Tag Archives: catering

10 Person 50th Birthday Party at Northridge Women’s Club

12 Mar

Banquet Hall before the party

Last Saturday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a multi-person 50th birthday party at the Northridge Women’s Club. Ten guys who went to high school together teamed up to have a big celebration of their mid century milestone, and invited 300 guests. My son helped me and we were busy the entire time. I didn’t get many good photos for that reason.

Portable Bar outside

Some of the guys who put on the party met with me months in advance to plan the event. I helped them make a shopping list and I guess I missed the mark, because we ran out of booze two hours before the party was over (we still had beer). The hosts went out and bought more vodka and tequila. Vodka is what usually runs out first if anything does.

50th Birthday Party in progress

Lorraine’s Catering of Sylmar did the food and it was excellent. I met Lorraine and her husband Joe at an event years ago and I have done many events for them, and they have referred me to many, as they did this one. I hope to return the favor. Lorraine and Joe and some of their kids showed up at 5pm, set up in the kitchen, served 200 people and were cleaned up and out of there by 8pm. That’s how efficient they are. The Northridge Women’s club has a large, well equipped kitchen, which makes it easy.

50th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Plan a multi person birthday party
  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite a diverse mix of people
  • Serve great food
  • Rent a hall

My son and I set up out portable bar outside, but it got cold and dark out there, so after the caterer left we moved into the kitchen, which also easily serves as a bar. We went through at least 15 cases of beer, and many handles of vodka and tequila. The security guard from the Northridge Women’s Club came and told us at 11pm that we would have to stop serving at 11:45pm sharp. Some kind of fight broke out outside at 11:15, so that ended the party prematurely. Unfortunately, there are usually one or two troublemakers at every event.
This week I will be bartending at a Residential center in Huntington Beach on Thursday, and then doing a cocktail party in Redondo Beach the next day. So far I am still open for Saturday night. Later this month I will be doing a wedding in Desert Hot Springs, and a pool party in Palm Springs. I’m hoping I will get to see the wildflower bloom in the desert. Please follow us on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Teams With Goodfella’s Tacos for Two October Events

18 Oct
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Tables set up for dinner at Sacred Sands

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred and Goodfella’s Tacos killed it at two wedding events in two fantastic Southern California locations. On Friday we combined our services for a rehearsal dinner at a beautiful San Marino home, and then on Saturday we traveled all the way to Joshua Tree for a memorable wedding. The clients at both events were extremely happy.

I have done several events with Goodfella’s Tacos and I highly recommend them. They have an extensive menu of options that goes way beyond just tacos. Scott is highly professional and has a great crew. I am happy to be associated with him. I only hope I can help him get more business as he has done for me.

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Desert flora at Sacred Sands

The Friday event in San Marino was one part of a three event wedding weekend. The groom was from Holland and many of his friends and relatives flew in from Holland and other global locations. I served pomegranate and citrus margaritas as mariachis performed for approximately 60 guests. I enjoyed talked to the European guests and told them about my friend from Holland, who is a very popular emerging musician there, Big Pete. He fronts a band called the Red Devils, and they toured across Europe last summer with ZZ Top. I was sorry that I was not able to bartend the wedding that was happening on Saturday night, and they had contracted another catering company and bartender.

Goodfella’s Tacos Catering Options

  • Tacos
  • Kabobs
  • Burgers
  • Breakfast
  • Taco Cart

The Joshua Tree event was at an incredible venue just a short distance from the Joshua Tree National Park, called Sacred Sands. It sits atop a hill overlooking the valley and you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful location. If the wedding would have been held in September it probably would have been scorching hot, but in mid October, the weather was just perfect. It even was a bit cold after the sun went down. I served standard mixed drinks to over 100 guests and I had a helper provided by the Goodfellas. The hosts and the venue owners were very happy with our service.

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Shots!

As the holidays approach I have been inundated with calls for corporate events. I have booked several events in November and a few in December. I am doing a corporate event in Woodland Hills today, and have three in West Hollywood next week. I also have an event in Newport Beach this weekend, a Halloween Party in San Bernardino next weekend, and a wedding in Coachella the weekend after that. Please follow us on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Bartends Northridge Double Birthday Party

14 Aug
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Mariachis perform at double birthday party

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service at a Northridge double birthday party that lasted until the wee hours. The party included a taco cart, mariachis, a portable bar provided by me, and a self DJ machine. Seventy five guests enjoyed themselves under the tent setup in the backyard.

When I arrived to setup, the sun was still high in the sky, and it was one of those scorching hot San Fernando Valley days in August. I at least had a spot in the shade, but the taco caterer was not so lucky as she had to setup in the direct sunlight. I often see caterers doing this and then they have to cook on the hot stove. As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” The food was very good and the caterer, Taquito Y Mas did an excellent job. Most of these taco caterers put a special spin on their tacos, and in this case it was the grilled veggies that really added to the mix.

The hosts had a portable PA system, QFX brand that served as the DJ. I was quite impressed with this unit. It is one piece and puts out amazing sound. It is wifi operational and the host programmed all of the songs ahead of time. I am going to buy one and offer it to my clients for an extra charge. This is not going to make DJ’s happy. It also has a jack for a microphone. I left at 1am and the guests were still dancing to the music that was preprogrammed.

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Jameson shots with pickle back

Double Birthday Ideas

  • Hire  a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Serve great food
  • Plan entertainment
  • Invite a mixed crowd

This double birthday party was memorable to me because I was impressed at how the crowd kept dancing and dancing. I thought they were going to run out of gas but they kept going. I served margaritas, Micheladas, Palomas, and made many Jameson shots with pickle back chasers. I also made some Flaming Dr. Pepper shots.

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Friends enjoy double birthday party

This coming weekend I will drive to San Diego to bartend a wedding on Saturday, and then back to Irvine for a baby shower. I have a another bartender doing a rehearsal dinner in Tujunga. Later this month I have events scheduled in Hawthorne, and Hidden Hills. I have many evnts already scheduled in September, October, and November, then comes the busy Holiday season. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

21st Birthday Party in San Juan Capistrano

30 Aug
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Guests helping themselves to excellent food

Saturday I traveled to San Juan Capistrano in Orange County to bartend a 21st birthday party. I have done several 21st birthday parties, and usually I have to make a big variety of cocktails as new drinkers sample them for the the first time. I planned a drink menu and shopping list with the birthday girl that included at least ten different cocktails.

I made Mojitos, Moscow Mules, Kentucky Mules, Mexican Mules, Mai Tais, Cuba Libres, Dirty Martinis, Bay Breezes, Gin and Tonics, and Cadillac Margaritas. It was a group of around fifty people and it was not a problem for me to make each cocktail from scratch. Most of the 21st birthday parties I have done have included many people in that age range, but this party included several older adults. The birthday girl was from a large Italian family.

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Card game in progress

21st Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Create an interesting drink menu
  • Invite a wide variety of people
  • Make sure there are designated drivers

The food was provided in part by the Los Angeles based Eastside Italian Deli, and by the mother of the birthday girl. The food was really good with pasta, meatballs, sausages and I had more than one helping. I do many parties around Southern California for various ethnic groups, and I get to sample some fantastic food, and Italian food is always among my favorites.

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Shots!

I have been very busy helping people plan parties and am currently helping plan a cocktail party coming up in Hancock Park where they want me to arrange the catering and everything. I have gotten several estimates for food and the prices vary dramatically. It makes me wonder if I am not charging enough. I know there is fine line between not charging enough, and not getting many jobs. I prefer to stay busy and not price myself right out of a job. I always seem to do better than expected when I provide top notch service and show up on time. Showing up on time for me, means arriving a half hour early.

Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary Party

1 Aug
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Bar prep at Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary party

Saturday I was honored to bartend for a 10th Anniversary party for some of my best clients. I have provided bartending services for this couple at least a dozen times at business related cocktail parties, film premiers, and wrap parties. This was the first personal type party that they hired me for and it was their biggest party to date.

Over 100 guests, including children drifted in and out during the four hour event. I served a lot of drinks very quickly. We had two specialty drinks including a Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule, and a Watermelon Cucumber Vodka cooler. I am able to make these labor intensive drinks for large groups of people because I make batches of several drinks at a time. I served out of the Moscow Mule toward the end of the party and was almost out of the Watermelon drink at the end.

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Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule

They have a pool in the backyard and hired a lifeguard to watch the kids, which is a great idea. I did another party recently where there were many kids swimming and no lifeguard. It only takes a few minutes for a tragedy to happen. Especially at a large party where alcohol is being served.

10th Anniversary Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite friends and extended family
  • Hire performers
  • Renewal of vows

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    Guests mingle at Beverly Hills Anniversary party

Ella Freyinger provided the catering and she did a fantastic job, as always. I have worked with her before. This time they had barbecue chicken, tri tip, hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids, and a whole variety of summer side dishes, appetizers, and desserts. There was plenty of food and friends and family attended the 10th anniversary party from around the country.

I have a wedding coming up next weekend in Lancaster, but that is the only thing I have scheduled for this week. I was thinking that it is kind of slow, and I checked my schedule for last year around this time. Actually it was even slower for Shaken Not Stirred last year. It will pick up soon enough because before you know it the holiday season will be here. I have already booked some parties in October, November, and December, and have had inquiries for New Year’s Eve. and January. It is never too early to book your holiday parties. I am starting with a new booking service, and they say they will book me more work than I know what to do with six months in advance. I may have to hire some more bartenders.

Cheviot Hills Fundraiser

6 May
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Dark skies looming over backyard grapefruit tree

Thursday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a fundraiser in Cheviot Hills. Cheviot Hills is a very nice neighborhood tucked away between Century City and Culver City. There are many nice neighborhoods in Los Angeles that seem to be sanctuaries from the urban jungles that border them, and Cheviot Hills is one of those.

I love doing fundraisers and get-togethers on week nights. This fundraiser in Cheviot Hills was for a charity that helps underprivileged students further their education. One of the students that benefited from the program gave a talk about how he was able to lift himself out of a desperate and hopeless situation in South Central and complete his college education. He made a compelling case for the program.

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Garnishes and mixers

I  set up my portable bar in the backyard and served some tasty tequila drinks. The hosts had a nice grapefruit tree in their backyard and I made Palomas. I have been doing a lot of that lately, because grapefruits are plentiful in California and are excellent for making cocktails. The host developed a drink he called the Mexican Old Fashioned and it is part Mezcal, part Casamigos Tequila, a dash of Peychaud’s bitters, and an orange peel. That is a strong drink for those with acquired tastes. Amateurs need not apply. I also made margaritas with tequila, fresh lime juice, and Cointreau. That is a really good way to make them, if no Cointreau, used triple sec, or Gran Marnier.

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Guests mingle at Cheviot Hills fundraiser

Tu Tacos provided the catering. There are of course, many taco caterers in Los Angeles, and most provide their own twist on tacos. This caterer put cucumbers on tacos and I have never seen that done before. They were delicious. Really adds something unique to the tacos.

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After sundown

Fundraiser Occasions

  • School functions
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Alumni Associations
  • Mixers
  • Charities
  • Political groups

Tomorrow night I will be bartending a birthday party in Burbank and then next week the graduation season starts. We will be doing graduation parties in Castaic and Chino Hills, and a wedding in Perris. Later this month we have a baptism celebration in La Canada, a bachelorette party in Palm Springs, and a Wedding in downtown Los Angeles.

Two Weddings and a Labor Day Party

8 Sep
Corona Yacht Club

Corona Yacht Club

Labor Day Weekend was a big weekend for Shaken Not Stirred, as I bartended two big weddings and a very nice Labor Day party. The first wedding was Saturday night all the way in Coachella, 145 miles from Los Angeles. Then I returned to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a Sunday backyard wedding in Northridge. Finally, on Labor Day, I bartended a back yard pool party in Sherman Oaks, just a couple miles from my house.

The Coachella wedding was held at the Corona Yacht Club. I was wondering how there is a yacht club in the middle of the desert. As you drive up to entrance of the yacht club you realize it is a kind of desert oasis. It is situated on a 20 acre property and has a large lagoon in the middle of the property. When I arrived I was surprised that it wasn’t too hot for the desert in September. That changed as the day went on. It was blazing hot, even in the shade.

Classic bar at Corona Yacht Club

Classic bar at Corona Yacht Club

A couple of people even got sick and almost passed out from the heat. We served drinks to 120 guests and were plenty busy the entire night. We went through 400 pounds of ice, it was melting so fast in the extreme heat. CV BBQ of Cathedral City provided the catering. They had some of the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had, not to mention their excellent potato salad, and tri tip. I will be bartending another wedding at the Corona Yacht Club in October with my associate bartending service, Mia Martini.

On Sunday, I drove back to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a backyard wedding. I had booked the even so many months prior, I had forgotten it was a wedding, so I was surprised and felt foolish when I arrived and saw the whole wedding set up in the back yard. They had it set up very nice and the whole backyard looked as good as many expensive wedding venues I’ve worked.

I served about eighty guests and I served completely out of whiskey and vodka. I was serving a whiskey Arnold Palmer, which I deemed the John Daly. The drink was a big hit and contains equal parts bourbon, ice tea, and lemonade. Some of the guests had flown all the way from Korea to attend. Rib Ranch Barbecue of Woodland Hills provided catering, and once again I got to sample some excellent viddles, including ribs.

Back yard wedding in Northridge

Back yard wedding in Northridge

The last event of the weekend was a Labor Day pool party at a large estate in Sherman Oaks. A live 80’s cover band performed many great hits from the 80’s, including “Mustang Sally,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and many others. This was the band’s debut in front of a live audience. I served Moscow Mules, Pina Colladas, and Mai Tais to the guests. It was a great was to round out the weekend. This coming weekend I have nothing scheduled, but am booked solid through October after that.

Back yard dance floor

Back yard dance floor

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

Private Bartender and Server in Beverly Hills

10 Sep

Last night I was the private bartender and server for a small dinner party at a Beverly Hills Estate. 12 people were in attendance. This was my third event for this particular client. I had done two cocktail parties previously where there were many more people in attendance and I had a bar set up in the backyard. This time, the host wanted me to set up my bar in the kitchen and to just ask guests what they wanted.

There were virtually no drinkers in the crowd, and I served several sparkling waters and a couple glasses of wine. I did make one of my special cucumber martinis for the host and she complimented me on it. I was starting to wonder why I was even there, so I switched into my fine dining server mode. I have worked for years as a server in fine dining restaurants, and I put that experience to use. You serve from the right hand side, pick up from the lefts, etc. You keep water and wine glasses refilled and anticipate the needs of the guests.

My point is that there is so much more to being a private bartender than just making drinks. I have had people ask me to hire them, and then it became clear talking to them, that they only wanted to make drinks a collect tips. That is such a short sighted attitude that many bartenders have. My philosophy is to be of maximum service and chances are I will be asked back time and time again.

Ella Freyinger was the private chef for this dinner party and she served up a great meal. She made an excellent mixed green salad and then served rosemary roasted chicken with cauliflower cous-cous with pomegranate and pine nuts, and then had pasta with kale pesto. An apple tart was the dessert, along with expresso. Ella said she has several private clients and also does catering for parties as big as 500 people. You can contact her at ebelle2385@gmail.com.

This weekend I will bartend a wedding in Westlake Village and am taking my son to help me. I have people contacting me every day to do parties and I am already booked two months in advance. I still have October 18th available and most Fridays and Sundays in October. I still have Friday October 31st available for a Halloween Party. I will dress up as Lloyd the Bartender again and still have the costume.

 

Wine bottles at Beverly  Hills dinner party

Wine bottles at Beverly
Hills dinner party

"I've always been the bartender"

“I’ve always been the bartender”

Beverly Hills Estate

Beverly Hills Estate

Shaken Not Stirred Provided Bartending Service at Camarillo Wedding

30 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a wedding at the McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. I brought along another bartender to serve wine and beer to around 150 guests at this very nice venue. I hope to bartend many more events at this location in Ventura County. The weather was perfect for a wedding and a nice ocean breeze blowing in from the coast provided natural air conditioning.

Forever Young Brewery,  provided some kegs and he had a keg cooler with Co2 bottles, which makes it very easy for the bartenders. This is really the best way to serve beer from kegs – and I dread the pump up taps that slow service way down and the beer is often way too foamy. We had six different beers to serve, from a light ale, an IPA, two different porters, a stout, and Coors Light. We served completely out of the Ale and IPA, but there was plenty of the other beers left over. We also served Chardonnay, a Moscato, Merlot, and Cabernet. We ran out of white wine, which is always the biggest seller at weddings.

After the initial rush directly after the wedding ceremony, I probably could have handled this party by myself, but I usually recommend that people book two bartenders for parties over one hundred people. I have several great people who work with me, and the service is much quicker, especially when a big line to the bar forms. We usually try to pick up empty glasses and keep the tables and area clean when we aren’t busy. Good bartending service is about providing all around service, not just serving drinks.

Bruce Barrios provided the DJ services and he says that Ventura County is his territory. He says he does several events a year at the McCormick Home Ranch, and I hope to work with him again. Wood Ranch Barbecue

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

Future bride with her daddy

Future bride with her daddy

Action shot bartending

Action shot bartending

The sparkler gauntlet

The sparkler gauntlet

provided the catering and their food is always excellent. My son has worked for them for years and they are a very good company that is growing in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

Tonight I have another wedding in El Monte, and then tomorrow am doing a backyard pre Labor Day party in Redondo Beach. This marks the official end of the summer, but not the wedding season, as I still have several wedding coming up in Westlake Village, Temecula, Palm Springs, and I just booked one in Santa Ynez.  I am flying to Montana on Monday for a week long vacation, and then am providing bartending service for a cocktail party on my first day back in Beverly Hills.