Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA), an organization devoted to important issues of birth control, disease prevention, and information about human sexuality, has found a cool way to raise money along with consciousness. Their 31st Annual Food Fare, held March 11 at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, offered food samples and crafts merchandise for sale, as well as a fundraising auction.
Tables and booths displayed clothing, scarves, jewelry, ceramics, and other artisan’s wares, with 30 percent of the sales going to PPLA. But it was the free food samples, courtesy of various local restaurants, caterers and gourmet food shops that most people paid admission to enjoy.
Everyone raved about the “ultimate grilled cheese sandwich” from Culver City’s Café Surfas. Resembling a bruschetta, the sandwich was made from a thin toasted piece of La Brea Bakery walnut bread spread with blue cheese mayo and melted raclette and white cheddar. Mmmm!
Also wonderful (to this reporter and a friend) was Chef Max’s Tortilla Soup from Parties Plus catering. The deep buff-colored soup was said to contain a mixture of vegetables and ground-up tortillas for thickness. The additions of cilantro and chopped onion were hardly necessary as the soup already had such a marvelous, subtle seasoning.
Linda’s Gourmet Latkes served up latkes (potato pancakes) with additions of sour cream and applesauce. The only problem was that the latkes were rather tiny, but then again, with so many other food samples on hand, it was probably better that they weren’t too filling.
One had to leave room for Corn Maiden tamales, always crowd-pleasers, with red and green salsas for accompaniment. Inside their corn husk wrappers, the tamales were perfectly cooked with the corn masa enveloping fillings of chicken, pork, spinach or sweet corn.
El Cholo, which has a branch here in Santa Monica, offered chicken chimichangas with a consistency so flaky that they almost resembled strudel.
At Got Kosher Caterers, vegans could enjoy vegan chopped liver (made from walnuts, peas and caramelized onions and tasting better than real liver), while Factor’s Deli from West LA served up chocolate macaroons and Chinese chicken salad.
Many people tried to be good and eat salads, including Food Incorporated’s Raw Kale salad. Surprisingly, the raw kale wasn’t bad, with its lemon cashew dressing. But crowds hovered wherever there was sweet stuff, like Got S’Mores table featuring variations on the classic s’more combo of chocolate and marshmallow, and the Gelato Bar’s tiny cones filled with multicolored sensuous gelati.
All in all, the Food Fare (which also featured musical entertainment ranging from a Dixieland Band to a string quartet) was a place to wine and dine and maybe even meet somebody special. That of course, would lead up perfectly to the materials on the Planned Parenthood tables, brochures about female and male sexuality and buttons inscribed “Love Carefully.” It was a good way to contribute to a good cause but also a good way to not be too careful about the calories—just for once.
Mirror Contributing Writerlynne@smmirror.com