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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?

Read more for more details and photos.

I rented the tables and chairs and dinnerware and then Paul helped me take it all down to the beach. We planned dinner around the sunset at 7pm. Paul and I arrived at 4:30pm and we had a few friends arrive early at 5:30 to help with set up. Everyone else arrived a little after 6pm so they would have some time to take in the view before it got too dark.

The food was amazing and honestly I couldn’t have done an event this big without Andrea handling all the food. The menu was seafood themed. The appetizer was a crab cheesecake, then the soup was a roasted corn and coconut chowder (Andrea brought it hot in an insulated cooler.) The salad was zucchini and prosciutto and the main course was a salmon pot pie she kept hot in a cooler. For dessert she served an almond cake with honey buttercream frosting and fruit.

For lighting this time we just had a lot of led candles and then brought some flashlights for clean up time. Cleaning up a party like this is a lot easier than setting up because there are more hands to carry chairs back when it is time to clean up. Since we had a lot of people helping with the food and preparations the costs for this dinner were surprisingly affordable. It was a really beautiful night and it makes me want to try something on a bigger scale again. (Read here for more pop up dinner parties.)

Goodbye Brooke and Christian, we love you and come back soon.

All photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

  1. emily

    September 19, 2012


  2. Victoria

    September 19, 2012

    Looks wonderful. What a great leaving party.

  3. Jen

    September 19, 2012

    love this. quick question: did you have any issues with open container laws on the beach?

  4. Jen

    September 19, 2012

    Crab and gouda cheesecake!? Recipe please!

  5. Jordan - Polkadot Prints

    September 19, 2012

    Looks like such a special farewell! And that cake…jolly huge!!! : )

  6. caroline

    September 19, 2012

    this is like out of a dream! you have got to be kidding me! seriously so, so genius!

  7. Caley

    September 19, 2012

    What an awesome venue – wow, it looks amazing!!
    A sad moment to say goodbye but a great farewell x

  8. Stacy

    September 19, 2012

    Oh, this is so beautiful! What a lovely goodbye — but bittersweet, I am sure, as these things always are.

  9. Allison

    September 19, 2012

    Do you think your friend would share her recipe for salmon pot pie?

  10. Jodie

    September 19, 2012

    O wow this looks amazing! Would love to do something like this one day, just beautiful x

  11. Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux

    September 19, 2012

    Wow, that’s incredible! What a super idea!! looks lovely!

  12. chiara

    September 19, 2012

    just beautiful! + I love the shot of the Golden Gate through the wine glass.

  13. Bribedell

    September 19, 2012

    Beautiful as always!

  14. Kate Marshall

    September 19, 2012

    What a gorgeous party! I’ve done a couple pop up parties of my own (inspired by you!) but have mostly had them catered, so they were on a smaller scale (to keep costs down). I’d love it if you would write some more details of some of the back ground work to having a meal that is homemade. I’m not quite sure how to pull that off! ANy tips would be appreciated!

  15. Emma

    September 19, 2012

    I second the request for the salmon pot pie recipe!

  16. marissa

    September 19, 2012

    how could you want to leave San Francisco after a party like that?! so pretty!

  17. Beth Summerfield

    September 19, 2012

    I’d move to San Fran, befriend you, then leave if that’s what it’d take for me to attend a party like this!

    😉 Joking, but it looks beyond magical! Great job!

  18. Janelle

    September 19, 2012

    Oh that looks so fun!!! I love the photo of the Golden Gate in the glass. So fun.

  19. kirsty

    September 19, 2012

    awesome!! is andrea willing to share any of her recipes?? they all sound amazing. what a dreamy dinner. thank you for sharing.

  20. thecircleofit

    September 19, 2012

    how fantastic!!!!!!! wish i was there!!!!!!!!!!!!! SF seems like a great city!!!

  21. Skye

    September 19, 2012

    Wow! This is amazing. You are so talented! I always love seeing the fun things you come up with . Thanks!

  22. Evani G

    September 19, 2012

    I am completely enamored with your pop up parties Jordan! How do you know if and where you can just pop up and put a large table? Either way, completely fantastic!


  23. emi

    September 19, 2012

    your blog is perfection. i think we were meant to be best friends, because i lived in paris and now live in the bay! the best two places! i’m so excited to follow your blog. xo

  24. Eva

    September 19, 2012

    Hi Jordan, it is my first time writting a comment in your blog, but not the first time that I am here. Actually I use to take a look on your site everyday because I love what you do! And today I was seeking some inspiration for a post I will write about pop up dinners -concept that I discover from you too- and amazingly today’s entry is about … a pop up dinner!
    Thanx a lot for sharing with us all your ideas, diy proyects and so, your creativity is endless!
    Best regards from the north of Spain!

  25. Martha

    September 19, 2012

    amazeballs! was andrea part of the guests or did she come, leave the food, and go? or did she stay and serve? just curious about whether she felt stressed out trying to be server and guest. the menu sounds (and looks) incredible.

      • jordan
      • September 19, 2012

      Andrea sat with the guests. She was very relaxed and had things under control. A couple people would help clear plates and serve the next course. It was very laid back.

  26. Morgan Smith

    September 19, 2012

    So cozy and intimate. And the menu, sounds to die for!

  27. Mary Frances

    September 19, 2012

    This is beautiful. Your dinner sounds absolutely delicious! Any chance Andrea wants to share some of these yummy recipes?

  28. Bambino by the Bay

    September 19, 2012

    WOW! What a stunning party! The guests must have felt very honored to be included in such a special party!

  29. vivi k

    September 19, 2012

    The parties on your blog always look like so much fun! I would love to host one on the shoreline like this, especially with the beautiful sparkling candles and amazing food!

  30. Stephanie

    September 19, 2012

    This is amazing. I wish our friends did this for us when we left SF last year! 🙁 What’s the cleanup process like, considering it got dark and you were far from your cars???

  31. Naomi Bulger

    September 19, 2012

    It looks glorious. I just adore your pop-up parties. Maybe just maybe I will have the courage to try one myself one day.

  32. Kate

    September 19, 2012

    Gorgeous party! I have to ask……were there “facilities” there or does one just make due for a pop-up party?

  33. Cheryl

    September 19, 2012

    Wow!!! So perfect, and so pretty. 🙂

  34. Sarah

    September 19, 2012

    My concern with planning an event like this is always the weather. Obviously if its raining you postpone, but what about wind? Maybe its not such an issue in the US, I know I’ve had a few outdoor events here in Australia that have become really challenging because of wind blowing things everywhere. Is this ever an issue for you?

      • jordan
      • September 19, 2012

      We knew it was going to be nice that day but if it was windy and foggy we would have done something up in the trees where it was protected from the wind.

  35. This girl loves to talk

    September 19, 2012

    we were recently holidaying in an area where the tide went out real far. My husband joked that it would be fun to drag the tables and chairs from the rental house out into the beach and set up dinner. I immediately thought of you and I really wanted to do it, but alas it didnt happen. Now I wish I had and taken photos!

  36. Sara

    September 19, 2012

    I adore this Jordan! So inspiring!

  37. Theresa

    September 20, 2012

    So beautiful! Everything looks amazing! That view, the food, that cake! Looks like it was a lovely dinner!


  38. Anouk

    September 20, 2012

    WOW !

  39. recomendaciones

    September 20, 2012

    ohhh, that’s indeed a perfect dinner for anyone, I love it!

  40. anna

    September 20, 2012

    Hey Jordan, I don’t understand why you say that “The hardest thing about living in San Francisco is that people are always leaving you”, why is that? Is it because people tend to live there just for a sort period of time, like you did in Paris? Just curious!

    Oh and this event you prepared is amazing, very nice! You had to ask for permission, or is it ok to do that?

    thanks Jordan!

      • jordan
      • September 20, 2012

      Cities tend to have lots of people coming and going. It’s rare that someone stays forever!

  41. Beth

    September 20, 2012

    I agree that those recipes sound amazing. Do you think Andrea would be willing to share them with your readers?

  42. elizabeth

    September 20, 2012

    What a beautiful setting!

  43. icolby

    September 20, 2012

    I second that– don’t suppose there’s a recipe for that crab and gouda cheesecake?? 🙂
    Jordan– amazing and inspiring as always!

  44. janine

    September 20, 2012

    here is a recipe for crab and gouda cheesecake, not sure if it’s the one, but it looks tasty!

  45. Robin k

    September 20, 2012


  46. Kasey

    September 20, 2012

    That’s funny you feel that people are always moving away! I feel the opposite – lots of friends coming back. But, maybe that’s because I grew up here 🙂 What a beautiful dinner party! I’d love to do something like this sometime.

  47. Maritxu

    September 20, 2012

    Amazing Jordon! Thanks to YOU I’ll be dining at Le Dîner en Blanc in SF this year. Could you do an entry on pop-up menus that would be good and easy for this pop-up event???

  48. Lindsay

    September 20, 2012

    Your parties always amaze and inspire me! Hosting a pop-up party somewhere in SF is very high on my bucket list.

    One question – how did you heat food for that many people at once? It seems like it would be tricky to heat the soup and salmon pot pies at once…

  49. Carrie // cue the confetti

    September 21, 2012

    This is beyond amazing.

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