantastic. It is so nice that the host does not want me taking pictures of it. It formerly belonged to a major celebrity. I have been there a few times, because it is just a perfect spot for entertaining. This time it was a 60th birthday party.

I served only beer and wine for this party, but I served up some fantastic cabernet. I served an ultra magnum bottle of 2002 Cabernet, that holds 12 bottles. There were approximately 40 guests and I served up the whole thing. Master chef, Elan Adivi provided the catering and did not disappoint with a barbecue inspired menu. Chris Ellis Photography did the photos, and We Help You Host provided the servers. The birthday boy had a great time and it was his first birthday party in over thirty years. His best friend and sons provided some touching tributes.

At the same time I had another bartender providing beverage service at an Encino estate not far away. I finished my party and checked in on him. He was doing a fantastic job for my repeat clients. This week I have five big events scheduled – then I am off to New Orleans for some much need R&R, and to attend my friend, Jason Ricci’s wedding. On Wednesday, I will be doing an alumni event in Burbank, on Thursday, a pre-bris celebration in Studio City, off to Indian Wells on Friday for a wedding, and then back to Castaic on Saturday for a graduation party, and then finally a mother’s day dinner party in Woodland Hills on Sunday. On Monday morning early, I crawl onto a plane at LAX bound for the Big Easy. Think I will sleep on the plane? Probably not…

Castaic Graduation Party

24 May
Mariachis making a grand entrance

Mariachis making a grand entrance

Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a graduation party in Castaic. This was the second graduation party I have done this month, and I have realized that a graduation is something very worthy of a celebration. The graduates have worked hard and sacrificed for however many years, and are certainly deserving of a celebration of the highest order. In this case, the graduate the party was in honor of, graduated from USC in the accounting program.

I just realized something tonight as I was sitting in restaurant waiting for my meal.  I saw a couple and I thought I recognized them. Maybe I even bartended their wedding. They were deep in conversation and I didn’t want to interrupt them. I felt a little sad, because I thought of all the weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and engagement parties I have done. All of the people start to blend together. I want to remember all of them, but it is hard.

I have said this before – the greatest thing about bartending private events is that I get to be present as people experience major milestones in their lives. People get married, have 40th birthday parties, have anniversary parties, house warming parties, retirement parties, and I am there pouring drinks through all of it.

Everyone dances

Everyone dances

Last night the Castaic graduation party was a perfect example of how cool it is. The graduate’s father got up and gave speech about how special it was for him to have a daughter, and how proud he was of her to follow him into his chosen profession. It was such a heartfelt speech, and couldn’t be duplicated in a movie. I have heard speech after speech like this.

Today, I am in a hotel room in Banning looking out the window at the mountains in the distance. The sun is shining now, but wasn’t all day and it was unseasonably cold for Southern California. I was supposed to bartend a pool party today in Palm Springs, but it was canceled due to bad weather.  That is the first time this has happened. Maybe I should ask for a bigger deposit. I am not freaking out about it, because I know it is not the norm.

Next weekend I travel to Orange County to bartend a birthday party. I have several birthday parties, weddings, and graduation parties booked next month. Shaken Not Stirred is doing well bartending events all over Southern California.

Shots!

Shots!

Los Angeles Corporate Event

20 May

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartending service was on hand at a corporate event in the Hancock Park area of LA. Shaken Not Stirred handled many aspects of the event including bar, table, and glassware rentals. Shaken Not Stirred also handled shopping services for all of the beverages, garnishes, and supplies.

I worked closely with the people putting on this event, making sure they got the right glassware, the types of table clothes, ect. We also made a drink menu and shopping list together, down to the wine selection. I made my special cucumber, and jalapeno margarita mixes for the specialty drinks. We served four different wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Rose.

I estimated how much wine we would need based on the approximate number of people (65). It has been my experience that people tend to drink less at these corporate functions, as many people make a quick appearance, have one drink, and then leave. That was not the case at this party, as most of the guests were foreign clients, and they tended to stay longer and drink more. It was a good thing that the host at the last minute, had me by more wine. We ended up going through most of it.

In And Out caters event

In And Out caters event

My margaritas seemed to be a hit, and I used most of my mixes. It seemed to have been split 50/50 between the two types of margaritas. I make my jalapeno margarita mix by combing fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup and then blending all that together with jalapenos. It is a little spicy, but not overwhelming. I used red pepper as a garnish, along with a lime and a salt rim.

Jalapeno margarita

Jalapeno margarita

In And Out performed catering services for the corporate event. This was the first time I had seen them at a function. They set up a tent in the backyard to serve the guests, and had a truck out on the street doing the cooking. I think that these guests truly appreciated it, because they don’t have In And Out, outside the USA. I enjoyed my burger, even though it was cold by the time I ate it. It even tasted better cold.

Tomorrow night, I will bartend another industry party in Beverly Hills, at the home of one of my best clients. Then, on Saturday night, I will travel to Castaic to bartend a graduation party. May has been a good month for me, and primarily due to repeat business and referrals. That makes it nice when I don’t have to fight for every job I get, though I will continue to keep my eye on the tiger.

Guests mingle during cocktail party

Guests mingle during cocktail party

Fullerton Graduation Party

17 May
Taco service

Taco service

Last night, I was the bartender at a Fullerton graduation party. The host had just graduated and received her doctorate degree, and that required three years of intense study and basically not having any kind of a life, outside her studies. So this graduation party was a great cause for celebration. There were at least 50 friends and family member in attendance, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I served Cadillac Margaritas, and Cucumber Margaritas, and I also improvised an orange margarita with fresh squeezed orange juice. The cucumber margaritas I make with my own cucumber syrup, and they were quite popular. I didn’t feel this last batch was my best however, and I think I need to adjust the recipe to get more cucumber flavor. One thing for sure, I don’t believe in infused liqueurs at all, and believe the flavor is better when mixes are made from fresh ingredients.

Graduation party in Fullerton

Graduation party in Fullerton

The host hired a taco cart and a mother and daughter team from Tacos Reina (909) 251-1609, provided the catering. I talked to Reyna, the owner and she was a very nice person. I love to see that people are making businesses for themselves. Many of these people rely on word of mouth alone to get their business and don’t know how to use the internet to their advantage. That is why I always put a plug in for people when they do a good job and provide a good service.  Reyna’s salsa and beans were out of this world!

The host also hired mariachis, and Mariachi Estrella de Chapala (562) 619-4891, provided the traditional Mexican entertainment. I always enjoy talking with the mariachis, and I always request my favorite mariachi song,  La Cucurrucucu, and they played it for me and to me. Such a beautiful classic song.

Mariachi Estrella de Chapala

Mariachi Estrella de Chapala

I am working today, preparing for a cocktail party on Tuesday in Hancock Park for one of the television networks. I am arranging for the table rentals, glassware, and doing the shopping. All of this requires a lot of coordination, but as I often say, “It ain’t brain surgery.”  We are buying alcohol and serving drinks, nothing for me is much easier than that. Preparation is the key for a successful event bartender.

I have another graduation party next weekend in Castaic. The graduation party in Fullerton was a referral from a party I did almost three years ago, and those clients were in attendance. I love getting referrals and repeat business. Memorial Day is coming up and I am still available on that date. Will bartend anywhere in Southern California.

Santa Clarita Engagement Party

11 May
Live band at the party

Live band at the party

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a Santa Clarita engagement party. I have bartended several engagement parties since I started Shaken Not Stirred, but have yet to bartend a wedding of one of the engaged couples. I hope to get to do that with this particular couple, because I had great experience working for them.

They hired a live band for the engagement party and they were very good. I had the card from the band, but now can’t find it. I will get the name and insert a link here as soon as I get it. Live bands really add a lot to any party.

Shots!

Shots!

The future groom likes Old Fashioneds, as did many of his friends. I don’t think I have never made so many Old Fashioneds in one night.  I remember when I first started bartending at a restaurant, somebody would order an Old Fashioned every once in awhile, and I would have to refer to the bartender’s guide to remember how to make them. Now, everybody is drinking Old Fashioneds again because of the show, “Mad Men,” likewise Manhattans, Rob Roys, Tom Collins, are trending again.

At the Santa Clarita engagement party I set up my portable bar in the gazebo of the host’s backyard.  We used Bulleit Rye whiskey for the Old Fashioneds and went through a whole handle of that. I also made Cucumber margaritas, that came in second for the most popular drink. Stone IPA was the most popular beer of the night.

I want to do Hurricanes, Bahama Mamas, and Pisco Sours at some future party. I have a feeling, some tropical party is on the horizon with a Jimmy Buffet theme. I see they are making Margaritaville tequila now, so Jimmy Buffet is getting richer from his trademark. Not bad, for a guy who used to sing for dollar bills on the streets of New Orleans. Good for him. Sammy Hagar is also a tequila mogul.

Future bride and friends

Future bride and friends

I have some fancy cocktail parties coming up in Beverly Hills and Hancock Park later this month, and then a birthday party in Orange County.  I also have a graduation party to bartend in Castaic on the 23rd. I am still available for this weekend, so I wonder where in Southern California Shaken Not Stirred will end up?