Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl

After a 2 hour drive from OC, a hefty walk from my car, and on only 4 hours sleep, I expected to need intravenous Diet Coke to keep alert...

It turns out watching Pink Martini was all the pick-me-up I needed. I was transfixed.

Prior to the show this past Sunday, I knew very little about Pink Martini and now am a newbie fan. Thanks to Anna for bringing me out.  For those who have not heard of them, Pink Martini is a 12 piece band from Portland, Oregon that was formed in 1994 by band leader and pianist, Thomas Lauderdale.  Pink Martini's repertoire is diverse, multi-cultural,  and romantic. Lead vocalist and "Diva Next Door", China Forbes harmoniously transitions from Spanish, to French, to old school American classics with ease, charm, and wit.  Thomas describes the band's sound as "music of the world without being world music. If the United Nations had a house band in 1962 hopefully Pink Martini would be that band."  

The below Letterman clip features the elegant China Forbes singing "Hey Eugene" an original tune which she sang last Sunday (no good YouTube clip for this rad song).  Enjoy!

Pink Martini is known also for bringing along unexpected, but incredible special guests.  Sunday night was no exception - Rufus Wainwright, Jane Powell and the original cast of Sesame Street came along for the ride.  Watching the Sesame Street cast sing "Mahna Mahna" and "Rubber Ducky" among other Sesame Street classics was awesome.  Heidi, Anna, and I happily sang along.

The multi-talented Rufus Wainwright performed with China a rousing duet of "Come On Get Happy" (popularized by Barbara Streisand).  Check out the vibe from Sunday's show below.

But the special guest highlight for me was Jane Powell - 81 years old with a voice that did not sound like it was coming from an octogenarian.  She looked amazing and sounded better- whatever multivitamin and skin treatment she is on - sign me up.  I can't do her justice so better to watch the below video of Jane Powell singing "Too Late Now" from her 1951 film "Royal Wedding" co-starring, Fred Astaire.

I love the Hollywood Bowl and how can anyone not?  The setting is breathtaking, there are no bad seats, its BYOB or (as I like to say BYOC – bring your own cheese), and it’s inexpensive (if you don't mind the "closer to God" seats). Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, the Bowl is a gorgeous and historic background to enjoy music, great friends, and great food.  Pink Martini was the perfect kick-off to my Hollywood Bowl season (I am a little late). My Bowl calendar: African-beats inspired Vampire Weekend on 9/26 (foreshadowing for upcoming post) & an all time favorite for me, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on 10/1.

Now food time - When visiting the Bowl you could buy food from Patina, which is good, but packing up a picnic and eating while watching is more fun.  If you have a picnic basket, pull it off the top shelf and let's do it up!  I don't have a pincic basket, so my pick is a TJs reuseable bag.

Everyone knows the traditional noshables packed for a night at the Bowl – all of which can be found at TJs.  Below are my favorites.

First, and foremost – CHEESE! Manchego, Gouda, Havarti, Brie, sharp cheddar... I am getting too excited.

Hummus – I like roasted eggplant flavor spread on crackers or on TJs flatbread

Tapenades – the sun-dried tomato bruschetta is wonderful as is the mixed olive tapenade. Both are great on crackers or flat bread.

Veggies and fruits - grapes, strawberries, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots...

Nuts – Roasted and lightly salted.

Desserts - my pick for Pink Martini was Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread that is great on crackers or dipped in fruit).

Wine (but don’t forget your bottle opener) and if you are not in the mood for alcohol – TJs makes great sparkling juices - I love sparkling Pomegranate and sparkling blueberry (also great mixed with champagne).

In addition to these little bites, what can we actually prepare beforehand to supplement our noshes? My mama bear always brings pasta to the Bowl... so I will follow-suit (because my mama bear is the best cook ever).

Since the pasta has to be cold, the obvious choice is pasta salad.

So here we go - Hollywood Bowl Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad is fun to make because you can use many different ingredients and measuring is not strictly required.  You just throw in the ingredients and taste it, and continue to adjust until it's just right. 

Here are the ingredients in this Greek style pasta salad pictured above:

1 12 oz package of rainbow colored twirly pasta noodles (fusilli).
Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (I like Newmans's Own - and that's Paul Newman - most famous for me for his salad dressings and pasta sauces)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tomatoes (any kind you like - sugar plum, grape, Roma...)
Feta Cheese
Kalamata Olives
Bell Peppers
Salt and Pepper to taste.

All you do is cook the pasta, let it cool down, and then toss in all the other ingredients.  You could also add marinated artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and cooked shrimp if you like. 

I hope I have convinced you to check out Pink Martini at the Hollywood Bowl next September - and if you go, look around for me and say hello!  We will try each other's pasta salads!


  1. doo do doo doo do. The question is what is a mahnamahna? The question is, who cares?

    That Greek style pasta salad looks bitchen!

  2. Z, I was never really "at home" in LA, being a Florida girl.... but seriously - you make me romanticize about moving back. And that, is quite the accomplishment. Love the incorporation of music and food. Its a very LA combination done in a very LA way - sophisticated, tasteful, and understated. The blog speaks for itself, but I am going to say its wonderful anyway.

  3. can't wait for next sunday!! and thanks for giving me some food ideas...looking forward to it! and btw, did you know i am also going to tom petty on the 1st? did we discuss this?

  4. I took pasta salad to The Hollywood Bowl last time I went - of course, due to my lack of a real kitchen I made mine from a box- and it was a big hit. Apparently it's a perfect pairing!