by Susan de Lima
Over my years living and working in Playa del Carmen I have met countless amazing individuals from all walks of life. Moving from Canada to start a new life and business in Mexico took a leap of faith so when I was invited to go to Los Angeles, CA to meet, learn and shadow one of the best events companies in the business I took another leap! I have often heard the saying “Without risk, there is no gain” or something like that and I have embraced this whole heartedly.
Upon landing in LA and being greeting by my wonderful host, I knew I would love it there! We went for dinner in Manhattan Beach at a quaint restaurant, James Beach. Being tired from a day of travel we went home where California welcomed me officially with an earthquake. At first I thought I was over tired and perhaps had one too many glasses of wine! All was fine and I had lived through many hurricanes in the Caribbean so I took my queue from Lynn and relished the experience checking the news for the number on the Richter scale.
I was fortunate enough to observe and learn with GOOD GRACIOUS EVENTS, www.goodgraciousevents.com , during my stay. Each day I was greeted with a new and exciting experience. From attending a Sony Play station event for several thousand where my mentor, Pauline Parry, toured me through the catering process for an amazing spread of brunch goodies to a fabulous concept of food trucks to host several different types of foods. It was a hit and I was humbled by the ease the team conducted themselves. My brain still swims with inspiration and ideas for my own catering and events business in Playa.
Then it was off to the SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills where I was again in awe and amazement. This luxurious hotel which was designed by Philippe Stark who definitely has the most interesting design imagination. Dining in BAZAAR by Jose Andres was a fantastic culinary experience for the remarkable flavours and stunning presentations. We actually went back a second time realizing that there was so much more to see and I am sure there is still more.
It was never dull, on a road trip to Le Chateau Vineyard as we transported the wedding cake (it arrived safe and sound!) while viewing the gorgeous countryside. There I was able to witness the Good Gracious Event team in action setting up a stunning wedding on a hill top. I watched in envy as there was an actual outdoor kitchen as we have had some interesting experiences with remote locations here in Mexico! We later dined on a picnic lunch in the cutest retro campground that is for rent at the Chateau outfitted with airstream campers and vintage cars.
We attended a wedding planning event held by “The Knot” which is a California based magazine and fabulous. From designers, florists and food this was another great learning opportunity for me not to mention FUN!
And did I mention the shopping!? Just another thing I miss living in a touristic place where you can always find a T-shirt that says “Playa del Carmen” in any colour! From the downtown garment district to a quaint farmers market I truly shopped till I dropped! Note*buy and extra bag…cheaper than being extremely overweight at the airport! We spent a day perusing the famous Venice Beach followed by a lovely backyard barbque. It couldn’t be better.
My fantastic trip ended with a night out at the House of Blues in Hollywood for a Gregory Isaacs concert. I am a huge reggae fan and this was the perfect ending to a perfect trip!
Thank you to everyone who made this adventure so memorable and I look forward to seeing you in Playa!