You're sitting on a wooden bench under the setting sun at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to the sounds of the orchestra, world musicians, sing-a-longs, and rock concerts. Now for the all-important question: What are you going to eat?
Picnicking at the Bowl is one event that makes summertime in Los Angeles truly special. And, as much as the experience of the show itself is important, the food pairings chosen for your pre-performance picnic are equally vital. These picnic/performance pairings will help make your Hollywood Bowl summer nights magically delicious.
Opening Night with Chaka Khan and Reba McEntire
At the June 22 Opening Night, powerhouse singers Chaka Khan and Reba McEntire
take the stage with the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, conducted by the charismatic Thomas Wilkins. The evening also features a special appearance by the young wind and brass players of YOLA and HOLA, and fireworks.
To kick off the summer in an ultra-classy and indulgent way, head to Petrossian and pick up their luxe picnic basket filled with California-farmed transmontanus caviar, smoked salmon, bread, sweets, house made pickles and Louis Roederer Brut Premier champagne. Just call the Petrossian West Hollywood Boutique and Restaurant with at least two hours notice and, voila, a picnic fit for a diva and her entourage.
Apl.de.ap Takes You to the Philippines
On July 8, as part of the KCRW World Festival, Apl.de.ap from The Black Eyed Peas will be celebrating his heritage with an evening of Filipino pop, traditional music, and hip hop. Also on hand will be fellow band members Will.i.am and Taboo, along with Ogie Alcasid, Dessa, Harana Kings, Kayamanan Ng Lahi, Martin Nievera, Jeremy Passion, and the Philippine Chamber Singers of Los Angeles.
For picnic recommendations, Nastassia Johnson of Let Me Eat Cake suggests a visit to Seafood City: "The Filipino market sells grilled meats to go. Grab a bag of pan de sal or some chiccaron, a calamansi soda, fresh fruit and your picnic is ready, all in one place. Next door is Goldilocks Bakery for desserts." Goldilocks carries a wide variety of Filipino desserts, including cassava cake (made with yucca, coconut, and cheese) and puto steamed rice muffins (flavored with ube as well as a variety of tropical fruit candies and pastillas) to nibble on during the show.
On July 14th, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John fans will sing their hearts out at the Grease Sing-A-Long. In the movie Danny orders a double Polar Burger at the Frosty Palace diner, but in L.A. the debate about which is the best burger is not so clear cut. One possibility is the offering from Golden State, made with Harris Ranch beef, Fiscalini Farms cheddar, glazed applewood smoked bacon, and arugula. Don't forget to order some fries and jalapeño slaw to go with it. Then pop open a classic soda, and munch away before it's time to sing the next song.
Neville Brothers Farewell Tour with Trombone Short & Orleans Avenue
On August 1, the Neville Brothers celebrate 35 years of playing music together by taking over the stage with their blues and funk grooves. The brothers will be joined by Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars. While the sounds of Louisiana fill the Bowl, a picnic basket packed with Cajun and Creole flavors would make the night extra spicy and delicious. So stop by The Gumbo Pot to pick up some fried chicken, Po'Boy sandwiches and sweet potato salad. Besides their Original Farmers Market location, they just opened a store at Hollywood and Highland.
Dudamel Conducts Verdi's Rigoletto
On August 12, Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in "Rigoletto", with Željko Lučić in the title role. Verdi's epic tragedy tells the story of a hunchbacked court jester doomed by a curse. Imagine listening to the soaring notes and lavish instrumentation while eating some of Mozza2Go's green olive focaccia bread, Prosciutto di Parma pizza, and farro salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta, all paired with a bottle of Italian wine.
Down the street from Mozza, Domaine LA carries several excellent options. "The 2009 Occhipinti Siccagno Nero d'Avola from Sicily, or the 2008 Grifalco Gricos Aglianico from Campania," suggests DomaineLA owner, Jill Bernheimer. "Both of these are substantial fruit and body, to please anyone looking for a richer style. But also offer good acidity and elegance, and a high degree of food friendliness." Italian opera, food, and wine together in one summer night sounds like heaven.
Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks
The Hollywood Bowl has a tradition of combining Tchaikovsky and fireworks. On September 7, the concert will feature stars from the America Ballet Theatre dancing the pas de deux from Swan Lake and a scene from their new production of The Nutcracker. The evening conducted by Bramwell Tovey includes the 1812 Overture performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, along with pyrotechnics and cannons and the USC Trojan Marching Band. Now what to eat with this potentially mind-blowing evening of music, dance, and lights?
One could pick Russian food to honor Tchaikovsky, or spicy food to keep up with the spectacle of it all. But to savor the beauty of the summer consider a picnic made with locally-sourced ingredients from Forage in Silver Lake. Forage updates their menu daily with the freshest picks of the season featuring salads, sandwiches, rice bowls and entrees that would make the evening even more memorable. Their ricotta cheesecake topped with berries might even tempt the ballet dancers to leap off the stage.
Photo by Flickr user bfick.