October 21, 2010 22

Heirloom LA + wedding at Marvimon

By in Favorite Food Entries, Food: Los Angeles

Back from haitus! Sorry I haven’t been active on potatomato for the past few months due to my wedding. I’m glad that it’s over now and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I planned the wedding myself to keep the cost down so it was a lot of effort and time spent in researching and calling/emailing around. It was fun at first and then it just became tedious. Thankfully I got lots of help from my friends and family so the event went smoothly!


Pretty early on I’ve decided to have my ceremony and reception at Marvimon. It’s located near Chinatown and was originally built in 1924 as one of LA’s first automobile showrooms. It was converted to a house in recent years and became an event space soon after. I like the space because it looks like somebody’s cool home. It fits with how I want my wedding to be: intimate, casual and fun. Another plus side of Marvimon is that you can choose your own caterer.

Now onto the food! Being a food blogger I have certain pressure from my friends to have somewhat decent food at the wedding ^^;; I find the typical wedding food (standard chicken/fish/beef entree) too generic and uninspiring. I’m sure we’ve all been to wedding where the food was average and boring and then you’re shocked to learn how much they cost. Since I’m on a very tight budget so I don’t have a lot of options. I called around and most are out of my price range. In fact a certain place (which I shall not name) actually got pissy at me on the phone for daring to ask them if they could do it in my budget. As I was giving up hope and start questioning if good, affordable and interesting caterer exists, I found Heirloom LA!

From day one, Heirloom LA was wonderful to work with! They’re very responsive and straightforward. I told them my price range and they managed to come up with an interesting menu that works within the budget. I didn’t need anything fancy or expensive, just fresh, seasonal ingredients with creativity. And that’s exactly what Heirloom LA is all about.  After one happy tasting (with lots of food to take home to) we’re on board!


photo by my wonderful photographer: Floataway studio

One thing I absolutely love at Marvimon: a nice open kitchen. It’s nice to see Heirloom LA prepared and cooked for the night.

For the cocktail hour, we have two tray Passed Appetizers and an appetizer bar. Once again, these beautiful pictures are taken by Floataway studio.


Tray Passed Appetizer # 1: Wild Mushroom and Crispy Polenta Cake with Rocket Arugula


Tray Passed Appetizer #2 :
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho Shot with Charred Burrata and Basil and Black Olive

Both are excellent! I especially loved the Gazpacho shot. Good thing I tasted these during the tasting because I completely missed them on the day as I was too busy taking wedding portrait outside!


And then we have The Crostini bar . It’s beautifully placed on a set of vintage drawers (you can see it better here). The station contains Artesian Cured Meats and Cheeses and House Pickled Vegetables. Yes Heirloom LA make their own cheese and cured their own meat and sausages, aren’t they awesome? Everything was tasty and fresh. I especially love the burrata cheese. Missing in these pictures are these excellent pizza everyone raved about. Besides the crostini, the chef also made rice crackers for a guest who’s allergic to gluten.

Now onto dinner. I love this chalkboard dinner menu from Heirloom LA. To keep the cost down we did it buffet style, and the food make sense to served in buffet too.


Lasagna cupcake – Heirloom LA signature individual “Perfect-Size” lasagna made from Parmesean Reggiano and Fresh Hand Pulled Mozzarella.
What an excellent idea! I absolutely love these cupcake size and shaped Lasagna. There are three different flavors to chooose from: Wild Boar Bolognese, Artichoke, Sweet Corn & Mascarpone. My favorite is the bolognese. They’re full of flavors and fresh tasting. The guests keep going back to get more and more!

Lettuce Wrap Buffet:
Prime cap steak with onion sprouts and Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesean (left pix)
Marinated Sweet and Sour Jidoori Chicken
balsamic beets and red spinach,
(right pix)
Confit halibut with pickled pepper
(left pix)

Basically you have these lettuce cups to warp the above “toppings” and eat them like a taco or wrap. I like the idea because the lettuce gives balance with the richness of the meat. My favorite of the four “toppings” is the steak, it was so delicious and flavorful. The others are excellent as well. Top picture is by Floataway studio.

Beautiful Fruit Platter. The grapes were so sweet!

A lot of the guests raved about the food throughout the night so the food was definitely a hit! The service was excellent too. For instance, we forgot to bring a wedding cake knife (completely blank out on that) for the cake cutting and they’re happy lent us their knife. I also love their presentation very much:  chalkboard, rustic wood platters, brown butcher paper and palm leaf plates, which all went really well with the space and the “intimate house party” feel of the wedding. Tal, the general manager, was super helpful in doing the rentals for us too.

I highly recommend Heirloom LA for their delicious, fresh and interesting food. They’re reasonably priced (if you have more budget than us, there’s an option of a whole roasted suckling pig!) and provide excellent service. You can taste their food at various location in LA: Intelligentsia Pasadena, Paper or Plastik cafe and Silver Lake wine.

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22 Responses to “Heirloom LA + wedding at Marvimon”

  1. Eleana says:

    Congrats on your wedding!!

  2. seat says:

    Congrats & welcome back!

    Wow the food looks sooooo yummy!
    Yeah food in wedding is always so bad….like in my sister’s. XD XD XD But most people in HK will go for grand banquet with bad food, rather than cozy party with good food. ^^;;;;

  3. Beautiful! I’m a fan of the lasagna cupcakes myself. What a great idea to get a lot of bang from a little package:)

  4. Lari says:

    Yum! Would you mind sharing your wedding budget? I’d love to know how one can hope to plan (and execute) a wedding at Marvimon (I am so in love with that place–just not the price) with tasty food without breaking the bank. I’m looking at a $15K budget with 100 people. Any advice? Thanks!

  5. Joan says:

    Hey Leri,
    I think it totally can be done to have a wedding at Marvimon for $15K. My original budget was $15K also, but in the end it became about $18K , which is not too bad.

    Though I got the discount rate for Marvimon by having the Wedding on a Sunday and had under 75 guests. I think that’s 1K cheaper than their normal rate? If you’re able to cut your guest list down to 75 it’ll help A LOT. And having the wedding on Sunday is not bad either.

    Here’s a super rough budget breakdown for my wedding:
    -Marvimon: $4000
    -doorman + manager: $500-600? (mandatory by Marvimon)
    -Valet: $450 (mandatory by Marvimon)
    -Food+service: $3800
    -rental: $1400
    -cake: $144 (cupcakes + a 6 inch cake from Lark’s)
    -wine and drinks: $300 (got my own from Silverlake wine and costoc)
    -photographer: $3550
    -Flower: $1000
    -ceremony musician: $300
    -officiant: $500
    -Hair and makeup (for bride + 6 wedding party): $1000
    -decorations: ?? I say about $100+, which include mason jars (for flowers), photos, photo frames, candles, cakestand (I made my own out of cakeboard + ribbons)
    -no DJ, just use ipod/laptop
    -I did my own invitation (my friend printed it for me and supplies cost about $200 or so)
    -I managed to get a wedding dress for only $99….though alteration cost about $200.
    -our rings cost under $350
    -my friend as my day-of coordinator, so $0

    and then there’s tips and tax and all that good stuffs, you know…

    I splurge on:
    Marvimon, photographer, food, hair/makeup

    save a lot from:
    cheap gown, cheap rings, no DJ, using cupcakes, DIY decors, friend as coordinator

    I originally plan to do flowers myself. It’s very cheap to just get flowers from the flower market in Downtown LA. But it became too stressful to handle them myself so I got a florist 2 weeks prior the wedding. It ended up costing $1000 or so (which cover 11 centerpieces, 5 bouquets, 3 corsages, 5 boutonnieres) . If I did it myself, I think it would have cost just about $200-300. So if you have a good friend who can do flower arrangement for you do that instead! Though a lot of people told me 1K is actually a very good price for wedding flowers. And they did a very good job too. The florist is the flower department at the Silver lake Gelson’s if you’re interested.

    I hope this help with your planning of your wedding!

  6. Jeehee says:

    Hey Joan,
    Totally love your catering, the presentation is so unique, away from conventional banquet style, which i don’t dig!
    and thanks for sharing your wedding budget in detail- this one i’m stealing as my cheatsheet =p
    But I think it’s not fair officiant costs $500 when your wedding rings were $350! Really, is that how much those people charge?
    Looking forward to seeing you again, and congrats one more time!

  7. Julie Acosta says:

    Hi Mr Mato,

    I just got engaged and have been to the Marvimon before(a great venue). Your wedding looked scrumptious! Would love the name of the person you worked with as well as any other good interesting caterers you many know. I have been advised to get two to three bids.

  8. Joan says:

    Hi Julie, Thanks!
    The person we worked with for Heirloom LA was Tal, he’s the general manager.

    Another good and very interesting caterer I recently learn about about is: Kichn 105 (http://www.theivgroup.com/ktchn105/)
    He host dinner every Wednesday night at his loft in downtown LA and he does catering too. From what I heard, the food is amazing! My company did a shoot for a project at his place and he cooked lunch for everybody, and they cannot stop rave about the food. He will be catering for my company’s Xmas party later this week and I’ll let you know how it goes!

    JeeHee, I don’t mind paying $500 for the officiant since he’s a priest for the Zen temple Jon goes to. The money go to the temple as a donation :).

  9. […] prospect of having them cater our wedding because they were a preferred vendor, and I read in this blog that the Event Manager was super friendly and on point to work with and willing to help out with […]

  10. Amanda says:

    Hi Joan,

    Your budget breakdown has helped me tremendously believe it or not. I am currently trying to pick a caterer for my wedding and have been in touch with a list of people from the preferred vendor list for Smog Shoppe/Marvimon. Your dinner seemed like plenty for your guests. Were they completely satisfied with the amount of food? Do you mind me asking what time you held the reception/dinner?

    Thanks for your help!

  11. Joan says:

    Hello Amanda,

    I’m glad the breakdown helped!
    Not only the food was plenty for the guests, we actually had leftover to bring home.

    The reception/dinner starts at 7-7:30 pm.

    Let me know if you any other questions, I’m gladly to help with your planning!

  12. Joan says:

    One more thing Amanda,
    A lot of my guests said they got pretty full during the cocktail hour already, so they ate smaller portion during the dinner. That’s something to think about.

  13. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much! As I plan this wedding I realize how quickly things add up. I am trying to get the best deal I can in every way possible, starting with the caterer. Sit down dinners tend to be VERY expensive from what I have been seeing. ($100-$125 per person). I wanted something more casual yet still making my guests feel comfortable and satisfied with the amount of food since I was looking to have the reception around 7/7:30, typically dinner time. I feel the amount of money you paid is really seems like a great deal, from already just calling around from the preferred vendor list Smog Shoppe and Marvimon provide.

    I myself am planning my wedding with the help of friends and family (another way to save money) so it definitely can be tedious work that requires a lot of time and effort. I’m sure I’m feeling what you went through. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  14. Joan says:

    Hey Amanda.

    Yes sit down dinners are very expensive, plus it’ll require more servers so it’ll increase $ in service. What I did was, I flat out told caterers that I can only afford $30 and under per person for Food (be clear to them that the amount is for food only. Have a seperate budget for services, rentals, drinks..etc etc), and then see if the caterers can come up a menu for that amount.

    Heirloom LA at first said they couldn’t because they thought I ask for $30 pp for everything (food + service), after he realized I meant food only then he send over the above menu for $27 per person (for 75 people)! So it’s totally do-able. Even if you have to cut cocktail hour snacks (or just have a cheese+cure meat bar or something).

    If you want to look beyond their preferred vendor list, check out Ktchn 105: http://www.theivgroup.com/ktchn105/
    They did catering for my company’s holiday party last year for very reasonable price (don’t know exact amount). Their brunch (http://www.potatomato.com/blog/?p=4496) was fantastic and several of my friends had dinner there and said the food is great and interesting.
    check it out!


  15. El says:

    Hi Joan – Loved your post! Did you have to follow up a bit with your caterer to get to that pricing? I contacted Heirloom LA to cater a buffet dinner at a different venue and Tal flat out told me that if I wasn’t spending at least $40pp (food only) and $100pp (food and service) that they wouldn’t even take the time to talk to me further! Didn’t even want to look into options to reduce pricing. Seems so far from your experience, so just curious…


  16. Amanda says:

    Hi El,

    I got the same response! ha. A bit bummed. It’s hard to stay within these preferred vendor lists when they right off the bat try and quote you $70-$100 per person.

    I have been contacting several caterers in LA for a reasonable cost and menu. I’d be happy to give you any information that I come across. Do you mind sharing your budget?

  17. Amanda says:

    Hi Joan,

    I had a couple questions and was wondering if there was an email address that I can contact you through. I thought maybe you would have one for the blog but did not see it?

    You have been so helpful and I just wanted to ask a couple more things regarding your menu.

    Hope I’m not being a pain. 🙂

  18. El says:

    @ Amanda – Glad to hear it wasn’t personal! Would appreciate any info you can pass along. We’re trying to keep the food/service costs (w/ tax and service fee) around $8,000 (but definitely under $9,000) for 125 people (which frankly I don’t think is that ridiculous) but seems that the only way to get costs down is to cut the guest list…

  19. Joan says:

    Hey Amanda,
    sorry I didn’t see your message soon (was out of the country).
    My email is: kewpiebb99@yahoo.com
    please ask me anything

  20. Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.

    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  21. Brandon says:

    Dude! Even considering the fact that these are LA caterers, this is easily one of the nicest spreads I have ever seen! Although I think the tomato shooters on a spoon are a little silly (come on, really?), everything simply looks incredible. I know you were very pleased, and I am glad to hear everything tasted great (what you were able to eat when not taking pictures that is) as well. Congratulations, and please keep up the blog because it is always a great read!

  22. Fredrick says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this website needs a lot more
    attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!