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What do you bring to the Hollywood Bowl?

This likely has already been asked here, but what the heck -- Chowhound rules don't discourage multiple threads on same subject and some new posters might not have answered in the older thread.

We go about 4-5 times a year. Last night, for the Reggae Festival, we packed our own picnic because it was easy to do some cooking and make turkey cutlet sandwiches with chimichurri sauce. Added some crunchy green beans from TJ's and some beers and that was that.

But on weeknights (we go on Wednesday to the Jazz series) we sometimes bring our food, though for Wynton Marsalis be ate at home before we left.

My seats are great (Section H, Row 1) but they aren't box seats with a table, so we don't like to eat food that requires a knife and fork -- too hard with the plate in our laps. We drive and park our own car and come from Culver City, so we head east on Culver/Venice then north on La Brea/Highland give or take a detour.

I think for our next show we're going to bring burritos from Pinche's on Culver. We looked at the menu during Eat LA and then saw some decent reviews here on CH. Burritos stay warm wrapped in foil and would be easy to eat at our seats. We've done sub sandwiches (Victor Jrs, among other places ), take out sushi (not my favorite as it gets sort of room temperature), pita sandwiches from Gaby's -- stuff like that.

But feel free not to limit your suggestions to my neck of the woods. Others might be interested in other neighborhoods.

In all seriousness, going to a show at the Hollywood Bowl is one of the great Los Angeles experiences. Tourists should consider this a must do, along with Disneyland and the beach. Tickets are reasonable, the venue is great and it's one of the few concert venues that allow you to bring your own meal inside.

All thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

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  1. When we lived on the east side of town, I made our own picnic and we brought that along to eat before the show - fried chicken, salads, snacks and champagne.

    Now that I know better than to lug around that heavy picnic basket, I would get Mozza2Go for the next time.

    1. We do sandwiches from Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica. Always a treat and their Godmother travels very well.

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      Bay Cities Italian Deli
      1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile

        No doubt -- that's exactly what we'd do when we still lived over there. Great rec for the Santa Monicans.

      2. Just curious, Paul. Did you feel extra hungry because it was a reggae show? ; )

        Some of my most memorable times at The Bowl were fueled by a basket from the late, lamented Picholine on 1st and Virgil in Historic Filipinotown. Gosh, I miss that place.

        Subsequently, food for Bowl nights are now a mishmosh but usually include: Chicken Empanadas from Red Ribbon; tabouleh and pitas from Magic Lamp; awesome house flatbread from Fresh N' Easy; DC Chicken salad from Corner Bakery and, since it's steps from my office, sandwich and salad boxes from City Kitchen.

        1. Mozza2Go is my go-to 2.

          I have done Cube and it was really good as well.

          The worst I ever had at the Bowl was some kind of "Bowl-Bento-Box" from Street that was a greasy mess.

          I love Pinches but I think it would be soggy and all over my shirt and lap if I picked it up and dragged it to the bowl and tried to eat it sitting up in a chair, sans table.

          1. I have a box and always like to dine before.. 2 bottles of red wine and a sparkler to start. As to the food. I like going to Joans on Third. We pick up a few things and are good to go. Some time we picnic with a group outside on the tables overlooking the enterance ( hint hint ) love the mix of foods that every one brings. Whats it with cold home made fried chicken and the bowl? and dont dont forget dessert!!

            1. Here's a quick breakdown of meal by show for my season thus far and how they worked out (I'm rarely in a box so all of the below were eaten in bench seating). FYI most of these served with as cold as possible gruner veltliner, txakolinas, or other dry whites (I have a special insulated bag and throw my wine in the freezer for an hour or so before I leave) :

              Japan Night: Donburi bowl with tempura and katsudon. Kim bap (vegetarian sushi rolls), and radish kimchee. Perhaps a bit too on theme but since the bowls were so small I didn't run into an issue using chopsticks. The kim bap was awesome though and I would recommend it as a bowl staple. It was cheap, finger-foody and plentiful enough to share with neighbors. All were picked up at Woori Mart (formerly the DTLA Mitsuwa)

              Jupiter Symp. - Got sandwiches from LA Pizza Co. - fine but nothing to write home about.

              Dolly Parton - Kyochon Fried Chicken. A little messy and since we only brought two bottles we got the garlic soy rather than the sweet/hot. (the hot would have necessitated a third bottle). I love to eat fried chicken at the bowl and lament the closing of the relatively nearby Louisiana Fried Chicken. This would have been perfect except that the rotund people on either side of us had inadvertently put us in 'Dolly Parton's Fat Jail.' We had about a seat and a quarter to share between us. In some ways it was just like visiting Dollywood. So we were like two t-rexes trying to shred apart the chicken with our scrunched in arms- but even in adverse circumstances kyochon is freakin' delicious. (note: handywipes were a necessary accompaniment)

              Stevie Wonder and Friends - Found myself with a little time on my hands last weekend and put together a farmer's market picnic. Smallish caprese bound with toothpicks and a corn and squash salad seasoned with urfa biber and smoked paprika. A summer delight. Sometimes the best snack is the one you make yourself.

              1. How about sandwiches from Green Peas?

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                Green Peas
                4437 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA

                1. Well, since you asked.

                  This is what we had this past 4th of July weekend.

                  - Grilled fish and kebabs from Gerlach's Grill in Pasadena
                  - Dim sum from Yum Cha Cafe
                  - Some baklava and honey cakes from Vrej in Pasadena
                  - Some vino (couple of bottles of Stag's Leap Viognier courtesy of Costco).

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                  Gerlach's Grill
                  1075 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Bottle of wine - always.
                    If it's an early show (jazz nights) we have a light snack at home and then snacks at the bowl. The norm is - Fresh fruit or cherry tomatoes from our garden (sungold if we have not eaten them all.) Crackers or pretzels. And homemade brownies or chocolate cupcakes. Maybe almonds as back up.

                    If we are full on eating there, a bottle of wine, cold fried chicken tenders/strips. Or precut cheese and sausages. Salad and/or fruit. The home made treats.

                    I keep meaning to hit portos and get sandwiches as our dinner, but so far I have just not pulled off the planning.

                    And as we are always in the cheap seats, it's always as light and portable as we can make it. As few utensils as possible.

                    Love the bowl!

                    1. re: happybaker

                      I feel like such an amateur. I didn't know you could bring your own alcohol. *forehead smack*.

                      1. re: granadafan

                        You can only bring wine to official Hollywood Bowl programs. Not allowed at lease events.
                        The small print rules " You may bring food and drink to the Hollywood Bowl, but for the safety of all our patrons and to comply with fire regulations, the aisles and walkways of the Hollywood Bowl must be kept clear at all times. Therefore, large containers, picnic baskets, or coolers measuring more than 15" wide, 15" high, or 22" long will not be permitted past the ticket gate. Re-usable containers (such as Tupperware or sipper bottles), holding food or beverages are permitted in the theater, beverages are permitted in the theater, as are wine bottles and wine glasses. Please note: kegs, pony kegs and party balls are not permitted."

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      oooo, love Viognier, didn't see any at my Costco, will have to look again.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        I Could swear I saw a viognier at the MdR Costco - on the bank of bays facing the food section (the chardonnay section). If not, head to LA Wine on McConnell - <5 minutes away - and grab a bottle of Treana.

                    3. whatever else comes along, the items that always give me the most pleasure are the cheeses.
                      the bowl is the perfect place to eat a wonderful assortment of the best cheeses i can find.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Agree about cheese (and wine) at the Bowl. I've learned though – if eating in a bench, it's easiest to cut/parcel the cheese out ahead of time. I tried serving cheese, nuts, and dried fruit among four people sitting on a bench seat... there was not ample room for us to maneuver food and wine. Now in a box, it works fine. But I found that serving food in a bench is not easy.

                        1. re: hhewitt

                          Cheese and wine - one of my fav things at the bowl. And you're right - precut is the way to go! Unless it's a gooey one... : )

                      2. For one show we brought homemadeThai BBQ chicken with Thai cole slaw. For another show, we had salads from Nagilah and some dinner from BLD. Another show we did fried chicken, potato salad and cucumber salad. For another show, sandwiches from Labels Table. And like others, always different appetizers such as cheeses, pates and the like, champagne and good red wine.

                        Agree that it is a great LA experience.

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                        BLD Restaurant
                        7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        1. We haven't been to the Bowl yet this summer, but our last trip there in summer '10 was salads from Lemonade and sandwiches from Mendocino Farms and a slightly chilled Russian River pinot noir in our backpack. We ate on the grounds before heading in, and subsequently shared our little spot with a really nice couple who also brought a bottle of PN.

                          They told us that if you want to bring your wine into a leased event, try discreetly and generously tipping one of the wine counter staff so you can get one of the authorized containers that they pour their wine into.

                          1. For Japan night this season, we brought a variety of omusubi from Sunny Blue in Santa Monica, and sides from Nijiya market- karaage, kabocha, potato salad, seaweed salad etc. We usually sit in the first row of bench seats so we have the benefit of the front ledge to use as a table.