Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I attended a press conference this morning for the launch of Los Angeles' first Dine LA Restaurant Week. From January 27- February 1 and February 3-8, over 140 participating restaurants will be offering special prix fixe lunches and dinners ranging from $15-$34. The idea is to promote and showcase Los Angeles area restaurants by attracting new customers and thanking existing ones with their specially priced meals during a typically slow time of the year for the restaurant industry. This will be a huge promotional event for Los Angeles restaurants, much like it has been for cities like New York and San Francisco.
The press conference was held at Neal Fraser's Grace restaurant on Beverly Boulevard. After checking in, we helped ourselves to complimentary pastries and coffee, mingled with a fellow food blogger, and took a seat behind the television crews facing the stage.
The highlight was the presence of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. All eyes were on him when he made his grand entrance followed by his bodyguards and handlers. He posed for some photos with the chefs including Mary Sue Miliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill. It was great to see a politician in action. He was gregarious and affable, working the room, and gamely wore the chef's coat presented to him by Miliken and Feniger. The mayor spoke, along with The Border Girls, Neal Fraser and Mark Liberman, head of LA Inc. about how excited they are about LA's first restaurant week, what a great diverse food community we have, how LA is the greatest city.. blah, blah, blah. After the conference, our mayor (during which he took a moment to address the Spanish language TV crews in Spanish), played the role of rookie restaurant employee in his new chef's whites starting from the bottom up: he cleaned up a broken champagne glass, then began handing out hors d'oeuvres. Photo-ops galore!
We nibbled on lamb chops (served to me by Mayor V himself) and tuna tartare, while sipping on Veuve Clicqout champagne. I love these promotional events. They offer participants a lovely combination of insider news and free stuff. Today’s swag: a half pound box of See's Candy.