By Alesandra Dubin Posted November 29, 2011, 11:00 AM EST
LOS ANGELES The company holiday party season has arrived. If you’re still searching for entertaining ideas for corporate groups in Los Angeles—whether you're hosting an office party, after-work drinks in a bar, or a big blowout—check out these resources for food, entertainment, gifts, event decor, rentals, group activities, and more.
1. Treat a corporate group to an educational afternoon or evening with certified sommelier Jennifer Rheuban, who leads classes and tastings for groups of as many as 10 at any location. Classes from Jen-on-Wine include comparisons between New World and Old World wines, tips for decoding labels, and wine-shopping suggestions. Rheuban can tailor the presentation to the group's knowledge of wine. A class for eight to 10 participants is about $1,000, plus the cost of wine.
2. Artisan tart shop Früute recently opened in West Hollywood. For in-office holiday treats, Früute's mini tarts look like edible pieces of art. Owner Yolanda Santosa focuses on environmentally conscious packaging made from recycled paper. The top-selling flavor? Sea salt caramel.
3. For a client or employee gift, wrap up the recently released cookbook, In Pursuit of Excellence, by two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin, owner and chef of Santa Monica's Mélisse. Among his many signature dishes featured in the book are lobster bolognese, with capellini, basil, and brown butter truffle froth, and a filet of beef, with garlic potato purée and red wine shallot sauce.
4. Icon Event Rentals offers new, modern-looking tree-shaped decor this holiday season. The eco-friendly pieces are constructed of white high-density polyethylene plastic (100-percent recyclable), as well as post-consumer recycled content. And since they're all solid white, they can be fully customized to an event or brand with colored lighting. Two heights, 7 and 5 feet, are available for rent.
5. Vosges Haut-Chocolat just celebrated its grand opening in Beverly Hills on November 16, marking its debut as a new source for crowd-pleasing holiday sweets. The chocolatier offers an array of boxed candies, including truffle and toffee collections. A messenger service will be available for deliveries in time for holiday gifting.
6. Already feeling overloaded on holiday treats? Macrobiotic restaurant M Café began offering its new holiday menus on November 1. Dishes include holiday favorites, festive drinks, and desserts with a healthy edge. Menus can be pre-ordered for in-office meals, or you can pick up one of M Café’s customizable gift baskets filled with macrobiotic items for under $40.
7. The ice rink and rinkside lounge at W Los Angeles—Westwood are back and available for group booking. The 1,600-square-foot rink area, styled by Chad Hudson Events, is set against a backdrop of bright lights, votives, and an hourly “snowfall.” The lounge space's modern decor (think mirrors and white deer heads) comes courtesy of Z Gallerie. Other rinks around town include Pershing Square's Downtown on Ice and Santa Monica's ICE rink, now in its fifth year.
8. Here's a gift that's more exciting than a branded tchotchke: ArtBites, which leads classes that combine history and food, has gift certificates for the holidays. Certificates are available in $55 and $100 denominations. They can be applied to a variety of upcoming classes on the schedule, which is updated regularly.
9. Westlake Village cupcake shop Sweet Arleen's (winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars) just launched a dessert truck, available for event booking. West Coast Customs tricked out the truck, making it an eye-catching choice for an office or holiday party.
10. Kimberly Seeherman and the team behind Events by Fabulous have opened Fab-U-Tique, a new West Hollywood showroom space for decor and planning services. The space is meant to simplify the process of putting together an in-office celebration, offering an array of items like furniture, decorative pillows, candelabras, linens, and props for rent. Looking for something branded or unusual? Custom pieces can also be made.