Tag Archives: Palos Verdes

Two South Orange County Events

3 Apr

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for two South Orange County events in Dana Point and a few miles away in Laguna Niguel. It is a beautiful area and a great time of the year to visit and experience outdoor events there. On Friday night I bartended a rehearsal dinner and served approximately 80 guests, and then on Saturday I provided service at a birthday party at a fantastic home overlooking the coast in Laguna Niguel.

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Dana Point Harbor

When I arrived to the rehearsal dinner on Friday night there were already many guests self serving themselves at the bar and I immediately got the sinking feeling I had somehow got the time wrong and I was late. I am phobic about being late and am always on time and even way early. I was not late, the party just started early in this case. I scrambled to get prepared, but it was easy because the wedding planner had already prepped the bar for me.

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Friends share a drink at Dana Point Rehearsal Party

They held the event at a rental house from Air B&B that had a very nice back yard perfect for events. Many of the Air B&B rentals allow guests to have parties as long as they pay large deposits and adhere to all of the guidelines. Many of the people at this event traveled from different parts of the country.

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Shots!

South Orange County

  • Laguna Niguel
  • Dana Point
  • San Clemente
  • Mission Viejo
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Laguna Beach

I made margaritas and other simple mixed drinks and served wine and beer. It was a good warm up for the wedding, which was being held at a hotel the following night. I had also helped the bride and groom make a shopping list for supplies for their wedding. I hope that worked out for them.

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Sunset Laguna Niguel

I stayed in the area and the next night I went to a fantastic home up on the hill in Laguna Niguel to bartend a birthday party. The view from the backyard was incredible. To the north you could see Laguna Beach, to the south, Dana Point, and then of course due west was the Pacific Ocean, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Catalina Island. The backyard bar was the perfect perch for all of that.

I brought my jalapeno margarita mix and also made Pisco Sours for the specialty drinks. About thirty guests were in attendance. Diverse DJ Events provided the music, and Taquero Juan Celio (714) 687-6825, provided the tacos. It was a great evening in a killer location. Next weekend I have potential job in Palm Desert on Friday, and then a birthday party in Sherman Oaks on Saturday. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

 

Valentine’s Day Wedding in Palos Verdes

15 Feb
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February day at the South Bay Botanic Garden

Yesterday, I was contracted to help my associate bartender, Mia Martini bartend a Valentine’s Day wedding on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I have a lot of history in the area and worked for years at the former Frascati Ristorante, and Le Rive Gauche. The wedding was held at the South Bay Botanic Garden, which is a beautiful venue to hold an outdoor wedding.  The weather was perfect, and it is certainly a risk to plan a wedding in February during El Nino.

Over 200 guests attended the wedding, and we served Moscow Mules, Kentucky Mules, Margaritas, and of course beer and wine.  These Mule cocktails are very popular right now and are easy to make, especially for a crowd of 200 people. Many brides and groom want to have elaborate specialty drinks for their weddings, but some craft cocktails simply take too much time to make, and hold up the line. I can do Mojitos in bulk when I have to, but that is not really the proper way to do them.

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Large crowd at Valentine’s Day Wedding

We got hit with the initial wave of people just after  the ceremony, but the night went very smoothly. My friend and associate, Mia is very organized and detail oriented, so that always helps make things go smoothly. She purchased 300 pounds of ice for the party, which we concerned wouldn’t last in the beginning, because it was so warm. After the sun went down, it cooled way down and we ended up dumping 60 pounds of ice. That will water the trees there.

Valentine’s Day Wedding

  • Makes remembering anniversaries easier
  • Combine anniversary and Valentine’s Day gifts
  • Friends and relatives get out of paying for dinner
  • Great hearts theme for wedding
  • Divorce proof

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    Bride and Groom share first dance at Valentine’s Day Wedding

I want to mention some new work shoes I purchased. The last pair of work shoes I bought from Sears barely lasted six months. I literally only wore them twenty times before they started falling apart. I took them back to Sears, and they said, “tough luck.” I went to Sketchers and they have a line of shoes, specifically designed for service work. I bought a pair of shoes that are made from a synthetic material, which I was reluctant to buy. I must say these are the most comfortable work shoes I have ever bought. I was on my feet for eight hours and the shoes were great.

I have two weddings back to back in Palm Springs coming up, which I am working with the hosts to plan. I still have the 20th open and am looking for an event on that date. I will travel anywhere in Southern California.  Also, the Academy Awards will be held on February 28th, and I am available for that dates, if anybody is planning an Academy Awards party.

Off the Hook: Southbay 30th Birthday Celebration

11 May

I returned to the Southbay last night to bartend a 30th birthday party in Torrance. The house where the party was held used to be a bachelor’s “party house,” where three or four guys used to live together and have wild parties all the time, and then life happened, including wives and kids. It’s hard growing up, believe me, I know from experience! Anyway, this place had the best garage bar I have ever seen – it was almost as good as Pat’s II, with a real full length bar and beer refrigerator. It reminded me of that old country song – “I’d like to Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home.”

The occasion was a one of the former bachelor’s 30th birthday party. It was the second 30th birthday party I have done in two weeks, and it is an important milestone. I think people really have some kind of expectation and are especially hard on themselves when they are turning 30. I know I was. The birthday boy’s family turned out en masse for the celebration and there were a lot of them because he has 12 brothers and sisters and their families.

The family catered their own event and the food was excellent. I will have to say that was some of the best salsa I have ever tasted. After everybody ate and some of the families with small children went home, the core crew and group of friends really cut loose. They had a cigar sampling and I served Strawberry Margaritas, Cosmos, and a whole bunch of Jack Daniels. Jack seems to be a favorite at almost every party I do, and I almost always run out of it.  Some of the guests brought a bottle of Ron Zacapa 23 year old Guatemalan rum and I served chilled shots of that.  I finally returned from the Southbay after one AM, and it was another successful party for Shaken Not Stirred.

Last week was kind of a tough week for me with the business of bartending. I had some cancellations, and people drop out that I had been working hard to book parties with. It just seemed that everything was going wrong. I know that will change. I have been very lucky with this bartending business so far and have had nothing but good experiences with the jobs I have done. I have another party back in the Southbay

Torrance garage bar

Torrance garage bar

Well stocked beer refrigerator

Well stocked beer refrigerator

Smoking is allowed!

Smoking is allowed!

in Palos Verdes next week, and a wedding in Filmore later this month. I am still available on the the May 31, and hope to get event for that date.

 

Woodland Hills 50th Birthday Party

18 Apr

Last night was a rare occasion that I did a  party on a Thursday night – it was the host’s 50th birthday party and his office was closed the following day, Good Friday. A crowd of around fifty people arrived for the backyard event and even though it was Thursday, they partied like it was 1999. The host had set up a makeshift bar in his backyard using two folding tables with table clothes. This works just fine and saves people the expense of renting a bar. The tables just sit a little lower than a normal bar.  I have purchased a portable bar and can provide that for a minimal extra charge.

I consulted with the host about a drink menu and shopping list. He printed out a very nice list with all the wines and beers mentioned and the various drinks. He served some nice wines, including J Lohr Cabernet, and La Crema Chardonnay. Once again, the Cadillac Margarita was the big hit of the night. You just can’t go wrong with those, especially when you use a good tequila. The host was serving Gran Centenario Anejo tequila, which is a very good tequila and won’t break the bank. The tequila that I am also seeing a lot of now that is really good is Casadores Reposado. It is so much smoother than say, Cuervo gold. It really makes a big difference in the drinks.

I had a an assistant with me and she made drinks also. Whenever I bring an extra server, they are trained bartenders too, so they can jump in and help when needed. She made as many Cadillacs as I did. Taqueria El Tapatio

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My barback behind the makeshift bar

The crowd mingling

The crowd mingling

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

of Woodland Hills provided the catering, and they put out some pretty good tacos. Woodland Hills is my old stomping grounds and I have a lot of history in the San Fernando Valley, so it is always nice to go back there.  The host found Shaken Not Served through a Google search, which shows me that this blog is working.

I don’t have anything booked for this Saturday night, which will be the first times in months if I don’t get a last minute gig. Next week I have two events scheduled so far, a North Hollywood event at a local boxing gym very close to my house, and a wedding in Valencia that I am also providing two servers for. Next month, I have events scheduled in Torrance, Filmore, and Palos Verdes. I need more likes on my Facebook Page, and please follow us on Twitter.

 

 

LEADS Certified Bartender Serving Los Angeles

11 May

As of today, I am a LEADS certified bartender and am available to serve the greater Los Angeles area. I was certified before, but must have been half asleep because I either did not take it seriously, or I just wasn’t mature enough to listen. Today I took the class in Van Nuys and was very glad I did – my eyes were definitely opened. LEADS stands for Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs. What the class covers are the key points of the liquor laws as they pertain to businesses licensed to serve alcohol. Many of those laws also apply to citizens serving alcohol in their own homes – at private events and company parties.

As a long time bartender I have served minors before. Either I didn’t ask for their ID’s, knew they were with their parents, or received pressure from employers to serve them. After taking the LEADS class, I won’t be doing that again. In the state of California it is a high misdemeanor to serve a minor alcohol and is punishable by a $1000 fine – this goes for the bartender and/or the host of the party. Bars and restaurants are subject to permanent suspension after “three strikes”. It just isn’t worth it to serve a minor, not to mention that alcohol related accidents are by far the leading causes of teen deaths.

Another thing we covered in the class was serving obviously intoxicated people. I have done it, as most bartenders have. There is often tremendous pressure from employers and hosts to continue serving obviously drunk patrons. I will no longer take this lightly. There is a specific law against serving obviously drunk people and it also sets the bartender and the hosts up for tremendous civil liability. Bartenders need to ask a lot of questions if they feel an individual is drunk, and cut him off if necessary, while at the same time attempting to arrange for his or her safe passage home.

LEADS is not a class designed to take all of the fun out of parties, bars, and other events where alcohol is served, but instead is designed to educate bartenders and servers of their responsibility to their employers and the community. At Shaken Not Stirred we will strive to uphold all of California’s liquor laws at your private event or party. Shaken Not Stirred provides certified bartenders for weddings, pool parties, openings, fund raisers, and birthday parties throughout the LA area. Last week we did an engagement party inNorwalk, Saturday morning we are doing a wake in Palos Verdes. Shaken Not Stirred coversLong Beach, San Pedro, and Seal Beach– all the way to Santa Monica, West LA, Beverly Hills, and theSan Fernando Valley.