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Friday, October 16, 2009

Patricia Fripp, San Francisco NACE and Kenyon Estate

You can click on any photo to view a larger version of the image. ESPECIALLY THE FOOD PICTURES :P

So, the other day it was the storm of 2009 and I was heading up to San Francisco with Flirty Guide Wedding Videographer David Ethridge from AVR Films, Photographer Dennis Menendez and Wedding Consultant Nicole Lisanne for the SF NACE meeting being held in Vallejo at Kenyon Estate. The reason we braved the storm and weathered the traffic (pun intended) was to catch a limo ride from SF to Vallejo, listen to a presentation by Hall of Fame Speaker Patricia Fripp and dine on dinner and desserts by Dean & Deluca Catering.

The limo ride provided by Butler Limousines was a blast and much more fun then driving up alone. We took carpooling to the next level. Here you see Nicole Lisanne and Dennis Menedez being very animated getting ready to hop into the limo. I asked them to "look excited" and this is what I got. LOL

The top photo is Sharon Purewal of Maximize Events, her colleague Jessica and Wedding Photographer Dennis Menendez.

In the lower picture foreground that's David Ethridge and Mark Guter of the Cathedral Hill Hotel where we all met to catch the limo.

Arriving at Kenyon Estate in style!

The estate is perched on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the valley below. Their website says:
The Kenyon Estate offers unparalleled 180 degree views of water and natural hillsides from Mt. Diablo in the south to Mt. Tamalpais in the west all the way to Mt. Saint Helena at the north of the Napa Valley.
As we walked through the front door we checked in at the registration table and immediately were offered libations by the very friendly staff from Bartenders Unlimited. I had my usual water with lime :)

It was a large group that evening. Here we were mixing and milling about saying hello to friends and meeting new people. I had the pleasure of running into Wedding Coordinator Maxine Goulding, of California Special Events, and spent the evening dining and catching up with her.

There was a stunning, lit, ice sculpture display where oysters on the half shell were provided by The Oyster Girls. They raise their oysters in Tomales Bay just north of Point Reyes. There were also hand passed trays of grilled oysters on the half shell being served. Due to my allergies I was not able to partake in them but can verify that everyone around me seemed to enjoy them immensely...

The beautiful ice sculpture display was created by Chisel-it Ice. Beneath a globe of sparkling clear ice were tiers comprised of large scallop shells filled with crushed ice and oysters. They were accompanied by a large bowl with small pockets to hold the fresh lemon wedges.

This is the view of the valley from the patio that is adjacent to the Great Room.

My traveling buddy Dennis Menedez grabbing a few photos before the event began.

And here is David Ethridge setting up to video tape Patricia's presentation in the Great Room.

The Great Room was in the final stage of completion when we arrived. I snuck in for a few pictures before the lights were dimmed and the room filled with guests.

Beautiful right? The centerpieces by Laurel Designs were wonderful accents providing color and elegance without being too overstated.

The "Cheese & Charcuterie" antipasto by Dean & Deluca Catering

Just looking at the pictures is making my mouth water all over again. The antipasto platters by Dean & Deluca were placed at each table packed full of 3 cheeses, fresh figs, olives, salami, cornichons and grapes.

The meal began with a salad. I have to admit I couldn't help but add cheese from the antipasto to my salad. In fact I wanted to add those cheeses to everything I ate that night. They were absolutely delicious!

The tables were gorgeous! I am so lucky to work in an industry where attending such functions and events are a normal part of my job. The linens were provided by La Tavola and he place settings by Classic Party Rentals, Napa.

Event Co-chairs Duncan Reyes and Beverly Yip thanked everyone for attending then introduced our guest speaker that evening.

A few weeks ago Duncan had raved to me what a fantastic speaker Patricia Fripp is, so I walked into the room with some pretty high expectations. And of course he was right! At the end of her presentation Patricia received a standing ovation. I wish all of my friends and colleague could have been there. This was a not to be missed event.

This photo of Patricia Fripp at Kenyon Estate is by Richard Mayer Photography

If you EVER have the opportunity to attend a presentation by Patricia Fripp, go. Don't think about it, just do it. Clear your calendar and attend. You won't be disappointed. Patricia is dynamic, fun, knowledgeable and a wonderfully effective public speaker. If you're like me you'll walk away energized and ready to improve the way you present yourself and how you interact with other people in business and in life.

This is a video on Youtube of Patricia speaking at another event. There are a lot of videos of her there and I can't wait to watch each and every one of them. Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet Au Jus, with Bleu Cheese Polenta and Braised Organic Swiss Chard After Patricia's presentation the meal continued with the main course. Most of you know that for the most part, meaning 99.95% of the time, I do not eat beef or pork, but I fell off the wagon that night because I did try the braised short ribs. And they were excellent. Kind of like how my mom used to make... But even better. (I can say that because my mom never reads my blog so if you know her please don't tell her I said that.) The meat was so tender it literally fell apart and the bleu cheese polenta and swiss chard were also delicious.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcake
And then came the Dean & Deluca "Dessert Delectable Bar." I tried two of the four pictured here and only later found out there was a fifth item I had somehow overlooked! *GASP* I missed out on the chocolate cookies with salt. Everyone who had one said they were the best so I know I would have loved them too. *sniff sniff* I especially knew I'd love them because remember how I ate an entire tin of 6 flavors of Dean & Deluca cookies all by myself earlier this year? Ha ha ha. Oh my gosh I was so out of control!
I gave my pumpkin cupcake to Steve, our limo driver, when we left. He didn't get to participate in the evenings food and libations so hopefully it was a nice treat for him.
Lemon Meringue Pie
I did have the bite size, lemon meringue pie. It was perfection. Lemon curd on a very thin ginger cookie with a little dollop of perfectly browned meringue on top.
Fig Shortbread
This was my personal favorite. The fig shortbread cookies. I love figs and the only way I'd ever had them up until a few years ago was in Fig Newton cookies. Many restaurants in the Bay Area include them in things like gourmet pizzas, so I order them whenever I spot them on a menu. This was a winning combination of sweet figs in a buttery cookie. Double yum factor for sure.
Hand-made Honey Marshmallows
And our cute favor boxes were provided by MC Sweets.
As the evening wound down we headed out and saw the courtyard fountain out front beautifully lit in the darkness. And as we headed down the hill we could see Kenyon Estate flanked by the lit trees along the main drive. Despite the storm it was a wonderful and memorable evening. Many thanks to San Francisco NACE.
LOL There is a bit more to this evening in the form of a dark and creepy adventure we had upon returning to SF but I'll be creating a separate blog post for that story. It was one of those "Duh" kind of moments :P


  1. You have a talent for truly capturing the essence of the evening Stacie! On behalf of San Francisco NACE and Kenyon Estate, it was such a pleasure to host you Tuesday night! Thank you for the fantastic blog and I look forward to seeing you again!

    Jason Diavatis
    Kenyon Estate / Bay Area Entertainment
    San Francisco NACE, Membership Director

  2. Those ice sculptures are gorgeous.

  3. Hi Stacie,
    Thanks for this post! So well presented... do I sense yet another sideline to your growing career? I'm glad you documented so nicely all the benefits the evening's attendees could receive. Both of the SF Bay Area's NACE chapters are hosting fabulous meetings nowadays, and your showcasing them provides a valuable service to all our local caterers, event planners, and their affiliate colleagues. Thanks!

  4. You have a talent for truly capturing the essence of the evening Stacie! On behalf of San Francisco NACE and Kenyon Estate, it was such a pleasure to host you Tuesday night! Thank you for the fantastic blog and I look forward to seeing you again!

    Jason Diavatis
    Kenyon Estate / Bay Area Entertainment
    San Francisco NACE, Membership Director

  5. Those ice sculptures are gorgeous.


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