Meals on Wheels Wowed us with their Glamorous ‘Hollywood Under the Stars’ Gala

A delicious spread from Sumac Restaurant at Hollywood under the Stars benefit for Meals on Wheels 2022. Photo by Elise Thompson.

The LA Beat recently enjoyed “Hollywood Under the Stars” on the Paramount Studios lot. The charity’s first event in two years offered delicacies from over a dozen local chefs and patisseries, plus live music from the 10-piece De Bois All-Star Band. The event benefitted St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, the largest privately funded senior nutrition program in the country.

Everyone was friendly and having a good time dancing, chatting and posing for pictures on the beautiful film lot. Of course, if you know us at all, you know that for us it was all about the food. There were some old favorites there as well as some exciting newcomers.

Our new regular lunch spot Agnes, once again set up an absolutely insane cheese table. I especially love the triple cream soft cheeses, dried apricots, fresh fruit, coppa, fig jam, pimento cheese spread, and their signature corn nuts. Make sure to stop in at their cheesery and restaurant in Pasadena for their tater tots, pastas and bomb diggety sandwiches. Yes, their food is so good that it threw my slang right back to the early 2000s!

Friendly volunteers at Hollywood under the Stars benefit for Meals on Wheels 2022. Photo by Elise Thompson.

Michelin-starred Kali always surprises us with their creativity, even with something as simple as a salad. Their Girl and Dug tomato salad with avocado mousse and black garlic soil was as fun to look at as it was to eat. So Instagrammable. Soul food queen Georgia’s Jambalaya was a combination of sauteed shrimp, andouille and chicken in tomato-based creole roux and rice with a lagniappe of garlic crostini. It was even better than the last time we had it. Moving from New Orleans to Tennessee, the restaurant also impressed with a pulled pork sandwich that was elevated by Georgia’s own barbecue sauce and the de rigeur cole slaw on a brioche bun.

There is perhaps nothing better than stuffed squash blossoms, and L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele’s Stuffed zucchini flowers with ricotta were a nice early summer surprise. We had never seen montanaras before, deep fried pasta dough topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and basil. They were at once new and familiar, kind of like an Italian sope. Hank’s juicy burger is always welcome at any event. And in my mouth.

Wood & Vine’s pork belly “sushi” with sweet and sour sauce, spicy mayo, sriracha, and jalapeno was another favorite, an absolutely perfect bite. It was served alongside little dishes of roasted rainbow cauliflower. Vegan mecca Gracias Madre tempted us with Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos made with handmade corn tortillas and garnished with purple cabbage, cilantro, onions, and habanero salsa. And who doesn’t love street corn off the cob, also known as Esquites? Especially when they are made with real epazote.

A few places that are new to us made us look forward to visiting their brick and mortar locations. Hollywood’s Mediterranean fusion spot, Sumac, brought a moveable feast with crispy pita topped with the eponymous tart spice, sumac, kebbe ingeniously stuffed into little rolls known as borek, beef shwarma cut to order, baba gannouj, and delicious baklava. It being a warm evening, we especially enjoyed their cool and light Pearl Couscous Salad with Cucumber, Onion, Chickpeas, Sundried Tomato, Fresh Mint, Olives, Lemon Juice, and Olive Oil. Fanny’s served an extremely juicy and tender Jidori Chicken with lemon and Castelvetrano olives. They also served a stunning dark chocolate ganache tart in an almond shell

We are always excited to see Lark Bakeshop and their mini cupcakes. This time around they served Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with a whipped cream filling, topped with chocolate mousse as well as cute little Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Etoile Filante Patisserie always brings a variety of adorable macarons. I am especially in love with the little dog wearing a beret. Check out the photo gallery, seriously. Every time we see Bertha Mae’s Brownie’s we try a different flavor. This time we went for toffee, and it may be the best one yet.

Everyone knows Swiss chocolate’s reputation, and Laderach Chocolatier Suisse gave us something new to obsess over besides those little chocolate praline seashells. Their  FrischSchoggi™ is what is usually referred to as chocolate bark, stole the show. Their Hazelnut Milk FrischSchoggi™ was my favorite, and I’m sorry, Cadbury’s, but it even beat out your “Whole Nut” bar. It is made with large, roasted and caramelized hazelnuts from Piedmont.

It was a joyous evening of great music, food, and fun for a good cause!

Agnes Restaurant and Cheesery’s spread at Hollywood under the Stars benefit for Meals on Wheels 2022. Photo by Elise Thompson.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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