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Jonathan Gold's Union Station Cocktail Party for Zócalo: The Lowdown

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Saturday night Union Station's grand ticket hall was the very grand location of Jonathan Gold's Cocktail Party to benefit Zócalo. People were giddy as they were photographed at the entry, feeling like they had the fabled golden ticket. The lighting was dim in the gorgeous art deco hall, but the room was not overly crowded. Still, the auditorium chairs set up in the middle of the room did cause some "excuse me" "pardon me"s.

The bars were like a dream. Set up in stations throughout the room and serving only one cocktail each, the bars were able to move patrons quickly. There was a table offering Perrier Jouet (the one with the flowers), traditional absinthe service and Death in the Afternoon from The Doheney, bars serving Cole's Manhattans, Seven Grand's Chivas Marnie Taylor and Chivas Regal 18 served neat, and finally The Varnish's Beefeater Gin Fix, my favorite cocktail of the evening.

The food was set up along one wall, so you could just shoot right down like a slip n' slide of gastronomy. Still, most people took their time and stood at tables to enjoy the tastes along with the cocktails. The cocktails had been specially paired, a Manhattan was suggested for Cut's Kobe beef short ribs, and the Chivas Mamie Taylor with lime and ginger was paired with the clam fritters from Providence. The short ribs and fritters were the standout dishes of the evening. Other notables bites were the tuna tartare "sandwiches" from Cut and Rivera's Tortillas Florales. The biggest WTF of the evening were The Gorbals' bacon-wrapped matzoh balls. We love you, Ilan, but was there a "sacrilege" quickfire we didn't know about?

Pig burgers from Church & State were also excellent, deep-fried patties of pure pig goodness. I would have liked to go back for more burgers and more short ribs, but so much was happening that by the time I even remembered, it was time to pack up. Somehow while running around and running my mouth I also missed the Butterscotch Budino from Mozza, which made me want to cry. Comme Ca's sliders were very surprisingly steak tartare. The pork terrine from Palate was a little heavy on the 1950s aspic style for me, and not being a fan of sardines, Mozza's Bufala and alici salad wasn't for me.

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It was great fun gabbing with Rivera, who I lovelovelove and Michael Cimarusti, who tries to patiently educate us left-coasters on the true meaning of East coast food, and Ludo, who is just dreamy, sigh. There were a few other bloggers there, including Emma from Squid Ink and some former LAisters. And then there was Cedd Moses and his beautiful wife, and of course Jonathan Gold. He tends to look at me as if he is trying to figure out if I am kidding or if I'm really like this. I did a Tina Turner shimmy for him in my fringe dress just to cheer him on.

Because the next part of the evening was the big panel! On cocktails - which we were drinking. It was all coming together. The panel included the man behind 213, Cedd Moses, Providence chef Michael Cimarusti, Varnish bartender Eric Alperin and Vincenzo Marianella, head barman at Copa d'Oro. Cedd and his team chose to make Jonathan his favorite drink, a Ramos gin fizz, which originated in New Orleans and is famous for the addition of a raw egg and its demand for extensive shaking. Watch the entire panel discussion here.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Cava, with a super-groovy vibe that makes them an excellent mellow party band. Cora Apple was a trip. Part vaudeville, part musician, and a little performance art. She went all the way with a 40s show, even affecting that trippy old Bronx-y movie accent girls with moxie always had.

According to LA Observed, "Zócalo founder Gregory Rodriguez seemed thrilled by the turnout" so let's hope this event raised a good amount for a good cause. For more information on Zocalo Public Square visit their website.

The madness of the Ramos gin fizz