“Hey, do you want to come with me to the Bottega Louie party tonight?”
“I’m down behind the OC curtain…Maybe.”
“So, you’re being noncommittal?” I said this with some boss like disgust—to make the point that not going with me was not an option.
“Be at my place at four-thirty.” I hung up on Shannon (downtownster senior writer). My girlfriend had a late class at school that she could not, not attend and the thought of walking around the Grand Opening soirée being thrown at Bottega Louie without a chaperone was a akin to teasing a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo. Meaning, that I was reasonably confident that there would be attractive members of the opposite sex at this bash and I have a particularly strong appetite for troublemakers who like to tease me.
At this juncture let me advise you to read my blog of last week simply titled Bottega Louie. I was effusive in my praise of this game changer of a restaurant. In short the trial I was blessed enough to attend could be summarized as such: the space is a masterpiece, the food is perfection, and the prices beyond reasonable. The party was really just a formality for me to attend—I knew what to expect.
I spent the day suited up for the occasion in my black suit and classic brown tie—I call this my Capote look. I know that I have absolutely zero resemblance to Truman Capote, but I’m referring to the era, which people still dressed with some class, in the classical sense. Bottega Louie makes all who enter want to look good. And isn’t it time we all start to dress again? So with the trusty Shannon on my arm I checked in with the polite young man at the door and entered.
Most of the tables had been removed to make room for the standing room only crowd, which atypical of Los Angeles was there right on time. The retail market was taking orders and giving out complimentary food by the bag full. This generosity was taken from the Hearst Castle party guide. While the food flowed out from the retail counter, trays of delectable items such as lamb chops and goat cheese stuffed endive leaves passed by every thirty seconds or so. And keep in mind this deluge of food was just meant to warm the appetite of partygoers on their way back to the gourmet pizza oven where every type of pizza was being produced on the minute.
Drink—the drinking began upon stepping in the door. “Champagne?” the girl asked.
“Why yes, don’t mind if I do.” The first glass of Moet went down the hatch around 5:00 the subsequent fifteen or so went down over the next three hours of schmoozing and there was a plethora of schmoozing to do.
Shannon was practically knocked to the floor by the hug I received from Carmen Rodriguez, director of something at City National Bank. Carmen is one of the well- connected Downtown movers and shakers one would expect to be at a Grand Opening. I should probably allay the reader’s fear for Shannon’s wellbeing. Shannon won the Pan American Game’s Gold Medal for mixed martial arts, so she’s more than resilient enough to get through a Stan hug-fest.
“Stan, this is Cynthia…You two should talk!” said Carmen.
Cynthia Ruiz is the President of the Board of Public Works…I’m not too sure what this job entails, but much like Carmen she is a dynamic powerful woman and I was sure to mention my concern that AEG / LA Live is not fulfilling its’ promise to do the right thing by the community. I did have a meeting with Michael Roth (Vice President of Communications), by the way, and he made some promises that I am waiting to see come to fruition. I was also sure to mention my desire for the Mayor to chat with downtownster on a weekly basis. And with respect to this, I really do mean it in the most positive way. I think downtownster provides the Mayor a new vehicle for communicating with the community.
Carol Schatz wandered into my schmooze zone. “Hi Carol, Stan Lerner…”
“I got your call, Stan. It’s just really busy at the office right now, our big event is next week.”
Carol is the President of the CCA, which basically represents business’s interest to the City Council—she’s been given too many honors to mention in this blog and although I don’t recall the ranking, I know she’s on the 100 Most Powerful People in Business list. Not as impressive as my onetime ranking on the FBI’s most wanted list I know, but impressive non-the-less.
“Not a problem,” I responded. “But after the big shindig I’d really like to get into the loop with the CCA. I think downtownster readers would appreciate hearing about what’s going on.”
“We’d love that…Hey, Hal Bastian’s here, you need to start talking to Hal as well.”
And just as I was having a laugh with Hal, who manages the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, David Kean (the realtor) walked in with Jan Perry…who refers to him as her friend without benefits. For those of you who don’t live on this planet Jan is the Council Woman for the Ninth District. Everyone I know likes Jan…She has a sensibility about her reminiscent of a Jewish Mother—minus the nagging. I myself like Jan a great deal and was pleased that she both noticed and liked the classic Gucci shoes I was wearing. That’s future mayor material in my book. Speaking of books—PLUG—I now have six books available as e-books on Amazon Kindle for your further reading pleasure and my financial benefit.
Then I was talking education with Pamela Huntoon, Education Deputy Ninth District. Pamela was part of the David and Jan contingent…Ricki Kline who designs all the venues for 213 Inc. joined the group, as did Michael McCoy. Michael an architect with KTGY shuttled an endless number of people over to meet Jan…Why an architect from Santa Monica knows half of Downtown I can only speculate, but who cares, it made for some fun.
It was a swell bash. And I said so to Daniel Flores, the President of Bottega Louie, who seemed to be getting used to my excessive gregarity. And yes I know that there is no such word as gregarity, but there should be. After bidding Daniel and others adieu Shannon made sure I got home safely. I feel like making up a story about someone trying to mug us and Shannon, who is attractive, beating him to a pulp, however I feel my word count limit approaching.
THREE DAYS LATER – I’ve recovered from the Bottega Louie party, a hard night of drinking and dancing with the girlfriend at Bordello, and a spontaneous trip with the girlfriend to Santa Barbara. I know. I’m a great boyfriend as long as I’m kept on a leash the length of…say…a tennis bracelet. Anyway, it’s Bottega Louie’s first day open to the public and I am of course at a table drinking cappuccinos and greeting friends who have all been informed that I’ve moved from Starbucks to Bottega Louie. That’s right. NO MORE STARBUCKS FOR ANY OF US! Even if you have to walk a couple of extra blocks – the coffee is better, less expensive for what you get, and the business is locally owned. I’m going to skip a major disclosure and save it for another blog, but let me just say here that I’ve been involved in an effort to get Starbucks to change their ways—no luck so far!
I predicted last week that Bottega Louie would be a big success, and as I switch to Mimosas, and watch the happy lunch crowd come through I’m patting myself on the back—I can still pick a winner. It’s day one and there are already lots of happy customers. I’m now emboldened to make another prediction. I’ve heard the word icon or iconic tossed around a lot. Tim Leiweke used it ten times in one speech when referring to LA Live. But saying something is iconic doesn’t make it so—just a word. Bottega Louie actually delivers, and it will be an LA Icon—you can hold me to this prediction. Note: I’m sitting here now watching it happen.