Universal Studio’s Haven for Foodies

First the good news: fine dining exists inside the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. Now the Patti & Larry backstory: From the very beginning of our relationship, Universal has been part of our lives. Larry was an A-Top member of the Universal {outdoor} Amphitheater when we met; he had early access to tickets.  We moved to the valley, it was OUR venue. We hit concerts there constantly.

That decade, they put a roof on the Amphitheater, altering the romance of the place, but still acceptable to us. By then, we had moved to Studio City, so named because it is populated with studios. As in: Universal, CBS, NBC, Warner Bros, Hanna Barberra, MTM, a bunch. Walk into any deli in Studio City and there’s bound to be a face you recognize but cannot place (high school? A neighbor? Oh, that’s the guy on XX!)

My little PR agency was located one off-ramp from Universal for decades. I even had a client (Kahlua) in one of the high-rises at the bottom of Universal’s driveway. Larry’s ad agency days included opening the Universal Sheraton Hotel. LONG relationship, right? It goes on…

Early 90s, Larry and I bought a commercial building in a neighborhood abutting Universal’s property. They were conscientious (as they built bigger, bigger, BIGGER) and we neighbors were provided free parking. So we went often. The Universal City Walk was a convenient place to have client lunches and hit movies. But we didn’t really go to the theme park. A few times, sure. As DINKS (double income no kids), it’s not how we spend our time.

CollageUnless, of course, someone invites me! I recently joined a banquet for food bloggers along with my date, the lovely Greg of popular blog Sippity Sup,  to experience the ONE THING every theme park should have {in my book}: upscale dining. A lovely place, great food, WINE. Yes, ladies and gents, Universal Studios now has the International Café.

ChefNot a studio façade with theme park fare, it presents the cuisine of Executive Chef Eric Kopelow, Chef Magazine’s 2010 Chef of the Year. We enjoyed:

  • Soup Sampler – roasted cauliflower with cheddar, New York clam and mussel chowder, chanterelle mushroom & corn bisque
  • Salad Course – Arugula salad with virgin olive oil, buffalo mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Trio of Sandwiches– Shaved roast beef with brie cheese and roasted pears, peppercorn aioli; smoked salmon with pickled onions and cucumbers with dill sauce; oven roasted turkey with muenster cheese and roasted garlic sauce
  • Homemade bbq potato chips
  • House made garlic dill pickles and marinated olives
  • Dessert – Chocolate Enchantment layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse drizzled with chocolate ganache as well as Banana Meringue Tart pastry shell filled with banana cream, caramel and topped with toasted meringue.

Note that the International Café is inside the theme park, so if you have concert tickets, this won’t do for you. Once inside the park, I would wager that you should try it out but, (and this is just a hunch), it will mostl likely be constantly PACKED.

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