Cocktail Party Etiquette

Hogged the Silver Platter

Dear Ms. Manners,

Can you please tell me what is the proper etiquette for eating hors
d’oeuvres at a cocktail party?

I know, like duh, doesn’t everyone know how to eat hors d’oeuvres? Well,
obviously not if I have to ask Ms. Manners.

Several weeks ago, I attended a very fancy schmancy cocktail party in
Beverly Hills. I know what you are thinking, who in their right mind would
invite lil’ ole’ me to a party where I, yes I, would rub elbows with famous
peeps?

Now I know how to eat hors d’oeuvres. But, at this party, I had a front row
seat to watch a ‘famous person’ eat hors d’oeuvres as if they were from Mars.
Really. It was so ‘shocking beyond the pale,’ that I felt I was watching an
episode from the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

As a matter of fact, it could have been an episode from that show, because
the actress who portrays Larry David’s ex-wife just happened to be at this
event. Her real-life husband, may or may not have been at this event.

Scene of the Crime

Let’s set the scene of the crime: Waiters were serving fancy hors d’oeuvres.
In truth, I was hungry. However, I waited for the hors d’oeuvres that would
compliment my picky palette. 

And hello, a waiter finally offered to me a beautiful silver serving platter
of small, delicate blini’s topped with caviar and a little ‘dot’ of Crème
Fraîche. Oh yeah baby, come to mama!

As a refined woman, who is well aware of cocktail party etiquette, prior to
taking one blini, I first asked the waiter for a cocktail napkin and then I
carefully took one blini from the serving tray, so as NOT to touch any other
blinis on the tray. Remember, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. We hate
germs! 

Perhaps it was because I was starving, but damn… that blini was beyond
delicious. 

Scene of the Crime

The waiter moved on to another guest to offer a blini. Oy vey. Here we go.

I recognized the guest the waiter was serving. How could anyone not? Comes
from a very famous family, who had a very famous Father, and a very, very
famous Uncle. He even has a famous wife actress (who may or may not be at this
event).

Now, I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch this particular guest ‘eat’
the blini. In my life, I have never, ever witnessed such a dining spectacle at
a cocktail party. A fancy schmancy one no less. 

The guest was standing by himself as he literally attacked the serving tray
of blinis. His wife was not with him, perhaps she had been at a cocktail party
or two with him and knew better.

I watched him eat the first one. Clearly, he has good taste, because I could
see he liked the FIRST BLINI. How did I know he liked the blini? Because he
would not let the waiter leave… and then the guest went for the second blini.
And the third. Now the serving tray was commandeered by this guest and has
become his personal plate. Yes, he effectively hogged the blinis. 

And then it happened. I saw this in slow-motion. This is how it repeats over
and over and over in my mind. Like a horror story. The guest had a blini in his
hand that was en-route to his mouth that was open. And just like that, he
dropped the blini that was almost in his mouth, and it fell to the serving
tray. Yuck! Germs alert! 

I was aghast! I had never seen that happen at a cocktail party. Even the
parties that serve pigs in blankets and bagel bites.

You ask yourself: Did the guest stop eating? Did the guest survey the tray
to find the blini he touched that was almost in his mouth? You know, to make
sure that no other guest would get contaminated with his germs during a
pandemic. Oh but, wait, I do not believe this person is a follower of Dr.
Fauci.

This guest never missed a beat. I ask, where is Larry David when you need
him? Where is Larry David’s TV ex-wife to stop this travesty? Oy vey. This
guest jumped back into that tray, and indiscriminately picked another blini and
tossed it in his mouth. Oh, but wait, there is more. Now he was seemingly hell
bent on clearing the tray of blinis. No matter there were other guests. 

Now, to optimize eating, the guest was crafty. He actually combined two
blinis and made a sandwich. You betcha baby! Standing their all by himself. The
ingenuity to maximize hogging the plate. 

And just if you were wondering, he did clear the tray. At some point, he did
eat the blini that he dropped, but did it matter at that point?

Where are the etiquette police when you need them? Oh, they are probably badgering someone who is eating a bagel bite at a backyard BBQ.

The Heart and Soul of Beverly Hills: Prospect Gourmand

Chef Isaac and Chancey Gamboa

“My weaknesses have always been food and men, in that order.” Wise words from Dolly Parton.

I am not a food critic. Although, I do like food. And I do enjoy dining at a great restaurant. Prospect Gourmand in Beverly Hills is that restaurant.

Prospect Gourmand

A restaurant is as good as the sum of all its parts: The Chef, The Hostess, the Server, and last, but not least, the Cuisine.

Wait…there is more. There are the intangible qualities that make you savor every morsel of food, which makes you want to go back every weekend, every month, every year. It is that special restaurant that makes you feel a part of their ‘family.’

Prospect Gourmand, located on Robertson Drive in Beverly Hills is that Restaurant. Chancey and Isaac Gamboa are the owners of Prospect Gourmand, a niche restaurant that prides itself on farm to table food. Gourmand relies on local farmer’s markets for the fresh ingredients that are the foundation of Chef Isaac’s eclectic menu.

Chef Isaac and Chancey are a husband and wife team who have been cultivating their restaurant in Beverly Hills for over seven years, while simultaneously raising their four children. The Chef is a California Boy; Chancey emigrated from Cambodia. The Chef attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts — Las Vegas and trained under a Michelin Star Chef in San Francisco. Chancey’s family owned several donut shops.

Beverly Hills may be a global destination for luxury retail therapy and Hollywood Star Gazing. But, for Chef Isaac and Chancey, Beverly Hills is simply called ‘home’ to their restaurant and family.

COVID

At the beginning of 2020, Prospect Gourmand moved from La Cienega Drive to its current location on Robertson. As we all know, moving a restaurant immediately prior to the start of the pandemic, was not good timing.

The two pandemic lockdowns in Los Angeles, forced many restaurants to permanently close. Like so many other restaurants, Chef Isaac and Chancey experienced profound professional and personal financial hardship. Rather than permanently close their doors, they made the decision to convert their kitchen to a ‘take-out only business’ and prepare meals for the First Responders who worked throughout the Community.

During the early days of the first lockdown, Gourmand created their own version of an outdoor market, and sold fresh produce and other food staples on their storefront sidewalk. In fact, Chef Isaac baked daily bread, which became a coveted market item.

Generosity of Customers and Strangers

The sidewalk market and take-out business allowed Gourmand to literally ‘stay afloat’

Loyal customers of Gourmand reciprocated ‘in-kind’ the appreciation they held for Chef Isaac and Chancey’s self-less efforts. Generous customers purchased restaurant gift cards under the guise ‘they would be used when dining resumed in Los Angeles.’ To this day, many gift cards purchased during the pandemic have yet to be redeemed.

Prospect Gourmand warms the heart and feeds your soul. Oh, and by the way, I love Chef Isaac’s Lobster Tacos!

Lobster Tacos!

Cheers to Isaac and Chancey!