First you’ll need a reservation to the Day Spot at Kirby Cove. These are easier to get than the camping spots. It can be reserved right here and costs $35. Anyone is allowed to hike down to Kirby cove really what you are doing is paying for permits to bring your car down. It is a public beach so it doesn’t guarantee there won’t be other people around. Like the naked man that was hanging out 100 ft from where we set up. (ah, San Francisco!) Though in our case all the beach goers left as it got dark.
Here in the Bay Area planning an outdoor dinner party is like Russian roulette. You never know if its going to be good or bad weather and that is just something you have to take a chance on.
Whenever I do parties like this I have two tables. One 6 foot banquet table and a smaller card table so I can prep the courses and have somewhere to work from. My favorites are this 6 ft table that folds in half and this skinny long one.
Any chairs would be great here but I used my own set of 8 foldable chiavari ballroom chairs. I have to have the foldable because my car and apartment are tiny.
For linens here I used some remnant fabric my intern Alexis found at a cheap fabric store in Berkeley. Where possible I’m partial to tablecloths that go to the ground. I borrowed the napkins from my neighbor Bille. (Thanks guys!)
I wasn’t trying to do anything groundbreaking with flowers. I just wanted something colorful and low to the table so the guests could converse easily without talking over flowers. (Plus I love Dahlias!)
I also have a set of cheap Ikea dishes and silverware so I don’t have to drag my good stuff outside.
A lot of times if you do a dinner in a public place they don’t want open flames so here we used battery operated led lights. I’ll do a little tutorial next week to show how we did the overhead lights.
Food is tricky. For this party I borrowed a camp stove from Liz and warmed up the Risotto and Soup immediately before at the day spot (where that is allowed.) Then carried it down to the beach. Salad was assembled there. And the ice cream arrived as we sat down to eat so there were no problems with it melting. Another method I’ve tried with the food is to buy a thermos with soup and then have someone else bring the main course straight from the oven in an insulated cooler.
photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day