After celebrating its 60th anniversary in New York, the Grammys Awards are returning to Los Angeles this Sunday. The ceremony, slated for 8pm ET/ 5pm PT on CBS, is headed back to its home for the last 18 out of 20 years and Staples Center is upping its menu for music’s biggest night.
“As many people know, back in 1998/99 we sold the Grammys on a hole in the ground,” Staples Center/ LA Live president Lee Zeidman tells Amplify. “That’s what Staples Center was back then. They latched onto our vision. They bought into our vision. We put some design features within the building to accommodate the Grammys. We were very excited when they determined that they were going to make Staples Center their home.”
For music’s biggest night, the LA Live campus is taken over for more than a week with Grammy related events including showcases and conversations at the Grammy Museum, the 60 Years of Motown event happening at the Microsoft Theater and, of course, the televised award ceremony happening at its anchor facility Staples Center. In addition, the AEG operated Los Angeles Convention Center next door will host the 2019 MusiCares event honoring this year’s Person of the Year, Dolly Parton.
Welcoming the Grammys back to the Los Angeles arena, AEG and concessionaire Levy Restaurants put together special suite menus for the big night.
“It has been a lot of planning, probably over 100 days of collaboration, logistics, everything involved in it,” says executive chef Manny Slomovits. “We wanted to welcome back the Grammys now that it is back on the West Coast. We want that fun, clean, fresh LA feel to the food.”
Chef Slomovits walked Amplify through some of the exciting dishes Staples Center will be offering this Sunday night.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks is an assortment of treats for suite guests to nibble on. The selection includes crispy pretzels, Melissa’s bites and chef favorites. For Grammy night alone, Staples Center will pop more than 250,000 kernels of popcorn.
“The showcase here is our snacks on snacks on snacks. If you are one of those people who loves that crunchy, salty, chocolaty, sweet, sour kind of crunch, that’s the bowl for you. You can eat it one by one or throw it right in there,” says Slomovits.
Artisanal Jerky Basket
Sunday night guests at Staples Center will have the option to try the house-made artisanal jerky. The assortment will come with three flavors: lemongrass & ginger, tangy teriyaki and rustic.
“We spent about 5,000 hours dehydrating for our in-house jerky. It has been a lot of planning, probably over 100 days of collaboration, logistics, everything involved in it,” adds Slomovits.
Mini Elote Street Corn Salad & ELYX Vodka Celery Root Vichyssoise Shooter
Presented in bite-sized bowls, Grammy night will feature some elote street corn salads for a little LA street food flare. The salads consist of Tajin aioli, Cotija, scallions, petite Southwest microgreens and crystalized cilantro. The vichyssoise shooter, typically a summertime treat in Los Angeles, is a cold potato puree soup with ginger and roasted pepper bruschetta and tomatillo peppercress oil.
“You’re going to have this great velvety texture with a kick from roasted pine nut and also a little zing coming out from our roasted red pepper bruschetta that we are putting in there,” says Slomovits. “When I think of LA, it is one of the things that jumps out to me.”
Winter Kale Salad & Blackened Chicken Salad Sandwich Bites
Grammy attendees looking for something light will have the option of the flavorful Winter Kale Salad comprised of roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds and drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette.
“Everybody is in a suit and everybody is dressed to impress, but we also wanted to make it light so you don’t feel like it is a Thanksgiving dinner and you fall asleep in the middle of the show,” says Slomovits. “It won’t weight you down. It will fill you up and give you energy as well. It’s a big day. There are a lot of after parties.”
The Blackened Chicken Salad Sandwich Bites will feature a a slight kick with pickled carrot strings and leaf lettuce on a New England-style bun.
“It is not super spicy. We are pickling our carrots just slightly so it has a little crunch to it on an awesome toasted butter bun. It is that one-two bite love and then move on to the next,” says Slomovits.
Earth, Smoke & Fire: ‘A Tribute to Toast’
Ideal for suite guests who love to mix and match to make the perfect plate, the Tribute to Toast platter is a smattering of pairing options. The platter comes with a selection of artisanal breads, smoked shrimp ceviche, fire roasted red pepper hummus, watermelon radish, cucumber, lemon, pickles, capers, egg and creme fraiche. For those who want to upgrade, there is also the option of smoked salmon, lox and caviar.
“We are doing our ceviche in-house and we are still playing on those winter notes where we have carrots, pomegranate, squash. We have those flavors seeping through. It is build your own,” says Slomovits.
Duo of Cheesy Lobster Mac & Bacon Mac
Staples Center is bringing out fan favorites for the biggest night in music as well. Presented as a duo, the lobster mac and bacon mac will make a special joint appearance for the evening. Fresh lobster will be used for one half, while the other side will feature thick cut Nueske Applewood bacon.
“I call it my dancing duet,” says Slomovits. “What would life be without bacon mac and cheese and lobster mac? Of course there are great collaborations, but you have to sneak in a couple of things that you really love and what people always gravitate towards.”
72-Hour Sous Vide Short Rib Board and/or 72 oz. Porterhouse
For Grammy night, Staples Center will be preparing 1,000 pounds of its 72-hour slow-cooked short rib. The platter will come with almond-dusted asparagus, grilled lemons, and mustard demi sauce. For those looking to go even bigger, the suites will have the optional upgrade of a 72 oz. porterhouse (seen above). The porterhouse board will have sea salt encrusted smashed potatoes, roasted baby vegetables, creamy horseradish and house steak sauce.
LA Dessert Sampler
Staples Center teamed up with local LA shop Artelice Patisserie for its delectable desserts. The bite-sized options will include lavender cookie bites, chocolate passion tarts and cookies and cream and Baileys macarons. The arena will have 2,000 macarons prepared for the evening.
“We have been collaborating for over two months on the perfect Grammy bite,” says Slomovits. “We partnered with a local bakery and they have created in my opinion the best single bites so we can finish the Grammys on a sweet note.”
The Smokin’ Sunset is a Grammy-inspired twist on Staples Center’s signature cocktail. Served in a cedar and rosemary smoked glass with a Grammy logo minted ice cube, the Smokin’ Sunset includes Absolut premium vodka and blood orange lemonade.
Photos by Evan Gole.