Thursday, November 09, 2006

Elegant Parties

YWD at Meadowood

The wedding season is winding down, so we gave ourselves permission to attend a pair of lovely events this week. On Monday, a magazine which is making its inaugural debut in Northern California hosted a 'coming out' party. Your Wedding Day Magazine (YWD for short), which is a stylish magazine, threw an elegant party at Meadowood in St Helena. They carefully invited just 100 of the most highly respected wedding professionals to join them for lunch (we were honored to be included! on such a list!). Editor-in-Chief Thea Lignos-Hargrove and her colleagues graciously greeted us on the veranda overlooking the croquet courts. It's just so refined watching a croquet match with all players in white.

After an hour of greeting old friends and meeting new ones, we moved into the ballroom for a light luncheon of a creamy squash soup and grilled salmon accompanied by golden beets and crisp salad. Dessert was an individual apple tartine, baked to a golden brown.

I was lucky enough to sit at a table with the ladies from the Sonoma Mission Inn, Auberge du Soleil, Calistoga Ranch Inn, Harvest Inn and the incomparable photographer Wendy Maclaurin Richardson and the wonderful event planner Jenne Hohn. I can see why brides have a hard time deciding on a venue. All of these properties are beautiful and each of the ladies in charge are so willing to go out of their way to make a couple's day so special.

Fabulous Food at the Ferry Building

On Wednesday, I was again lucky enough to receive an invitation from the venerable Paula le Duc who is acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best caterer in Northern California. Kathleen Deery designed an intimate private supper club atmosphere with custom linens and runners from Classic Party rentals, low table lamps and monochromatic yet vivid orange arrangements in chocolate terra cotta vases.

It's hard to describe how flavorful the unique combinations of foods were. On the menu were smoked duck ravioli, thai chicken soup with crispy shrimp and cardamom braised shortribs as well as tiny scallop sandwiches, truffled cheddar pearl brulee and chicken mole on a bed of red rice. Oh, but save room for the dessert bar of miniature pumpkin tartlets, quince crisp in porcelain spoons, choclate peanut butter mousse tartlets, raspberry macaroon sandwiches, and my favorite, the tropical panna cotta which was a creamy coconut cloud topped with tropical fruits in a shot glass.

The entire layout encouraged people to move around, to gather, to meet new people, and to enjoy the food, the wines, the company in an unhurried way. And when we were ready to leave, Ace Parking did a fabulous job of valeting and retrieving our cars swiftly. What a perfect evening.