It’s been sweltering in Los Angeles, but that didn’t stop a group of event planners from getting into the holiday spirit at a Deck the Halls dinner at BOA Sunset

The seated dinner was designed to showcase the West Hollywood restaurant’s holiday catering offerings. While a harpist played in the private dining room, we feasted on a five-course menu that included some elegant twists on traditional favorites. The butternut squash soup was topped with spiced pumpkin seed brittle; the kale salad dressed with a cider hazelnut vinaigrette; turkey roulade was stuffed with brie and cherries; the red-wine braised short ribs were accompanied by spiced sweet potatoes and roasted mushrooms with chestnuts, and the dessert course offered candy cane panna cotta and eggnog shots with snickerdoodle cookies.

Catering/events manager Jennifer Heimpel discussed the big trends she sees in holiday decorating, food and drink.

* Décor that’s a mix of rustic charm and metallic sophistication. Rustic elements like raw linen table runners and sprigs of holly bring holiday warmth and color to an event while accents of gold and silver add glamour.

*  Elevated comfort food. Creating dishes with familiar ingredients like stuffing, turkey and chestnuts evokes a feeling of nostalgia in your guests. But you’ll want to take those dishes to a higher level with surprising ingredients and modern flavor profiles.

*  Innovative holiday beverages. While a glass of wine or bubbly is always welcome, you want to create a memorable beverage experience for your guests. Consider a holiday-inspired specialty cocktail or a flight of wines served in small flutes with the color ranging from pale whites to a rich ruby cabernet sauvignon. 

Shira Steiger discovered the smileinducing fun of Segways—those self-balancing, electric-powered transportation machines—a decade ago when she tried one for a tour in San Francisco and got hooked. Now, with a fleet of 16 Segways, she’s introducing corporate groups and leisure travelers to the “human transporters” through her company, Segway Tours of Healdsburg.

 

The San Francisco-based company tinyB Chocolate produces “brigadeiros,” a heavenly Brazilian cousin to the chocolate truffle that has a smooth, creamy texture but no hard shell. tinyB founder Renata Stoica is a São Paolo native who’s using her old family recipes to bring the tradition to America. She infuses the brigadeiros with flavors that remind her of home, like passion fruit, pineapple, cayenne pepper and Brazilian coffee.

 

With the canned wine category booming, longtime Sonoma friends Matthew Allan and Kenny Rochford have launched West + Wilder to offer high quality and accessible wines that can be enjoyed at release and on the go. Their debut collection includes a white and a rosé, as well as sparkling versions of both, with grapes sourced from California, Washington and Oregon.