Held on the campus of The Center at Blessed Sacrament in the heart of Hollywood, the fifth annual Sunset & Dine event took place September 1st, featuring an abundance of area restaurants and bars. A silent auction, free attendee raffle tickets for a Mama Shelter gift card, and both DJs and live entertainment curated by Amoeba Music, completed the fun and festive night.
The Center itself is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending homelessness and isolation in Hollywood, providing a safe and welcoming space for those who are homeless, and serving as a hub of leadership in fighting chronic homelessness. The Center also offers a variety of quality-of-life engagement programs such as art, poetry, recovery groups, and other holistic activities.
Along with supporting the Center, the event featured title sponsorship from Stop the Housing Ban, the Coalition to Protect L.A. Neighborhoods & Jobs, whose booth at the event provided information on voting against the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. The initiative is essentially a new housing ban whose passage could increase rents, cost jobs, and worsen homelessness issues.
The importance of understanding this initiative and the Center’s worthy fund-raising goals aside, Sunset & Dine is a terrific night of food-driven entertainment. The range of restaurants and bars made the event a lot of fun, from sushi to cream puffs, from delicious craft cocktails to tastes of trendy new dining spots.
Food stand-outs included Dandy Don’s HomeMade Ice Cream complete with sundae-topping bar; the delicate yet spicy flavor in the thin sliced hamachi from new, sleek Paley. restaurant; mini-pies including the superlative Mexican chocolate from The Pie Hole, promoting their new Hollywood and Vine location; and vibrant, crisp salads from Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Wood & Vine, and Sweetgreen.
Cleo at The Redbury served up some delicious mini Feta tarts, grape leaves, and hummus. The Melt offered a rich macaroni and cheese, as well as a salad featuring grilled cheese croutons. Not cheesy enough? Magnolia also served up a stellar mac n’ cheese, while Smoke’s Poutinerie offered a massive helping of their definitive dish: crispy fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.
There were well-known chain spots such as Dave & Busters, who dished up their mac n’ cheese take, and the Hollywood McDonald’s branch, providing samples of McCafe coffees and sliced apples; and there were food booths from local spots like ikabsa, whose Arab cuisine included a really terrific sweet rice, and 100% organic sourcing. Ciabatta Bar’s marinara sauce pasta and delicious breads were a great introduction to the spot, and Blue C’s sushi was a beautifully crafted mix of sweet – green tea flavored rice crisp, and spicy fresh fish. Blue C also provided a “Plate Stackers Club” card which rewards repeated dining visits with $10 off customer meals.
In the beverage area, The Well was extremely popular with their delicious on-draft Old Fashioneds; next door, Stolen Rum topped smoky tastes with whipped cream, and handed out mens and ladies T-shirts to attendees. Tinhorn Flats and 33 Taps offered tasty brews, with Devotion Vodka, Diablo Beverages, John & Pete’s Fine Wines and Spirits, and Evian also quenching thirsts.
LA Arts Online took photos of event participants, available for free download on their website; and Amoeba made the evening hum, first spinning records, and then hosting Gabriel Garzon- Montano live on stage. Another nice touch: a wheel spin for a $1 charitable donation, which provided prizes such as $5 off at Amoeba’s vast music store, canvas bags, and psychedelic turntable covers.
Exhibition booths such as property developments Eastown, The Camden, and Hollywood Proper Residences showed off sleek and attractive living space, while the Los Angeles Film School and Emerson College Los Angeles offered information about their educational programs. Blessed Sacrament School also had a booth, showcasing their Pre-K through 7th grade classes.
At the Silent Auction, a strong mix of restaurant gift cards, Pantages Theatre tickets, and a hotel stay at Loews Hollywood netted eager bidders.
One of the most appealing aspects of the event – besides the great food and drink, music, and worthy cause – was the mix of attendees. From families to foodies, there was something for everyone to enjoy, and the low key vibe made this year’s Sunset & Dine a great spot to linger as the sun sunk behind a skyline dotted with palm trees and the neon marquis of Hollywood Boulevard’s El Capitan Theater.
The full list of food, drink, and exhibition vendors on hand include:
Special thanks to all our sponsors! The title sponsor was Stop the Housing Ban, the Coalition to Protect L.A. Neighborhoods & Jobs. Premiere sponsors included Hudson Pacific Properties and The Los Angeles Film School. Gold sponsors included The Camden, Emerson College Los Angeles, and Paramount Contractors & Developers. The event was also made possible in part by these community sponsors: Amoeba, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, LAArtsOnline.com, NthoNet Inc., Siren Studios.
Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.
September 12, 2016