By Alesandra Dubin Posted June 16, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES As the Southern California heat begins to really soar, try these ideas for entertaining groups in the summertime.
1. At Malibu-based Beachy Cream, Ann Ryan and longtime friend and baker Debbie Kimble create ice cream sandwiches made in small batches with locally sourced, sustainable, and organic ingredients. Flavors include Key Lime Cowabunga, Strawberry Surfer Girl, and Ginger Wipe Out. A cart makes the ice cream treats available for events. For large crowds, Beachy Cream caters with multiple ice cream sandwich stations, and can staff events with Beachy Cream Girls who circulate and serve the confections from trays, a la vintage cigarette girls. For smaller events, Beachy Cream delivers the treats in a cooler with dry ice.
2. Since attention spans seem to dissolve into nothing when summeritis comes around, bring Zen Arts for event entertainment. The performance and entertainment company has a stable of entertainers including aerialists, belly, fire, and burlesque dancers, and other cirque-style performers. The group is available for corporate event booking, and takes on work from large-scale rigging and lighting down to bringing just a few individual performers and dancers. Generally, budgets are about $10,000 or more.
3. Westwood's Napa Valley Grille—known for executive chef Joseph Gillard’s seasonal menus and a commitment to locally sourced produce—recently began offering a new boxed lunch program. The menu includes a variety of grab-and-go menu options priced from $10.75 to $13.75, ideal for entertaining at the Hollywood Bowl, or in the office. Each order includes a sandwich, side salad, bag of housemade potato chips, and dessert, packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable containers. Each boxed lunch is themed around a different region of California’s Napa Valley, with options such the Russian River, (shrimp salad sandwich and sweet pea salad), the Stag’s Leap (slow-roasted rare prime beef sandwich and roasted red fingerling potato salad), or the St. Helena (roasted vegetable focaccia and orzo pasta salad). The lunches are available for delivery and local pickup.
4. For a picnic feel where real grass is unavailable, Town & Country's new Real Turf product looks and feels more like real grass thanks to its densely packed one-inch blades. Heavy PVC backing prevents wrinkles and bumps, and seamless installation shows no tape. Town & Country has more than 40,000 feet of the product in stock. It runs $0.79 per square foot.