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Monday, December 27, 2010

My family experiences Peppoli

When Shannon Gurley, the Floral and Event Design Manager for Pebble Beach Resorts invited my family to join her for dinner at Peppoli I had no idea the kind of extravagant and totally delicious meal we were about to experience!

Shannon in the middle and our family in front of the gorgeous Christmas tree in the lobby at Inn at Spanish Bay; this is just one of 17 Christmas trees Shannon and her team were responsible for decorating on the Pebble Beach Property!

Shannon and her team at Pebble Beach want to let SF Bay area wedding planners know what a wonderful experience their resort can offer a couple hosting their wedding celebration at any of the Pebble Beach properties. I for one was not aware of all the beautiful and luxurious options available to my clients...but now I am eager to recommend the properties!

Since my family was already planning to be in Pacific Grove, which borders Pebble Beach, for the Christmas week, Shannon graciously invited all 4 of us to join her for a personalized, chef's choice multi course dinner at Peppoli.

Asilomar Beach on sunset when we arrived; we could have walked to the Inn at Spanish Bay from our B and B across from Asilomar, but that would have been a bit difficult after dark!

I can truly say that the fresh taste of each dish, the authentic Italian presentation, and impeccable 5 Star service would win my recommendation to any bride and groom considering hosting their wedding reception with Peppoli!

Me with Justin, Kim and Jeff at the entrance to Peppoli, in front of the oil painting of the villa in Italy owned by the family who provides wine for Peppoli...a family of wine makers that goes back over 15 generations!

For my friends who are foodies, and often post photos of the incredible foods they have enjoyed, I have a few to share! This 4+ hour meal was a gastronomical tour through Italy, served in 5 delicious courses, and my photos only present a few of the multiple plates served to our table for each course!

House-made Sausage, polenta, and braised chard

Tuna sashimi with a delicate sprout/white bean garnish

Antipasti plate including house made salamis, imported olives and cheeses from Italy, and fresh artichokes, marinated by Peppoli for 72 hours.

Wild mushroom risotto with grilled scallops

Pasta with fresh bacon, Parmesan, and Alfredo sauce; note there were 2 other dishes in the background!

Beet salad with Arugula, Carmel Valley greens, and battered goat cheese on top; butternut soup in the background...it was amazing too!

Caesar Salad, the REAL thing!

Breaded local pork chop soaked in wine and spices, garnish of fresh greens with lemon juice.
Also in this course were Beef Tenderloin with port reduction sauce and Sea Bass with a garlic butter glaze...we are now heading into a food coma, but here comes DESSERT!!

Flourless warm chocolate lava cake with espresso gelato

Italian cookie selection...all great, but we liked the macaroon best!

Fresh fruit with mint gelato and a house almond biscotti

The Finale...three flavors of Sorbet, lemon, strawberry and blackberry...plus the empty bottle of estate wine from Italy we consumed during the meal...WOW!!!

Our family has never had this kind of dining adventure before, so we have been reminiscing about the amazing flavors, beautiful presentation, and welcoming atmosphere ever since! Thank you Shannon, and all of the staff at Pebble Beach Resorts, for treating us so royally!

I would love the opportunity to work with Shannon and her colleague Julie Bullas, the Catering Manager at Pebble Beach, to serve brides and grooms with the same personal care and flawless service I experienced at Peppoli and throughout the Pebble Beach Resorts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Evening in the Sky!

An evening in the sky, (the 32 floor feels like you are in the sky!) overlooking Union Square, in a sparkling San Francisco at Christmas time..what could be better!?

Victor's Palace, as it might be set up for a wedding ceremony

It was a delightful gift to be one of the wedding planners attending the Unveiling of the Imperial Floor at the Westin St. Francis this week! A special bonus for me, was having time with my good friend David Beahm, who flew out from New York to be a part of the celebration.

I met David for the first time last March, when he taught at Wedding 360; we forged a strong friendship at that time which has lasted across the miles and months.

David spoke briefly at the beginning of the evening activities directly to planners and designers like himself. He wanted to remind us that our most important gift to our clients is good service and sincere caring. He emphasized that what we give always comes back to us a hundred fold. The Golden Rule is his basis for life and creative work: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and Life is Golden! This is loving advice we can put into practice every moment of every day...Thank you, David!

For a visual feast of photos and a superbly written description of this Night in the Sky, please click on Stacie Tamaki's blog entry from the Flirty Guide

Ellie Platis, Bill Hedgepeth, Director of Catering at the Westin St. Francis, who planned this event, David Beahm, and me during the reception in Alexandra's, the other part of the Imperial Suite.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December in San Francisco

December in California, and particularly in San Francisco is not to be confused with December in any other part of the country, or the world for that matter! The combination of occasionally balmy weather, incredible world renowned views, and an outrageous display of Christmas lights makes even 24 hours in the City an experience, not just a visit!

Jeff and I were recently able to enjoy one night at the beautiful Four Seasons in San Francisco, thanks to the generosity of Stacie Hallinan and David Robinson, Catering Directors at the Four Seasons. Thank you so much for the gift of rest and re-energizing after a very busy wedding season; Jeff and I had not seen much of each other since May when my wedding began, so we made the most of our time together in SF.

After experiencing the quality of warm, personal attention we received at every point in our stay at the Four Seasons, I can unequivocally recommend the Four Seasons to my wedding clients who are looking for a welcoming and professional location for their family and guests. I also really appreciate the modern and understated elegance of the Four Seasons decor, which is exemplified by this stunning arrangement in the lobby.

Jeff and I love walking, and enjoying the beauty of a city as you can only see it on foot. Even though it had been raining in the morning, we took our raincoats and umbrellas and set out immediately to explore as much of SF as we possibly could. Using The Four Seasons on Market St as our home base, we walked to the Ferry Building, then all along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf, taking sunset photos along the way.

View of Coit Tower and the Transamerica Building from the dock just east of Pier 39.

The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge as the sun is setting behind the Marin hills.

The SF landmark Ghiradelli Square, where so many tourists come to enjoy the famous Hot Fudge Sundaes...and speaking from experience, some non tourists love them as well!

We met a Belgian couple who took this photo of us as we were enjoying the sunset...so nice to have a reminder of the beauty we enjoyed on our "staycation" as some people call a mini vacation within your own locale.

Once the sun had officially set, we headed for North Beach, about 8 blocks away for some wine and delicious pasta at Sport, our favorite Italian restaurant in this ethnic epicenter for Italian food!

I ordered the Pesto Pasta, which as the sign says, is a wonderful dish, and I would have to agree, I have never had better, even in Italy!

We had saved the lights at Union Square for the last part of our walk, because those can only be completely enjoyed after dark. We were not disappointed by the action, color, and life of December in Union Square. We were there for the annual lighting of the 4 story high Menorah on the first night of Hanukkah, as well as for the Cable Car Christmas Caroling by local high school students.

No matter what brings you to San Francisco in December, given the right weather and time to explore, you will find something to delight and inspire you.
We are so thankful that we were able to savor the magic of our beloved city as it was splashed with sunset colors and dressed up for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fun with Wedding Colleagues

Recently I re-connected with wedding colleagues whom I have not seen for months! We have all been intensely focused on our wedding clients, seeking to serve them well during the busy months between March and November; but as our wedding season ends, we find ways to get together again, and networking events like BAWN create opportunities for those of us who work together on weddings during the year, to play together!

This was the amazing sunset greeting Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Elisheva Basseri, Elisheva's intern, Amanda and me as we arrived at the Craneway Pavilion for the BAWN event. We were a bit early for the party, but right on time for this gift of glorious sunset color. It was equally a treat to just stand and enjoy the beauty, instead of glancing at such grandeur, and pushing on with my agenda, as I have been doing most of this Summer and Fall during my wedding season.

Amanda, Elisheva's new intern, Elisheva Basseri, Kathleen Kirkpatrick
Kathleen Kirkpatrick I have known since I began my business in 2005; I worked with her on a wedding when she was venue manager at the San Jose Museum of Art, and we have continued to work together on weddings now that she is the site manager at beautiful Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. My friendship with Kathleen has grown as we tgether attend networking events where we can get to know each other away from the busy pace of wedding days. Thank you so much for driving all the way from San Jose to Craneway for BAWN, Kathleen!

Elisheva and I have been friends since we first met at a networking event over 6 years ago. We have kept in touch and worked alongside each other when she was catering manager at 2 Bay Area wedding venues, and now, as she has launched her own wedding planning business. As is the case for so many of my friends in the industry, we respect each others work, and enjoy each others company, so it is a win win for our clients and for us when we can work together!

Catherine Hall is someone Elisheva introduced me to at a networking event about 3 years ago; since then Catherine and I have become close friends, great fans of each other's work, and comrades in many ways.

Let the party begin!

Gustavo Fernandez and Natasha Miller, both fantastic dancers and entertainers!

Gustavo using my camera to capture us on the dance floor!

Between dances, Elle, Jean and Catherine; quite the trio!

Loved having a chance to move on the dance floor with Michelle Walker and Anna Williams.

There are many wonderful benefits of working hard with talented, dedicated professionals throughout the year--strong friendships that are based on mutual respect and a wonderful sense of play and celebration, when the time is right. Stay tuned for more episodes of "Jean is on the Loose Again", or "Fun with Friends, December, 2010"!