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to do. to see. to hear. to love

One of my best friend’s, Donna, asked me to design the food for a birthday party for her and her friend Lex! Of course, I was totally honored and so excited to get to plan a menu for such a great space and people! The party was held at Madera Design Studio in downtown Los Angeles. The venue is whimsical and interactive and is run by Leila Fakouri, a production designer here in LA. Donna has been telling me about it for a few years now and I finally got to experience the cuteness of it all! Based on a few pictures from the studio I decided to do something amusing and playful, as well as on a budget for an estimated 150 people!  Get ready for some photos…there are lots of them!!

For the main appetizer we served grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I saw this on Pinterest and it became the inspiration for the entire menu! Comfort food that is witty, on a budget, and easy!  This one just required wonder bread, American cheese, butter and tomato soup from Trader Joe’s! Really, it is all about the presentation to create the charm. The little plastic cups came from Smart and Final…found last minute after a wrong order from etsy! BUT, we still used the cute wood spoons that came with the wrong order. This appetizer was a hit!

Next on the menu! Spicy and Sweet Popcorn!!! A Martha Stewart recipe and a good late night snack, at least at this party!  I found a wash bin bucket from Moskatel’s downtown and a silver scoop from a restaurant supply store. The little bags came from the same etsy store,  In The Clear, as the spoons and cups we didn’t use!

Donna and Lex both really loved my Christmas party tablecloth and the labeling on the paper. I didn’t want to do the exact same thing, so I played it a bit differently this time using black construction paper and white crayon. AND I am not sure anyone should have a party without some cheese!

For napkins, I found striped white linen fabric and cut it into squares (pictured above with the cheese). Much more intimate than paper napkins.

Also, on the menu were Pigs in a Blanket (purchased from Trader Joe’s) and Deviled Eggs with tarragon and dill. The piggies are pictured above as well as my worried face after burning some grilled cheese! Oops! The deviled eggs were one of the only things I made from scratch. Super easy with mayo, dijon mustard, tarragon, dill, salt and pepper, and some olive oil.

DESSERT!!! I love cupcakes. I love cake. I also love donuts. Cupcakes are all the rage so why not dare to be different this time. Donuts are cheap, required no prep except getting in the car to buy them…and they are DELICIOUS! Fruit skewers were also on the menu…for those who watch their figure. I added some waffle cookies from Trader Joe’s as a nibble and thought they went well with the playful theme. Also, pictured above you can see the wood card place holders for the food. Another little added feature. We went downtown to the LA Flower mart and got a bunch of different flowers and put together bouquets in mason jars, jars, and bottles to accompany the food on the table ( you can see these throughout the photos)

THE SYRUP BAR. This was one of my favorite parts! I have been obsessed with making different flavored syrups since this past summer, which are great for making cocktails. To make the drinks as entertaining as the food, I threw in 3 different types of syrups accompanied by recipe cards (pictured behind the syrups). We had lavender, ginger, and lemon lime syrup as well as fresh lemon-lime juice.  I found the vases at Moskatel’s downtown and I made the little wood cards and recipe cards.

The bar itself was pretty basic. Donna found some blue striped straws on Amazon and I got the thick plastic tumblers instead of solo cups. After all, we are in our thirties, it might be time to put solo cups to rest. Donna and Lex also wanted a festive punch from our childhood. We did ginger ale/pineapple juice/rainbow sherbet/ vodka. This was tasty and I drank it all night! Sugar overload!!!!

There were so many other fun surprises at the party. The place itself is fun to explore noticing each and every detail put into the design. You can see the large screen in the background playing music videos and trailers from the year’s Donna and Lex were born…all while the DJ’s pumped out the music and there was a party on the dance floor!  The Neverending Story was also screening on another tv in a small lounge area.

And a photo booth…what’s a party without a photo booth these days?

Complete with doll parts, a typewriter,a tricycle, and orbs!!!!!

Below are a few photos of the space.

Pleas check out more photos of the Madera Design Studio here and here!

All photos are courtesy of Zachary Driscoll…pictured below! Thank you Zach and thank you Donna and Lex for having me be a part of your birthday extravaganza!!! I had so much fun doing this. Too bad my sisters and I don’t live near each other as we could be the best party planners ever! Anyone else need some party planning…give me a ring!

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5 Comments

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  1. Zach #
    February 6, 2012

    Great write up about a great night with great food! Thanks Annie!

  2. natalie #
    February 6, 2012

    Everything looked amazing, great job Annie!

  3. Donna #
    February 6, 2012

    Oh my gosh! I love you!
    Dinner this week? Text me!
    Thank you for such a magical party!

  4. Julie #
    February 6, 2012

    So awesome Anne! Move here so we can go into business together!

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