The past two years have been a whirlwind of happy things: I’ve explored the city inside out, made some great friends, bought a home, raised a puppy, and will very soon be marrying the love of my life. A month ago was my 2-year anniversary with San Francisco, which I wrote about here. Since this city is so special to me, I wanted to celebrate in the most special way possible, and I knew exactly how: years ago, my sister sent me a great pop-up dinner idea on Oh Happy Day, and I couldn’t think of a better occasion than this to make it happen.
We set up a pop-up dinner for a group of 18 close friends in Kirby Cove, a secluded and tucked away beach right under the Golden Gate bridge. With a panoramic view of the skyline behind the bridge, it was the perfect setting to celebrate. We went hardcore and rented a Zipvan, long banquet tables, chairs, linens, and serve-ware. We depended on the generosity of friends to bring food and drinks (and take these lovely pictures below).
I picked yellow”poppy” colored linens which I thought contrasted well against the blue and red backdrop. I was also excited to make use of my ridiculously enormous collection of mason jars and glass bottles, which we used for the flowers and candles.
It was an understatement to say that we were floored by the creativity and ambitiousness of the food – so lucky to have foodie friends! We had: Cassoulet, Lamb Tagine, Meatballs with Roasted Veggies, Lasagna, Tea Sandwiches, Beet Salad, Homemade Cupcakes, etc. etc. Needless to say our bellies celebrated right alongside with us!
It was a beautiful day and an even more beautiful night. We lucked out by having the event on one of the maybe 5 days in the SF summer season that was not only warm and clear during the day, but stayed that way even after sunset. What’s more, we were treated by the glow of a Supermoon that night, which made the experience that much more magical. One person even (allegedly) saw a shooting star. We are so, so lucky to be living in this beautiful city by the bay.
Cheers to you, San Francisco!
If you’re interested in the details of how we pulled together this event, see below:
RESERVATION: We reserved a day-pass to Kirby Cove on recreation.gov weeks in advance. A reservation isn’t easy to come by and sometimes can take months, so plan to do so ahead of time! The day pass just provides you with 4 parking permits, which is absolutely crucial as dirt path down to the cove is long, steep, and best done by car.
SUPPLIES: We rented a Zip-Van for the day and picked up tables/chairs supplies at Big 4 Party Supplies in Corta Mendez; I absolutely recommend this option since they’re 15 minutes down the road and allowed for same-day returns, which the other vendors did not. For 18 guests, we rented 2 6ft banquet tables, 18 chairs, linens, plates, utensils, and wine glasses. Also, we brought a big thermos with hot water for tea/hot chocolate, which proved very necessary when the sun came down!
FOOD: We depended on the generosity of friends to bring food + drinks. Since there is no electricity and fire pits were not located close enough to where I wanted to pop-up the dinner, we had to time the dinner so most of the hot foods stayed hot. A friend brought a small propane stove, which was useful for keeping foods warm.
SET UP: Hauling all of our supplies to the beach was a little bit of a feat, since the walk down from the parking lot was a good 5-10 minutes depending on how much you’re carrying. There are a few public wheelbarrows available, which helped a ton so I’d recommend using them if possible.
IMPORTANT: We also initially set up on the sandy beach because I wanted the romantic sound of waves lapping next to us during dinner. But thankfully a few campers came up to let us fools know that at this time of the year, especially with a Supermoon, the tide will probably cover the entire beach. In a flurry of panic, we unpacked everything and re-set up on the dunes right behind the beach, which still provided us with an unobstructed and equally breathtaking view.