Cocktail Party Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Hogged the Silver Platter

A Real Hipster!

Has anyone noticed I have not published an article in over two months?

I hear silence from the peanut gallery. Fo’shame on y’all!

Just in case if you were wonderin,’ I had two (not one) elective surgeries in five weeks.

Jealous, right?! Sure, you are thinkin’… what did she get done? A face-lift? A boob job? An eye lift? Some lipo on the love handles?

I wish! That’s the fun stuff! At least there would be something to show for undergoing two surgeries. But not moi…

Aging is a Biatch!

Aging sucks. Oy vey. To all my brethren who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and dare I say 80s, you know what happens to our bodies.

The damn body parts start breakin’ down like an old car! You know it! Every single freakin’ day we wake up and find yet another body part that has stopped working.

In one month, two of my parts stopped working. Really? Really. My nose and my hip.

Double Whammy!

One morning in November, I woke up (which is a good thing), to excruciating pain in my groin (which is a bad thing). The pain was so bad (how bad?), it was very difficult for me to walk.

Despite the agony and pain of this mysterious injury, a girl still needs to shop. Remember, it’s not how you feel, but how you look, and dahlin,’ I always want to look mahvelous!

I put myself together and dragged my skinny arse down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to peruse the latest fashion. To my dismay, the ‘Alter Kacker’s’ (Yiddish for ‘old peeps’) walked faster than me on the street. And they had a cane. One person was riding on a motorized scooter, but that does not count!

Around the same time, I also noticed I was not breathing properly through my nose (not a good thing). One hint was at night, I would wake up to the sound of an occasional snore (dare I say ‘snort’). Sadly, that ‘honk’ came from me. Oh, the shame. Shhhh…..that’s a secret.

Say it Ain’t So!

I had no idea what was wrong with either body part. I did what any neurotic Jewish woman would do. I scheduled back-to-back appointments, on the same day, with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, the “Nose Doc,” and an Orthopedic Surgeon who specialized in hips, the “Hip Doc.”

In the morning, the Hip Doc told me I needed a Total Hip Replacement, affectionally known as a “THR.”

In the afternoon, the Nose Doc told me I had a double deviated septum, and a nasal valve collapse. Don’t ask. I shan’t explain. Suffice it to say that the Doc confirmed the breathing through my nose was obstructed.

The Hip

Excuse me? My hip? I thought old peeps needed THR’s, not young hipsters moi!

My hip seemed perfectly fine to me. However, X-rays and a physical exam don’t lie. In fact, the Hip Doc had me lay on my side, and told me to ‘raise your left leg into a scissor kick.’ The Doc told me to hold my leg up while he tried to pushed it down.

Sure, I know those tests. I was strong as an ox. There was no way that Doc would push my leg down. And just like that, he literally touched my leg, and it went straight down. My leg never put up a fight, never held itself up. My hip betrayed me.

I was in shock. The doc said I needed a new hip.

My hip was ready for the junk yard. Shiat! And just like that, I was scheduled for hip surgery. Oy vey.

The Nose

Everyone has heard of a deviated septum. When I was a kid, I fell off my pogo stick and broke my nose. Well that can break any septum.

Never heard of a collapsed nasal valve? Neither did I, until now. I will explain what that is, but please do not laugh. When I would breathe through my nose, I noticed the exterior part of my nostril would literally ‘stick to’ the inside part of my nose, and ‘block’ the flow of air into my nose.

I am NOT making this up! Apparently, just another thing that can ‘collapse’ due to age.

And yes, I scheduled the nose surgery the first week in January, exactly 5 weeks before the hip surgery. Brilliant idea… start renovating the body and get the surgeries over and done with.

Call me a schmuck! In hindsight, this was not one of my better ideas.

Happy Sweet 16 to Gay!

In my world, it is common that girls on their 16th birthday, get a nose job. I never had a nose job.

Well…this was my opportunity to be a ‘Sweet 16’ once again and get that nose job.

Finally! I could get that ‘Shiksa Goddess’ nose! You know, the nose that dreams are made of to a girl from Long Island, NY (not to mention Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Miami). I wanted a small, petite, dainty, maybe even ‘turned up at the tip’ nose that would affirm an ‘air of royalty.’

Sadly, my nose job would not be cosmetic. It was all this heavy duty internal work to get me to breathe. The only cosmetic component was to shave down the bump on my nose — the prize, the remnant from my broken nose. I went to two doctors, and no one would make my nose smaller.

Could you imagine… I went to two cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills, and both concurred that my nose did NOT NEED TO BE SMALLER. And they would NOT, unequivocally NOT, make it smaller. I know. Only me.

The Nose Job

I thought this surgery would literally be a ‘piece of cake.’ Easy peasy. Sweet 16 girls get their nose fixed all the time, and they are fine.

Sistahs, as if I were that lucky! OMG! That surgery was beyond painful. And then there was the swelling, the black eyes, the swelling, the pain. The good news was that I was recovering in Beverly Hills, where no one looks twice at you when you are recovering from surgery.

I just blended in with all the other peeps walkin’ around Beverly Hills with casts and tape on their noses.

Oh, and if you were wondering, my nose looks exactly the same. No one can tell I had nose surgery. All the pain and suffering to simply breathe. Now don’t get me wrong, breathing is a good thing. Just sayin,’ would have been nice to have a smaller nose.

And when you see me, do not tell me that my nose looks great. Because it looks the same. 

Total Hip Replacement

To be clear, I thought my recovery from total hip replacement surgery would be a ‘snap.’ I am in great shape, and I worked out extra hard to prepare myself for the surgery. Besides, the old peeps said the surgery was not a big deal.

Well honey, call me a schmuck once again.

The Day of The Surgery

My surgeon is one of the top doctors in Los Angeles for hip and knee surgery. He gave me a loose-leaf binder that explained pre-op and post-op procedures for total hip replacement.

I studied that binder from cover to cover — as if I were going to be quizzed before they rolled me into the operating room.

One great take away from that binder: Do Not Write on your ‘good hip’ the words ‘do not remove.’ As the good book said, the doctor will talk with you before the surgery, and he will write on the ‘bad hip’ the words ‘remove.’

Could you imagine, a good hip being removed, and the bad hip left in your broken body? I am sure that has happened. Although my Hip Doc had in place specific protocol to confirm removal of the bad hip. What a relief!

And the next thing I knew, the nurse hooked me up to an I.V. that was spiked with some drug, and I woke up in the recovery room with a new hip. And if you were wondering, the correct hip was removed.

Milestones to Hospital Discharge

According to the ‘binder,’ there are several post-op milestones that must be achieved to be discharged from the hospital.

1. You have to pee, and the nurse has to confirm the pee.

2. You have to walk.

3. You have to walk up and down stairs.

4. All these tasks have to be done satisfactorily to be discharged.

Milestones Fulfilled

At first glance, hip replacement was easy peasy. I had no pain whatsoever. To reiterate, I am such a schmuck. I had no idea that the spinal that was administered total numbed my legs, hip, feet, toes, bladder… totally masked any pain I may have been experiencing. In addition to the spinal, I did not know that I received I.V. pain meds, so life was truly wonderful. I mean total hip replacement is really not a big deal and does not hurt.

I beg of you… call me a schmuck.

Approximately 1.5 hours after the surgery, the nurse awoke me. A delightful person! She sat me up and asked me to “wiggle my toes.” At that moment in time, I did not know I had toes. In fact, I did not know that legs were attached to my body.

In my drug induced stupor, I referred to the recovery room as the ‘Four Season Hotel.’ It was lovely. The nurse, who was more of a personal concierge, first brought me a cup of ice to suck on, and then I graduated to a cup of water, and yes, a cup of coffee. In fact, I was so thirsty, I must have had at 3 cups of coffee.

At this lovely hotel, I was then served a delightful breakfast of eggs, beans and rice. Uh, hello… did anyone notice I just had my hip replaced? You gonna eat rice and beans when you be waking up from surgery? I don’t think so! Where are the fresh berries?

As I was sippin’ my coffee, I detected a certain familiar ‘odor.’ I ignored it. Maybe the odor would go away. Maybe the odor was from another patient? 

Nope. The odor got stronger. Now I was concerned. I wondered…was the odor coming from me? I started checking my body parts. I was still numb from the waist down. Since I could not feel my tush, I decided to investigate the condition of the bed sheets.

Holy shiat! I peed all over myself! And did not even know it! Oy! So embarrassing. What is a girl to do?! What an idiot! This is what happens when you drink three cups of coffee!

I sheepishly motioned to the nurse and whispered, ‘I think I peed all over myself.’ To my surprise, the nurse was thrilled! She said, ‘You just satisfied the first milestone to getting released from the hospital! Congratulations!.’ Go figure.

Oh wait. This gets better. Then the sheets had to get changed. She put a big belt around my waist to literally hoist me up. Ah, we forget so soon. I just had my hip replaced! A little over an hour ago. What? Do you think I can stand up on my own? When I was standing, the nurse commented “your legs are wobbly.” Oy. I told her “I could not feel them.”

Physical therapist shows up about 3 hours after the surgery. Tells me ‘we’re going for a walk.’ Again, he straps that huge belt around me to hoist me out of bed and to catch me if I fall. OMG, if my fans could see me now.

But wait…gets better. The therapist gave me a brand new walker! Imagine that! A walker for me! Just what I always wanted. The therapist straps that big belt around my waist and told me to get out of bed by myself and start walking with the walker. Really? The walker? I am only 57 years old, not 83 years old.

Too bad none of my fans saw this scene. It was horrifying. There I am, standing up with my hospital gown open in the back giving a free peep show of my skinny arse, being walked on a leash by a therapist. Don’t forget, I am walking with the walker. Oh, and the therapist told me ‘your left foot is hitting your right foot.’ I told him, ‘still can’t feel my legs!.’ However, my walking was apparently great, Milestone #2 fulfilled.

Then, the therapist takes me to the stairwell, the ‘fire escape.’ I ask him, ‘you gonna throw me down those stairs?’ For some reason, he did not think that was funny. Too, bad, because I did. I told him, ‘just jokin,’ I know I have to walk stairs, to be freed from this shiatty hotel that serves rice and beans for breakfast.’ Somehow, I walked up and down the stairs. Keep in mind I was still on the leash. Milestone #3 fulfilled.

And oh, time flies when you’re having fun! And just like that, four hours after my surgery, the therapist said you are going home. The therapist insisted I take the walker home and buy a cane at a drug store? Come again? Pigs will fly and hell will freeze over before I buy a cane. As for the walker, the therapist said it was ‘free’ and was included in my hotel/hospital stay. Well, ‘free’ made all the difference in the world. And I needed him to stop nagging me and leave.

Discharged so soon? Do I not get lunch?

The Aftermath

As my birthday approaches, it is so nice to know I have a new nose that does not look new, and a new hip, that does not look new.

This was the hardest two months I have endured in recent memory. Don’t even ask how hard it was to sit on a toilet the first few days after the hip surgery. Getting off and on that very low, modern, sexy toilet was akin to climbing Mt. Everest. Thank goodness for that walker! I had to leave it in front of the toilet — it was the only way I could hoist myself up and down from the porcelain goddess.

However, worse than the pain and agony of recovery from these surgeries, was the passing of my BFF, my sistah from anotha’ motha’ Faith, who lost her valiant battle to kidney cancer just days before my first surgery. Her passing was and continues to be devastating. Faith’s smile, laughter and love is an everlasting memory that I shall carry forever in my heart and soul.

I would also be remiss if I did not address the war in Ukraine. Truly disturbing to see in real time the untold loss of life, pain and suffering inflicted upon innocent people. I, along with millions of other human beings hope that humanity will prevail over this evil.

Sending peace and love to all.

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.


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!