The Los Angeles Party Planning Guide
Pulling together the right event mix—whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, or a party for no real reason at all—is all about a certain special sauce. Great food and drinks, spot-on music, maybe a few extra shenanigans and flowers for fun, plus a great photographer to capture it all. Below, our Los Angeles rolodex of great vendors.
We recently attended a desert feast, cooked under the stars and inches from our table by Moonrise Standard: platters of lamb so tender we could pull it apart, bowls of spicy hominy, crunchy salads, and an incredible orange polenta cake. The surest sign of a great meal: Everyone stopped talking. Feasts are typically seven courses and emphasize whatever is best that is seasonal and local. The company hosts events throughout California and is available to cater smaller-scale parties and dinners.
Sweet Laurel| 310.913.1829
As one of six, Laurel Gallucci spent a fair share of her childhood in the kitchen baking. Brownies, cookies, you name it. But years later, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and suddenly sugar, dairy, and gluten—the foundations of baking—were out. She went back into the kitchen to experiment. Could a dairy-free almond-flour cake taste good and look beautiful? Very much, yes. Today, her cakes—towering layers of coconut-lemon, vanilla, or chocolate sponge iced to perfection and decorated with fresh-cut flowers and fruit—are not only great to look at, but virtually every guest can eat them. Currently available for order and delivery only, Sweet Laurel is opening a bakery in Palisades Village this summer.
Suzanne Goin is one of LA's more famous chefs, and the catering department at Lucques, the first of several restaurants she's open in SoCal, specializes in the kind of classic California cuisine (lots of good veggie options) that is guaranteed to please. They'll also provide wine from their considerable collection.
Night and Market Song Catering
Kris and Sarah Yenbamroong have all of LA under the spell of their interpretation of Thai street food—served with their well-curated, biodynamic wine list. Kris Yenbamroong has no formal training, but no matter: He learned how to cook in both Bangkok and the kitchen of old Thai mainstay Talésai. Not a week goes by without a handful of goop staffers crowding a table at one of the couple’s three Night + Market restaurants in Silver Lake, West Hollywood, and most recently, Venice. Night + Market Song’s flavorful, vegetarian-friendly Thai food is also available for catering. One (very appealing) option is for chef Yenbamroong to come and set up kitchen in your home to personally cook for a dinner party or small event. For weddings and larger events, the whole team gets involved. Serving plates of crab fried rice; short rib curry with crisp, oil-slick roti for dipping; the sweetest coconut sticky rice; and eye-wateringly spicy papaya salad at your party is unexpected and significantly more exciting than boilerplate hors d’oeuvres. Available in the Los Angeles area only.
Annie Campbell Cateringanniecampbellcatering@gmail.com
There are many reasons why we love Annie Campbell, not the least of which is her understanding that good passed apps have to be bite-sized. Her food is consistently delicious and presented in a reliably creative, beautiful way—so pretty, in fact, you don't need much else in the way of decorations.
Serves You Right Catering310.837.3633
Since 1998, Michele Gan has been catering for crowds of up to 1,000—all with organic, locally sourced food. They offer a host of other services like service staffing, floral arrangements, and other design and décor arrangements for events, though catering is their primary art.
When you think chocolate-dipped bananas, you probably think kids. But consider this: Hannah's bananas, which she serves out of a tricked-out vintage trailer or a cute push-cart, are gourmet—dipped and sprinkled with customizable toppings on the spot for each guest. That's something everyone can get behind.
Whoa Nelly Catering
The team at Whoa Nelly (the two co-founders/chefs cut their teeth at AOC before striking out on their own) believes that what makes an event menu special–whether it's buffet-style, small bites, or family style–are the ingredients. Here, produce is sourced exclusively from local farmers and proteins are all sustainable, all the time.
California Donuts3540 W. 3rd St., Koreatown | 213.385.3318
When it comes to non-cake celebratory desserts, donuts have long since eclipsed the cupcake. As evidenced by an ever-present line, the ones at California Donuts are some of fluffiest and freshest in town. The shop is open 24/7, but you have to call ahead to order their signature donut letters.
Top Tier Treats11511 W. Pico Blvd., West LA | 310.478.1971
Formerly known as Jamaica Cakes, this unassuming little bakery on Pico cranks out some of the most jaw-droppingly elaborate, Food Network-worthy cakes we've ever seen. While not quite as festive as the multi-tiered creations, the cookies, pies, and cupcakes are just as delicious.
Hungry Bear Catering Co.323.906.7775
No matter the size of the gathering, Hungry Bear masters really delicious food in perfectly timed courses. Best of all, there's nothing unpredictable or overly fussy about the menu options, so guests aren't left deciphering what's on their plates.
Bon Puf Cotton Candy
With her little cart in tow, Cloe Lane spins fresh cotton candy you can enjoy in peace knowing only organic cane sugar, plant-based colors, and all-natural flavors were used. Speaking of flavors: horchata, chai tea, and salted caramel are just a few of the standouts.