HISTORY OF THE DINNERS

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Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 10.21.42 PMOn a drizzly Sunday in Paris, when 2014 was only a few days old, we attended a dinner hosted by an American expatriate named Jim Haynes. Every Sunday evening for three decades, Jim had welcomed people into his home for conversation and a meal. The food was simple and hearty, but it was the interesting mix of people that made the gathering so enjoyable.

There were American tourists, Parisians of all ages, a Russian student. Teenagers and seniors alike perched themselves around the apartment with plates balanced on their laps. Many guests had been coming for years while others, like us, were experiencing the dinner for the first time. Advertising was by word of mouth.

Jim charges for his dinners and it’s a moneymaking enterprise – that’s as it should be when someone hosts events and prepares food, time and time again, for so many people – but this was an experience different from what you’d find in any restaurant. What a great time we had!

Even before we left Jim’s apartment and stepped back onto the rain-glistened Rue de la Tombe Issoire we resolved to recreate that dinner-party magic back in California. Dinner in Los Angeles was born.

Please join us in our loft apartment in historic Downtown LA, which GQ magazine has called “America’s Next Great City.”

YOUR HOSTS
Clay Russell is a writer, raconteur and former professional chef.
Calvin Phelps is an artist, curator and gallerist.
Most important: We love to entertain!

SOME EAST COAST INK FOR US

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nypostWe were tickled to be mentioned in the venerable New York Post.  In their article, “LA’s most historic neighborhood gets a makeover,” they single out Dinner in Los Angeles, the “monthly art-world-oriented dinners — where guests can dine, meet local artists and visit [2A] gallery.

Read the entire excellent article here, and thanks, New York Post!

Sunday, April 6, 2014 – BRUNCH!

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Dinner is dinner but Dinner in Los Angeles is something unique. It can be many things, and today it’s brunch. A springtime Sunday in LA can be warm or hot; there might be a little nip in the air. But whatever the weather outside, there’s always a sense of freshness, of something new, in the spring.

It can be wonderful to meet new people and that’s what always happens at Dinner in Los Angeles. Come downtown and join us!

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Homemade cinnamon rolls
Vegetable frittata
Shrimp-and-andouille grits
Homemade turkey sausage
Mint-ginger fruit salad
New Orleans-style pralines
Mimosas

Brunch begins at 11:30am and ends at 2:30pm. Participation is $30 per person. Reserve your space here.

SPECIAL UPDATE: Both artists whose work appears in 2A Gallery‘s current show Support Systems will attend today’s brunch and give a private talk in the gallery. Meet j.frede and Joshua Petker and learn about the inspiration for their great exhibition.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 – A SOUTHERN EASTER DINNER

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Easter is a week off but what better way to begin the week than with a true Southern meal! Come on down and join us for good food and meet some good folks. You’ll also have exclusive private access to 2A Gallery (in our building) for a look at Support Systems, a stimulating new two-person show.

This is going to be a fun evening!

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Deviled eggs (of course)
Bourbon-and-Pecan-Glazed Ham
Squash Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole (you know the one)
Homemade Biscuits
Sweet Potato Pie

 

7-10pm. $30 per person. Sign up here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014 – SOUTH AFRICA

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Happy Freedom Day!

It was on this date in 1994 that the first democratic, non-racial elections were held in South Africa, and the anniversary is celebrated with enthusiasm and reverence across the nation. In the spirit of freedom and brotherhood, Dinner in Los Angeles is celebrating the day with a special menu of South African specialties, including one of Nelson Mandela’s favorite dishes. Come downtown and join us!

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Chilled butternut squash and mandarin orange soup
Madibo’s favorite sweet chicken
Creamy taro/pesto mash
Morogo – traditional leafy greens with onions and tomatoes
Grilled roosterkoek bread with eggplant dip
Koeksisters – fried dough with cinnamon syrup

7-10pm. $30 per person. Sign up here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014 – MOTHER’S DAY

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Mother’s Day, when we honor the women who gave us our very lives!

It would be convenient if I could remember my own dear departed mother today by sharing some of her best recipes. Alas, for Mama’s many and several talents, it would dishonor truth to call her a good cook. She kept us alive – my father, brother and I – but any enjoyment of the table was acquired in restaurants or grandparents’ homes. Chewing Mama’s Swiss steak was an exertion that burned more calories than calisthenics, and the dish would have jarred those nice Swiss people out of centuries of neutrality if they had ever heard about it. Under her hand innocent pork chops metamorphosed into shoe leather. The kitchen was not her favorite place to be.

Still, the woman could fry chicken. She knew how to nudge me into an appreciation of vegetables with the judicious application of butter and cheese. And I really loved her stuffed peppers. She had her moments, and it’s those moments I recall today. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Nachos
Peel-your-own boiled shrimp
Stuffed peppers (some with ham, some with beef)
Broccoli with cheese sauce
Dinner rolls
Pecan pie

 

7-10pm. $30 per person. Sign up here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014 – JAMAICA

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Between 1986 and 2010 almost a half-million Jamaicans moved to the United States. By far most people of Jamaican ancestry in the U.S. live along the East Coast. Jamaica covers 4411 square miles, making it somewhat smaller than Connecticut but about six times larger than the city of Anaconda, Montana. It boasts a population of 2.7 million, giving it a population density of 250/km2, meaning that it is slightly more densely populated than Germany but only half as densely populated as Mayotte, a French department in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. Mayotte’s capital is Mamoudzou.

I have visited Jamaica but that was in 1977 and I was with my grandmother. I recall eating some grilled lobster tails in Montego Bay, and I saw goats drinking from puddles in the street in Port Antonio. I do not believe there to be any people of Jamaican ancestry among my current sphere of acquaintanceship but this is due not to any fault of people of Jamaican ancestry but rather to my slothfulness in the realm of diversity.

We do hope you will join us in Downtown LA for an evening of Jamaican food and music. (The food will be made in-house but the music will be the recorded variety.)

 

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Saltfish fritters
Jerk chicken wings (hot and super-hot)
Avocado & mango salad
Rice & peas
Plantain turnovers
Rum punch and Red Stripe

7-10pm. Dinner is $30 per person. Sign up here.

June 1, 2014 – AUSTRALIA

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Australia celebrates National Recognition Week each year between May 27 and June 3, two dates that figure prominently in the nation’s changing attitudes toward Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. On May 27, 1967, a national referendum was held in which over 90 percent of Australians voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognize them in the national census. And on June 3, 1992, Australia’s High Court issued its landmark Mabo decision, in which, for the first time, native peoples were acknowledged as the traditional owners of their land.

Dinner in Los Angeles celebrates National Recognition Week with an evening of Aboriginal music (recorded) and Australian food. And, as always, guests are invited to a private after-hours visit to 2A Gallery in our building to view the current show.

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Homemade chicken Chiko rolls
Dress-your-own homemade snags
Potato salad & potato chips
Roasted sweet potato salad with feta
Pavlova

7-10pm. Dinner is $30 per person. Sign up here.