pop-up dinner parties

Rooftop Dinner Party

Our friends Matt and Ashley have an amazing roof right in the middle of the city and they hosted us for a little rooftop dinner party the other evening. Our friend Andrea Pimental did the food and it was incredible. We spent the whole night telling her to quit her day job and become a caterer. She made an apple goat cheese tart with thyme and honey, served with greens. And then for the main course a homemade pumpkin ravioli with hazelnuts and chorizo. And for dessert she made poached pears with salted caramel sauce and homemade vanilla bean gelato. It was so good. To decorate we put some simple greens like olive branches in vases and we made these easy kraft paper table runners. It was such a fun night and you can’t beat the view of the sunset over the city. The weather is just starting to turn a bit crisp so it felt like the last hurrah for this years’ outdoor parties. See all the photos right here. (And here are some of our other pop up dinner parties.)

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Pop Up Dinner Party under the Golden Gate Bridge

The hardest thing about living in San Francisco is that people are always leaving you. Our good friends Christian and Brooke are moving away and Brooke mentioned she wanted to do some sort of special party for their friends. We talked it through and decided on doing a 20 person pop up dinner party on the beach under the Golden Gate Bridge. I have never done a dinner party outside for that many people (see my first dinner right here) so I called in for reinforcements. I asked my genius friend Andrea Pimental to do the food and so I just had to worry about logistics (ie: carrying tables and 20 chairs, and dinnerware all the way down to the beach.) It was a pretty epic party and a really special night. The weather was beautiful, the food was amazing, and it consoled our broken hearts a little to be able to toast our friends and say goodbye.

We held the party at Kirby Cove. We rented a picnic spot for the day which gives you permits for four cars. We had guests park at the top and then shuttled people back and forth down to the beach. Brooke’s sister Kelly chose the tablecloth to match the Golden Gate Bridge (it was perfect) and did the flowers and Brooke and Colleen made these photobooth favors for all the guests. They were little boxes with macarons and then they copied a photobooth photo they had and tied it around with twine. So clever, right?

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Summer Garden Party

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One of the reasons we loved this apartment (even though it is tiny) is it has a backyard. Our neighbors are gardeners and do an amazing job of growing a garden and maintaining all the beautiful plants. We love having a place we can be outside smack in the middle of the city. I’ve been excited to throw a party back here for a while. My friend Aubrey just returned from a long trip away all summer so it was a great opportunity to host a little dinner party in the backyard to celebrate her return. It was a really simple party. All I did for decoration is hang these cheap party lights. I also rented a tablecloth (it was $10) because sometimes it makes clean up a lot easier to just rent. It was the perfect summer party with twinkly lights and lots of salads and fresh produce. I hope we can have more this year before it gets too cold out.

Pop Up Dinner Party: Chinatown Alleyway

My favorite part of Chinatown isn’t Grant Avenue with the gates and the shops and pretty lanterns strung across the street. My favorite part is the back alleyways. Chinatown is the oldest part of San Francisco and there are teeny hidden alleyways on every block. I love going for walks and exploring and getting lost in them. I’ve always thought they would make a great place for a pop up dinner party so we finally decided to do one. We chose an alleyway that wasn’t very busy (so we wouldn’t bother anyone.) And then invited some friends for a Chinatown Alleyway dinner party. It was so fun and since we just got Chinese takeout it really could not have been easier. I spent a couple hours prepping and picking up supplies and then we just showed up 45 minutes early to set up. It was the easiest one we’ve done yet! The reason I started doing these is I realized some of the prettiest and coolest places in San Francisco are public property. I love that we get to spend some extra time and make a special memory with friends. For the set up I bought some orangey-red lanterns and rented a red table cloth and napkins. I bought a set of folding chiavari chairs a few years ago and we have a six foot table that folds in half. I keep a set of inexpensive Ikea dishes and silverware to use for outdoor parties like this. So we could really keep the rental expenses low.

We also had some custom Chinese Fortune cookies made. I’ll share a post about that tomorrow. Summer is almost over and this was so fun it made me realize I still want to throw a few more dinner parties while the weather is nice! Would you ever throw a fancy dinner party in the middle of nowhere? (See more pop up dinner parties here.)

Pop-up Dinner Party Season

Pop-up dinner party season is here! Its my favorite time of the year. A pop-up dinner party is where we go to a really amazing public park or space and set up a fancy dinner party in the middle of nowhere. There are a certain number of minor obstacles you have to plan for like: lighting, keeping the food hot or cold, and then just the logistics of moving tables, chairs, plates to your spot. But even with the tricky logistics it is so worth it. They are super fun and it’s the easiest way to make a super-memorable evening. I have a few different ideas for the ones I’m going to throw this summer. I’ll be sure and share photos when we do them! Here are some photos of some that I’ve thrown in the past.

This dinner party under the Golden Gate Bridge was one of my favorites. The weather was beautiful. You can read the original post here and notes on how to do it right here.

One of my good friends Fergi was in town so we threw her a party for her birthday on a public pier in Sausalito, here is the original post. We had sweeping views of the city and the bridge. The weather was cold that night but it was still pretty fun.

We used to live downtown and we had the best roof so we had a dinner party on the roof for my friend Jared’s birthday. We even got an industrial bubble machine off in the corner so pretty bubbles were floating around us.

This party on the pier was the first we ever did. It was for my friend Emily’s birthday. We didn’t tell the guests where it was until the last minute (here are the invitations),  just telling them to dress warm. So when they showed up it was a total surprise. We had views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge. The weather was really gorgeous that night, we got really really lucky.

Would you ever throw a pop-up dinner party? Even if you didn’t live in a city it would be cool to do it in the middle of the desert or a giant corn field or on top of a lookout point. Where would you do it?