Opening party at Fig & Olive, Los Angeles

Among the Hollywood celebrities at last month’s opening parties at Fig & Olive were Real Housewives, stars of Glee to Dirty Sexy Money, but it was so busy, and the dishes so intriguing, that I didn’t notice. Crowds filled Fig & Olive’s 8,000-square foot space, with lots of natural light for an indoor olive tree, an indoor terrace, 50-foot, marble communal table and a balcony, all on – naturally – Melrose Place in West Hollywood. And with the opening over three nights – saluting, respectively, France, Italy and Spain, the three Mediterranean countries whose cooking is featured.

My night was Spain, and so, with the tables removed and the bar given over to special cocktails, waitstaff passed tapas-sized plates. This plate of crostini, for example, boasted:

  • Manchego, fig, marcona almond
  • Shrimp, avocado, cilantro, tomato
  • Bresaola, goat cheese, black olive
  • Mushroom, truffled artichoke, parmesan
  • Prosciutto, ricotta, fig, olive, walnut.

Staff also passed a fig and gorgonzola tartlet; paella of Santa Barbara spot prawn, diver scallop and artichoke tapenade; yellowfin tuna carpaccio with balsamic vinegar, cilantro, arugula, tomoato, marcona almond and toasted sesame oil, and lots more I didn’t get to try but want to go back for.

Hollywood celebrities or no, the night really belonged to culinary dignitaries on who welcomed us from a podium: executive chef Pascal Lorange, founder Laurent Halasz and the mayor of Mougins, on the French Riviera near another city with a Hollywood connection, Cannes. The paparazzi snapped, and the chefs wore it well.