Photo Gallery

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Small Plates, BIG PARTY

Brenda and Charlie Jacklin know how to throw a party. Their extended family is also quite large so when their daughter, Erin, decided to marry Nick Voakes they were faced with a dilemma. The total number of family guests alone on both sides was well over 100. How could everyone possibly have enough time at Sunday's wedding for effective meet and greet? The only logical solution came in the form of another party on Friday night for just their family members. This event was NOT the rehearsal dinner but rather a gathering at the Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside. They slipped the rehearsal in between on Saturday. I loved the concept of this "meet the family" event but figured it would likely be just a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres stand around type party. Guess again. As I said the Jacklins really know how to throw a party. They had a vision of this evening being special and completely different from the experience planned for Sunday's wedding.

Creating an A-list vendor team was likely when the Jacklins chose Jubilee Lau to coordinate both the wedding and this unique family event on Friday. Jubilee has extensive experience at both Fogarty and the Kohl Mansion where the wedding took place on Sunday. There were hundreds of details and Jubilee worked very hard to insure that nothing was overlooked at either event. Jubilee and her trusty assistant, Carrie Topoian, posed here for me on the steps above the party.

Many of their guests were not from California so Friday @ Fogarty was all about local fare and fun. And what better place on the Peninsula to throw a California wine tasting party than at the Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside? And what better way to serve great food with wine pairing than small plates? And who better to take on this challenging food and wine pairing project than Componere Fine Catering.

Things got rolling up on the grassy knoll with butlerd hors d'oeuvre selections served with 2005 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay and 2005 Michaud Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir. Guests enjoyed Forest Mushroom Tartlets with Parmesan and Soy Balsamic Reduction, Green Tea Noodle Wrapped Tempura Prawns with Tamarind Sauce and Petite Créme Fraich Biscuits with Niman Ranch Pulled Pork and Fennel-Apple Slaw.

The next phase of fantastic food featured a Rolled to Order Sushi Station. The presentation was spectacular. Sushi Nigiri, Sushi Maki and Vegetable Maki was offered on a refrigerated lacquered black case and served with chopsticks, wasabi, pickle ginger and soy. We could have stopped right there and been very happy campers.

But then out came the small plates. Small plates are all the rage in the wine tasting world. They facilitate enjoying a wide variety of wines and you never really over indulge. Componere's highly competent staff kept the passed courses coming.

First was a Chilled Asparagus Soup with Meyer Lemon Cream. The soup was paired with a 2000 Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine.

Second course was a Red and Gold Beet "Carpaccio" and Black Mission Fig Salad paired with a 2005 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay.

Third course was a Grilled Sashimi Grade Salmon with Artichoke-Basil Pesto. Broccoli rabe and beet gnocchi were a delightful side paired with a Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnay.

And finally the Fourth passed course was a Marinated Grilled Lamb Chop with Swiss Chard-Sweet Onion Ravioli paired with 2004 Gist Ranch SCM Cabernet Franc.

So how did Componere follow such an amazing parade of passed pleasures? Why that would be with a surprising Dessert Station featuring the Anti-griddle. It is innovative technology that instantly freezes to -30 degrees. Warm Mexican Chocolate Brownies were served and topped with quick frozen Dulce de Leche Custard. Componere owner, Ethan Mantle, is pictured here (center) working that yummy dessert station.

About the best way to describe this whole food experience was dazzling. You simply don't get this variety and level of quality in restaurants. My hat is off to Componere for bringing it all the way up to the top of the hills of Woodside overlooking the entire Bay Area. The tastes were impeccable and the execution was flawless.

As elegant as the food was the vibe for this party was California Casual. The Jacklins insisted this event would be fun and not stuffy. One great way to unstuff a party is with an interactive photobooth. Even Jubilee and I got into the action as you can see from these silly shots. What's more fun than a photobooth? An interactive one brought to your party by PhotoWorks with tons of props. They even created a visual guestbook on the spot as a great keepsake for Erin and Nick.

For the more serious memory making Dave Medal was on hand with his professional camera gear capturing every moment. Here's a snapshot I took of Jubilee and Dave with his veritable battery of SLR's around his neck.

And they danced! I finished the evening festivities with some pretty high energy dance numbers. Many of the Jackins are from Alabama so my absolute peak had to be one of the anthems of the South, "Sweet Home Alabama" from Lynyrd Skynyrd. They could have danced all night but I am glad they didn't because we had to save some energy for Sunday. Stay tuned for the wedding story itself to follow in my next blog.

To some extent every wedding is a destination wedding because there will always be some guests who do not live in the immediate area. I will recommend an event like this to many of my future clients. It is a great way to extend the celebration of a wedding and give those closest to the couple more quality time together. I will credit the Jacklin's generosity and Jubilee Lau's attention to detail with taking this event over-the-top.

The plates were small but this party was larger than life.