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Wedding help

I will be getting married early next spring and would like to begin the planning soon. I have chosen the home of a friend for ceremony and reception. This will allow me to enlist my own chef/caterer AND wedding cake/tart/or ?. I am looking to all of you chowhounds for a bit of help in this dept. I want only the best in fare, off the beaten track -a bit unique. Would rather spend $$ on food I love and appreciate than be in someones elses space with so-so food and little choices. I'M VERY FLEXIBLE AS TO THE TYPE/KIND. TASTE AND SERVICE ARE IMPERATIVE

Wedding: May 6 2007 Alta Loma (Claremont area)
Outside environ
less than 100 guests
brunch/early lunch menu

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  1. Joan's on Third


    The Kitchen for Exploring Foods


    Good luck and congratulations!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Suebee

      We used the Kitchen for our private home wedding reception in 2003. They were incredibly professional, and the food was excellent. We chose to do heavy hors d'oeuvres rather than a sit down meal, and they had a lot of creative ideas, including a panini station and a lemonade bar (before Martha Stewart caught on). They set up a working kitchen in the garage, did a fabulous job decorating the tables, had no issue with us buying and serving our own champagne, and did a beautiful job of serving and presenting the cake I baked. Can't recommend them highly enough.

      1. re: Amuse Bouches

        Thank you - I've been reviewing their website and the Kitchen looks like just the caterer I'm interested in. I especially like the Martini Salad bar! - I'll have to try some of their bento boxes. Great suggestion. They're even close to Alta Loma.

        1. re: Kitchen Queen

          I have to say that they also were great about working in our budget - I think we ended spending a little over 30 pp on food and servers, and there was a TON of food. They wrapped up all the leftovers and left them in the refrigerator.

          1. re: Amuse Bouches

            Thanx again - I just sent them an email. I'll keep you and other chowhounds posted.

            1. re: Amuse Bouches

              Amuse Bouches - Tell me, what did you serve? I love seafood but, not all places serve fresh and fine. Would love a fresh oyster bar, shrimp, smoked fishes, etc.

              1. re: Amuse Bouches

                Oh gosh, what we served -- that was years ago!

                I remember the smoked trout with pecans appetizer, and the panini station, and I think part of the Mediterranean station, and a fabulous crab dip, and brie en croute, and artichoke bottoms with a wild mushroom mousse. Everything was delicious. I ate at my own wedding, which is supposedly pretty rare.

        2. This advice probably won't help you in Claremont, but I imagine other people will be interested in suggestions, too.

          Papa Christo's catered our wedding last month, and their food was a huge hit. We had much more than our large group could finish of delicious kebabs, gyros, spanikopita and tiropita, pita bread, tzatziki, hummus, Greek salad and olives, and it worked out to about $10/person. Also owner Chris Chris was wonderful to deal with, and spent a lot of time making sure we were happy with the menu. I'd highly recommend Papa Christo's to anyone planning a big event within driving distance of their restaurant at Pico and Normandie.

          More info: http://www.papacristo.com/cater.htm

          We got flat cakes at the Los Angeles Baking Company in Lincoln Heights, which they were able to print with images we provided on CD-Rom onto edible rice paper. The classic Phoenix Bakery strawberry cake recipe was amazing, and very reasonable. They can also do stacked wedding-style cakes, and they deliver.


          Wedding food can be wayyy overpriced for what you get, but there's great stuff out there at good prices if you look. Spend what you save on the wine. We did:


          2 Replies
          1. re: Krispy Kringle

            Thank you! This is great info. I like the idea of printing images on rice paper. I surely will do my research! I've not married before and don't plan to do it again! So, this is it.

            1. re: Krispy Kringle

              Yes - spend at least some of what you save on great wine and beer The beer in particular was a huge hit at our early evening pool-side reception. My uncle said, "This is the only wedding I've been to with good beer." The Beverage Company in Marina del Rey is one place to get some help with a great selection.

            2. My wife and I used the Kitchen for Exploring Food and more than a year later, people are still talking about how great the food was. My only suggestion would be...if you know what you want stick to it and don't be swayed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chefdavis

                I used the Kitchen for an event and would have to concur with the positive remarks on the food...they can be pushy on menu selections (order off their menu) and I didn't find the person we met with to be very friendly or interested. Day of the event, they were prompt, food was fresh and the tables were tiered and dressed beautifully with creative displays. We did a Martini glass mashed potato bar which was a huge hit.

              2. Thank you all for these wonderful suggestions. I just sent THE KITCHEN an email. Not sure how far in advance to book a caterer. Has anyone tried Joe's on Abbott Kinney in Venice? http://www.joesrestaurant.com This also looks really intriguing. I always like the words "custom for you" - May pay a little extra but, I get what I want..... :


                What about Carmelized Productions- anyone else know of them?

                Also thanx much for the wine/beer suggestions. Know we won't have a mixed bar but, some good wines and beer as an alternative would be nice.

                1. Here's another suggestion for off-the-beaten track, if you want to do a Chinese sytle banquet, try OCEAN STAR.

                  They will cater (e.g. provide on-site chef) and are negotiable re: dishes. But you will have to provide the equipment and wait staff.

                  Congrats on the wedding.

                  145 N. Atlantic Blvd., #201-203
                  Monterey Park

                  1. Well, first of all, congrats. Hope you and yours have a long and happy life together.

                    Now, to the important part: food.

                    If budget is really no object, the greatest chef in the United States (and maybe the world) does catering for a price. Daniel Boulud, of Resturant Daniel in New York.

                    If you get him, I expect an invitation.:)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                      Thank you Boston Bob but, we do have a budget and I would like to keep w/a local baker anyway.

                    2. For the cake - two places you MUST try - Portos (in glendale and burbank) which is amazing, cheap, and soooo good, also Sweet Lady Jane's on Melrose just east of La Cienega, best cakes ever..... Drooling just thinking about it......

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jlisa1

                        Thanks for the cake options. Porto's I know well - it's the bomb! Love the fruit tarts. I was looking at Fantasy Frostings and Bees Knees. Know of these? Anyone know of these?

                        1. re: Kitchen Queen

                          Recently the bees knees did my wedding cake and i have nothing but good things to say about them. my fiancee and i were on a strict budget and they worked around it. also, i am a very picky eater and they had no problem adjusting some of their flavors so i could get exactly what i wanted. the cake was GORGEOUS, i was very happy. try them.

                          1. re: kitchenwitch

                            I have to say that I was very underwhelmed by the Bee's Knees...when we went for our tasting they were rude to us and the cakes tasted old and cold...I was pretty disappointed...same with Portos...love their food but the wedding cake tastings were not very good.

                            We are picking between Cakery Bakery in La Canada and Takes the Cake...both very reasonable and great cake!

                            1. re: madrigal_singer

                              We did a Porto's tasting last month. I thought the cake tasted pretty good, but the designs were very old fashioned (IMO). We went with Rosebud...gorgeous cake, less expensive that Porto's.

                          2. re: Kitchen Queen

                            I also used the Bee's Knees for my wedding cake and have to say it was fantastic! The cake was beautiful and delicious, staff was easy to work with. We had 2 flavors in our cake, chocolate( the BOMB!) and vanilla cake with fresh berries and lemon curd. Want to go back and try all the flavors!
                            Porto's is good also, but their cake designs aren't so great.

                        2. Congratulations on your wedding! We were just married last month. My first choice for catering was the Kitchen for Exploring Foods, but finally opted for a relative newcomer, Elements Catering in Pasadena(Carol Grogan-626-440-0100), and cannot say enough about them! Prices were extremely reasonable--about $25 per person-- the food was heavenly and the service outstanding. Since we are Asian, we wanted American food with an Asian flair, and they executed fabulously with Salmon and ribeye marinated in Asian spices and herbs.

                          1. Carmelized Productions are excellent, different and super creative. They are easy and really fun to work with. For your cake, have you tried Sweet Cakes on Sunset Boulevard? So delicious and not dry like most cakes.

                            1. I used cakery bakery in la canana for my wedding last year and I'm still getting compliments on the cake.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: laonion

                                What kind of cake is good at Cakery Bakery? The last one I got looked like buttercream but was some kind of light whipped cream that I didn't want.

                                1. re: jackattack

                                  Buttercream vs. whipped cream is a pretty personal preference. I tasted both there. I hate buttercream but love whipped cream cakes so I order the Raspberry Bavarian Cake and ordered the Chocolate Ganache Cake for the chocoholics. I loved both of them.

                              2. I just went to this party last week in West Hollywood and the food was outstanding. A couple of guys from New England opened their own catering company called Nourish Kitchen. The food was better than any restaurant I have been to in quite some time. Plus they were the nicest guys. Didn't grab a card, but I did get the owner's cell - his name is Shad I think. 310.463.6263. Supposedly it was their first major hollywood party. Have to say it takes a lot to impress me, and they did great. The prices seem very reasonable for the quality of food and their menu was very eclectic with a fresh twist. Not the typical food you see from a caterer. Worth a phone call at least.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kproq323

                                  Thanks for this. My S.O. however, has chosen Auntie Em's in Eagle Rock -made a deposit already. And, I am choosing Compartes chocolates to accompany. Kind of you to offer suggestions. :)KQ

                                2. Congrats on your wedding....and choosing Auntie Em's. I've been to several events they've catered, all different, and have been impressed with each of them.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: perk

                                    Thanks - S.O. was impressed too. Not only w/the food stuffs but with the hospitality. I loved the coffee and coconut cupcake! Bought one more to take home! - as well as a red velvet and a choco brownie!

                                  2. RE: Cakes. Haven't made a decision yet but, really like the idea of a small cake and having Auntie Em's supply their other treats. They bauffed at my idea of complimenting a wedding cake w/Porto's small mousse desserts. - Probably 'cause they want me to buy THEIR sweets. So, I think I'll use the small mousses as wedding favors. Each person with a mousse and their name on a square of chocolate on top of each treat. Whaddya think?